Manners Matter: Work vs. Family

Dear Mary Pat,

This is always a very busy, and admittedly challenging, time of year for us. We own a seasonal business that opens in May. Between cleaning the building, stocking the restaurant, and running on a skeletal crew until our summer help arrives in full force, we work very long days without any sort of break. This has been our schedule for more than 20 years and most of our friends and family (especially the ones who live in the county) understand this. My brother is not one of these people, sadly. He’s really offended that we can’t make it to his daughter’s college graduation ceremony. If it was somewhat local we could probably swing it, but it’s a long plane ride away. My niece called me and said she completely understands and is happy that we’ll be able to make it to her graduation party in June. I’ve tried talking to my brother, but he’s being stubborn and said I’m not putting my family first. I’m actually thinking of our own kids’ college fund to be frank. The season is short and skipping a weekend just isn’t possible until all of our staff is here. I don’t know how to explain this to my brother. Any advice that you can offer?


Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Sister Bay, Wis.


Dear Make Hay While the Sun Shines,

I’m assuming that your brother has more of a traditional 9-to-5 work schedule with weekends off? If he’s never worked in a resort area or owned his own business he might not be able to appreciate just what kind of time commitment it takes, especially for a restaurant.

I hope that your brother will eventually come around and understand that you are only doing the best for your family and your business. I think you just need to give this situation a little time and space. It’s sweet that he wants you there to share in his daughter’s accomplishment. And even though it’s not the same, you’ll be able to see pictures/video and you’ll be there in spirit. Plus, you’ll be able to congratulate your niece in person at her party.

It’s just not possible to be in two places at once and sometimes you just need to make a tough choice and hope that people accept it.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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