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Hire an Au Pair? Help Yourself; Help Her; and Help the World

Ever thought your family could use a live-in nanny? A nanny may also need you!

(c) yarruta
Source: (c) yarruta

One of my daughters has lots of young children, and at the same time works as CEO of a significant company. Imagine the continous noses to wipe, cooking, dishwashing, laundry, not to mention need to drive carpools, take to dentist appointments, and help with piano practice...and Mommy often at work. Recipe for disaster? For marriage problems? No, it’s a recipe for hiring an au pair, that is, a live-in nanny from abroad.

Enter Sami. Actually, enter Sami, Clara, Mel, Christina and many others, one a year.

Au pairs turn out to be a great deal for both sides. The nannies, who come from countries all around the world, get an experience of living, working and studying in America. They get to upgrade their English language skills. And they get experience in American culture by jumping into a year-long stay with an American family.

What does the family get? First class childcare, laundry, housecleaning and cooking help, exposure for everyone in the family to someone who offers cross-cultural perspectives, plus a delightful personality who adds a third in-house adult to love their children.

What happens after the year of au pair experience?

For the family, it’s on to the next au pair. For my daughter, one au pair after another has in her own way been extra-special.

As for the au pairs, Sami may not be typical but she does offer an inspriing example of how a nanny-in-the-USA experience can become a launchpad for lifelong career and personal growth.

Sami, who was Afghani by birth, grew up in Norway for most of her school years after the Taliban chased families like hers out of their native country. Sami’s parents believe in education for girls, unlike the Taliban who still forbid it in areas where they retain control. After her nanny year, Sami returned to Norway for college and law school. Her American nanny mom and dad then helped her to apply to post-graduate programs and then work with a think tank in Washington DC to further her dream of helping women in Afghanistan.

For Sami, the au pair year helped her to launch what already is becoming a high-impact career helping women around the world, starting in Afghanistan, to develop their full potentials and gain full equal rights.

This month Sami wrote and published her first internet article. As you read it, keep in mind that Sami offers an example of the global impact you may be able to have if you hire a nanny. Next time you, as a mom or dad, feel overwhelmed by the unceasing demands of trying to juggle work and children, think "Au pair!"


Unfulfilled Promises for Afghanistan’s Women

by Samina Ansari

On September 29, 2014, after a months-long showdown, Afghanistan experienced its first democratic transfer of power with the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani. On this historic day and throughout his presidential campaign, President Ghani expressed his support for women’s rights and vowed to nominate a female for the Supreme Court and several female ministers for cabinet positions.

But just few weeks ago, President Ghani’s campaign promises were called into question by women’s rights activists when after a four-month delay, only four out of 25 nominated cabinet members were women. …

In the 13 years since the fall of the Taliban, women’s rights in Afghanistan have seen incredible advancement: over four million girls are enrolled in school—a country record, laws are in place to protect women, and the once staggering maternal mortality rate has declined. Despite this progress, however, women seldom have a voice in political and social affairs and are often left in the periphery when it comes to critical subjects impacting their country, including peace negotiations with the Taliban.

Tribal laws and traditional customs continue to prevail in most of the country, and women and girls are treated as property with pervasive forced marriage, child marriage, and violence against them. These issues are exacerbated with lack of access to health care and economic dependency, keeping women’s fundamental human rights and overall well-being in a perpetual state of vulnerability...

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Bravo Sami (Samina) on your determination to support the women in Afghanistan seeking to obtain basic rights!

And bravo to all moms and dads who decide to get help with raising their families by helping young people from across the globe to taste the values and experiences of life in America.


Denver clinical psychologist Susan Heitler, author of, an online program that teaches the skills for marriage success.

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