I like to say, “If I can’t bring my kid, then I’m not coming,” when it comes to fun stuff, but I get so frustrated when people insist that I bring my son with me on business, even after I establish that I can't make a meeting happen because I don’t have a babysitter. I get it, you think it’s the nice thing to do, I know.
But I cannot get any business done while simultaneously chasing my 2 year old around, trying to stop him from touching the fragile items in the room, stopping him from putting things in his mouth that you haven’t picked up off the floor, trying to ensure that he’s safe in a space that you haven’t given any thought to toddler-proofing before you decided it was “nonsense” for me to find a babysitter.
If I can control the environment, that’s one thing. Like, if we meet at one of my offices or in a neutral, safe, kid-friendly space – sure, let the kid roam free.
But I can’t bring a 2 year old to meet with you for 4 hours at a coffee shop. There’s not much there for him to do and I can’t strap him into his stroller for four hours just to keep and eye on him. That’s just not cool.
I can’t bring a two year old to meet with you in a downtown basement bar at 7pm.
I can’t bring my two year old and let him roam free in your studio full of $10K worth of equipment. I can’t and I won’t.
On top of all of those facts, childcare is not free.
It costs a great deal of time and money to be galavanting around town without your kids as parent. If our meeting doesn’t make me any money and I have to sacrifice my resources (money spent on childcare, time spent away from my family, etc.) to be present, then the meeting had better be something worth my time.
This is the main reason why I try my best not to meet with people in person. If the purpose of this meeting is not to exchange cash, exchange physical assets, or anything that would require me to be physically present, then a phone call or email will suffice.
I usually leave my son with his Daddy while I’m conducting business because no one is going to step in and mind him while I focus on the project at hand. They usually just insist you bring your child, scowl when the child does something unsavory, and then just watch you struggle to chase the child around, get the child to sit and eat, etc. Why would anyone think I’d want that while I’m trying to beast a business presentation?
When childless people say, “No, bring your kid! That’s totally fine!” they usually don’t actually mean that bringing your kid is a non-issue. They don’t actually know what they mean. They’re just trying to be nice or they just don’t have the time, capacity, or patience to reschedule.
My son is a 2 year old wonderful, brilliant, little handful. You can’t possibly predict how he’s going to feel and behave in every setting. I love having the freedom as an entrepreneur to bring him with me anywhere I want…and I know time is money so sometimes it’s just what it is. I do wish, however, that non-parents would think a little past the surface to understand this parent thing. 🌻