Over the last 3 years, I’ve seen a number of adaptations of the “You know you’re an Au Pair when” list. I always find it humorous even though I don’t relate with some of them (Canadians eat the same lame excuse for bread as Americans, and most Americans know where Canada is if not what Canada is).
So, I picked and prodded through the list, and narrowed it down to the ones I enjoy the most — and, naturally, added my own commentary.
1. You always introduce yourself with “Hi, my name is ____, I’m from _____, and I have __# of children”. This is true. I almost entirely lost my identity and became “Canada”. Just “Canada”. And if I did anything worthy of being frowned upon, all 30 million inhabitants were blamed.
2. You say silly instead of stupid. No no, not just around little ears. Around ALL ears. Most Au Pairs don’t even notice, but non AP’s will give you the stink eye everytime you say “potty” instead of “bathroom” at Starbucks.
3. You’ve seen more movies in one month than in your whole life at home. Not even good movies. No gore, action or romance. But on the plus side, you’ve probably learned how to count to 5 in Spanish while wondering why no one has called CPS on Dora’s absent parents.
4. You only have other Au Pairs as your friends. This is generally acceptable, unless you speak the native language of the country. Which I did.
5. You notice yourself saying “good job” 100 times a day. Especially through gritted teeth when your host parents are in the same room.
6. You’re sure you don’t want your own kids for the next 100 years. As I’ve always said, being an Au Pair is the best form of birth control.
7. You take a nap after you’ve dropped the kids off at school, even though you’ve been up for just 2 hours. If the first two hours of your day were spent cleaning up oatmeal thrown at the wall, wrestling with a 4 year old to change his PJ’s only to surrender by bringing the child to school in his PJ’s with some of that oatmeal stuck to your hair, you would nap, too.
8. One cup of coffee doesn’t make you awake anymore, it makes you alive. ‘Nuff said.