[name_m]Hi[/name_m], Momberries (and current and former au-pairries ). Sorry I have a problem with long posts, but I’m looking for specific feedback/advice, so, here goes…
I speak [name_u]French[/name_u] and Japanese with my kids (alternating weeks of exclusive immersion). [name_f]My[/name_f] husband rotates [name_f]English[/name_f] and his more-limited Japanese that usually winds up Japanglish. Nevertheless, our soon-to-be 3 year old speaks all three languages at early-talker-native-for-a-three-year-old level and I’m super proud that my crazy experiment of raising my kids with two non-native languages (we are both mono-lingual [name_f]English[/name_f] natives) in an [name_f]English[/name_f] speaking environment is so far working. And let’s just say the 3.5 month old is also at native-for-a-three-and-a-half-month-old level.
Living where we do there is a decent Japanese business-transfer/expat community and we have public Japanese immersion options for school later on. We plan on prioritizing Japanese academics given that learning to read and write are understandably more time-intensive endeavors and believing those skills will be the more elusive for an adult (we have both learned as adults and know how hard it is). We have had our kids in Japanese nursery-rhyme classes and have participated in library read-alouds in Japanese. The one babysitter we have hired is Japanese. We have Japanese friends and have just generally found the finding exposure to Japanese to be much easier.
The francophone community is harder to find. There are a fair number of Wolof-[name_u]French[/name_u] bilingual immigrants here, but the Wolof really dominates and there doesn’t seem to be the same level of resources for children’s classes for multilingual children, etc, that we have found. Other than “speaking practice” tutoring I involve the kids in online, I am the only consistent exposure my kids have to [name_u]French[/name_u] on a regular basis. And I know that’s not ideal for my goals of keeping them interested and invested in learning it longterm.
I’d like to be pregnant with our third and final baby next year and I was thinking about how, barring anything really awful and life-altering (one of us gets super sick or dies or natural disaster or what-have-you), the transitional year from 2 to 3 kids is likely to be the most complicated time for our foreseeable future.
I’m a SAHM and my husband works a really ordinary retail job. We do not make bank, whatsoever. We have specifically chosen this lifestyle (there are plenty of other ways we could be living right now); we chose to prioritize our low stress levels and time as a family over career pursuits during the early years of parenthood. I therefore always thought that a nanny or au pair would be well beyond the realm of possibility for us.
But… if I think about lumping together most of what we spend on postpartum support (PP doulas and mother’s helpers – I say MOST of that budget because I’ll obviously still need some help), the money we were maybe going to use to send our elder to Japanese immersion preschool fall 2021, plus the babysitting we were thinking we would need to spend time working on our relationship, spending time with kids one-on-one every once-in-a-while… the gap between that and a year of an au pair doesn’t sound that huge.
- Would you think it would be a good idea to for us to hire an au pair for a year starting during the third trimester of my last pregnancy?
- If you’re in the US, do you think that the COVID J-1 visa restrictions will be lifted by then (currently through [name_u]December[/name_u] 31st, 2020)? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you think that is dependent on the election or do you think it will be lifted eventually no matter what?
- [name_f]Do[/name_f] you have illuminating experience/advice to share about working with au pairs in general (I was one twice, but not on a year-long program or anything). Were you an au pair?
- Would you think it would be particularly hard/weird for an au pair to work with a family with a SAH parent? I would love to have freedom to do errands without three little’uns in tow everytime and to get out on solo walks on a daily basis, but basically I’d be hoping to spend time with each of the kids individually for a bit of time throughout the day while the others were being lovingly cared for, being able to physically rest a fair amount during the third trimester of pregnancy and postpartum while not expecting childcare for the littlest, etc.
- [name_u]French[/name_u]-speaking or Japanese? (I’m leaning [name_u]French[/name_u] or Senegalese, but I see arguments for either).
- I worry about the quality of many of the US-based au pair agencies. I know that we personally have a really high bar for ethics and would treat a person living with us with respect and human decency and would adhere to the rules set forth both by the agency and by the government in regards to working hours and living conditions and general not-douchery, etc. But still… one hears horrible things and I don’t want to be a part of the problem by cooperating with an agency that is looking the other way away from maltreatment, manipulation, and exploitation. So any advice how to go about actually searching for a decent agency?
- Do you have three or more kids and was the transition to 3 really hard and in reading this do you wish you could have hired an au pair?
All thoughts appreciated! Thanks!