Dear Preston: I Had To Bring My Kids To Work
May 29, 2012
I’m a wedding planner, and I live in an area that has become a hot spot for destination weddings. I’m also a single mom. When I have to work, my mom usually babysits my kids. However, recently, my mom came down with a bad flu. I had an afternoon wedding and couldn’t find anyone else to watch my kids. Since I had no other choice, I brought my kids with me to the wedding. Big mistake.
The bride and groom caught sight of my kids and got very upset. They told me they hadn’t traveled all this way for their intimate wedding only to have some strange kids there. Not to mention that they were paying me to work — not hang out with my children.
But, Preston, what kind of people don’t like kids? Besides, it’s not as if my kids were running all over the place; my clients only caught sight of them once briefly. I tried to explain this, but my clients were still very angry.
What should I have done?
Dear Single Mom,
I must begin by congratulating you on your success! Most people have no idea how incredibly time consuming the wedding and event business is. And I’ve often wondered how vendors with children manage it all.
One of my frequent freelance vendors has an adorable little boy, and I always encourage her to bring him with her to work. My assistants and I love having a good excuse to take some fun play breaks!
As for your recent experience, you took a chance by bringing your children to work with you unexpectedly, and your clients had every right to voice their discontent.
It might have helped if you had called your clients as soon as you realized you were going to have to bring your kids. They would have appreciated the heads up and might have reacted better with that advance notice. You also would have had the chance to explain the circumstances.
The bottom line is that you are running a wedding planning business — not a day care center. Now, obviously, sometimes these situations arise, but when they do, you need to consider your clients: you should always do everything you can to minimize client inconvenience, and that starts with being honest and open.
Obviously, what’s done is done. Apologize profusely to your bride and groom. Then, move on.
Dear Readers, am I being too harsh with Single Mom? If so, what’s a better solution? Do you think this bride and groom reacted appropriately? Please share your thoughts.