Speak Up

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stuck in Resentment

For those of you with children you probably know that they multiply the struggles already associated with being married to a chef- or anyone who works more than 40 hours a week. I've been really suffering trying to balance a home, a child, and full time job that requires more time than I have. I have guilt when I drop my son off at the babysitter's. I have guilt when I have to explain my son's needs to my job. And I always have resentment towards Erik for not being able to share in the work. 

That may seem like a bold statement, but I'm being direct and honest and I'm not telling you anything I haven't already told Erik. I've said it and read it a thousand times: having a child with a chef is like being a single mother. I've asked Erik to help more, but he only has so many hours in the day. No matter how many times we put our heads together and make new plans for dividing up the work- it never fails to fall to me. I carry the physical work as well as the emotional stress associated with a sick baby, child care, doctor visits, teething, etc. What's a woman to do?

How do you other mothers make it work? I'm unwilling to live in resentment. resentment that, in my experience, is in most marriages, not just those of over worked chefs. 

Food is Love, 


Anonymous said...

I, too, am a chef's (well Cook 3's) wife with a 1 year old at home. I feel your pain. I was so happy to find your blog online, because I am starting to feel the resentment, too. I am tired of being a "single mom" as I call it. Looking to you for advice and inspiration!

Valerie said...

I completely know how you feel except I am a stay at home mom so I don't have the struggles with daycare. We already had 6 kids when my husband went to culinary school. I was already used to doing everything on my own. Most of the jobs he had before becoming a chef he worked long hours long hours. We are now on baby #8. When he has a day off he really tired to make sure that i have some time away. Over the last few years he has gotten better at helping more around the house and with the kids on his days off. I understand that he is tried from working and he has come to realize that I am tired too taking care of kids all day can be just as stressful if not more than being a chef. Hopefully you guys will find your groove and things will get better.

Anonymous said...

We don't have kids yet but my husband is an exec chef, and he gets up every morning at 7 am and makes me breakfast, irons if i am in a rush, and starts my car. Lately, I've been even coming home to a clean sink! He could easily justify sleeping in but he doesn't. He also cooks on his day off and helps around the house if needed. My point is not to brag about him but it is hard to believe that busy spouses can't find time for little things that will help their spouse get through their day.

Despite his crazy hours, I still feel completely loved and know that he is goes out of his way for me everyday... which helps me not get frustrated with doing everything else!

I'm not sure how this will all change with a baby, so we'll see!

Good luck!

Kerilyn said...

Hey Hilary ~ I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I hear your words, like cries for help. What amazing support you have here! (Valeries comment is amazing!) Since Married to a Chef has launched, we have a group specifically focused on having children, how others do it. Maybe you can join us and get in on the conversation? (just a thought)

*If it's any consolation, I am not at the having children part of our journey (yet) but all your words of concern and wisdom are definitely arming me with awareness of what's to come.*

ch said...

I keep coming back to this post and start commenting than delete it. I want to add something but I want to try and be as helpful as all the comments above have been
Do I feel resentment? Yes
Do I love my chef? Yes
Is he a great guy that helps out whenever he can? Yes
Do I feel like a single mom? Yes
How do I make it work?
Support from my family(sister, mom). You have to have somebody to talk to that doesn't judge you and just lets you get it off your chest. (I hate when people say to me, "that's the business."that's why I've stopped talking to people outside my family)

Communication with your spouse. I just recently(feeling fed up with the hours and lack of family time) wrote a list for my chef of what I would like to see happen in the next six month i.e.
1. Four days off during the kids spring break so we can do something as a family.
2. I want to do something fun for my birthday(it doesn't have to be on the exact day) I want him to make it happen.
3. A week off during summer vacation so we can go somewhere as a family.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is, communication is key!
We will never live a regular nine to five, Monday thru Friday life with our chefs, but we have to make time for the important things in life. We may not have as much time as some other family. It's quality not quantity right? It's up to us to make our special moments in life. Plan ahead, its important to have something to look forward to. Especially in this grind.

There's my 2 cents:)
I look forward to hearing what others have to say.

Thanks again Hilary for bringing us all together!

Anonymous said...

My Question is for Erik, if your working,cleaning, taking
care of a baby and household and all he does is "work"
what can he do to make you feel less resentful?
What do you want Erik to do so that you are less resentful!
Is his work more important then spending time with his wife and child? Life is so precious we only have these moments and Erik will miss watching his child grow up milestones only happen once in a lifetime. Is working 60-80 hours a week worth missing the people that truly matter worth it?
Hilary if you are already doing everything there's nothing more you can do. You need to ask Erik what he can do for you and the baby.

Anonymous said...

Also, I wanted to ask:

Why are you dropping the baby off at the babysitters? Since he goes in later than you why doesn't he drop the baby off? Wouldnt't this save you both time and money?

Hilary Battes said...

Valerie- I still don't know how you do it. 8 children- I'm sure you have some interesting stories to tell.

Kerilyn- I'm not sorry at all that I feel resentful. Resentment is a normal emotion and everyone goes through it, usually a few times a day! It's just that most people don't recognize until it gets pretty bad.

Cindy- I think your lists of needs is great. Was your husband able to take off that time? We are also working on setting up some vacation time this summer.

Anon #2- Wow, it sounds like you've got a great chef by your side. Waking up early to be with you and help out- how nice.

Anon #3 -You asked this question: Is his work more important then spending time with his wife and child?

That's an unfair question that I used to ask Erik all the time. The answer: Well, obviously not. And my job isn't "more important" than being with my son at home full time.

There are definitely things that Erik can be doing to help out more, we just have to figure them out. It would be great if Erik could drop of the baby at the sitter's but he takes the train to the city in the morning; I'm the only one with a car.

Erik and I talk frequently about my struggles and we have made strides to improve things. But at the end of the day I've got a husband who works 70 hours a week while I'm also working 50 hours. We've got to keep adapting and working together to make it work.

Thanks for your kind words, ladies.

Tiger Lily said...

wow. the only and best advice I have is; fully accept that this is your life and you WILL do everything for the first few years. I know it sounds horrible, but as soon as you swallow it, it gets better. You ARE a single parent and that's not going to change for a bit. Hopefully he is throwing himself into helping on his days off...that's the only time I'd be upset...
The first 3.5 years of having kids I did everything except once a week he'd take trash out and once a year he'd do taxes. I did EVERYTHING else...house, cleaning, car, bills, baby, ALL!!! But then things got better...
Hang in there.

stealthmexican said...

Ha! I was JUST telling a co-worker (I'm a teacher), that I often feel like a single mom to our two young kids! The feeling comes and goes, intensifying during busy times of the year (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, you know the drill!), but I could not survive without the help of my parents. They are my lifeline.

Having said that, I don't want to complain TOO much about my Chef never being home, because the fact that our family-owned restaurant is still open and he still HAS work is quite a blessing! When so many places are closing, I hate to complain that he's never around.

Anonymous said...

stealthmexican, I agree that it is hard to be resentful of our spouses who have good jobs in this economy! We have both been through job loss in the last few years, and the stress has been unbelievable. When he was offered his current position w/ a decent salary, benefits, and two days off, how can I complain about his hours anymore??

Anonymous said...

2 mins after leaving that comment my husband starts emailing me again about job hunting in the city. We just signed a lease 2 hrs away, and we have massive debt that we are trying to get out from under. To me, he has a great job with benefits and two days off - and w/ the low cost of living here, we are making huge progress in paying off the debt. But to him, the restaurant is not good (even though it's one of the best in our area). Sigh.

See, there is always something to be frustrated about! It never ends!

Unknown said...

Just finished my fourth (I think!) glass of wine in the midst of a massive pity party when I found this blog. My chef hubby's first restaurant where he is in charge of the kitchen opens Monday, and I'm already feeling the resentment. We did the late-night restaurant thing for about 2.5 years right after our wedding, but then he spent the last year and a half at a local bakery. I thought it would be wonderful - better pay, 7-5 Mon-Fri (heaven!). Of course, he hated it - too monotonous, missed the excitement of the line, blah, blah. So here we go again and now he will be in charge of lunch and dinner service 6 days a week. I wish I knew how to handle this with grace and poise, but I think I just got too spoiled by the great schedule at the bakery. Now I'm feeling even more resentful than the first time around. I really think it's just about accepting the job now and forever. I can see now that this round of resentment is because I kept hoping that Hubby would eventually find something else. Hopefully, acceptance will make it easier.

Unknown said...

There is absolutely no shame in asking the universe to slow down, we are delt what we can handle and at times more. Asking the universe may not always work,but sometimes it is comforting to remember that WE are in fact in charge of our lives and what a blessing that is. Remember all those times in the past you felt completely overwhelmed and saw no end in site,but YOU miraculously made it through and now your on to the next "LEARNING EXPERIENCE." Remember to feel your feet on the floor!! <3

Anonymous said...

Girl, I have lived your resentment and pain for 3 1/2 years now. I have been "single Mom" to our daughter since week one of her birth. My husband is Exec. Chef and works from 10:00Am-between 1:00 and 4:00AM. Not only is it a struggle to do EVERYTHING on my own, but he has missed her growing up. He and I have grown apart. He resents me for getting to stay home all day and bond with our daughter, he doesn't have a clue as to what being a Stay at home mom really means. And, I resent that he always has more on this work to-do-list staying later and later, never considering his home life. On the one day off a week that he gets, he is so drained that he wants to sit on the couch all day and relax. He doesn't want to go anywhere. While I have been home all week and now want to get out. So you see even when he is physically present to me and our daughter, he is not with us emotionally or mentally.

I get that his job requires many hours, but at some point you have to call it a day and have a life outside of work. I know that if we could add an 8th day to the week, he would still spend it working.

I hope you and your hubby find a Balance, because that is truly what this life is about. He needs to figure out what is a good balance of his free time (make sure you consider that he needs time for himself also). Right now my husband and I have grown so far apart and so full of anger that we are in a bad place. And, he thinks life would be easier on both of us to seperate. That way he can "live his life, AKA live at his job and be married to his job, without having me to ask "when will you be home", etc...And, he is sure that I would be happy with another man that would work a 9-5. So, not sure when to decide to call it quits. For now we are really trying.

Good luck to you and all you "chef wife single mommas"

Y.S.-Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

Y.S. That really sucks I'm sorry to hear what your going thru. It's so unfortunate that most chefs don't realize that they put their wives and children on the back burner to their career. Your husbad isn't being a husband or a father the only thing he's being is a chef and that's not fair to you or his child. I just don't get it life is to short and precious. I told my chef when he dies people show up to ur funeral. People are what matter not food not restaurants. A babys first words or watching your child open gifts those are memories that last forever. I've really come to resent the entire industry and I count down the days till my chef is done nursing school to get out.

JB Philly

Anonymous said...

I've been dating my chef less than a year and am head over heals in love! But this post is a major concern. I was married before to a man with two kids. We had "normal" schedules and jobs and he still stuck me with everything!! I work in non profit and put in between 50-60 hours a week. So does my chef. I miss him all the time. We see each other maybe two days a week (and we are both exsausted). I worry that if we do have kids my only option will be to stay at home, we have no family to help with extended babysitting hours. I hope to hear from you ladies that it's worth it. That even though it's hard, you wouldn't trade your lives for anything else. I've been attracted to complete jerks my whole life until now. My chef is AMAZING! Ive never been treated so well. I want to think we can make this lifestyle work for us.

Tracy DeLuca said...

My husband and I have been together for more than 8 years, married for 4 1/2. We have 3 children (17 yo from a previous relationship, 5 yo and almost 4 yo) and our middle child has autism.

I struggle with resentment frequently. As a stay at home mom I am always "on". The only advice I can give anyone is to be open with each other. Talk about everything. Hidden resentments and angers boil up and cause major issues.

I am really happy I found this blog as it is sooooo hard for many people to understand the challenges we chef's wives deal with!

Tracy DeLuca said...

oops! My name is Tracy D and we are currently in Mississippi.

ch said...

Well, spring break is drawing near and still no idea whether the chef can get off more than his one day a week. It's not looking good. sigh-
Oh that resentment is creeping in...

busy mama said...

I just found this blog today and I am relieved to see that I am not alone. I am also a young mom of two who is married to a chef. My husband decided that while I was pregnant with our second child to become a Chef instead of a pharmacist. So long traditional life and hello "single mom". He just finished his first year as a working Chef and I have to say it has been the hardest in all 7 years of marriage. There is resentment for sure, im tired of going to bed alone, taking care of kids alone and not having him around for those moments when you need a shoulder. Im up to my ears in household chores and parental tasks and hes being published in magazines, meeting the Texans (NFL) and being called "babe" by some bartender -in front of me! uhhh.....does it really get better?

Houston Tx

Anonymous said...

My chef and I have been married for 9 months. He has been a chef for 20 years and prior to our marriage, his schedule did not bother me. I was once in the business so I understand what it is he does. As of late, we have gotten into several arguments about his career taking precedence over our marriage. At first, he took this pretty well and realized that I do a lot of things alone and vowed to help out more. During our most recent argument, he told me that I knew what I was getting myself into before we got married, and he doesn't understand why it is a problem now. When I said that I thought he would make more time for us when we were married, he basically told me I was naive and that I should have thought of all this before we got married. He has wanted me to communicate more about how I feel but when I have, we end up arguing and I feel ridiculous. I feel even more lonely than before and am not sure how to make things work. Do I just have to suck it up because this is just how it is? I have read all of your comments and am still unsure how handles this while being respectful to the chef's career and also to one's needs.

Hilary Battes said...

Ladies, I am so amazed at the common strands of worry and struggles that we all face. With all different settings and lengths of relationships we all still work to find a balance between our chefs time, our personal time and that rare time when those paths cross- usually between 12 and 2 am. Ugh.

I'd love to work on each individual dilemma, Dear Abby style, but I can't do it alone. If any of the commenters wouldn't mind I could post them as a blog and have the other women offer suggestions. Of course, I'd keep everything as anonymous as you wish.

Cindy said...

I'm Cindy from Miami, FL and have been married for all of 1 month with my Exec. Chef. We've been together for over year and the same argument has come up often. I 25 and feel like I'm 75. I work 2 jobs and go to school so I am busy also but many times I wish I could just have a Sunday with my new husband to just go to the beach. I resenting the fact that my life now revolves around his schedule. When can HE take a couple of days off (if any)? When is HE getting off of work? I hate it. I hear about how the industry has so many divorces and it makes me so discouraged that we will become one of them. He wants to find a new job but of course doesnt' have the time because he's work 70+ hours. It's a vicious circle. I fell very lonely and I don't have friends or family who understand. At least my doggies keep me company...

Sarah T said...

I'm in the same spot, resentful! I hate having to work FT, take care of two kids alone, and do ALL the household chores alone. I feel like I got a raw deal.
He has always been a chef, but I guess once we had a second child is when things got really tough! And he's at a new place, working more hours as well.. I'm just tired too.
He does get two off days a week, but they are never in a row, and usually always weekdays, a RARE Sunday. Of course I work weekdays so only get to see him the evenings he's off. However, those evenings are typically spent cleaning up the mess he has made being home all day. He's so tired and won't do anything around the house because he works too much. Wtf. Just drives me mad!
Also, we NEVER go out, as a family or just the two of us. I can't stand never having fun together anymore, it's all just a mundane existence at this point..sad, and feel like there's not a real answer to this dilemma anymore. Blahhh

Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased to have found this site. I've been feeling so alone. We have 2 kids (4 and 2 year olds). I hate complaining about it and feeling resentful because it just brings me down. My boyfriend is a chef with his own catering business. His reputation is spotless and he's doing more and more and more but leaves me to do everything with house, kids, and on top of that loads of stuff for his business. And he's not been managing his money so I've been bailing him out thousands. So, I feel I'm paying for him to be away from kids. Madness.

When he's home he's grumpy and doesn't realise the impact. The kids have been looking forward to seeing him and he snipes at them so they retreat and get closer to me, he feels resentful. I'm sure he thinks I'm sitting on my laurels for most of the day but I'm doing from the minute I get up.

The worst thing is looking at the future. I don't want to go on like this. He feels he's building a future and doing all this hard work for us, for the kids. But reallly? Isn't there some huge element of vanity involved on his part. I admire his self esteem and I'm always so supportive of his ventures but it's at a huge cost to his family, our relationship.

And I don't know if anyone else gets this, but he comes home and wants sex. We haven't spoken for more than 2 minutes a day for three nights on the trot, and that's at 2am. Fortunately he is home as so many nights he doesn't come back and I want to talk about what's happened, the kids, the future blah blah and he only wants sex and gets the huff as I'm showning no affection. Grrrrr. I think I'm very patient as a person but I do wander if I should be with somebody else who I can share a life with. Saying that I do like my independence too. It's all very hard. I have half an eye out for somebody else but I don't really want that. Or do I?

Good luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been married for over a year now, I work weekend option night shift at a hospital as a nurse aide and he works 5 days a week and the only days he's off he's in class all day, we never see eachother and never go on dates much less do anything. his only off days is monopolized by school. he's got about a year left of school, then im going to start my nursing classes. we're both always tired and never spend time together maybe get an hour here or there. I cannot even imagine having children. Any advice on how to stay happy and take advantage of what little time we have together?


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is my life! My Chef has been head Chef at his current spot for about 3yrs now, our daugher is 15mons. I mentioned to him that I feel like a single mom ( I currently stay at home with our daughter) and he started trying to come home earlier...but early is 8pm. I am (and have been) resentful that so much falls on me and I feel like I don't get a break. I imagine that the resentment will increase exponentially once I go back to working. My Chef also commutes by train and has at least an hour of down time on the train, and then once he gets home, his entertainment of choice is playstation 3, during the week we don't talk very much...hate that but I know he needs to unwind from work. I try to explaine to him that he gets more down time than me but he figures that since I'm home with the baby I must be having fun haha. He is a good dad and does keep the kitchen clean if i don't get to it. But mostly I get the inch and not the mile when he is around. Since I know some single moms, I don't rumble too loud with that complaint, I don't want to sound unappreciative that technically, I am not single, but it still feels like it.... Glad to see I'm not the only one who feels this way. At least somebody gets it.

Have no idea where to find the balance. We have tried a few things, and he manages to come home "early" one or two nights a week. but we always manage to revert back to the same routine that causes the resentment.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to find this site. (Funny but my husband suggested I search for a site like this because I've been feeling so sad and resentful.) We don't have kids yet but I empathize with all the comments.

My husband graduated from cooking school two years ago and is preparing to be a chef which means he works on the line. For this reason, money has been a huge frustration since I'm the primary bread-winner and worry a lot about money.

I also feel the same frustration and resentment about being married and alone so much. I have a question for the group: How DO you entertain yourselves on the weekends? I used to have single friends, but they've all gotten married or moved away. When I was single I used to travel, go salsa dancing, have dinner parties and go on dates but now I sit home alone EVERY weekend after a stressful work week. Do you have any healthy, active and interesting ways to stay engaged and active on the weekend? It feels like I'm single again, but I'm lonlier than ever. I'd love to hear from anyone with or without children. Although our experiences are different, feelings of isolation and lonliness are the same.

I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

I just happened upon your blog today and have to say, "Thanks!" I have 2 kids with my chef and love him very much. I knew what I was getting into before I married him since I worked in F&B also. I know that I couldn't be a Chef's Wife without a good support group of family, friends, church, and neighbors. Yes, I need a "village"! Before marriage and the kids were born, we hashed out everything - from my want to be a stay at home mom to the events he "had" to attend- family weddings, birthdays, certain holidays, important sports games the children would participate in to even, their graduations!!! He realizes that he doesn't want to miss out on a lot events, especially where the children are involved. The key in our relationship is trust and lots of communication and knowing we work as a team! It's difficult because it's not a typical 9 to 5 life, but we are loving the time we do have together!


Anonymous said...

I've been married to a chef for 30 years. When our daughter was small, he saw her before breakfast, for an hour in the afternoon and that's was that.
We opened a bistro together and worked together and that was fine but now he has gone back to cheffing, I am alone all the time.

Sandra said...

I have been married to my chef for 25 years this year. Our two children are grown and gone from the nest and this has become the loneliest time of my life because I no longer have the children to fill my hours. I teach school so my down time is his busy time. That is the story of our lives. I was lucky to live one block away from my parents during our entire marriage and they were able to help me swing the single mother bit as he was always at work. I just don't know how to cope with this empty nest and the fact that my parents who have always been social life who are now in their 80s. Life is looking really bleak. Sorry to be such a downer. Just a long loneley day and was glad to find that there was a group who knew exactly how I felt. Glad to know that I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy I happened upon this blog. I am currently sitting here on my own (of course I am) while my kids sleep upstairs, looking at the clock wondering when my husband will come home..we are going on 10:30pm now.....I have been with my chef (cook) for 8 years now and married for 5, and I have been a stay at home mom since our second child was born, almost 3 years now. I have never been lonlier, more miserable and I generally just feel like crap. My husband had a breakfast cook job, but he hated it, meanwhile I loved it. Now he is working at a popular restaurant, and loves it, but I am year again stuck at home with the kids every night, no social life other than facebook and my life is nothing but chores and sitting around the house. I'm tired and sad. I'm glad to know I'm not alone but I need to know it will get better.

Anonymous said...

It's crazy the things that we all do for love, and it's crazy what the restaurant industry demands. I have been with my fiance (husband in 1 week) for 4 years. This last year has been the most divisive as far as conflicting hours are concerned. Those of you whose chef comes home at 10:30 -- I miss the days!! Mine is sous chef at a top restaurant in a major metropolitan city that is open only for dinner -- he leaves the house at noon and does not get home until 1:30 or 2 a.m. Meanwhile, I work from 7:30 - 5:30 every day, so I'm up and out of the house by 6 a.m. Let's just say ear plugs have been a life saver for us. We see each other 1 day a week.

Honestly, the unworkable schedule this last year has been good for me. I had to ask myself - is this going to change? If so, when realistically? Years? Months? Decades? If it doesn't, can I live a meaningful life being so separate? How can I take responsibility for my own happiness and purpose? I have become very independent, made friends, developed hobbies, and stopped waiting for him. I'm happier, but I miss him. The 1 day we see each other is spent catching up on very separate lives. Now, I'm working on bringing intimacy and connectedness into what is essentially a long distance relationship. We are intent to find happiness and fulfillment in our lives separately and together, but I know the road ahead will still be rough. I just want to set myself up for success mentally/emotionally for that journey.