Leah van der Linden – July 2019

We would love to nominate Leah van der Linden as the Au Pair of the month. In fact, we should have been nominating her for the Au Pair of the Year, but as with most families, life is so busy and we didn’t get around to putting a submission in, but we owe this to her as she has been absolutely incredible for our family.

Leah is our third Au Pair, so we now have a good understanding of what is “good” vs “great” vs “is it possible to find anyone better than this”!? Leah fits into the latter category!

When we first interviewed Leah she ticked all the boxes on paper in terms of what we were looking for. However she was very quietly spoken, and I wondered how she was going to cope with my very strong willed 4 year old and 2 year old with bounds of energy. I was very anxious ahead of her arrival as the kids had just had 2 years of parents looking after them and we didn’t know how they’d adjust.

When Leah first arrived we reinforced how important it was to set boundaries with the kids, as we’d experienced what happens if they’re not strong enough. Leah took this on board from day one and the kids have nothing but respect for her. She has such a gentle yet fun nature with the kids – they simply adore her. My oldest son has just started school and has started learning how to write. He’s also discovered a love for drawing. Unprompted the other day he said, “Mum I want to write Leah a letter. And I want it to say, Leah I love you forever.” It made my heart melt, (and Leah’s too!) He hasn’t even done this for his parents yet haha!

Leah does school and kindy drop offs and pick ups, puts my daughter down for naps, bath and dinner times and keeps our household running to a tee! She has our 2 year old for nearly 40 hours a week and our son when he’s not at school (however this is only very recent as he’s only just started school).

It’s hard to write how you feel on paper about how someone has made such a difference to your family, so instead I’l list a couple of the amazing things she does for us (this doesn’t even scrape the surface):

– My son has always been scared to try new foods with texture to the point where I’ve been working with a kids dietitian. Leah has taken this challenge on board with absolute gusto, following the advice given by the dietitian, getting creative, cooking all sorts of things (mostly to hide veges). She also celebrates the wins and will message me during the day if he’s tried something new. The biggest achievement was getting him to eat carrots, for a texture aversion kid who only eats kumera and potatoes as vegetables this was a HUGE celebration! She also bakes a lot with both our kids, and our 2 year old Ava particularly LOVES it, she’s a baker beyond her years – I wouldn’t be surprised if we have the next Nigella Lawson on our hands!

– Holidays are hard right?! But Leah tackles them head on and creates a timetable of their activities ahead of the break. She’s amazing and keeping them entertained at home on wet days with all sorts of crafts and activities. The kids think it’s the best thing since sliced bread and are so excited to show mummy and daddy what they’ve made when we get home. And the best thing about it all is that Leah doesn’t just survive the holidays, she enjoys them and it shows by how happy the kids are. The other day she had Lachie draw a map of where they were going to go for a walk on their adventure (around the block) which included where they were going to stop for a break for morning tea. An example of how she turned something so simple into a really fun adventure for the kids on a sunny winter morning to get some fresh air.

-Our house can go from tidy to a mess in about 15 minutes flat. Every day without fail, when we get home Leah has the house looking immaculate (well as immaculate as it can be with kids stuff cluttering the place!). I can’t even achieve this on my own on the weekend, so while it might seem like an every day chore, Leah is consistent and excellent at getting all her jobs done and more, while also keeping the kids happy and fed.

While the above seem to be basic things that you’d expect from an Au Pair, I can’t express how Leah does things with excellence and there’s never any hassle. Nothing is ever a problem. She makes our lives easy – it’s easy to be a family of two working parents with someone like Leah in charge! We couldn’t do what we are doing without Leah.

Leah leaves us in just over a month – her 12 months is almost up. We are already so sad and she hasn’t even left yet. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, but Leah will always have a special place in our family and in our hearts.  The kids are going to miss her terribly.  Words can’t express what she’s done for our family, she is reliable, kind, diligent, honest, fun, caring and loving – what else could you possibly want in an Au Pair!?

We can’t thank you enough Leah – you’re the Au Pair of the Year in our eyes, but here’s hoping you take out the Au Pair of the month award!