When looking for help with the children and the housework, it can be confusing to understand all the different terms. An au pair, for instance, is commonly thought of as a part time employee, normally a teenager from a different country who provides around 20 hours per week of childcare services for a minimal wage, but who also gets room and board and the chance to engage with a different language and culture. While a live in housekeeper is considered to be a more fully employed and probably older person – someone who has professional qualifications and takes on full domestic duties for 35 to 40 hours per week.
In actuality, though, some au pairs are advertised who work for a full working week, and who seem to both take on domestic chores and look after the children. Then you have the mother’s help, apparently another category still, who is there to perform both childcare and housework duties too. Or you have the nanny, who is specifically employed to care for the children and does no housework other than that directly generated by the kids in the home.
When you look for a live in housekeeper, you’re probably looking for someone older than a teenager who has the experience and qualifications to do full time housework and childcare duties.
Effectively the difference between the live in housekeeper and the nanny is that the housekeeper is there to take on the full gamut of household duties, possibly including looking after the children, while the nanny is there only for the children. In practice, you may find that the demarcations are split slightly differently – a nanny looking only after children; a live in housekeeper only doing the housework; and a mother’s help doing a combination of the above duties.
In general terms, then, the au pair is the junior version of the nanny or mother’s help, while the live in housekeeper duties are more focused on keeping the house running smoothly. The title of housekeeper goes back to the days of the Victorian and Edwardian empires – where the housekeeper was in charge of the domestic running of the home, including food ordering and cleaning rotas; while the nanny was there specifically to look after the children. In today’s much more crowded and compacted world, the reality may be that the different job titles refer to much more similar roles.
The key, of course, is to specify your exact requirements at the time of hiring. The agency finding you a live in housekeeper, or a nanny or a mother’s help, will then be able to set you up with the right person to fill all your needs. Your agency will help you draw up a contract of employment with and for your housekeeper, and will also be there to smooth out any transitional difficulties as your new employee settles into the home and the job.
A live in housekeeper can take much of the strain of keeping the house in good working order away from a busy family.
Millennium Au Pairs, an au pair agency in London provides reliable live in housekeeper services to take care of your domestic needs.
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