Speak Up

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This Lonely Life

Today, and this whole week really, is one of those times when I feel as if I've been kidding myself every time I say that I'm used to being married to a chef. Who am I trying to convince anyway? Yes, I have come a long way from a whinny, complaining, glass-half-empty person, but I'm not living in some deranged stepford wife bubble. I'm lonely and I'm bored.

Erik has been working 6 or 7 day weeks putting in nearly 90 hours a week to open a new restaurant in the Financial District. I was lucky enough to get out of the house yesterday, sans Baby, and treat my friend to a "friends and family" lunch at the restaurant. But that was really just a sliver of normalcy.

I got back from visiting my family in Ohio a couple weeks ago. I spent two weeks there, and it was great. I was able to introduce Maverik to most of my family and enjoy all the benefits of grandparents. My mom put him down for his naps everyday and watched him so I could go to the gym with my sisters, lay out and otherwise not be tethered to the baby. It was fantastic. But now I'm home again and due to the heat wave here I haven't even been able to get Maverik out of the house much. Erik leaves for work before the baby and I get up and he's home much later than we've gone to bed. I'm still on maternity leave, so I don't even have the stress and responsibilities of work to distract me from my absent husband. I secretly wish he would come home one day and say that he's taken a job working nine to five as an All-Clad cookware tester or something. He'd scoop up Maverik in his arms, grab me close and say that he'd never open a restaurant again, that he'd never travel again and that being close to his family means more to him than anything else in the world....

As reality has it though- I married a chef. A chef who loves what he does. A chef who usually works Monday to Friday, so I really can't complain. I hope I don't seem ungrateful, although I know I do. I just needed to vent about how rough the last two weeks were.

Food is Love,


ch said...

I totally feel for you. My husband has been the opening chef for the hotel that he has been working in for almost a year and somehow they are still in opening mode! He has worked for almost a year 6 or more days a week with no vacation time at all. Sometimes I lose it. I know we are supposed grateful that he has a job in this economy but I feel like they have stolen a year of our lifes that we'll never get back. I can only hope that next year is better. I have this crazy dream that we'll sell enough chalkboards to get out of this crazy chef's life! (yes he does love what he does too- but this is crazy!) Tomorrow is his big day off and we are making chalkboards! lol
Sorry for venting too! We chefs wifes have to stick together:)
Guess we just have to count our blessings. Hang in there!

Valerie Abell said...

I hear ya...must be a hard adjustment with the new baby. I am a mother of 7 and stay home and there are days that I think I just might lose my mind for lack of adult interaction.

This is the 3rd restaurant that has shut-down on my chef. The hunt is on for a new job

Hilary Battes said...

Valerie-mother of 7? Girl-ypu are one hard worker! Good luck on the job search.

Have fun, 'chalking it up' this Sunday, Cindy.

Unknown said...

I understand! We don't have a baby, but I have been lonely too these last three weeks. My husband is in opening mode as well, getting a restaurant opened in Times Square. Working so much he's been staying in the hotel that the restaurant is connected to some nights, not even coming home. It's been rough! I feel for you girl, and I understand that sometimes you just need to vent!

Katie-Mae said...

I feel for you. REALLY. The amount of time I spend feeling lonely and, dare I say it, SINGLE out weigh the time I spend enjoying my relationship. My heart goes out to you and little Maverik. I hope that it will get better for you when school starts up again. School tends to blur the stresses of our personal lives doesn't it? I'm secretly hoping for the same effect to wash over me come late August. However, I still wonder on a weekly basis if I'll even be able to see this out that far. Two and a half years now, and I've almost reached my tipping point. I'd like to start planning my future. I'd like to be engaged, married, planning a family...but nothing is ever set in stone when you like on a week by week schedule.

My chef has presented me with the declaration that he is "quitting cooking." This epiphany came after a fight that very nearly ended our relationship. The fight was about how we never see each other and have basically grown apart. (Of course I'm alone when it comes to seeing this as a problem) As hopeful as I'd like to be...I can't help but feel I'm cheating him out of the life that he wants and has worked his whole life for, if he does in fact leave the industry. He swears it's because he wants a family someday and has grown tired of never seeing his friends or family. However, the job hunt has not yet begun.

(sorry to vent as well)

I'm beginning to feel more and more that the harder I try to adjust my life to accommodate his lifestyle into mine, the more of myself I lose in the process.

I truly HONESTLY hope that you start to feel more positive Hilary. There's always a light at the end somewhere right? Maverik is a wonderful embodiment of that. Keep your chin up and know that there are people out there who feel more connected to you, this blog, and your situation than you might think sometimes. I like to envision it as a ridiculously large group hug.

Can't get enough of those right?

You have my email. I'd love to converse back and forth if you're in need of an unbiased ear now and again. (Or even more often than that :)

Best wishes, positive thoughts and wishes for cooler weather (!!!),

Melia said...

You're not alone. There are so many Friday nights where I wish I was going out with my hubbie for dinner instead of calling it a night (alone) with a bottle of wine. I wish I could hunt for the best restaurant to make reservations for on Valentine's day, or catch a cheapie Tuesdays movie, or not have to wait until at least 11 pm to see (or hear from) him. Every time I think about this, I also think about him saying to me, "You knew when you got in a relationship with me that it would never be a normal relationship." Yes - that's true. And yes, I love him. But it doesn't take away from the fact that it sucks.

Wish we could get through this together! But just wanted to let you know you are not by yourself on this one :)

Unknown said...

I completely sympathize with what you are going through :( My husband is the executive chef of a high end restaurant in the city and we have 2 kids aged 10 (from my previous marriage)and 1. When I had our son last year it was such a huge change for me. I even went through a mild form of PPD.Coping with being married to a chef was one thing but coping with raising a baby while married to a chef was a whole different ball game. I'd like to consider myself as being a strong and independent career woman who comes home, makes dinner, takes them out for walks or extra curricular activities and bathes them and puts them to bed. I feel lonely and alone most of the time and I feel like I am single mother. My husband tells me that he does not want to be int he kitchen for the rest of his life (he's 37)and is in the planning phase of opening up his own restaurant. Cooking is his passion. He was born to be a chef and I could not picture him doing anything else. He tells me that owning his own restaurant would enable him to one day step away from the kitchen to spend more time with the family. He also warns me that it will get much worse before it gets better. I love my husband and I know he loves me completely. He is committed to me and our family and if it weren't for his unconventional working hours our relationship would be perfect. I am at a crossroad now and am feeling so much anxiety and stress at the thought of having my husband come home at 2am every night (except sundays and mondays) when he opens up his restaurant. I keep telling myself that I just need to be strong and that we will get through it with some sacrifices. But it's hard. VERY hard. And I question how much longer I can do this.

I can't tell you how happy I am to find you and this blog. I find comfort in knowing that there are other chef wives (with children) who are finding it difficult to cope with their husband/parnter's career choice. When I feel lonely and lost I come here and feel a little better.

I'll continue to try and work through this because I love my husband and believe in him. I just pray that we are strong enough to see this through together.

Hang in there Hilary. Ask for help from loved ones when you feel overwhelmed with the new baby and try and surround yourself with a good support system when you're feeling lonely.

Be courageous.


K-M said...

GROUP HUG!!!!!!!

BK said...

Hi Hilary!
I escaped the heat soaked city for a while and have been a little MIA. Sorry! I guess I needed it more than I thought. Time to disconnect or reconnect rather with my thoughts. Funny thing is, even with time to relax, I still found it easy to get mired in the details of the day to day...ugh.
You know that I don't yet have children, so I can't speak to the feelings you must be going through. But children or no children, I know this is rough. We all have the "what the h" moments - how can I do this? how can he do this? how are we going to make it through?
I don't know the answers to these questions but I do know that I love my chef. I love my husband and he loves me. And somehow, that trust gets me through to the next day. I feel like we have more than most people do and when I stop to recognize that it makes me feel better.
Having this place to talk helps. I love KM's notation of a group hug! It's very true. Maybe we should talk more :) About the good and bad.
I've said it before - we are a special group. We all got on the roller coaster, and now we're all along for the crazy ride. Somedays, it makes me sick and other days it's a blast. But I like that we're all screaming together ;) hehe!

Unknown said...

Keep your head up Hilary! I am dying for summer to be over! My man, works as the Executive Chef at a country club and as you can imagine, the golf tournaments, event and wedding every weekend is draining on the both of us. I cannot wait until fall is upon us and I get my fiance back. Well "back" meaning he will have 2 days off in a row!

I would imagine it is tough on your husband not only leaving you but a new born at home. I am surprised it has taken yout this long to blog on the parenthod piece. I worry so much that I will be a single parent to our future kiddos. Does anyone else have advice on a "chef" family. I would love to know.

We know the time element is always an issue but what works well for you two Hilary?

Any help in planning would be greatly appreciated?

I love this blog, thanks all!


Anonymous said...

Group hug.. oh how the thought seems so nice. My chef has been at work for 96 hours straight now. I think I'm entering into the stage where I've forgotten what he actually looks, feels and smells like. We're only young and starting to get serious. What if this is as good as it gets?

I feel so bad that I'm forever nagging him about his job, but isn't that just a girl's way of showing that we care? Yes, I know it would take a massive life change for him to leave his job. It's who he is, he's Italian, it's in his blood. But what about our future? Doesn't that mean something, just like my happiness?

I went away recently for a week and it didn't even seem to phase him that I was 6 hours away and unable to come back for him at the drop of a hat. He was more concerned that no one would be around to wake him up in the morning.

So what I would like to know, how am I supposed to accept that this is our life? And more importantly, why do girls today still think that dating a chef is so romantic?

Time for that group hug ladies.

Hilary Battes said...

Thanks for all of the support, ladies. I certainly feel less lonely knowing that this isn't just happening to me. I'm still feeling completely fed up with Erik's schedule, but I know there is really nothing I can do about it. I'm trying to make the best of things by keeping busy. I've already started going back to work to start setting up my classroom. I'm actually EXCITED to go back to work.

Your comments remind me why I started this blog. You are all so wonderful. Too bad we don't all live close enough to get together!

Anonymous said...

The Very Very Bright Side....
I was terrified when our lil' chef came along. I just knew I'd be raising him basically as single mom since, well, Hello....chef/gone.
However, the bright side.....no more Mothers Day, Valentines, Easter, etc...by myself YEAH.
Hang in there.
Love the site, just found it.

Chef wife of 13 years

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and what a relief it is. My chef is working 6 days a week for the past month and I am on the verge of a break down. Reading your blog and all of the comments makes me realize that i'm not alone in this. Friends and family dont always understand, knowing that there are people out there that do is making it a lot easier.

Thank you again and i will keep reading.


JD said...

I'm so happy to have found this blog! I've been married to my chef for 5 years, and we have 2 kids - a 2 1/2 year old and a 3-month old. I didn't mind "single motherhood" so much when it was just 1 child - we were able to work out a great schedule where he stayed home with her during the day, and I was with her in the evenings, and all of us were together Sundays and Mondays.

But he's now in the midst of opening a new restaurant while still working at his old place because we need the money, so I feel like he's hardly around. The jump from 1 kid to 2 has been difficult, not to mention that *nothing* gets done around the house anymore. I know he's excited about his new place, and obviously loves his career - I can't imagine how miserable he'd be at a desk job. But it's also hard for him to comprehend how miserable I am trying to manage my full-time career too, and the kids, house, etc... The previous poster was right that most of the time, family and friends don't get it. I went to OH this past weekend for a family reunion and everyone asked why he wasn't there (Uh...because he can't close his restaurant on the weekends?)

I love that this blog exists so I don't feel so alone! Just hearing someone else vent has made me feel like it's ok, we're all in this together :)

Unknown said...

I completely agree with what JD says that the jump from 1 kid to 2 has been very difficult. Things were manageable and I felt less overwhelmed. Since giving birth to our son last July things have seemed to get worse and we've reached a tipping point.

Sadly, I feel I am at a crossroads in our relationship. I feel like I am fading away slowly and he feels his patience slipping because of the constant fighting and nagging. I'm not the nagging partner however the circumstances have led us to fight constantly about his job.

I wish there was an answer to of this however as each day passes I find myself envisioning my life as a single mother without my husband. No more waiting and waiting for my husband to come home. No more fighting.

Please if there is anyone out there who is making it work I'd love to hear from you. I don't know how much longer I can be here.

Thank you.


Hilary Battes said...

Anon-what a great thought- I will always have my son with me for holidays now. But I also don't want to rely on him to provide me with the love and affection that I'm missing from my own husband.

JD-I agree with wishing the chef's hours were more like 9-5 but also knowing it would make him so miserable. It's a "weighting" game....which is worth more? His happiness or mine? I hate to break it down like that-but sometimes it feels that way.

Michelle- I feel like a single mom as well-and I have a feeling others who see me often, but don't know me personally actually think I AM a single mom. I want to start Maverik on some homemade veggie baby food soon but I feel like I have to wait for Sunday when Erik is around. Then again, I think to myself that I am with Maverik 100% of the time so why shouldn't I get to be the only one enjoying the "fun times". I feel a little guilty saying this, but sometimes I feel like I "deserve" the benefits of the fun baby things since I do all the work. Am I alone here?

Unknown said...

Its nice to know that I'm not crazy and selfish for wishing my chef was here more, but it makes me sad to read that other wifes/moms feel my pain and emptyness.-- JP Sarasota

Briana said...

It makes me feel soooo much better to read these comments and this blog, but also sad to know that others are sharing in the loneliness and frustration. You are all right, that people don't really get it unless they're in the situation. I've been with my chef for a few years and love him so much but I am tired of feeling like I am single! I want to share my days with someone. There seems to be no end in sight to the crazy hours and working weekends. I would hate for him to end his passionate career and be unhappy but how can this ever work?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ladies,
I was so greatful to see this blog. It makes me feel not so alone. I have been married to my chef husband for 8.5 years and we have twin daughters (2.5 years old). I am also a professional and work 8-5 Monday thru Friday. Sometimes, I dont know how to juggle all the things that go along with the life of having twins, then on top having a husband who is around very little. He just started a new position at a hotel restaurant in Boston and we found out he will have to work Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can handle the not having Friday or Saturday nights... but when it come to holidays and having small children, that is deal breaker for me. I sooo feel like a single parent. I am lonely all the time and tired of "waiting" up every night for him to get home. It is taxing on us both. Sometimes, while I love my husband very much, I wish we would have never married. I can only imagine how different my life would be to have a husband that is around more. Thank you so much for your blog. It is nice to know their are other woman going through this same thing.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ladies,

Group Hug indeed! It is wonderful not to be alone in wishing that my Chef had a normal 9-5 job. When we do get into arguments, he does say that he would quit his job for our relationship but I feel like I can't do that to him. I was kind of "required" to have a degree in science by my parents so I did it. Sometimes I am jelous that he went to school for what he wanted to, has a job that he loves doing and is doing what HE wants to do. I wouldn't dare take that away from him unless I had no other choice. It seems like sometimes that it IS a choice of my happiness or his. Where do you draw the line? He loves me so much he will quit the industry for me, but I love him so much I won't let him.

Jennifer said...

Hi All -

I know exactly what everyone is going through. My chef has been working like a dog because, guest what? It our favorite time of year ladies! RESTAURANT WEEK! Will this week ever end for his sanity and for mine?

St. Louis