Speak Up

Monday, June 4, 2012

Six Days Suck

We have played a career tug of war between 5 and 6 day work weeks. We're losing right now to a six day work week and it really sucks. I get caught up in doing more to keep this house sailing straight because I feel bad that Erik doesn't have time. But then I get resentful that I'm working so hard at work and then at home. No breaks. He's doing nothing. Nothing. And I have this terrible condition that makes every request I present to Erik sound nagging. No cure. Debilitating really. So sad.

What's a wife to do? I mean I went away for the weekend and came home to hardly any food in the fridge, no bags replaced in the garbage, a dirty litter box, a giant pile of unopened mail, and the laundry half done. I struggle between leaving these things out (which they are currently) or letting my own OCD take over and cleaning up. After all, I'm the one who lives here more than Erik. He pretty much just lays his head here. What does he care if the fountain outside is getting grimy, or the floor needs mopped.

Do I want Erik off for the 6th day so I can spend more time with him, or start holding him accountable for more work? Both.

Ugh...I hate the word vent. But there, I sure did.

Food is Love,
Hilary

27 comments:

jen o said...

Is it something in the air? I feel the same exact way. I've been with my chef for three years now, and within the past month I have felt my frustrations and grievances building and building as he starts a new executive chef position and works 6-7 days a week. I've been doing the housework, the laundry, taking care of the dog, cleaning, and who knows what else...oh and I can't forget to mention cooking for one and hanging out all night by myself. I've finally come to a point where I'm questioning if this is what I want in my life. My frustration over all this is taking a toll in our relationship, as I'm tired of it all- and then he'll stroll in late at night smelling like his post-shift beer or an occasional cigarette, pretending nothing is wrong.

what do i do? i'm at a crossroads.

JO

jen o said...

Is it something in the air? I feel the same exact way. I've been with my chef for three years now, and within the past month I have felt my frustrations and grievances building and building as he starts a new executive chef position and works 6-7 days a week. I've been doing the housework, the laundry, taking care of the dog, cleaning, and who knows what else...oh and I can't forget to mention cooking for one and hanging out all night by myself. I've finally come to a point where I'm questioning if this is what I want in my life. My frustration over all this is taking a toll in our relationship, as I'm tired of it all- and then he'll stroll in late at night smelling like his post-shift beer or an occasional cigarette, pretending nothing is wrong.

what do i do? i'm at a crossroads.

JO

Allie said...

I have a question, my sous chef and I are expecting our first baby, she's due July 22. How did you cope with having your first child and knowing he won't be home till close to midnight every night? Mine works 11-11pm but isn't home till about 11:45pm. he leaves at 10:30am, and I'm afraid he won't get enough time with the baby.

Courtney said...

Hi Hillary!
First of all I want to say that I'm so glad I found your blog! It's so nice to know that I'm not alone being a chef's wife. I've been married to my husband for 4 years but we've actually been together for 12. He's been cooking since he was 15, so the whole time we've been together, we've dealt with the whole "service industry" work schedule. When it was just him and I, it wasn't that bad. I took jobs at a hotel and restaurants so we could share the same days off and have similar schedules. But now that we're married with a baby, it's been so hard. I'm alone with the baby every night. The weekends are so hard because he works such LONG hours and it's just me and the baby ALL weekend long. Sunday nights are the hardest because I know everyone is having that 'family time' that we never get. Please tell me it gets easier! He's a sous chef now but I'm hoping he'll move up as one of the executive chefs and at least have a Saturday or Sunday off. It makes me think twice about having another child because i just don't think I can do it alone again. How many children do you have? Do you find the evenings especially difficult?
Thanks for listening,
Courtney from Gainesville, VA

Unknown said...

Hi Hillary,

Congrats on your site! Its very clever and I was looking exactly for something like this. Talking to people in my similar situation is very comforting knowing I am not alone, it also allows me to find an outlet to those who understand.

As far as your most recent blog, I feel the same. I clean ALL the time. I actually feel bad when he cleans, other than something small like cleaning the dishes in the sink, because he is so tired after his long day. I handle the finances and bills and the cleaning. Anything that involves being responsible for as a homeowner ( other than our garden ) I do. Just like you, I am a little OCD, so my version of clean, is much different from his. It becomes a bad cycle of complaining and nagging, which I never envisioned I'd be that wife. I struggle with letting him do house work on our only day off, because I just want to spend time with him having fun or relaxing. It really is a place between a rock and a hard place. The only conclusion I have come up with is doing most the house chores, but asking him to do something small that makes me feel he is contributing and not resent that I clean up after him all the time. And to justify the cleaning, we are home more, and do make most the mess, but somehow it seems like he should have some responsibility to clean also.

Courtney,

I have been married to a chef for only 8 months and we are planning on having kids. It scares me to know, on top of everything I do, I will have a child to take care of by myself as well. My husband is an executive chef, and we were together 3 years before we got married. He was an executive chef when we met and he gets Sunday and Monday off, but its never consistent. This weekend he only gets Sunday, but I work Monday-Friday, so I actually really look forward to coming home from work and he is there on Monday. Next weekend is the same, only Sunday off. When your husband gets to the Exec. chef status, yes he will have more time and could decide on which day he gets off. I do believe, you will get your Sunday nights together. Either way, we all have to agree we knew what we were getting into...I married him as an Exec. Chef, but did not realize it would be this hard. He is responsible for the restaurant, so at times, he works harder and covers more shifts when the butcher does not show, or a chef calls in sick. Still knowing this, I would love to have a child. Its a blessing, and know its going to be hard, but not always going to be as hard. It will get easier, at least thats what I believe.

My situation is a little different, but hoping that others will have a similar situation. I moved states, and with that came my career, my friends/family that was lost. My career was in the internet industry, and was looking forward to moving up in my career. I moved ( mind you there was no regrets at the time, because I knew my chef was the one) BUT now I am paying the price. I have a new job, but by far, its a huge step back to my last ten years building my career. Granted, his career is more successful than mine, and I had more opportunity to find something else than he does. He has been cooking since 17, and its his passion. Even though business for me is my passion, I am no where as talented as my chef hubby. Now, I am trying to find friends I can hang out with because I have no one here except my husband. Even without any kids I find evenings especially difficult. I was always independent, so I thought it would not matter, but I get really sad on a Friday ( like today ) I don't have a friend to go to dinner or grab drinks with. Has anyone done the same?

Thank you for listening...

Elle from Hawaii

K-Itasca, Il said...

The six day week sucks! That's the nicest thing I can say about it! I work alongside my chef because we own the restaurant, and anywhere we can save money, we do-thus me giving up my entire life to be supportive of him! We are closed two days a week, but lately have been doing private parties on Sunday for extra income. My chef has trouble understanding why I get so upset that I have to be at the restaurant another day of the week. In his eyes, it's more money and building the business. In my eyes, it's another day trapped in a life I didn't sign up for. Sometimes it is hard to not get resentful of this situation. I love my chef and fully support his dream, but sometimes I wish he would realize that even though I stand behind him 100%, his dream is not my dream.


It's so hard to not get upset that I have to be at the restaurant every single day, and have to miss out on having my own life. I can't even begin to tell you the last time I saw one of my friends. When he adds a sixth day into the mix, it just makes me that much more crazy!!

Vikki said...

Whow its relieving to hear that others feel the same! Arghhh, I have been with my chef boyfriend for almost 6 years, he is currently Sous chef in a major restaurant in the city we live in, he has only been there 6 weeks but the same old routine has resurfaced its head. I accept that as a chef its unsociable hours, late nights, never see each other but consider the time we do have together is precious, but it never feels recipicated. I get the worst of him, hung over from a few beers, generally staggering in at 5am when I am waking up for work (I run a children's centre, so the hours are totally opposite). He used to be aggressive, that at least has toned down, but its the drink! Do your chef husbands/partners use the excuse 'it's been a killer shift, 400 covers, all the chefs went out, I deserve it'??? When he does have days off he is usually asleep, generally he never has two days off in a row so during the week we may have one meal and one conversation that is not over text. I am so tired of the battle, I feel exhausted by repeating myself 'nagging', do I just accept that when he has other responsibility such as a child, marriage, something to save for things will change? Or do I just accept that this is the way it is? Always the last in the pecking order to job, drink, social life? I love him more than anything and have always supported him in everything, but don't us women deserve a little 'me' time too? I imagine having a child is EVEN more stressful than living alone with the house and cats as a responsibility!!? I am stuck in this reoccuring rut of confusion, any advice!?
A sadly 'desperate' chef wife :( x

ChefWife said...

I'm so glad we have found a safe forum to complain about our struggles. What we have to do next is step out of the complaining and the rage, and speak directly to our spouses about what's going on for us.

I hear a lot of you saying very similar things: doing so much housework, feeling lonely on typical date nights, concerns about how having a child will change things (see blog to come soon), chefs going out after work, and resentment. Your stories are my stories, ladies. We are go through very similar situations and nearly identical emotions. Do any of these work for you: loneliness, anger, resentment, fear, the feeling of being inadequate or unimportant (compared to his job), jealousy, or the feeling of being overlooked or under appreciated? I've felt all of those about 100 times a week.

Jen O, Being with a chef may not be the right thing for you. I'm not going to set up false hope and say it will all be ok or tell you to just get used it. It sucks and its a lot of hard work. All relationships are hard work, chef or no chef. BUT you have to ask yourself if your relationship with your chef can withstand all the problems that come with being married to a chef.

Elle, I never thought I would be a nagger, but boy, can I nag! I have actually just began realizing how much of it I actually do. Could you try writing lists? Maybe if you both had to-do lists with deadlines you both may feel a sense of unity in the housework. It can be tremendously one-sided and the approach to that really matters. I think deadlines are important. If something is dirty in my house, I think it should be cleaned that day. Erik could wait two weeks and think nothing of it.

K-Itaska II, I have no idea how you work with your husband. That's amazing! I don't know that I could do it. It sounds like you and your husband have different priorities. It seems like you both know making money is important, but you'd prefer to be with the family and he's happy working. Why not try talking about that? You might be surprised about what you hear.

Vikki, My husband does not generally go out for a drink after work, and when he does he always lets me know. But those excuses about working long hours and "deserving" a break certainly come into play when my husband wants to sleep in and I need him for other things. Have you spoken with your boyfriend about what it's like for you when he stumbles home? Start there and see what happens.

nattyleecarter said...

I love my chef of nine months. He works alot, we have limited time together, when we are together of late he is always tired, sick, or working thru as staff dont pitch.... he is dedicated and very loyal to his boss...I do feel envious somedays as I feel when he sees me he should be happy, instead he is tired, or planning a sleep not really wanting to do anything.... I have started asking him alot if he is ok? is it me? is he bored of me? and I get no, its his job it takes it out of him etc. so why do we put ourselves through this if we know we are not going to get alot of love and affection back?????

Anonymous said...

I'm about to break up with my chef and feel absolutely terrible. All you ladies who can do it, well done. I could not, after 3 years I realized that this relationship is not doing any good for me. Tired of having to be the nagging girlfriend because I am also TIRED, working a full time (office job) and trying to keep the house clean, laundry done, cat's happy and well fed... Tired of cooking nice meals only for myself, tired of take away food. Having sex only 1 a month, sleeping alone or being waken up 3 am in the morning. I did try, trust me, and I failed.

Anonymous said...

I'm about to break up with my chef and feel absolutely terrible.
All you ladies who can do it, well done. I could not, after 3 years I realized that this relationship is not doing any good for me.
I'm so tired of having to be the nagging girlfriend because I am also TIRED, working a full time (office job) and trying to keep the house clean, laundry done, cat's happy and well fed... Tired of cooking nice meals only for myself, tired of take away food. Having sex only 1 a month, sleeping alone or being waken up 3 am in the morning. I did try, trust me, and I failed.

Henna from Europe

Anonymous said...

Definately something in the air! I've just cut short an angry telephone call from my sous fiancé who claimed I didn't support him! Errrrm I do all the housework and laundry, deal with all the finances, deal with everything about our dogs, the garden, sit at home every night til midnight waiting for him to come home, never have a weekend away or a holiday and all in the name of being with a chef. Oh and the argument was because he just started a new Jon which stated no split shifts yet his first rota has four split shifts in the first week and apparently you don't question anything in a kitchen????

Amy said...

This blog is amazing. It's so wonderful to have fellow wives to relate to.

My husband isn't big time yet but were only mid-twenties and he just got promoted to Sous. That means no more extra time with him and he's now salary, so technically less of a paycheck.

I'm such a homebody so going out with the girls all of the time isn't a way to fill my time. No kids yet, scared of single mom life also. What kinda things do you ladies do other than time with the girls?

Anonymous said...

First I would like to say a big Thank you to You Hillary for creating this blog. I was shocked after reading some of your posts last night, I just couldnt belive that my life looks nearly the same as other chefs wifes (same issues,etc). My husband is working in fine dining restaurant in Gordon Ramsays, we have been married for 2 years and have little girl who is 1yrd and i lately started to feel like im loosing him slowly... i feel soo lonely most of the time and less important than his job. Sometime I laugh that our second babys name should be either KITCHEN or WORK, so maybe then he will have more time for us.... Sorry if im bringing anyone down here I just feel that this might help me a bit, when I say what I really think, especially to someone that understands. By the way Im originally from Poland but live in Ireland since 4years.

tgo84 said...

Is it too much to ask him to tak a full 24 hours off? I feel punished when I have certain expectations such as .. Please call me if you are going to be late. I feel as though I can't rely on him to be home so we can plan fun outings, or even time to be home together. But if I ever complain he says I don't support him. I don't know what to do anymore.
T.g. MN

tgo84 said...

I am having the same issues. I want to feel important. He just got a head chef job and I want to support Jim 100%. But I feel I am living with a roommate. His days off consist of him getting off wot early. Which is usually an 8 hour day from 7-5. I feel alone all the time. I am trying to do everything I can to make it work, but I want to make sure that he had balance with work and home. Is it possible to hide from life in the kitchen? I want to get Married and have kids. But I don't feel like I could do it alone.

Anonymous said...

My chef and I have been married for 17 years. We married right out of highschool with a baby on the way. We were surprised by a second baby just four years ago! I can relate to a lot of comments for sure. In fact my chef is frustrated tonight because I may be asleep when he comes home, he mentioned starting the schedule close to midnight, which means he will be lucky to be home by 2:00 a.m. Anyway, yes it is frustrating to be in charge of home, family, own job, .well everything. But being a "single" mom in many ways is the life we have. I really do think it's just as hard or harder for the "chef". My husband is exhausted too, and sad he misses out on so much of life. I do go through phases of being resentful, but it helps no one, cooking is who he is, and another job would make him miserable, and who wants that around. Just remember, moving up the chef ladder does not mean they will work less so don't hold on to that hope. Wow , thanks for the blog I do feel better. Julie - Pittsburgh

Anonymous said...

Yesss...I feel the same way. This weekend was THE worst as I have the flu and he had to work ALL weekend when he typically has Sunday's off. Dealing with 6 day work weeks are THE worst. I just stumbled upon this website when watching the show "Dinosaurs"...please do laugh cause I'm that bored this evening and the family was eating dinner together and I realized that I will probably never have that. SO sad. Just got married to my chef two months ago after being together 3.5 years so I knew what I was getting into but we're talking about babies and dang it's gonna be tough. Just cleaned the house while having the flu b/c w/my 9-5 during the week I didn't want him to come home to a gross house on his only day off after working 60+ hours. How do you make sure he is going to spend enough time with his children in order to make it worth having him be the dad? Here's to another night of cereal for dinner bc you don't feel like cooking for just one person. Ugh -Amber in Portland, OR

Laura said...

Amy,
I have found the most successful way to not miss my chef husband is to keep busy. I cook myself dinner -- I like to cook, so this is a no-brainer for me, read a book, watch a movie or do go out. I have to go out for work and enjoy it, so I do that a few days a week. Maybe invite a single friend over for dinner one night a week? Also, time at night is good for doing any sort of fun projects you've been wanting to do, catching up on chick flicks or reality TV your man doesn't want to watch and primping -- I do my eyebrows and nails once a week. Think of something YOU like to do and try not to think about how lonely you are. Easier said than done, I know.

a158732c-fcea-11e1-b4b2-000bcdcb2996 said...

I am the same, moved away from family and friends, work full time, then all the cleaning, bills, animals only I have two kids too!! So I can't even just go and do something I feel totally stuck and sometimes I think, right I'll start something like going to the gym!? But then I think how can I do that with my husbands works shifts of 8:30am till 12midnight plus, who's gonna have the kids, his family all work shifts so I don't like to put on them! I just feel so fed up and lonely :( And nobody understands! Everyone says well you knew what you were getting into, that makes you feel a million times worse as then it's your own fault that you feel this way! Nobody offers to have the girls for me to take time out! I've put up with it 9 years now and I seriously don't know how much longer I can bear it! I find myself wishing my girls childhoods away, looking forward to then getting older so that I will have that little less responsibility!!! Arghhhh 😳

Anonymous said...

Wow K, u just hit the nail on the head when u said "his dream is not my dream" but especially, "its another day trapped in a life I didn't sign up for". Right now we have moved with him 10 hrs from family so that he could help start a new restaurant. Before when he was only manager, he worked sometimes 90hrs a week but usually 6 days w 10hrs each day. Now that he is part owner, he has been working for 2 months with no days off, breaks only 4 days a week for an hr or two and normally working 18-21 hr days. I have started working with him since he needs the help but with a 2yo and a dog to take care of, plus some health issues and setting up the house w very little time to myself, it is very difficult. I know he works hard because he loves us and is trying to give us a good future, but we r all tired of these hours. I'm proud of him, just tired. Lifes not always easy but with faith and love we press on.

N86 said...

It's so nice to know I'm not alone.I'm lying here in bed at 1.30am, so tired but watching catch up tv to stay awake as my boyfriend of a year will be home in around 30mins. I'm having a down day, it's his birthday and I've spent it mooching around shops but not buying anything (is there anything less pleasurable?). He hasn't text me once today as he hasn't even had a break in his 18 hour shift. I lie, he just text me 10 minutes ago but I am refusing to reply as I'm angry. But it's not his fault is it?! He doesn't make the rules and lately is just as unhappy as I am. I moved to London a month ago to be with him, I left all my friends and family in the North East. I spend my weekends watching reality TV and eating mostly. I work in retail so that I have a chance of a day off with him through the week. But feel guilty at wanting to wake up at 9am and make the most of the day as he is so tired. He would hate to work in a pub and I would hate for him to settle for less than he deserves. I just don't know if I can do this for much longer. Just wanted to vent really do thanks for listening.
N - London

Anonymous said...

Hi ladies,

I can't express how happy I am to have found this blog. Such a relief to know how other people manage in the same situation as me. I moved away from all my family, friends and my job to move with my chef to France. I haven't been able to work much (besides teaching english a few hours a week), so I basically have no life. Socialising is difficult as my French is ok but I feel nervous in groups and prefer to listen rather than talk which is not who I am at all. The first year we were here was nothing short of hell and very nearly cost us our relationship. I feel all the things you've mentioned, second best,unimportant, stupid for throwing away my life for someone else, a failure because I haven't managed to find a good job for myself or to speak french at native level yet...so many negative things.
Luckily my boyfriend doesn't really drink (except for with me), he never goes out with the boys and spends every free moment he has with me. Yes, he is tired a lot of the time but he makes an effort not to sleep all day and to do things with me. I know I have a lot to be thankful for. But there are those dark days when I have been at home, alone, for days on end, with not much to do and nowhere to go when I really start to question my decisions and to wonder what does this say about my feelings towards myself?
I don't have the answers ladies, but all I can say is that I stay because I love the man, not the job. I stay because being happy at home and building a solid foundation for a family has always been more important to me than my career. And I stay because I can't think of a better way to spend a life, than loving another person with everything you have. I hope it's enough to get us through.

Anonymous said...

Ok, here it is ... I'm an established Executive Chef, I'm a female and I have 2 sets of twins and a single Child. I worked the line the night before my c-Section of the last set of twins. The reality is that you need to realize that you are enabling your husband not to do work at the house. I manage to clean, cook, do laundry and grocery shop. It's called time management, as Chefs we have that skill at work and can apply that at home. My husband is a typical male concerning housework and does not participate and it's not worth fighting about. I work in the slow season 45-50 hours a week and often times in excess of 60 hours a week the other 10 months. So yes I get b@&$hed at for not being available, I am guilty of missing a lot but I care enough to take the time to go out of my way to make contact. Your Chefs need to get over their egos and participate. It took a long time to realize that I am not the center of the universe and I think I pretty much so did not see my first twins the first 15 years of their lives, but guess what I got over it. I'm still passionate about my job, but my job will be there long after my kids are grown and all the missed family time can't be quantified by the instant gratification and Ego rushes. Face it Chefs are like addicts, we are adrenaline junkies through and through. It's all about balance and that has to come from your Chef for it to be successful.
-Chef H.

Hilary Battes said...

Chef H., It's so nice to see a comment from a unique perspective. I agree that I enable my husband not to do as much. I've been saying that for years, but every day we do get better at reducing our resistances. But it seems a bit critical for you to say, considering your own husband "does not participate" in housework. You said our chefs "need to get over their egos" (which I agree to some degree), but what about your husband? I feel attacked, but strangely enough,I appreciate your point of view.

Erika Kosztandi said...

Hi Hilary! Love your blog and happy to see I'm not alone.
I am a chef's wife 8 years now. We have a two year old son and another one on the way...
I do everything alone, including being a father and mother. There's no one to help me and he isn't there ever. He works 6 days a week and on his day off, he is a zombie like...
Who ever is about to get into this, please run!!
��

Erika ( a truly desperate 'single' mom )
Antwerp, Belgium

Anonymous said...

I've thought about this, and I think I will break up with my chef boyfriend. I knew about these things beforehand, but knowing does not mean accepting. I thought that I could with time, but I was wrong. I just think that any relationship is a two way street. Just because cooking is his passion, it doesn't mean that everything else fades away. Your feelings are valid, and your existence should not be based on his. Take the courage and walk away. This relationship is not healthy.