Loan Kline and her husband are both physicians. They also have triplets, three boys who are five years old. With such a big job at home and at the office – Loan knew she would have to choose her childcare provider very carefully.
“Like every full time working mother, I face the same challenges as all mothers do- how to get it all done? The cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the baths, the lunches, the school drop offs/pick ups, the volunteering, the homework, and being present “in the moment” for your child.”
“On top of that, I have to worry about providing the best standard of care for my little patients, being on call, leaving my children at home while I run to the hospital for emergencies, managing the business side of the practice with my partners, and attending hospital board meetings. The biggest challenge- doing all of this while looking like I got it together. Because let’s face it, would you trust the health of your children to the pediatrician who looks disheveled?”
Initially, Loan used her mother to help fill in the gap. It didn’t take too long to find out the job was a little bit too large of a task for her mother. “At any rate as the boys became active toddlers, it was harder for her to keep up with them and she was exhausted everyday. We then decided that it was time for alternative child care.”
Checking through the childcare options Loan and her husband decided to talk with some friends who had an Au Pair. The more they researched this option the more they seemed to be a perfect fit, especially because they wanted to live in a smaller town. “We wanted land, air, and mountains. We wanted our little boys to climb trees and play outside. We needed someone who would move with us, who didn’t care that we would live in a semi rural small town.” They also wanted to help their children to speak Vietnamese. Loan said, “I grew up speaking, reading, and writing Vietnamese in America because my parents are immigrants. I wanted my children to grow up speaking Vietnamese.”
Loan has had four Au Pairs who have taught Vietnamse to their kids, and recently her family was awarded Go Au Pair’s Host Family of the year. Through her experiences she has also given advice on families who are considering an Au Pair to start with some tips on living with Au Pairs.
· Be clear and consistent with your expectations. Having a list of duties and schedules. Communicating any changes beforehand.
· When your au pair is doing everything that you expect and sometimes even more, be grateful, express your appreciation.
· A bonus here and there helps too.
· As for friendship, I think that develops naturally as time goes by. It starts with a funny story about the children, an inside joke and progresses to a camaraderie.
Besides the flexibility of having an Au Pair, the best thing about having a nanny from another country according to Loan, is they become part of the family. The bonds last longer than the year or two the family is together. The friendships last a lifetime.