You might have read about my ‘journey’ to becoming Longcroft Cat Hotel Winchmore Hill in my previous blog. I am writing this on Mothering Sunday and with it being International Woman’s Day on March 8th, I thought it would be apt to share some of the challenges that I face being a business owner and mother to two young children.
In my ‘old life’ before becoming the owner of Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel Winchmore Hill, I always believed there were not enough hours to do everything I needed to do! Even though I am a very organised, structured, and diligent person, two years on, I can officially confirm there definitely are never enough hours!
I will offer you a glimpse of my typical working day, touching on the highlights and lowlights of being a cat hotel owner and working mother of two young children.
My time is often filled with a little bit of chaos (comes from having young children), but balanced by a lot of peace and serenity, laughter and fun as I embark on my varied roles as mother, business woman, project manager, cat lady, gardener, cleaner and general dogsbody!
My morning starts at 6.00am when I get up trying not to wake the children so I can escape out of the house to check my guests and feed and settle them in.
It’s my favourite part of the day, the peace and quiet puts me in the right frame of mind to deal with whatever challenges lay ahead, welcomed by purrs and whiskers as I meander my way through my suites tending to their breakfast needs. It is also very serene, just me and my cats, listening to neighbouring households slowly wake up.
I return to the house and breakfast chaos! Time is at my heels, snapping away as I take over childcare duties from my husband. Quickly and seamlessly I start clearing breakfast, emptying the dishwasher and getting two children ready for school whilst trying to avoid tripping over my own cats who are rubbing up against my leg reminding me they would like their breakfast too.
Frantically prancing around the kitchen, coaxing and goading the children out the door and to school…
Where is your cardigan? Why is your hair undone? Please tie your hair back. Did you wash your teeth? Where’s your homework? No you can’t have some ice. Have you filled your water bottle? Why are you crying? Go and wash your teeth properly. No I don’t know where you put Peppa Pig. Please can you put your coat on? Why is there breakfast on the floor? Who didn’t eat their breakfast? No you can’t have a biscuit. Yes it’s PE today. Where’s your reading book? Yes I am busy today. Why have you taken your shoes off? NO you can’t have a biscuit or any ice but could you please put your coat and your shoes back on and get in the car!
With the school and nursery runs complete I’m back home to clear up any remaining mess, and I reward myself with a coffee before checking my messages.
Invariably the phone will ring with a customer looking for availability whilst I am in midst of filling the dishwasher. I return from the call to retrieve the kitten from the dishwasher before finishing the task in hand. Now where’s that coffee?
With coffee in hand I quickly check online for any customer enquiries before wrapping up warm and heading out to my hotel for my guest’s morning play session.
One by one, each of my guests raise their warm sleepy fluffy heads as they hear me enter.
With blinking eyes and a quick stretch I am greeted to see what delights I have to offer.
I have treats and toys with me and before I know it an enjoyable few hours has easily passed as I am engrossed with brushing, playing and cuddling each of my furry guests.
How many other jobs offer such fun and affection?
After a quick lunch I will spend a quick half hour catching up with my admin, return any messages, confirm bookings and prepare for any forthcoming guests.
I have waited long enough! Surely it’s time for some more cuddles and fun and games to be had? I can easily spend another couple of hours up with my guests engaging them all in some more playtime.
I also have a couple of All Inclusive guests staying so now it’s their turn for pure feline indulgence. We each enjoy a full hour of luxurious pampering which is the ultimate in spa treats for cats! I start by gently removing some of their undercoat and any shedding fur. This is followed by a waterless coat groom and full body massage. It’s divine and I haven’t had a guest yet who doesn’t love it! Ears and eyes of course are gently cleansed before I continue revitalising their coat and moisturising the skin using our gorgeous John Paul Pet oatmeal conditioning spray and thoroughly brushing this through. All finished off with some of my guests favourite treats!
School run beckons again. My lovely volunteer Jo arrives just in time and continues playtime with my guests and keeps them company. I do the school and nursery pick-up and also manage to nip to the bank and do some shopping whilst I am out knowing that my guests are in Jo’s capable and caring hands.
Later that afternoon, I settle the children with snacks and homework with precision timing, just as Eva arrives for check in. Eva has stayed many times before so her owners know the routine. They love nothing more than coming round to the hotel with me to settle in little Eva and update me on what she has been up to recently.
Early evenings with the children require my attention, so before I start I always ensure my guests are fed and watered and settled for the evening. I am then ready for battle when it comes to homework, reading, spelling, Brownies, supper and bath time!
With the children in bed or having stories with daddy, I am free to go back up and check my guests. Max needs his second insulin injection of the day so it’s perfect excuse to do the cuddle-rounds and make sure everyone is happy and warm enough. I have one last room to setup ready for tomorrow’s check in so I do that as well.
Now it’s my turn to cook and have dinner with my husband, as well as finish the washing and doing my best to strip the house of the children’s mess before a repeat tomorrow!
After dinner is my quiet time to continue responding to booking enquiries and emails and keeping abreast of what’s happening in the cat world of social media.
Bedtime for me is usually around 11pm – often much later as I always under estimate how long it takes to say goodnight and have a cuddle with each of my guests as well as my cats, Charlie and Molly =^^=
No way! On paper it might sound like I would have a slightly easier day but stress levels would be much higher for sure!
I love my current job and the lifestyle it offers. What other job would give me regular daily cuddles and purrs from my guests, hugs and affection from my children, freedom to plan my day according to my own business and family needs, a healthier lifestyle and lots of loyal happy customers?
Scientists have often said that having a cat helps to relieve stress and anxiety, which is known to help protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing the heart rate.
So no, I wouldn’t give up my job in exchange for a less hectic lifestyle!
No… I will try not to.
This blog post has reminded me just how lucky and privileged I am to be able to do as much as I do and make time for everything important in my life. I intend to embrace this and spare a thought for those women around the world far less fortunate than me. Life IS short and I WILL continue to fill my days to the full and enjoy every minute of it!