We spoke with Megan Herlihy who shared her story and the key to enjoying her life as a mom. Have you dreamed about what life would be like with an excellent au pair? We do! Megan is here to help with an inside scoop of what it’s like to host an au pair.
Can you tell us about your family?
My husband JR and I moved from New York City to Greenwich, in mid-country. We have two kids, one daughter named Harriet, she is 2 years old, and we have a little boy, Robert, who is four and a half months old.
What brought you to Greenwich?
Neither my husband nor I are from New England, so we don’t have family near us. We came from Manhattan, and didn’t know anything about the suburbs. We ended up picking Greenwich because my husband works in Old Greenwich, so we were familiar with the area. Now we’ve lived in Greenwich for over two years.
When did you first start hosting au pairs?
We started hosting in 2018, and our next au pair will be arriving in August! I could not live without my current au pair, Julia from Germany. I knew from the moment I talked with her the first time that she was a perfect fit for our family. I honestly don’t think I would have survived the last five months with our new baby without her. She is so intuitive, so helpful and is always two steps ahead of everything—always thinking ahead. She can even stop my two-year-old from having a tantrum! She has made life so amazing.
What made you decide to choose the au pair program for your childcare needs?
Our closest friends here in Greenwich had an au pair when her son was first born. Our only hesitation was what it would be like to have someone living with us. But with a second child on the way, we thought it would be very helpful to have someone who could concentrate on our daughter while we went through this transition of one to two children. My husband wasn’t so sure about having someone living with us full time, but now he is the biggest advocate of the program and tells everyone we know about how they need an au pair!
How did you end up choosing Cultural Care Au Pair as your agency?
We used Cultural Care because it is the agency my friend uses—and she had nothing but amazing things to say about her Local Childcare Consultant, Hollace Shantz. When I was interested in learning more, she put me in touch with Hollace and we became instant best friends! She has been so incredibly helpful in our process of finding our first au pair. She is such an amazing support system and I couldn’t have done it without her—I am forever grateful to her.
What has the cultural exchange aspect of the program looked like for your family?
Julia has taught my daughter how to say no in German, so now when she wants to say no to me, she says “nein, nein mamma!” I just think it is so funny. Julia has been teaching her other words in German too. Julia joined us right before Christmas, and she was telling us that making gingerbread houses is a huge tradition in her hometown in Germany. So we made gingerbread houses with her! Her family also came to visit over Easter break- it was wonderful meeting all of them! We are constantly having conversations with her about her culture and what life is like back home, and we definitely try to incorporate her traditions into our holidays as well.
My husband and I both studied abroad, and my husband grew up hosting exchange students. There is something that I really liked about the idea of giving someone a cultural exchange experience in the United States. We loved the idea of teaching our children about different cultures and being able to open their eyes to a bigger world.
What was Julia’s motivation for coming to the U.S.?
Julia wants to be a pediatrician, and she is amazing with children, especially little babies. I think she thought it was the perfect way for her to see the United States and also gain valuable experience for her career. She told me that since she was a little girl, she always had the dream of exploring the U.S. and experiencing American culture.
Are there any benefits to hosting an au pair that people might not automatically recognize?
I don’t even think of Julia as an au pair, she really is just another part of the family. I think of her as another co-parent. Because the au pair lives with you, she becomes incredibly in tune with your family’s routine and your children’s needs. This can become invaluable when things get busy and hectic, like they often do. It makes it so much easier for me to leave and be active outside of the house, knowing that my daughter feels so comfortable and at home with Julia.
This interview was sponsored by Cultural Care Au Pair.