Speak Up

Saturday, December 10, 2011

8 Day Work Week

There's a common idea in our lovely little community that being a chef wife and mother is akin to being a single mother. Why is that notion so common? Because it's true! With a little work and time I think anyone can make the best of the rough situation. But what happens when your rough situation gets even rougher? 

Just when I was getting a handle on teaching and managing a middle school over 40 hours a week with a toddler at home who I never spend enough time with and a husband who gets a random "weekend" each week--BOOM. Now he's working every day. I know chefs work insane hours and days and I know my husband isn't the only chef working like  a dog, but COME ON, 7 days??! And this week, when my nearly two year old was too sick to go to school, I was the one who used up two sick days since Erik is just too important to. Some days I feel spread so thin I could just peel away like stretched silly putty. My arms would dangle and wiggle dropping the numerous bags I haul to daycare, school, the park, the doctor, the mall, and back home again at some point. And then...the Saint Jude telethon comes on and realize, after all, I am the luckiest woman in the world. 

Food is Love,


KaL.A. said...

Hi Hilary!
I'm so glad I came across your blog! I have been dating my chef (recently became a Sous with SBE catering company in Hollywood) for about 1 1/2 yrs now. He recenty got a job offer (plus visa permit) to work in Germany starting in March. He is still not on board yet, but he says he will not miss this chance for his career. He is the best man I've ever been with, but from the beginning, he knew I am a very needy girl (which I have worked on being w/ a chef!) & that his career is #1 to him. I am scared this long distance and different time zones will hurt our relationship. I'm just scared that the lonliness will hit me hard. I don't really want to jump up and move to be with him just because of lonliness, you know? Or should I follow him if we are really THAT serious (which we are... he says I am welcomed to travel/live with him if we can afford it, anywhere he goes & talk about marriage later down the line). He is really adamant about "I am 26 & need to travel to gain more knowledge and experience for my career", but I don't want to loose him...

Any advice? -Kala

Jengaa2010 said...

My Fiance last night said to me sweetly that he'll miss me and that he is apologising in advance for the summer period...last year ye worked 3 weeks with only one day off.
I admire him for actually being able t do that but on the other hand, it sucks... but i going to busy enough this coming year (too busy im starting to think) that hopefully that will help.. although he thinks i shoud be used to it now ... i dont think anyone can ever just 'get used to it'

And Kala,
My suggestion is if you love go with him. if you dont want to live over there permanently go for a couple of months first and then decide.
I'm sure your heart will tell you.
I am a needy girl too you're not alone, and mine is going to England in the next few years to work and there is NO WAY i wouldn't go with him, i dont think i could cope with him being away from me for so long.
Plus, don't forget, if we don't put up with and love our chef's, sure as pie no one else will.

They probably need more looking after than any other career man that's out there. hehe.

Hilary Battes said...

Hi Kala, I'M so glad you found me! I'm always happy to meet another chefwife/girlfriend. You certainly have some tough decisions coming up and I wish I could tell you exactly what to do, but every situation is different. I moved from California to New York to be with my husband (then boyfriend). I'm still here on the east coast in a job that is literally perfect for me, but the situation is not perfect at all. Although things worked out for the most part here, I still have resentment for making a hug sacrifice in my life, that I don't feel would be done for me. Keep in mind, that in the end, there would almost have to be resentment when one person is giving up things and the other isn't. I do think that if you live in different countries it will put a strain on your relationship. It may be a strain that works for you, building the bond between you. It may also be too hard to handle. I can hear the ambiguity in my advice and I'm sorry I can't give you a definitive response.

Jengaa2010, I agree that being busy ourselves often takes away from the pain of feeling lonely. If you've got an opportunity-one that you chose or not- to stay busy, I say take it!


Anonymous said...

Dear Kala,
If your chef boyfriend is 26, I am assuming you are probably around the same age. Don't move to Germany!! If he decides to go, let him go and sure, visit him sometime, but don't let your life revolve around him, no matter how much you love him. Chefs will always be completely self-involved in their careers and where they want to be, especially a 26-year-old man who's still learning and growing. Any chef wife or girlfriend who's been with their man for a long-term period can tell you, we ALWAYS come second, third, even fourth. Especially once they open their own restaurants.

This is a time to focus on yourself, your dreams, what you want to do with your life. Put yourself first. If the relationship is meant to be, it will happen, and you have to trust in that.

I hope this is helpful!

Best wishes,

Hilary Battes said...

Thanks for keeping it real, B. How are you?

KaL.A. said...

Thank you to everyone who responded. This month has been really diffifult with us. He is such a holiday Scrooge & I'm all about making holidays special for everyone else, that we are clashing personalities right now. Is this behavior a CHEF thing?? He's NO Mario Batali to be acting this way though...
Not caring about holidays or how I feel about them? I'm like a christmas Elf trying to think of creative gifts (not boring clothes yr after yr) & he is an a**hole about it all. I wrote about it in my blog.

Jengaa2010, I agree! I am looking for a full-time job since I am no longer going to school full-time now. He constantly says I need to grow up, get a job, & maybe we won't fight as often or I won't be lonely because I'll be busy. All I see is when I get a job, we won't have ANY time for eachother seeing as he is moving back with his parents this week. He thinks it's fine, but I'm a decent looking girl. I ALWAYS find guys at my job who want to be with me. My boyfriend's job and personality is pushing me away.

B, yes exactly. I would feel like an idiot if I were to follow him to a different country if he makes me feel this way. I have followed a boyfriend before who wasn't right for me. Maybe now I am realizing I should not do that again until I am engaged. Being with a Chef, bagging an engagement will take ages because of how unstable the profession is.
Since finding your blogs, I have read your lives & stories and decided to be 100% committed, whatever it takes, pick & choosing battles, the works. It hasn't really been working because I just feel resentment or sadness when he doesn't appreciate things I do for him or listen to his hours of kitchen stories every day. It's a very selfish career, really. Right now, I am at the point where I don't know what to do. I care more about myself & feelings than to suffer over this. Love sucks.

Ps- the ONLY thing I can think positively about holidays is that if we ever have a family, my boyfriend will be working so I can make the holidays extra special with me and my kids only? haha, gotta see the bright side sometimes.

Heather said...

Wow, I haven't posted here in years, but I pop in and read sometimes.

I gave up on my husband ever being able to take care of a sick child many years ago. We have four children. At one point I had 2 kids in public school, one at home, and I was working. That didn't last long. Any time one of the kids got sick, I got a call to come and pick them up. My husband couldn't just leave work, and I could, sort of. Eventually it was too much and I decided to stay home.

Then we had the problem that the kids were only seeing their dad about four hours each week, because of the conflicting schedules of chefdom and public schools. When Dad was home and awake, the kids were at school or asleep. When they were home and awake, Dad was at work. We've been homeschooling for eight years now. We schedule school around his work schedule. We get to see each other so much more now.

Anonymous said...

Kal.A. From your last post "I care more about myself & feelings than to suffer over this" ... I hate to be brutally honest but I think you just answered your own question. I have moved across the country for a guy who constantly put himself before me and made me feel like crap (I don't recommend moving to Germany btw but I do recommend visiting). It isn't worth it, your well-being and your feelings are more important. Not all chefs are arrogant, self-obsessed, crazies. My husband and I are in the throes of contemplating our next career moves, especially his since I don't know what I want yet but I know that he would be willing to move for me if I found the perfect opportunity. No matter how chef-y they are acting they are still a human being and have to be there for you too. No if, buts, or whats about it.

KaL.A. said...

Thank you so much & yes being brutally honest works with me. I come from a family FULL of females, but none have really good advice or sugar coat everything. Especially after seeing their own relationships crumble from their own advice. I think I will just wait it out & if another person comes along, then I'll decided if I should go or stay. The best advice I think you said was to concentrate on ME & what I want to accomplish. Selfishness has never been a part of me and my family & boyfriends always came first, but I think it's about time.

Hilary Battes said...

KaLA, Concentrating on your own goals is NOT selfish!! Unfortunately, as little girls our parents and society told us that putting our own needs before others is selfish, but not really. Yes, taking the last donut when others haven't had any is selfish. But putting yourself first in the grand scheme of life is absolutely necessary in order to prevent resentment towards others. I would hate to see you move for your boyfriend and feel resentful that he isn't making the same sacrifices. Do you think he would do the same for you? I've been happily married for 6 years and I still resent Erik for moving all over the place. I love him a lot, but it's time he pays back the favor.

Chazz said...

Just came across this blog.
I'm with a head chef and have 2 kids with a third due any day now.
I can tell you I have been a single mum and it's HEAPS easier doing it on your own!
At least you know you only have yourself to rely on.
I have to write on the calendar what days my other half has off so the kids know when they will see him.

-chazz Australia

Anonymous said...

I am there with you mamas, my Chef and I talk on average about 1/2 hr to 1 hour when we live in the same place a day, or 2 minutes a day, when I am visiting family. After nine moves in 6 years we are finally back close to family again so at least I can drive the 3 hours to my parents if the boys are sick and I need help. And honestly these days it seems like its even more demanding, now that he has got a little recognition under his belt. He keeps saying "just wait until... dot dot dot... and it will get better, I promise"... feel like I have been waiting for those dots since we met. But, I knew what I was getting into when I married him (and his other wife the restaurant). At least for the most part.
Just wish I didn't have to play both good cop and bad cop with our boys in one sitting. Its a little difficult. lol. Any Colorado Mamas?? Lets meet up and comiserate with wine! :)

Ellen, MA said...

I just stumbled across your blog and whew! Glad to know I'm not alone. My boyfriend is finishing up culinary school and working basically full-time while I'm a full-time student. We're very much in love and very much on opposite schedules, which I know isn't getting better anytime soon! Thanks for sharing your struggles and advice! It's a huge relief to know I'm not the only one who is bummed and sometimes frustrated that my chef is gone all the time!