Rule no. 1- Your Security Blanket

Your security blanket can be any number of things. It can be one thing, or it can be a lot of things all at once. It can be your pillow from home that just makes you feel safer at the end of a long hard day. Or it can be a photo of you and your family, so that when you are feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of, you can look at it and say "See! I'm loved!" Security blankets are the number one thing that you DO NOT forget to bring with you when you are leaving your home, country, and language behind to start a new, completely alien adventure. My security blanket consists of a few things:
1. A picture of me and my boyfriend, Mike, taken on one of the happiest days of my life.
2. A collection of shirts that I stole from Mike and wear as pajamas.
3. My pillow from home that I've had for I don't know how long (I take it everywhere, I can't sleep without it)
4. A picture of my parents
5. A picture of my brother, Tristan
6. A picture my other brother, Robin
7. A few books by Terry Pratchett (my favorite author). He has a way of putting things in perspective for me. 

The best security blanket, of course, is your family. This is the one thing that has gotten me through my first three months as an au pair. Make sure that you DO NOT leave home without a means of talking to your family. Skype is the most amazing thing ever in this respect. Make sure you have it on your computer, or if you have a smart phone, iphone, galaxy tab, or ipad make sure its on there. I bought a plan through skype for $80 that is active for a year that allows me to call any phone in the US (mobile, or landline, UNLIMITED) It has already been worth the money. Talk to your family as often as you can. In a country where you either dont speak the language, or you don't speak it as well as you'd like, you need to be able to call home. You need a safe place to be able to speak your feelings and frustrations. Being an au pair is a wonderful experience, but it is not easy. You need a safe, non-biased place to be able to speak your mind. Your French family (of course) wants to hear all of the wonderful things about their life and children, but the children are not always adorable sweet little angels. You need to VENT. You need to get it OUT. But DON'T vent to your French family. Call home and say: Mom, I need to vent. Those five words are LIFESAVERS. 

There will always be times when you want to call it quits and just go home. But those times aren't supposed to dominate your experience. So through out my time as a "jeune-fille au pair" I will post the rules I follow, and the experiences that created those rules, in order to help myself (and all future au pairs) have the best au pair experience they can have.  


  1. Bravo ma fille! Je suis fière de toi! Keep up the good work my darling girl. Also, you might want to make the back ground a bit more opaque, cause it's a bit hard to read the red on the lighter black. Darker black or brighter red would help...! Bisous, Maman

  2. Hi Marjorie. Great job on your blog, and great advice too. My name is Julia and I am an au pair a little bit west of Toulouse. (awesome city) I'm pretty sure I'm totally being taken advantage of... no scratch that. I am sure. I was wondering what advice you could give to an au pair about to put in her two weeks notice...?

    1. HI Julia,

      I had this same problem with the first family I worked for. What I did was I wrote them a letter explaining how I felt, What I felt the problem was, and what I felt we could all do to change the situation. Because the problem is that it is not a easy process for the au pair or the family to find the au pair and to get them there. The two weeks notice doesn't really apply to this situation because there is no way to replace you in two weeks. What I recommend is going to the OFII office in Toulouse and letting them know you are being taken advantage of. There are Au Pair advocates who can help you. If you are still interested in being an Au Pair but with a different family please let me know and I can put you in touch with the second family I worked for. They live in a village called Sost in the Pyrenees mountains. I will tell you now that this family does take a lot of work, but they are the best people I have ever met. More love, gratitude, friendship, and respect then I could ever have expected. But yes, back to your immediate problem at hand. If you end up terminating your employment with this family, due to your visa being an AU PAIR visa you will have to find other employment as an au pair with two weeks. Which is why I am more than willing to put you in contact with the family I worked for. If you would like to talk more about this privately and directly please send me your facebook info and I will send you a message there.