Do you Ever Feel Like You Are Living Separate Lives?

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Why yes I do.  Thanks for asking.

Sometimes I feel like I have my life here at home with the girls and my husband has his life at work and then here at home.  The things we each do in a day are so different from each other.  Our two lives come together for a few minutes a day and then we go our separate ways.

The majority of the year he does get 2 days off a week.  During those weeks, he doesn’t seem like a stranger.  There is time to talk (even if it’s chaotic with kids running around), meals together as a family, etc.  However, there are times, like day 11 of a 14 day stretch with no days off.  This doesn’t happen often, but occasionally it does.  I really miss him during those times.

11 long days of work in a row.  Has anyone seen my husband?  (Just kidding.)  Oh look, the restaurant just posted a picture of him on Twitter.  (Seriously, this has happened before and I laughed and said to myself, “Oh look, that’s what my husband is up to right now.”

In case you don’t know what I mean by separate lives, here’s a snapshot of what our lives were like one day, when my husband was a chef of a large fine dining restaurant. 

Not only was it Easter, but it was a rare, beautiful, sunny day.  (We live in Seattle so we get really excited when the sun is out!!)  The restaurant was as full as it could possibly be.  He left the house at 4:45 am and in the evening he called saying he should be home by 11 pm.  They served over 900 people that day.

I am a stay at home Mom.  I manage a few websites for a couple local businesses, I blog a little, and take care of our home and 3 children.  I got up at 5:30 am and finally sat down to relax at 8:33 pm.  I went to church that morning, took care of the kids that afternoon, cooked and cleaned a little and served Easter dinner to 6 people that evening.

Our days were very different!  He said goodbye to me as I was half asleep as he walked out the door and was be home after I was in bed.

I don’t say that to compare our jobs or roles or to say one is harder than the other (although that day, I CLEARLY got the better end of the deal).   We each have our jobs/roles, but the hours of a chef make it tough to see each other and to spend time as a family.

Sometimes I feel like we are living separate lives.

Not only are our days different, it’s hard to really understand what the other person has gone through in the course of a day. 

I really have no idea what it would be like to serve 900 people in a fine dining restaurant.  That task sounds impossible and like my worst nightmare.  Yet my husband takes it in stride and things go smoothly.

On the flip side, he really has no idea what it is like to stay home with the kids all day, train and discipline them (some days a lot more than others) and do everything around the house, day in and day out.

I think if we traded places for a week, I would be dead and he would be out of his mind.  I’m pretty sure he would agree. 

We are each where we need to be, doing what we need to be doing, but missing each other terribly!

On Saturday, the day before Easter, this really hit me as I laughed at a conversation we had via text.  Here’s the perfect example of how different our days are . . .

 

Bunny Pancakes

Me: Breakfast

 

rabbit

Chef/Husband: Looks like one of these.

Seriously?  See what I mean?

I made pancakes for the girls that looked like cute little bunny bums and he sent me this.

I guess both activities at least had something to do with a rabbit.  I laughed for a while over this “conversation.”

Totally different!!

Another way it seems like we live separate lives is when it comes to friends.

I recognize a lot of names of people he works with, but if I saw them at the store, would not recognize them.  He knows many of my friends by name, but we don’t hang out as families.  With the long hours and last minute changes of schedule of a chef, it makes it hard to invite someone over or to be invited over.  Chefs work when most people are off.  Oh the life of the chef.  I would love to have time and friends to do things with as a family.  This is a really tough one for me, so I’ll leave it at that for now.  I’m sure there will be another post about that in the future.

So separate lives – my life here at home and his life at the restaurant and here at home – and we are trying to emulsify them (thus the name of the blog in case you haven’t caught on before).  Some days I think we have it figured out.  Other days I just sit and ask myself, “Are we ever going to figure this out?”

But here we are with these two lives which in all reality don’t fit very well together, yet this is where God has brought us.  We’re not going to give up trying to emulsify these separate lives.  It’s tough.  We’ll have good days and bad days, and then some really, really, really bad days.  We’ll have to fight for our marriage, our family, his job, all of it.  But we won’t give up.  We’re in this together, ‘til death do us part.

I used to wonder if this feeling of living separate lives would ever change as he moved beyond the position of Executive Chef.

I’m happy to say is has, somewhat.

As a corporate chef, I would say his schedule was pretty much as crazy as that of an Executive Chef.  So not much different.

However, as the COO of a restaurant group (his current position), life is quite different.

He is always off on weekends.  (I think he has worked 1 Saturday in the past 7 months.)  He is off major holidays.  If the kids have a school event that they want him to attend, no matter what time of day, he can be there (as long as we get it on his calendar so he can plan for it).

Now don’t get me wrong.  He still works a ton of hours.  But it’s different.  His commute really dictates his hours, as he really hates sitting in 2 hours of traffic.

He leaves super early and hits the gym before work.  Then he works his very long day and either stays til after traffic has slowed down and then comes home, or leaves before traffic starts and works at a Starbucks near home for a bit and is home from dinner.  He’s also blocked out 1 day a week where he works from home (or Starbucks) so we see him a bit more that day.

While there have been a few super crazy weeks, I feel much less like we live separate lives.  He’s involved in meal planning since he’s eating at home more often.  He’s around to help with the kids, which has become a NECESSITY, since our kids are older.  We have a bit more time to talk about work and things going on at home so I feel more like part of his life, and him more of mine.  I’m very thankful!

So….I’ve lived it all from line cook to COO or a restaurant group.  Ask me anything in the comments below and if I can relate, I’ll let you know.  (And chances are I can!)

From one chef’s wife to another,

 

10 Comments

  1. Krystal

    I feel like this all the time!! We do life so differently it’s super hard. Thanks for sharing- we’re not alone!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Thanks Krystal. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sheri

    Perfect timing for me to see this today! My husband was just off for Thanksgiving and the day after, but only because the restaurant was closed for Thanksgiving (1 of 2 days a year) and Black Friday was our son’s birthday. It was unprecedented! We had friends in town for the long weekend and he did miss some time with them due to his schedule. The Saturday after Thanksgiving he worked 5am-10pm, with almost an hour long commute each way. I work from home running a licensed family child care, and shuttle our two kids on their adventures each evening. The balance to be emulsified can be tricky, but we will always do our best to make it work. 😉

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      I love that you used “emulsified” in your comment! 🙂 Glad you can relate!! Just saw your request to join our closed FB group. Check your email for the initiation! Looking forward to getting to know you more in there Sheri!
      Jennifer recently posted…Don’t Grab That Pan Handle!My Profile

      Reply
  3. Cynthia

    I’m about 9 months into a relationship with a chef, who’s actually a head chef. He’s recently just moved back home with his parents after being overseas for a few months. Prior to his overseas adventure, he rented his own house, making it soo much easier for me to see him and be able to actually connect/bond with him.
    Since his return home, now as a head chef, he’s putting in 110% (16 hour days, 7 days per week). He’s very young and passionate about his career, and at 23 he really strives to build up his reputation. As his girlfriend i’m thrilled to hear that he’s doing very well for himself, however…I’m finding it extremely difficult to connect with him as I only see him for 2 hours every 2 weeks.
    Although I truly don’t want to let go of such a great thing, i’m torn between breaking off the relationship, or at least try to be more understanding and patient and supportive of him. At times I do feel quite lonely, I do miss how things used to be, but that’s a thing of the past now. I believe it can work, but I feel he needs to put in a bit more effort. Am I asking too much?

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      Hi Cynthia. I don’t know that you are necessarily asking too much, but the schedule sounds familiar. Hopefully it won’t stay that way for long, but unfortunately, to move up in the kitchen and be noticed, they do have to put in hours like that. 🙁 I hope you find time soon that you can talk about it with him.

      Reply
    • MacKenzie

      Your story is almost too familiar, it’s scary. I have been dating a chef for a little over 2 years and he was off gallivanting about the globe for a while and I did visit, but he’s home now opening a new restaurant and is working almost every day, all day. He leaves early in the morning and comes home late after I’m in asleep. He has his first day off (Monday) after the opening and of course, I’m working.
      I feel the same, as though he needs to put in a bit more effort. When you get 3 minutes of face time in the morning and feel lucky just to get a text or two, though I know he’s busy, it makes it so hard on my end. So glad I’m not the only one :-/

      Reply
  4. Amy

    I’ve come across your blog a few times – I swear we must be doppelgänger twins. I’ve been with my Chef hubby for 19 years, 13 married; two kids & the occasional person asking if he’s “real” during holidays, why we’re never available on a weekend (until recently weekends were pipe dreams, now they’re fairly reliable…and the kids are creeping toward the teen years so not much time for “family time” left).
    I’ve enjoyed your blog. Nice to be reassured that we’re normal…well, chef-wife normal. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      My twin! J/k…our oldest is 12 and it hit me the other day how fast time goes by! Happy tween/teen years to us!!

      Reply

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