Margot I. from France in Margaret Feno’s Raleigh-Durham, NC cluster:
My name is Margot (22 yo), and my Au Pair experience will have an ever-lasting impact on my life as a woman. It is such a unique opportunity to experience childcare responsibilities on a daily basis, therefore I feel like I’ve got a great picture of what parenthood looks like. I can testify how involved the mothers are in childcare, and I really experience a gap in the sharing of kids-related tasks within the family. Without blaming dads (because inequalities are related to complex socialization issues which are deeply cultural), I experience the pressure that can be put on a mother’s shoulders.
I think it is such a valuable lesson for a young woman to get to examine motherhood so closely. I want to say that it is also a remarkable way to open my mind to new ways of being a mother: living with my host family gives me the opportunity to observe different chores-distribution than in my home country, which is very inspirational. It allows me a serious understanding of how culture shapes femininity and motherhood. I wish it will inspire me and allow me to emancipate from conventional ways. For example, I am very impressed by my host mom’s career in a very male-dominated field and the way she has made a difference is so inspiring! Therefore, I believe that my au pair experience gives me the opportunity to take a step back on what being a “woman” means, and what kind of woman I want to be.