Internet Slams Single Mom for Bringing 4-Year-Old Child Into Work

A cleaner who brought her 4-year-old son to work and allegedly spent a quarter of her work shift looking after her child has received a storm of backlash from users on Mumsnet.

According to a post shared by her employer (under the username Ladyof2022), who said they are "elderly and physically disabled," on Mumsnet's Am I Being Unreasonable (AIBU) forum, the single mom cleaner, who usually cleans the employer's home for four hours once every two weeks, was asked to do an additional "one-hour special clean" at the employer's request.

The single mother asked if she could bring her son to the additional shift and the employer agreed to it, "as I did not want to seem unreasonable and she was doing me a favor."

However, the employer was "not happy" with because they didn't realize "how much time she would spend not cleaning" but rather "sorting" the son out, from keeping him occupied to making sure he doesn't touch anything in the house.

The employer alleged that looking after the son "took up about 1/4 of the time" she was there, meaning around 15 minutes. The employer also "noticed she had not done all of the tasks we agreed on. I felt a bit irritated that I had paid her an hour for 45 minutes [of] work but I said nothing."

A woman cleaning bathtub with a boy.
A woman cleaning the taps of a bathtub with a young boy. iStock/Getty Images Plus

The original poster said the cleaner is now asking whether she can bring the son along to her regular 4-hour cleaning sessions.

"I want to say absolutely not as I feel she could easily spend 1 hour of it focused on him and only 3 hrs cleaning and she won't get it all done and she might miss things because she's distracted by having to keep an eye on him, but she'll expect the whole 4 hours pay," the Mumsnet user said.

According to a Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories published in December 2019, the U.S. has the world's highest rate of children living in single-parent households.

A Pew Research study published back in April 2018 showed that Americans were "far more likely to express a negative view" about the rise of single moms than any other trend.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of those surveyed said that "more single women having children was bad for society," while only four percent said this was "good for society." The remaining 29 percent said the trend "doesn't make much difference."

The American Psychological Association (APA) says: "Life in a single parent household—though common—can be quite stressful for the adult and the children.

"The single parent may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of juggling caring for the children, maintaining a job, and keeping up with the bills and household chores. And typically, the family's finances and resources are drastically reduced following the parents' breakup," the APA said.

Several Mumsnet users supported the employer in the latest AIBU post, suggesting they should decline the cleaner's request.

One user said: "yanbu [you are not being unreasonable], any other job you wouldn't be allowed so don't allow it here. I would just politely say no without offering any explanation."

Another noted: "Just say no, being a poor single mum, if she is, is not your problem."

A third said the employer should say "100 percent no," adding it was "Rude of her to even ask," while a different user noted: "She's making a request, which is fine it's also fine for you to say no to that request."

However, another commenter was more diplomatic, stating: "You're not but presumably she wouldn't ask if she had a choice. So it's up to you if you want to facilitate it or not. Personally I wouldn't, the arrangement no longer works for you."