Agency puts granny aupairs in the driving seat

“Mary Poppins is yesterday — Granny Aupair is today”.

It’s the latest craze to hit Ireland for families who would prefer an ‘experienced’ hand with their children. And they’re looking for recruits.

The German business is now seeking both host families here as well as Irish grannies who would like to travel and learn other languages while earning their keep by looking after children.

Founded in 2010 in Hamburg, Granny Aupair has now over 500 young-at-heart grannies in 40 countries all over the world — including one currently in Kildare.

According to Granny Aupair founder Michaela Hansen: “We are actively seeking Irish families to participate as many of our grannies are keen Ireland fans and most of them speak English quite well.

“We are interested in expanding our service for grannies from other countries. Currently, we have mostly German, Austrian, Swiss, French, and Spanish grannies on our books but we would be delighted to welcome Irish grannies.”

It’s simple. The granny helps with housekeeping and children and gets free board and lodging in return. During the time with host families, they learn about that country’s traditions and language while also getting the chance to explore the sites.

Most grannies are between 45 and 75. Many are divorced, single or widowed but “we have quite a few who relish the chance to get away from their families for a bit. Many husbands come to visit”, explained Michaela.

The company, the first of its kind worldwide, was founded by Michaela after watching young au pairs experience problems with their duties on a TV show.

“I had a young au pair myself and while I liked her very much, it was like having a third child. She couldn’t cook or help the children with their homework. She did like Hamburg though — especially for going out and partying.

“Our grannies have a lot of advantages over young au pairs. The have life experience and are reliable. Our grannies bake, play, paint or sing with the children. They provide love and comfort and are there for the children at busy times in their parents lives.”

“Mary Poppins was yesterday — Granny Aupair is today. Our Grannies scare away monsters and are fit and happy instead of rusty and grumpy.”

Marianne Ahlers, who spent 14 months in Wexford until last July, described her experience as “interesting and varied, though partly exhausting”.

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