For three days, I can do anything really, really well. Read: can be polite and on best behavior. After that, things get real!
I realized this when orienting my new au pair, Romina, to our home and family. I labeled myself a “super mom” (reality check: for three days) but it probably should have been the “ridiculous mom”.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it – we played every game under the sun with my dear children including all of the game night favorites (in an attempt to avoid them watching tv or spending too much time on the computer). We read to them and had them read their own books for 1/2 hour each day. We baked cookies, colored pictures, played basketball and baseball in the yard. We went swimming and bike riding. I set up play dates for the days ahead and planned picnics for the pool. I cooked gourmet meals and cleaned my house with a vengeance (even put clean laundry back into drawers the same day they were washed).
I went back to work today exhausted and grateful for my au pair to take over. Because being a good role model is not easy and this was not my reality. My reality is a little less perfect and quite frankly domestic. My kids loved it but they too were kind of ready for mom to go back to work and asked when Franzi (our old au pair) would come home from vacation. Call it age, call it being out of practice as a working mom and having had the help of a great au pair to do all of these things but trying to do them all in three days caused sheer exhaustion in all of us!
My friends and I had a good laugh over this experience. Because reality is that I am a no “super mom” but rather a better mom because I have an au pair who helps me to be these things in my kids eyes. Because even if the house is a little messy and we only have a gourmet home cooked meal or dessert made occasionally by mom, I can give them the love and attention they deserve and need because my au pair is an extra set of hands who helps to make it all possible (even the tidy house and occasional home cooked German meal).
Welcome Romina and thanks for all of your help and patience with your occasionally ridiculous “host mom”! I look forward to the year ahead.