Sunday afternoon, I hired someone to cater a cookout in my yard. She is a nice person, extremely sociable, works hard, and cares about everybody. However, she is not a good multi-tasker, and tends to stress easily.
Before I express my concern, I want to make it clear that I love children, and would invite them to my functions any time. However, I believe that a person that is hired to do food prep, cooking, cleaning up, etc., should not take her 5-year-old daughter on the job with her. I don’t know the circumstances which caused her to bring the little girl to the job, but if that were me, I would turn down the job if I couldn’t find the appropriate baby sitter.
I observed the woman while she was trying to cook hamburgers and hot dogs, and all I heard was, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” I understand that young children need their mommy. That’s not the issue. I am upset because the mother took her child on a job where a dozen people depended on her to make sure that the food was cooked properly. How can any caterer, whether it’s a friend or a professional, fully concentrate on what she’s doing for a dozen people if her little child makes demands of her all the time? As it was, she forgot some of the food that I required, and at one point, the flame on the gas grill flared up to a dangerous level while she wasn’t paying attention.
The woman is also very protective about her work, and can’t take criticism. But it’s obvious that she has no problem bringing her child to her jobs on a regular basis, because she brought her to my house two years ago while she and her husband put up new curtains and remodeled the kitchen. I had to chase their little girl, who was two years old, around the house to make sure she didn’t put her hands on anything dangerous, because her parents were too busy working.
I also heard of a personal care attendant in my city who brought her toddler with her while caring for a patient with spina bifida. Due to his paralysis, she needed to administer bowel treatments. On one occasion, she was administering bowel treatment to the man while her toddler was bouncing on her knee, demanding attention. If that actually happened, then would it be foolish to believe that a visiting nurse who gives a patient a shot would have the needle yanked away by the child she chose to bring on the job with her? I don’t really think so.
I understand that in today’s society there are lots of single mothers who have to juggle providing for a child and making money, and at times they don’t have all the resources at their disposal, such as affordable day care or a private baby sitter. With that said, where do we draw the line concerning which jobs you should bring your young child to? I welcome your comments in the Readers’ Forum.