A Typical Week
I am Erin and I live in Northern Virginia, near Washington D.C. and look after one little girl. She was one when I arrived, and turns two next month, just days before my one year anniversary as an Au Pair.
I wanted to explain a little about my situation and my typical week as an au pair. I live in a suburban area, with no other au pairs within walking distance so having a car has been great for me the past few months, as when I arrived I did not have access to a car during the day, but the playground and pool were within walking distance which was great.
A typical day for us starts with me beginning work at 7:30am so my host parents may go to work. The baby may or may not be up by then, if she is up I get started on breakfast, or if she is not up I wait for her to wake up and then change her diaper, dress her, give her any morning medications and her morning bottle and then start breakfast. Each morning I am responsible for unloading the dishwasher and generally tidying the living area. I do this while the baby has breakfast, and then I will have breakfast with her. She generally has a mixture of cereals, oatmeal, fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, which changes daily depending on what we have. I usually have cereal.
After breakfast we play for a while – generally she will play with her dolls or other toys, or we may read some books together.
Around 9am to 9:30am I begin to get organised for whatever we are doing that day. Activities we will go out to in the morning include – a weekly visit to the library, a little dance class she is registered for, a trip to the mall indoor playground, a trip to a lake or park, a trip to the zoo or other outdoor activity such as a nature centre, or if there are any playdates or cluster meeting playdates we go to those too.
We usually are home by lunchtime and we have lunch which could be anything from leftovers, to scrambled eggs, sandwiches, macaroni cheese, subway or whatever is in the fridge. I then give her a bottle and put her down for an afternoon nap. She generally sleeps 3-4 hours in the afternoon during which time I do laundry and tidy up toys and then can use the rest of the time to do whatever I like within the house.
When she wakes up she has a snack, a bath and we may go to the pool or just play and read books until my host parents come home.
On weeknights I do varied things – sometimes I stay home and chill out with my host family, meet other au pairs for dinner or coffee, go shopping, attend cluster meetings, go to the gym or the pool or go to the movies.
On weekends we get up to many activities. A lot of the girls in the cluster use our cluster facebook pages to suggest outings, or I organise things to do with my friends. A few recent examples include a weekend trip to Niagra Falls, Boston or Toronto; theme parks – Six Flags of America, Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion, a trip to Virginia Beach, kayaking for our cluster meeting, going to the movies, going shopping, going to museums in DC, sightseeing in the area or attending classes.
For my education for my first year I did the travel classes through the Borough of Manhattan Community College which you may take if you live in the DC/VA/MD area, or Philadelphia area or New York area.
The first class I did was the New York class, in which you attend three Saturday classes in which you learn about New York City, and do a presentation on a topic related to New York City. Then you do a weekend trip to the city where you have a guided tour on the Saturday, then you have Saturday night and Sunday free to explore the city.
It was a great way to explore the city and to meet new au pairs.
The second class I did was the Philadelphia and Amish Country class. In this class we spent three Saturdays in classes learning about Philadelphia and the Amish people and then did a weekend trip to Lancaster, where a large Amish population is located and Philadelphia. We had tours all day Saturday, with Saturday night free, and a tour on Sunday morning where we got to see the Liberty Bell and the constitution and declaration of independence, with free time Sunday afternoon.
These classes are about $400 each, depending on which one you take. They also offer Niagara Falls, Montreal and Boston classes.
This year I am enrolling in classes through Sojourner Douglass College as they are a bit cheaper and shorter, being just weekend courses. I have enrolled in an Art History course based in DC on two Saturdays, and a Psychology course which is a weekend course in Baltimore, MD. These were about $300 each.
If you are thinking about coming – do it! I have has the best year experiencing the USA and meeting new friends from around the world!
And I now have another year to look forward to as I just extended with my family for 2012-2013