Thursday, August 03, 2006

Going with my gut

Two weeks ago, I got a referral for my business from one of my current families. Their neighbor was looking for 10 hours/week for their little girl, so they passed along my name. I thanked them warmly and waited for the call, and when I got it I told the other family that although I didn't have any openings right now, they'd be the first family on my waiting list.

Well, the mom called back and asked if I had any time at all, elaborating that she'd like 10 hours, but saying that she can make do with whatever I have. She sounded aggressive and desperate. Against my better judgment (and not wanting to lie), I told her I had Mondays available for another child. She said that sounded great; I told her I needed to touch base with my other families to be sure nobody's schedule was changing in the fall.

It turned out that no one else needed that Monday slot, but when I called back to offer it to her, the mom interrogated me in a rude and unprofessional manner. She tried to get me to change my available interview times from after work to weekends, then tried to guilt me into changing the times I said she could visit my program with her daughter (I'd said 10a-12p any day; she wanted to come during my kids' naptime when her child would still be awake). I started feeling really uneasy--all the signs pointed to a high maintenance and humorless mom, someone I'd never willingly choose to work with. But I talked about it with Petunia, and we agreed that we could use the money. I called back the mom, and we said we'd meet for interviews and paperwork on the 19th. I wasn't looking forward to it, but I knew she planned to have her daughter start preschool in fall 2007. "It's only for a year," I told myself, "And besides, I can infiltrate the Tatnuck Sq. market."

But then yesterday my new baby came to visit, and my unease about the prospective new family turned to dread. I was so excited to meet baby Pea and to see his mom again, and it made me realize how much I didn't want to meet the other family. So I weighed the pros (more money; the family had been referred by a current family; I'd have a good presence in an affluent neighborhood) and cons (the mom sounded like a nightmare to work with; I'd have to balance the needs of a new toddler as well as a new infant with the needs of kids already enrolled; I might piss off the referring family), and decided to listen to my gut. Something feels very wrong about this family, and I don't feel comfortable taking them on. It felt wrong from the first conversation I had with the mom, and it feels even worse now. I called this morning and left a polite and gracious message for the mom, explaining why I couldn't take on her daughter at this time.

I feel lighter than I have in days.


Blogger Canada said...

Good for you! My friend in London took a child against her better judgement, and it really put a strain on her program and her sanity, not to mention on the friendship she once had with the mom. It's awesome that people refer potential clients to you because it means they think highly of you and your program. But it doesn't mean you need to find room for everyone, esp if they look like they will be high maintenance (sounds like a late-pick-up kinda mom, who would send her sick kid to you regardless of your policy!).

8:45 PM  
Blogger Hashbrown said...

I am so proud of you for deciding to go with your gut and not have this child in your care. The more you talked about the mom and how you were feeling, the more I had a bad feeling about it. You rock!

5:23 AM  
Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Yay for you! I thoroughly believe it the gut.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

Yeah, I agree. She sounds wicked crazy.

11:34 AM  

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