With any new job or experience the beginning is never easy even though we typically expect things to be perfect. I can honestly say that during the first two and a half weeks with my shot family here in paris I thought that I had made a horrible decision with my choice and was even looking at new families in the area requiring an au pair. I felt such a tension between their daughter and me because he didn’t want to open up to me or try and become friends. I don’t know why I expected her to just instantly love me upon arriving, I mean looking back I don’t really blame the kid! I’m a stranger coming into her life expected to replace the same nanny that she had for the whole 6 years of her life. The daughter also doesn’t speak english which I was told she knew enough to have a conversation with so there is a lot of frustration that goes on when we try to talk to one another. As any kid, she tries to take the most difficult possible path of doing things, so instead of trying to understand my broken french, she just pays no attention and says she doesn’t understand.
I also felt very constrained in their house and was treated like their own daughter. The parents were very protective which I really thought at tthe time was overwhelming and unnecessary but looking back, they are responsible for me and I am also responsible for their daughter. I took their abundance of love as a sign of annoyance when really i should be appreciative to be in such a loving family. Yes, I must say I still feel uncomfortable at times especially when i’m not technically working but still in their house; its hard to determine a work-life balance when living with your employer. I find that I’m constantly wanting to help clean or play with the girl but then again, if I were at my own home in Canada I would be doing the same. As the weeks have progressed I have changed my outlook on the reason why i’m here. My first couple of weeks I was so focused on going to Paris and making sure I went out with all of the other au pairs in order to meet people. I can honestly say that I think I’m done with drinking my ass off every weekend and feeling like garbage the next day. I also used to spend my weekends in paris, even if I was alone because I didn’t want to be home with the family because I was convinced it was awkward. Lesson learned: It’s only awkward if you make it awkward. Once I got past the fact that hey! It’s okay to come downstairs on Sunday at lunch with a hangover and they aren’t’ going to judge me, then it’s been a completely difference atmosphere and lifestyle in general.
I’ve realized that the main reason i’m here is not to go party and hang out with my friends every single chance I get, but I’m an au pair and like any job I have responsibilities. That’s not to say that I will not continue to spend my own time with my friends and doing the things I enjoy, but I need to find a balance.
I just kept thinking every night before I shut my eyes at night; give them a chance… So that’s jsut what I did. I waited and played things out