Au Pairing, 50 years ago – Part 2

Tips and Advice

Written by Tina Collins, Tina is now living in Sicily with her Sicilian husband of 40 plus years. She survived her years as an AuPair in Sicily and decided to live there after retirement.

Family life had no routine. The boys were taken to school by the driver and usually went to the grandparents to eat (school was only half day). The little girl usually stayed with me, but it was difficult to amuse her. They had no toys. Very often the parents ate out and the girl was taken to the grandparents.

After about 10 days the cook/housekeeper disappeared and life became difficult as there was no food in the house.
On one of my mornings in the park with the girl I was delighted to be approached by a group of Australian/English/Maltese au pairs – and to be able to speak English!! They told me ‘my’ family were well known as usually never kept a girl longer than a couple of weeks. One of the other AuPairs was going home after 6 months and suggested I might like to meet the family she was with as they had asked her to find someone for them I
thanked them and said I’d see how things went, however, just a few nights later I was awakened by the parents having a terrible argument ending with the husband crashing into my room and wanting my bed!!  The next day I went to the park (the girls had told me there was always a group of them there with their charges) and said that yes, I’d like to
meet another family!


Meeting the second family was like stepping into another world.  Apart from the fact the mother was my age, the children aged 2 and 1 had a room full of toys and bright colours and I gladly accepted the offer. The mother spoke English quite well and was keen
to improve. Leaving the first family was a drama I’d never witnessed, crying, screaming, breast beating…….but just one month after I’d left London I moved in with the second family, where life was totally different.

The mother was a good mother, and was always present, I soon made friends with the toddlers (I slept in their room) and felt on cloud nine with proper meals and lots of laughter Dad only had eyes for his wife and we formed a good friendship I was made part of the family even when we went to the maternal grandparents.The paternal grandparents were less friendly and I could feel I was being judged all the time.


For the first few weeks we had a problem, as the first mother would wait outside the apartment block of my new host family and have hysterics asking me to go back. This upset the little ones, who of course didn’t know what this hysterical woman wanted, so if we saw her, I would have to dash in with the children while their mother tried to
reason with her.

More to come next time!

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