Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Being an Au Pair is like Bootcamp for Motherhood

Dead serious about the title there. Right now it's La Toussaint vacation. La Toussaint, in English, is known as All Saints Day, and is celebrated on the first of November. In terms of religion, it's the day when Catholics celebrate all those who have achieved saint-hood and the "beatific vision" in Heaven. I'd say France has become a more "Catholic by tradition and culture" than "Catholic by practice," nation, but nonetheless, French school children and *ahem* school employees get nearly two weeks off for this lovely holiday.

Upside: I have two weeks of paid vacation.
Downside: My host mom was assigned a last minute flight to Toronto (she works for Air France) and I've been cooped up in a beautiful house in Saint-Germain-en-Laye with three children. And yes, I am half ready to kill (not literally) all of them. *Introduce panicked scream here*

I've decided that being an au pair is like going to ranger school for motherhood. It's INSTANT immersion, no buts about it--it's as if I instantly have a 12 year old, a 9 year old, and a 5 year old without the (minor detail) whole finding-Mr.Right-getting-married-birthing-process thing.

These kids fight incessantly, love each other one minute, hit each other the next, and argue over stupid keychain sized pink flashlights they find in the attic.

They hate every single thing you put on their plate, unless of course it's Nutella or something that will immediately induce Diabetes Types I and II with a side of heart attack to go. Or Butter. I say "butter" with a capital B because around here, butter is HOLY. These kids probably eat around 4 sticks of Butter a week. Last week they went through 60 slices of bread. If I were a loaf of bread in this house, I'd fear for my life. Really.

The only thing that makes a French kid eat his or her vegetables is the eternal threat of "tu ne veux pas grossir," roughly translated as "you don't want to get fat," because if there's anything worse here than being hit with the Ugly Stick, it's being hit with the Fat Stick.

Toys are left around the house listlessly and then forgotten, only to be searched for two days later.

Bread crumbs are always scattered around the kitchen for sweeping; and just when you think you've some peace, said 12 year old and 5 year old are arguing at 11:30 at night over what side of the king sized bed they've decided to share for the evening they will get. Naturally, this wakes you up. After a nonstop day of cooking, cleaning, and child care. And after you've gone to sleep an hour earlier. Because you're taking the 9 year old to Paris at 8:00 in the morning for minor dental surgery. Ugh.

To put the icing on top of the cake, these children have absolutely no responsibilities around the house aside from homework. Am I remembering wrongly that I had chores as a kid? Did I imagine that? I thought I had responsibilities other than homework...guess I'm going to have to consult the madre and padre on that one.

Don't get me wrong--I love the kids dearly. This is not a hateful rant. This is more to say that I have come to a couple of conclusions, some of which I had concluded before, but am much more adamant about now:

1) OH GAWD MOTHER I AM SO SORRY. If you are reading this, I don't know how the hell you did it. I don't know how the hell ANY mother does it. Being a parent is HARD work. I apologize post-haste for anything and everything I ever did that drove you up the mother effing wall. You must have had some serious patience. Hell, you probably still have serious patience. Hell, I just said hell way too many times!

2) I never want to be a strictly stay at home mom. I will go insane. You know, the "completely off my fucking rocker I need a lobotomy" type of insane. I have IMMENSE amounts of respect for all the stay at home moms out there. You are gods. You should be rewarded. With Tiffany diamonds, four month cruises to the Caribbean, and castles with a full-time waitstaff. Oh lord.

3) I DO NOT want children of my own ANY TIME SOON. Repeat: DO NOT WANT.

4) If and when I do have kids, whenever that may or may not happen in the very distant future, they will most likely hate me, because I will probably be a strict parent. In their best interest, of course. Maybe in some weird strange future universe blogs like this will be saved and they'll read this. That's an even scarier thought...

Thank God host mom returns tomorrow. *Cue dramatic music*

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