An innkeeper wakes up early to get a jumpstart on front-of-house work. A parent wakes up early to get their kids up and ready for school. What happens when these two demanding worlds collide? From catching the soccer games to keeping guests content, we’re sharing some sage advice from innkeepers who have balanced raising children while owning an inn.
Setting Work Life vs. Home Life Boundaries
Being woken up by your crying child is difficult enough, but it’s a downright nightmare when you have paying guests sleeping under the same roof. The first step to raising a family while owning an inn is deciding where (and if) family space overlaps with guest space. “Our living quarters were initially on second floor,” says Judy Hueber of the Chesterfield Inn and mom of two. “When the kids got big enough to start running around, we realized that we had to make a change because they were right over the dining room.” Kids will be kids, after all, so designate a youngster-friendly area where play time won’t interfere with guest happiness.
It’s All About Negotiating
Teamwork is the spice of life when you’re raising children, and the same goes for operating a business. Whether your partner runs the inn with you or not, be sure to delegate both child rearing duties and innkeeping responsibilities. Take heart, it’s not as stressful as it would seem — just take Judy Hueber’s word for it. “One of us would get up and get the inn going and one of us would get up and get the kids going, and we would just trade it off depending on what had to be done or who wanted to do it,” she said. While discussing the topic on the Inside Innkeeping podcast, host Megan Smith shared a similar experience. “We were always in some form of negotiation,” she agreed.
Remember, It Takes a Village
Owning an inn as a parental unit doesn’t mean missing out on every soccer game. Enlisting help to keep the front-of-house duties covered gives innkeeper parents freedom to spend time with their children during the day. In some unique cases, like that of Megan Smith, even the guests have stepped up to the plate. “We had a lot of repeat visitors and they’d often go up to the school to watch the girls play soccer and bring them home!” she laughed.
Have a Kid Policy Handy
Is this property family-friendly? It’s the most crucial question for future-families on the brink of owning an inn to consider, because not all properties are tailored for children. Consider the average guest that the property will attract, as well. Despite having two children of his own, David Hiler understood that a particular kid policy was necessary for his 200-year-old upscale property. “You can’t say no, but you can make it so it’s not necessarily conducive,” he said, “We charged a full extra-person rate for kids, because we’re just not well set-up for children.”
Whether you own an inn and want to raise a family, or already have children and want to break into the innkeeping industry, ready yourself for the juggling act with more insights from innkeeper parents on our latest Inside Innkeeping episode.