Military family finds alternative to day care

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FORT IRWIN, Calif.  — When Andrea Zimlicki, a military spouse and kindergarten teacher, decided she no longer wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and return to work, she said the decision was not made lightly. Zimlicki was not thrilled with the traditional child care options available. Being an Army spouse means her husband’s job can be demanding at times and wives’ resumes tend to suffer with holes. Zimlicki wanted a child care option that would fit in their life style.

“I want to be able to work, but also have my kids remain my priority,” Zimlicki said. “They should be able to do karate if they want, and I wanted an option that would make that feasible.”

According to USO.org, balancing life and a family can be extremely challenging. Being a part of a military family is always a balancing act— sometimes, “the job” must come first, and other times, family is the top priority.

Zimlicki and her family decided the answer to their childcare demands would be an Au Pair. An Au Pair is a foreign exchange program for women between 18 and 26 years old, where the child care provider from another country will come live with you and become part of your family, while immersing into American culture.

“Having an Au Pair has 100 percent alleviated our family stress,” Zimlicki said. “Especially here at Fort Irwin, with the rotations, my husband is in the box eight days at a time. With this schedule, I wouldn’t be able to work or my kids would have to alter their schedule and get up super early and miss out on extra circulars. With adding Veronica Vaudi, my Au Pair, to our family, we have been able to maintain consistence and balance in their schedules.”

The Zimlickis used Cultural Care Au Pairs to help find Vaudi. Jane Bisson, from Cultural Care Au Pair said the agency involves a screening process to match families and care givers, requires all Au Pairs to have their own bed room, and ensures they are not to be utilized as maids. They can help with light housework that is related to the children. Bisson says the Au Pair provides live-in child care and becomes a member of your family, supporting not just the children but the whole family.

“I was a foreign language major and studied abroad, so I love being able to introduce other cultures to my kids while having someone live with us that will love our kids, share themselves, while instilling our family values,” Zimlicki said about her Au Pair.

“There are two children that I love taking care of,” Vauldi, an Italian native, said. “I cook breakfast and take them to school. I have only been here (Fort Irwin/United States) three weeks and we have already visited the Sequoia National Park, went apple and pumpkin picking, and celebrated American Halloween, which is the most fun.”

Vaudi wanted to come to America to improve upon her English before attending a university. She said she took her screening process serious and spoke with more than 28 families before choosing the Zimlickis.

“My biggest regret is not knowing about this program earlier,” Zimlicki said.  “Your kids are being cared for and loved, in a safe environment, by someone who’s like an aunt.”

Zimlicki has since become a local childcare consultant (LCC). An LLC is a Cultural Care representative that lives within the local community he or she serves to support Au Pairs and their families.

To find out more about cultural Au Pairs visit, https://culturalcare.com.