Finding Time for Yourself when you’re Raising a Family with a Chef

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Time for myself?  By myself?  What’s that?

One thing I struggle with is finding time for myself and finding time to do the things I would like to do instead of just doing the things I have to do.  I believe finding this balance is so important because if I’m a mess, how in the world can I take care of myself and my family.

Before we had kids, this wasn’t a problem.  Yes, I worked full-time, but my chef/husband worked more (big surprise) so I always had time in the evening for hobbies (or to watch TV and do nothing).

If I wanted to spend time with friends or go out and do something, I could.  No problem.  (I might add that I could also afford it as we were both working full time.)

Finding time for yourself when you're raising a family with a chefThen we had kids.

I love my 3 children very much and can’t imagine life without them.

But . . .

Time for myself?  By myself?  What’s that?

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m married to a chef.  He works a lot of hours.  He tends to work hours that others are off.  So if there’s an event to go to, he’s probably going to be working. . . which means with me comes 3 children, everywhere.  I’m not complaining, just stating the facts.

Anyone that knows me, knows that if they invite me over to their home or to go somewhere, they are really inviting 4 of us.  It’s just a given.

Fortunately at this time in my life, many of my friends have spouses who also work different and odd hours, so they can relate.  There are some invitations I have to decline or hire a babysitter for, but I rarely go to things without the girls.  It’s not always easy to find a friend to watch your kids and paying for a babysitter is not always in the budget.  With most of our family 19 hours away, asking them for help is not an option.  So like I said, with me comes 3 kids.

So how do I find time to do the things I’d like to do?  I love being a mom.  I love being a wife.  But I still would like to be me and have a few interests of my own.  I’d like to be able to do something for myself occasionally during the day and maybe even go out one evening with a friend. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Below are some things that have worked for me over the years as I’ve tried to find time to do things for myself.

I’m sure many of you have other ideas (which I’d love to hear), but this is what has worked for me over the past 10 years.  (10 years?  Where did that time go??)

Remember I’m a stay at home mom.  I do work a little from home now, but that was not always the case.  Money for entertainment and/or a babysitter has not always been in our budget living off the one income of a chef.

  • Nap time – Forget doing things around the house!!  (This is very hard for me as I can’t relax when I see things that need to be done.) Do something fun!  Make a latte, grab a book and relax.
  • Swap babysitting with a friend.  Watch their kids for a few hours and then have her watch yours.  Find something FREE to do.
  • Baby Einstein Video – Sometimes you just need 30 minutes.  🙂
  • Playland at the grocery store – One of our local grocery stores has a playland in it.  I have checked my girls in and let them play with Miss Emily (who we LOVE), shopped for a few minutes and used the rest of the hour to enjoy a cup of coffee and waste time on Facebook.  Not really productive, but a very nice break!!
  • Hire a babysitter. Aside from date nights with my husband, I have paid for a babysitter 2 times to go out with a friend and both times were to go to my husband’s restaurant for a new menu roll out.  I really wanted to try the new menu and enjoy a long, peaceful dinner.  A babysitter was the only option.  (Fortunately I only had to pay for the tip at the restaurant, or it would have been a VERY expensive evening.)
  • Our youngest started Kindergarten this year, so currently I have a couple mornings a week to myself.  I usually fill them with things I need to do, but have also enjoyed a few lunches and coffees with friends during this time.  We’re still a few years away from being able to leave our girls home alone . . . but I see the time coming in the distant future.  🙂  If you are a mom with babies and toddlers, it does get a little easier as they get older and can entertain themselves for longer periods of time.  Hang in there!!
  • Grab a bag of toys, grab a tablet computer or portable DVD player and bring them with me.  This is what usually ends up happening.  Now that my girls are older, they can handle doing something on their own for a while.  (I met a few friends a few weeks ago to open our Stitch Fix boxes together and brought all 3 girls with me.  Not the most relaxing night with kids, but still fun to hang out with friends and try on new clothes that were picked out just for me!  Whatever works, right?)

How do you find time for yourself with kids and a chef/husband who works most evenings?

From one chef’s wife to another,




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  1. Alyson

    Very simple, I don’t. I rarely, very, very rarely, run or walk at dawn when he’s home, but these days he leaves at 5am, so only on his days off, which maens maybe once every 2 weeks. It was easier in Australia, chef’s hours are much shorter there, but I missed London and all her facilities so much. We homeschool too,so I’ve had 10 years of being a full time mum, rather than 4 or 5, with lots more to go.

    • Jennifer

      Why do you think chefs hours are less in Australia? Just curious. Should we look into moving there? (Just kidding.)

      With all 3 in school I thought I’d have so much time, but I feel like I’m at the school constantly and am busier now than I was when they were all home. Not sure why that is.

      Have you at least found it easier to do things with the kids as they’ve gotten older?

  2. Alyson

    The big difference is that Australians eat early ( we were in laid back Far North Queensland). There’s no going out for dinner at 9-10pm, no after theatre crowd, so the kitchen is often closed completely by that time. For us, he was exec chef, so he wrote the rotas, that made life easier and his resort hotel was literally behind our back fence, no 2 hour commute on the tube. He’s temping in London and taking all the hours he can get. The kids are always with me and I love that, in Australia James could always take an hour off if I needed to go to the doctors or anything like that, but in London that’s impossible. We manage, but we’re out of here soon. My heart is in London but we can’t live like this with these crazy hours. I know what you mean about the school run, I loathed it, so glad we’re not tied to the schools, freedom is great.

    • Jennifer

      That makes more sense! Going to the Dr. with kids is tough! I hope you don’t need to do that often!!!!


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