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Club Families Unite!

Jackie Carpenter 8/20/19

I have a pretty unique perspective; I’m a club industry person (former clubhouse manager) who happens to be married to a current club General Manager. While I do fully and completely understand the demands, hours and interworkings of the industry, it doesn’t make being the wife of a GM any less difficult. 

As many of your spouses or significant others will agree, it’s hard running a household and parenting alone when you’re husband works 60-80 hours or more pretty consistently. It’s hard watching friends and other families get to be together on weekends and holidays when you can’t because your husband is at work. While it is “part of the charm” of the club industry, perhaps it is also a silver lining.    

An unexpected blessing for me is that our long time friend and former colleague happens to be the GM at a club across town. I’ve become incredibly close to his wife and kids, as has my daughter. We have dinner together on board meeting nights and see each other on the weekends regularly when we are “husband-less” anyway. Of course we commiserate, but we also find comfort in the idea that someone else gets it. We know each other’s frustrations and it helps to share that understanding. 

Does your spouse/family have a “club family support system?” If the answer is no, I’d strongly encourage you to meet up with other GMs in your city and his or her families. Make it a point to connect regularly so your families get to know each other. Encourage them to connect during your busy times. Over the years at CMAA Conferences and other industry events, I’ve heard multiple GMs share how their families bonded with other club families in their town. The connections have lasted decades because the spouses and children could really be there for each other at times when they needed it the most. These friends were able to fill the void and add excitement and fun to otherwise less exciting and fun times.

Having a “club family” dulls the challenge, frustrations and alone times. In some ways it even makes marriage to the club industry fun. For example, every year we celebrate Thanksgiving with our “club family.” My daughter and I go to their house in the early afternoon and we play games and chat until our husbands can join us at 3 or 4 o’clock when Thanksgiving Brunch at the club is well into clean up mode. Rather than sit at home, alone, resenting everyone else that gets to eat at normal hours on Thanksgiving as a whole family, we’ve come to look forward to our unusually timed, blessed Thanksgiving.