I often wonder when I meet innkeepers with children still at home – how do they do it? Owning and operating a bed and breakfast requires you to do it all. You have to be flexible and spontaneous, while very organized, so that when the unexpected happens, you’re as prepared as you possibly can be. When talking to aspiring innkeepers, I always liken innkeeping to being a parent, because you have to be available 24/7, your home environment and your behavior sets the tone for the guests’ experiences, and no matter how you feel, you need to carry on! So, back to my original point – how do they do it?
When I was a working mother years ago it was a lot of hard work, and yes, there were sacrifices, no question, so why would this job be any different for a parent? Schedules were crazy, meals together were almost impossible, and yes, there was more stress than if I would have stayed at home. But, what we didn’t have, was our business in our home. So again I must say, how do these innkeepers do it? I need to know!
I’m now faced with a different, yet similar dynamic to juggle. My mother, who lives in Pennsylvania is starting to show signs of needing more help from us. Enough so, that I had to have “that conversation” with her. The one where the adult child begins to parent while maintaining the balancing act of respecting some one’s wishes and making sure they are safe, being a loving daughter and a person that gets the job done without breaking any laws.
I’ve been down this road before. I, along with my brother and sister helped my mother care for my father before he died. We, have been down this road before when Glenn and I and his sister cared for both his Mom and Dad before they died. But at that time, we had jobs that we could take leave from, lived in the same area, and didn’t have a bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, my mother doesn’t love the idea of living in Western North Carolina like we do – at least not now.
Enter my reconnection with juggling parenting and work, and now I ask myself the question – how will I do it? I feel very fortunate. My sister and brother and I work very well together, and at this point in my life I feel better prepared through life experiences to meet the challenge. I feel stronger than I ever have because I take better care of myself than I did when I was younger, have a supportive spouse and a job I love! And even though Mom is 10 hours away, I have technology that makes it easy to access resources anywhere in the world! So how will I do it? Somehow! And if you have any suggestions, please let me know!