When the Au Pair Comes to Stay is a four part multi-cultural series which offers a unique glimpse into Irish family life.
With more parents working outside of the home affordable childcare has become a burning issue for Irish families today. As a result, thousands of parents invite foreign students to live in their homes to mind their children as the family’s au pair. Each week we will follow the experiences of one family and their new au pair.
How will each family feel about having a stranger living in their home? By choosing an au pair each family is opening their lives and home to someone they have spoken to on the phone, chatted to via email and seen photos of. When the relationship works, the au pair can become an asset and a lifelong friend of the family. When it doesn’t, an au pair can feel exploited or the parents can find themselves taking care of a homesick young person who needs almost as much minding as their children.
Some au pairs make the grade, some leave after a few days. Each week we will find out what happens When the Au Pair Comes to Stay.
The first episode follows 21-year-old Heidi Bartsch as she swaps her rural life in Herborn, Germany for Galway. Ann Lally Leyden lives in Galway city with her three children Caoimhe (14), Fiachra (10) and Aoibheann (8). Ann has lost count of the amount of au pairs she’s had. Over the years the reason for her needing an au pair has changed. When Ann and Mike separated an au pair became vital to the running of the house. Ann needed the support and the flexibility that an au pair brings to the running of her busy household.
What will the 21-year-old make of domestic life with working mom Ann and her three children? Heidi has never been to Ireland before. But she has ‘read a lot of books and saw lots of movies about the great countryside of Ireland’. Heidi has done lots of babysitting in Germany but she has never looked after children full time. How will the straight-laced German cope with the madness of this young family?