Meet Houston Mom Melissa Klupchak and Learn about Cultural Care
Tell me a little about yourself and your family!
We are a family of four, we have a son who just turned one, and a daughter who just turned three. My husband and I have lived in Houston for almost five years, and we moved here from San Francisco. We moved to West U because it is very family friendly, you can walk everywhere, go to the library hour, we’re close to our daughter’s school—we just love it.
What do you like to do with your family in the area?
Well, it’s very hot, so we like to go swimming. One of the bright sides of living in Houston is being able to use the pool almost year-round! We also love to go to the parks. Here in Houston, you can be outside comfortably more than nine months of the year. I just love being able to be outside, walking around, exploring the different playgrounds, and we also love the Houston Zoo.
Can you tell me a little bit about your experience with the au pair program? What got you interested in hosting an au pair initially?
For us, hosting an au pair made so much sense because of the flexibility it offers. Our au pair was able to help me out especially when I was working odd hours. We also wanted someone who would truly become a member of the family. My husband grew up abroad, and I have traveled a lot, so we were really excited about the opportunity to learn more about different cultures. My friend told me all about the au pair program, she absolutely loves it for the same reasons—the flexibility and cultural exchange. We were excited to host an au pair who would bring diversity to our family.
I love what you said about embracing the cultural exchange. What has that looked like for your family?
We’ve had an Italian au pair and now a Brazilian au pair. We were definitely open-minded during the interview process about where the au pair was from. My husband has Italian ancestry, so we thought having an Italian au pair would be a nice idea for our family. One of the coolest things about au pairs is that so many of them speak multiple languages! In the U.S., we don’t learn multiple languages as early as they do abroad, and it’s so important.
What advice would you give to families who are thinking about hosting an au pair?
Before I hosted my first au pair, I got advice from families in the area who host au pairs. Some of the best advice I got from one of the families is that you might have an idea in mind of what specific qualities you’d like your au pair to have, but then you get into looking at au pair candidates and you realize it’s really about the individual and finding the right fit for your family. We have been lucky to have two great au pairs; we absolutely adore our current au pair, Fernanda.
What do you think made Fernanda decide to become an au pair in the U.S.?
I think she ultimately decided to become an au pair to experience American culture and to explore the U.S.! One of the things I admire most about her—besides how excellent she is with our children—is her willingness to try new things and seek out adventure. I am looking forward to travelling with her and my family this summer!
What does your family look for when you are interviewing au pairs?
For us, because we have young kids, what I really love is the fact that there are au pairs who are specifically qualified to care for infants under two years old. It is helpful to know the au pair’s previous childcare experience and also what age group the au pair wants to work with. Cultural Care Au Pair does a great job of confirming their experience for you, and that’s very important for us.
Finally, I would love to get a local recommendation from you. Where do you like to shop, for yourself or the kids?
Rice Village has a ton of shops and restaurants. I like going there because it has local boutiques as well as your regular chain store. Doodles is my favorite store there for kids’ clothes. It’s only about a twenty-minute walk from my house. A lot of au pairs enjoy that area too because it has such a diverse group of restaurants, bars and shops.
This interview was sponsored by Cultural Care Au Pair.
Photo by: Meredith Flaherty Photography