Meet busy mama Candice Silver of Glenview! We met up with Candice upon learning about her unique experience as a family with an au pair. Candice says she is so thankful for her au pair, Lisa who is from The Netherlands. Lisa’s high energy can keep up with the energy of her boys and their after-school schedules! What’s just as great is that her au pair never gets stuck in a snow storm getting to and from work! When you host an au pair, you not only benefit from great child care but you are also providing that au pair with an incredible experience abroad! Thank you to our partner, Cultural Care for introducing us to Candice!
First, could you describe your family, where you live and how long you’ve lived there?
My husband and I live in Glenview, IL, about 20-25 miles north of Chicago. We have lived here almost thirteen years, since my oldest son was born, we moved in right before he was born, in September 2006. I have two boys, Grayson is 12.5 years old, and Nolan is 9.5 years old.
What do you like to do with your family in the area?
There is so much to do! As the kids become older, I’ve been able to get even more involved in the local community. My older son is more into video gaming, and my younger son is very active in hockey and baseball. Our au pair has been a huge help, as well as being a part of our family, she has been able to help me get him to all his activities. I really don’t think we could do it without her.
What ultimately made you decide to choose the au pair program for your childcare?
When the boys were younger, we had a nanny. Now that the boys are older, what they need more than anything is energy, and au pairs are so young and vibrant- they have tons of energy. My au pairs are outside with my boys always every day after school. Also, the flexibility of the au pairs is fantastic. One week there was a snowstorm, one week they were sick, and my au pair is right there to care for them. I see other moms trying desperately to piece their childcare together- it makes me think I am going to need an au pair forever!
How did you come to use Cultural Care?
Most of the people in this area that I know have used Cultural Care. It definitely has the best reputation. And when I met my Local Childcare Consultant, JoAnne Dimond, I absolutely loved her. She is really great and very personable, very available. She’s very supportive and just great. We have found great au pairs through Cultural Care, and there are a lot of au pairs in this area through Cultural Care, so our au pair has a network.
What are some reasons you think families should host an au pair for their childcare needs?
For us, it has been a really great experience of having a kind, sweet, young person in our house. I find it very rewarding to have a somewhat mothering relationship to my au pairs. It’s really interesting to be involved in someone else’s life like that, especially someone from a different culture. All of their families have come to visit us, every au pair we’ve had has had their family come to stay and we’ve gotten to know them. We have meshed our families together. At the end of the day, it goes back to them being part of our family.
What has her experience been like in the States?
Lisa has already traveled all over the U.S.! Every au pair we have had has wanted to travel, and we really try to prioritize that for them. We try to go to shows, Broadway plays, we took her to Ed Sheeran recently and she was so surprised by the size of the stadium. All our au pairs have had really great experiences, we keep in touch with them and welcome them back anytime they want to come visit.
Your au pair, Lisa is from The Netherlands. What has it been like learning about her culture, as well as the cultures of your previous au pairs?
A lot of our au pairs will make a meal or two that is representative of their country, Lisa is a baker, so she is always baking things for us! Her parents will send her ingredients from home. We introduced her to different things about our culture, we will talk about her family’s holiday traditions, we learn about each other. We’ve learned that as much as we’re all so different, we’re actually very similar too. Ultimately, to me, the cultural exchange spirit of the program is so important. The way we look at it is, if someone were hosting our child in their home in another country, how would we want him to be treated?
Finally, we’d love to get some local tips from you. What’s one of your favorite places to spend time with your family? Family-friendly restaurants, date-night restaurants?
The Chicago Botanic Garden is just beautiful. It’s such a great place to go walk around when it’s nice, have lunch, and be in nature. I highly recommend it for all ages! For family-friendly restaurants we love: Blufish in Glenview, Wildfire in Glenview and Walker Brothers. Our favorite date night spots are: Greenwood in Highwood, and we enjoy these city favorites – Maple & Ash in Chicago, Steak 48 in Chicago, RPM Italian.
*This interview is sponsored by Cultural Care Au Pair. Thank you!