I wrote the post below back in July, but never published it. Tonight I’m sitting on the bed, wishing my husband was home with us. It’s Cinco de Mayo – the busiest night of the year for his restaurants. We haven’t seen him all week and we miss him. I’m tired. The kids have been arguing while making Mother’s Day cards. (Really?????? I don’t want have to discipline for that!! Ugh!! I really wish he were here to deal with the Mother’s Day card arguing…)
Have you ever referred to yourself as a single parent because of your husband’s career as a chef?
They work a ton of hours. They are gone the majority if not all of the hours the kids are awake. Because of this, the parenting on the days they work (and sometimes even on their days off) falls on us.
I get it.
I’m living it.
There are many days our girls do not see my husband because he leaves before or just as they are getting up and gets home just after they are in bed. Having a 1 hour + commute on top of the long hours of a chef is tough. My husband would have to leave work at 5 pm (and then sit in the car for 2 hours because of traffic) to be home to see them for an hour before they go to bed (which is not their best time of day). The mornings, it’s the same. If he doesn’t leave before 6 am, the commute can be almost 2 hours long. There’s really no option for a change of hours, so we find way to work with the schedule the best we can.
But with these long hours, does it really make me a single parent?
I will admit, I have said I felt like a single parent a few times early on in his career as a chef.
However, I am not.
And by saying that I am, or even saying that I feel like I am, is really disrespectful to my chef/husband.
Wait . . . Don’t stop reading!!
Hear me out.
Let me tell you why I think that.
Here’s a brief description of my chef/husband’s life.
He gets up each morning, usually exhausted, heads off to work to provide for us, and works like crazy the entire day, just to come home and sleep and do the same thing the next day. That’s what he does day after day. His job as the head of our home is to provide for us.
When he’s home, yes he’s tired, but he doesn’t complain. He apologizes for being tired. He’ll go out and do things with us no matter how tired he is or what part of his body he feels is going to fall off at the moment. He does not do any housework or take care of anything around the house. (I stay at home full time so that is my “job”.) He helps with the kids and helps cook when he is home (thank goodness).
If he’s not at work, he’s home with us. Occasionally he will go out with the CEO or regional chefs/managers, but that is very rare. He chooses to be with us when he is off.
So let me put myself in my husband’s shoes for a minute. (Not his actual stinky chef shoes but just in his place. You know what I mean.)
How would I feel if my spouse said they felt like a single parent because they do the majority of the parenting because I’m at work, working my butt off day after day so that we can pay our bills? I would fee l horrible, furious, angry, etc.
So by calling myself a single parent or saying I feel like one, is really taking away all my husband’s worth as a father and husband. It makes it sound like he is a slacker and doesn’t do anything.
For 99.9% of us, working is not a choice, it is a necessity. No matter what you do, those silly bills keep coming each month. If he doesn’t work, we can’t pay our bills.
Marriage and parenting are not 50/50.
They are 100/100.
The responsibilities are not the same.
You are both in it 100% every day for the rest of your life.
This means that both of you are doing 100% of what you need to for your family.
Your days will look different. They just will. And that’s OK.
Now I know what many of you are thinking. . . I work full time too and I’m tired after work as well. I bet!! However, if that is the case, I’m guessing the hours are still less than those of your chef. I know that your situation is different than mine and that your home and routine will be different. I get that. But I would still wonder how your chef would feel if he knew you felt like a single parent and that you said that to others. What would his response be? (Or her response . . . of course I’m not leaving out female chefs . . .it’s just awkward to always say he/she his/her etc.)
If each of us are doing the right thing for our family, whether it’s working at 5 pm or feeding the kids at home at 5 pm, we are both being parents . . . one of us just happens to be doing their part away from the house.
I know that at times we might feel that our family comes second to their career. (And in some cases it might.) But is that feeling true, or just our frustration about their hours? In my case, it’s always been my frustration about the hours.
Let’s say you and the kids were in a car accident and one or more of you were rushed to the local ER. Do you really think your chef would say they were to busy to come? I don’t care if the President of the United States was dining at the restaurant, my husband would leave and would be calling his crew on his phone as he was running out the door. The majority of managers, kitchen crews and owners would be supportive of that. If not, then get out of that restaurant!! Our family will always come first.
The reason he works hard at his job is BECAUSE of our family. It’s not for himself. He does so to provide for us and take care of us.
So the next time you are frustrated with the kids, wishing your chef/husband was around more to help, put yourself in their shoes for a minute and think about what they are doing for your family. Are you really a single parent? (Now if they are out with friends every night after work or every day off, maybe it’s time to talk. But if they are working, just think about it.)
So what are your thoughts? Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below.
From one chef’s wife to another,