Speak Up

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chef Vs. Family Man

Can a chef also be a family man? A few months ago I couldn't get Erik to acknowledge the fact that I'm a woman and thus capable of even getting pregnant. Finally now, we're able to at least begin to think about starting a family. BUT now that we're talking I'm getting nervous about life with children and a chef/father. Erik already asked me, "Who's going to take the kids to school?" and "Will they have to go to an urban school?" Uh, yeah. I mean he wants to live in NYC/Jersey City then the kids have to go to school here. Luckily I work at the best school in Jersey City and they'll be able to go there. But really I'm scared about being a "single" mother. Erik won't get up early enough to help in the morning and he'll be gone before the kids get home from school/daycare. And by the time Erik gets home the kids and I will be fast asleep. By then, the days of me sleeping on the couch and waking up to be with Erik at midnight will be LONG GONE.

Not only does my chef work typical chef hours (and then some) but he has no siblings, no aunts or uncles, and no cousins. He pretty much has no idea how families work. And I can't blame him either, how else would he know that when a baby is born you visit the family or at the very least send a card. Can I really raise a family with minimal chefhusband support while training my chefhusband how to be a family man??

HELP! I know there are plenty of you out there making it work. I'm counting on you.



Anonymous said...

I wish I could help you out, chefwife, but my chef and I arent quite ready for that step yet. But I completely understand your concerns, I mean, I am just getting over the fact that my chef will be working nonstop with no days off for the next 2 months, meaning he will not be able to celebrate my birthday or our anniversary with me. They are not always going to be there in the ways that we would like, and that includes family time. This is something we have all subconciously accepted but every time something else comes up which puts the restaurant first, we get that heavy disappointed feeling again.

All I can say is good luck! And yes, it will be a single-motherhood. But I am sure that when it comes down to it and your chefhusband sees his beautiful family, he will choose to put you first whenever he can - and these are decisions he can make. And as his career develops, he will not be working the hours he works now. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

I can't speak from experience, but I share your concerns, and my husband doesn't (yet) work the crazy hours Erik works. All I can say is that lots of women have gotten through it before us, so it can be done.

I just can't help but think when he (and you) sees the baby, he'll find a way to help out more, and you'll realize no matter what, it is so worth it.

psa ri said...

Hey Hilary,
Speaking from experience...it's hard. Giving baths by yourself, changing diapers by yourself, doing dinner by yourself & later disciplining by yourself...I do feel like a single mom sometimes. BUT I know I have it better than some because at least I get to see my husband 2 days a week. Military wives go months without help so I always try to look on the bright side. I wouldn't change a thing. My husband helps as much as he can. He does a lot around the house & I think that has to do with a Chef's work ethic. They work their booties off at work & I'm lucky that he (usually :o) ) does the same at home. He even helps with baths if they happen to fall on his days off. Hopefully Erik would help out, too. I bet he would b/c he wouldn't see him/her/them (you never know if you'll get twins - we were shocked!) when he's at work so he'd probably want to spend as much time as possible with the baby & you, too.
It's hard work, but it's totally worth it. As far as daycare goes, I used to work 8-4 & my husband worked 9:30 to 10:30 back then (yeah, that's 9:30am to 10:30pm) so he dropped them off & I picked them up so that worked out. Those are the things you've got to figure out, but usually one way or another things work out! You CAN do it with a Chef Husband!!

Anonymous said...


What a smart lady you are to think about the reality of the situation before you jump in. My chef is,just like everyone else's, the greatest guy in the world and always wanted to be a dad. Afer years of us being together in or restaurant, it was time.

We had three kids in three years and I was so busy working during my first pregnancy that thinking about the day to day intensity of being a parent, along with the financial and time demands, were never considered.

It is completely worth it. Having babies and helping them grow, loving them and seeing them turn into little people is the best. Being a chef wife, for me, going it alone except for two days a week (which I only recently got . . . and we have a five year old).

For me, the trickiest parts are getting them ready to go to preschool in the morning or just waking up with them and keeping them quiet so papa can sleep. Poor guy gets in late and is only human!

I don't get the relief of help being on the way at any point in the day as my friends do when their husbands pull in the driveway at 5:30. It's me for dinner, bath, books and bed.

On his days off, he is a great dad and loves his kids tremendously, but he is tired. Gone are the pre-kid days off of sleeping in, going to a restaurant for a four course lunch followed by a trip to the market and video store before going home to nap. sigh.

My chef is in charge of a crazy busy place and I usually don't speak to from the time he leaves til he comes home at 1:00. I had to make decisions on my own about when it's time to go to the ER. And, if you have more than one, what do you do with the others while the poor little sick one is brought to the hospital? Oh, the joy.

Don't let this discourage you, though. Just have your eyes open. Sounds like you are capable and would take it all in stride.

Having a mother's helper (an 11 year old at $3.00/hour) to push the kids on the swings for a couple of hours while I work from home is all I need to get a piece of sanity back. Sometimes it takes a glass of wine as soon as the last little head hits the pillow, but mostly having some girlies to talk to and some playdates with moms that are just as cool as the kids are key.

The kids are the best and seeing my chef in them almost makes me feel like he is always with me.

Best of luck, chefwife.

Making the baby is the best part!!!


Anonymous said...

Oh my god! Get ready for a tough ride. Having a child is such a life changing situation and things get so much more complicated. If complication and hard work (all the time) is something you can emotionally handle.....

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an echo of the conversations in our house.

I've often thought about how great it would be to sit in a room with women that have been married to chefs for 30 years. How have they made it work? What does it take to succeed? I know these women must have some valuable insight!

I also want to have kids or at least try, but its been important for me to be realistic about the situation. I want my chef to succeed but becoming a mom will force me to make even more sacrifices in my career for our family...I'm not saying this is a bad thing, just one I have to be willing to accept.

I'm so happy to hear someone else openly discuss this dilemma! Thanks for posting this....I'm a little behind in my reading but glad to see it up!


Anonymous said...

Hello all...

I am not married to a chef (cook, as it were), but I am in a very serious relationship with one. He's currently working in Vegas (while I'm still in Chicago) and was planning on being back in August, but after three months he had a wonderful opportunity: they brought in people from Europe and had him interview with them. On the spot he had to whip up a four course meal, etc. and blew them away. Now they're setting him up for some place in Europe (we still don't even have the full details) and it sounds like they want him there sometime after the first of January.

I guess I'm just looking for some guidance in this. I'm a very family oriented person, and I'm very close with mine, but I don't know if I should try to go with him or if its better to end things here. We've only just started talking about it, and I know he's going to take this opportunity which I do not blame him for, it's amazing. But we're not quite at the marriage stage yet, and now that I'm reading some of what these women go through with families... being in the one I was in, I don't know if I could handle it. I want kids, and so does he, but I never wanted to be a single mom and it sounds as if that's what I'd be in line for.

I guess I'm just looking for some advice on making this extremely difficult decision. Some perspective from people who have been there.

SK - Chicago