Speak Up

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chef Offspring

Does this man look ready for kids? Yes.

It has recently been brought to my attention that my true calling isn't teaching or education. My father told me my real calling is being a mother. That may be true, but I'm pretty sure those words were just a mask for my father's disappointment in me for not producing offspring yet. I've got older step siblings who ALL have children. My step brother is the same age as me (25) and he already has two children. Great for him, really. But I'm just not ready for that kind of lifestyle.

My chef is worked to the ground, we live in a super high rent area and I haven't got a family support system nearby. If I could even afford it I'd have to quit my job, but I really like my job and I'm good at it. How often does that happen? I love teaching! I go back and forth with the idea of starting a family. Sometimes I practically cry when I see women with babies and sometimes I can't imagine things any other way other than the way things are now.

I know so many chefs' wives have got growing families and I'm seeking your advice. How do you make it work? I feel as if I'm fighting with Perry St for my husband's attention and I can't imagine adding another person (baby) to the list of things demanding Erik. I do have to say we are much better off than we were a couple years ago. Erik wouldn't even let me talk about planning and family and now I've caught him saying how much he'd like a baby. We'll see...



Anonymous said...

I am also 25 years old and my chef and I are expecting our 3rd child in Dec. Before we had kids I had the same thoughts as you. For us having kids was the best thing for us! It kept me occupied while waiting for my chef which made the days go by faster and in our case my chef was home more because of the kids and me. Or if he had a busy week he would adjust his hours to make sure he gave us time. I know not everyone can have the same experience but for me it has been great! Financially me quitting my job has been a little bit tough. Children can be more of an expense than you realize. More expense, less income. But I wouldn't give up my kids for more money any day! It helped us to realize how much money we were wasting and what was really important. I do have a lot of family support near by which has been much needed at times, but I think it is possible to do it without. If you can find other mothers around your age you can get a lot of support from them. Good luck with your decisions!

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you, but I'm trying to decide if I can handle baby # deux with a chef daddy. We don't have a family support close by (oh how I wish we did) - so adding another kid is kinda scary to me. But, I really want our son to have a sibling...chef could go either way...he knows I'm the one that has to do the most, so it's ultimately up to me.

I was never really going to be ready to have a kid, so I'm happy that it was a surprise. We just make it work - financially and other wise, you learn to sacrifice, but for the most wonderful, amazing rewards - a family.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. No matter what the circumstance you make it work and you adjust to what you need to do. Having a family is so rewarding!

Anonymous said...

I'm not only a chefwife, but a chefbabymama too!

I had two children already when I met my Chef- I was 26 at the time. When I was preggo with our daughter, I felt like I barely ever saw the husband because my body just wasn't able to let me stay awake long enough to visit with him when he came home on those late nights after work. We got through it though, and it's been the most rewarding thing even though the money and time struggles sometimes add a lot of stress!

My Chef is an amazing father, and it has been harder on him not being around than it was for me. (I was used to being a single mom so it didn't really phase me to have to do the bulk of the parenting while Chef is working his 12 hour days.) I do have family close by to keep me company and also to babysit in a pinch. I will tell you one thing, though- once our daughter was born, she immediately became the most important priority for ChefHusband, as it should be. Because of that, often he questions whether or not he should change careers in order to be home more. He is still passionate about cooking, but not so passionate about how it really doesn't allow for many nights home. That's been a major burden for him, and although I am so supportive of his work, I hate seeing him so torn over it.

Ok, this is probably way too long for a comment, so i'll stop myself here. If there's anything else you want to know, please feel free to email me at proseandconverse at gmail dot com.

Nik (Chefwife from the Palm Springs, California area)

Anonymous said...

I've definitely struggled with these thoughts for the past three years (since we got married, basically), because I'm 32 now and I know it's just going to get harder to conceive the older I get. I know the timing will never be right, so we just have to go for it, but at the same time I know it's going to be a nightmare if I get pregnant while he's trying to open his own restaurant. Sometimes I wish for a "mistake" to just take it out of our hands and make it happen, because otherwise we'll analyze until it's too late.


Anonymous said...

Thank God I finally found you, Chefwives! Thought I was the only one dreaming of days with my chef. (Sigh.) You will have to commit to being a Mom with all your heart as you will not have the support system most mothers do.

We worked together, had a restaurant and were together every moment for eight years til #1 came along. She is the love our lives and we were just as thrilled when 2 and 3 came within 24 months. Suddenly, 14 hours at the restaurant was not an option. Why had I thought I could be one of those chefwife/restaurant superstar moms who could do it all?

Anyway, we are currently relocating again and my chef just opened the restaurant last week with 800 covers a night. He is living in a sublet studio next to the restaurant while the kids and I wait for our new home to be ready. We're spending the summer "on vacation" visiting Mom, cousins and Disney and I am waiting for the cell to ring so I can get my weekly booty call.

Back to the mom question (sorry for the tangent!). It won't be easy and you will never have that feeling of relief being on the way after a long day with the baby when you husband walks through the door at 5:30.

It is financially an issue I underestimated, but we are fine. I often joke that I am a single mom whose boyfriend sleeps over and really, REALLY loves my kids. We have never discussed the idea of another career for him because it is his essence and he finds ways of keeping connected with the kids. As they get older, it becomes easier and they are beginning to get it. The baby stage is tricky, though. Total sacrifice fly.

As for me, I am incredibly proud of him and would love it if he could find a 9 to 5 chef gig somewhere that would give him the creativity, control and adrenaline. Anyone hiring?

Sorry so long!

Anonymous said...

Raising a baby in NYC has been easier than I imagined it would be (so far, anyway). In our budget, we've exchanged dinners in fancy restaurants for diapers and pureed vegetables, and we've actually been able to save more money than we used to (again, so far). We have a two bedroom apartment, but definitely could have gotten away with only one for the first year - my friend even lived in a studio until her son was eighteen months old!

We don't have family or close friends around, and it has been hard not having people to depend on. It's also hard to meet "mom friends" in the city when you're young (I'm 24), because most other moms are at least a decade older. It can be pretty lonely.

I put my career on hold to stay at home, but my husband has made sacrifices in his career, too. He was working as the chef de cuisine in esteemed places, but now works as a consulting chef for big restaurant groups (with big budgets), giving him more flexibility in his schedule and more time at home. When he was ready to open his own restaurant he went with a "safe" concept, rather than something that brought him a lot of press, but didn't bring in any money. He says often that he is happy with these decisions.

Even though we were thorough in our planning, we were totally unprepared for how scary/awesome/exhausting parenthood is. At the end of the day, though, we are so happy with our little family.

Melissa Hope(s) said...

I'm 26, with 2 under 2. There are days when it's sooooooooo hard, feeling like I'm doing this alone, because he's never here. His time with the kids is all rainbows and butterflies, and I get all the unpleasantness. There are times that I resent that he gets away (even if it is to work), and I never have a moment to myself.

Those things aside, I love my children more than I knew was possible. I know this is what I'm meant to do. Would I change it? Heck, no! He's living his dream, as he should. And these babies are more than I could've dreamed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chefwives! So glad I found you! My chef has switched over from cooking to -gulp- owning restaurants... and now we're up to three places. My crazy husband. We have a little boy and I work. It's just really hard realizing that our lives are not going to be like mine was growing up - we ate dinner together, did things as a family on the weekends. We don't have any family and have not found a reliable babysitter, but have few lined up for the fall.

The best thing we have done is gone out on dates! We used to hang out on Mondays, when he was off from cooking, but now are trying to make Wednesday night date night. Talking is good, down time is good - it is a recharger. I just wish there was a lot more of it. He just loves what he does and seems 100% focused on it.

Someone told me it's all about non-monetary gifts for each other - I give him the gift of cleaning the counters and cutting board after I make food for the baby, he gives me the gift of putting his clothes in the laundry basket. It actually has alleviated a lot of stress and fights.

We love our guys though! Can't live with em, can't live without em...

MD chefwife