So what hours does your husband work? Besides being asked if my chef/husband cooks at home, this is the second most frequently asked question I get because of my husband’s profession.
The hours are crazy and always changing, but harder than the long hours, is the last minute change in schedule. While my husband is the Executive Chef (and currently the interim General Manager) of the restaurant he works at, that is a ton of responsibility. So if something comes up and it happens to be on a day he is scheduled to have off, he works. Obviously there are others in the restaurant that can handle a lot of things, but sometimes, it has to be him.
Last Friday was a perfect example. He was scheduled to be off, but a last minute meeting came up and he had to go in for a few hours (with 2 1/2 hours commute time as well.) 🙁
Disappointment is probably the word that best describes my feelings and emotions when this happens at the last minute. Disappointment for him, as he was looking forward to having time to rest and spend with our family, disappointment for me because I miss him and love spending time with him and disappointment for the kids as they were looking forward to him being home and at swim lessons. As adults, we can deal with it easier than the kids. Even if we don’t like it, we both understand that his job completely supports our family and we need for him to be employed for us to pay our bills. So the hours and changing schedule just come with that.
Explaining this to the kids is a bit harder. As a Mom, I try my best to help them understand, but it’s not easy. If we didn’t need money to live, Daddy could just stay home all the time. We talk about how hard it would be to pay our bills and buy food and clothes, if he wasn’t working. We talk about how if money didn’t matter and he could choose to be at work or home, he would of course choose to be home. But money does matter. No matter what I do, those silly bills keep coming each month and I can’t get them to stop!
Now I probably should clarify one thing, even though it takes us on a bit of a tangent. I’m not talking about working so much to try and get the next latest and greatest thing or go on vacation constantly. I’m talking about working to provide for your family and pay your mortgage, utility and medical bills. Growing up both of our moms stayed home while we were young, which meant both of our dads worked 2 jobs. When my Dad was home from his 9-5 job, he was working on cars in the garage to provide extra money for us to live. My husband’s Dad worked 2 jobs when he was young for the same reason. They both set a great example for my husband and I on how to provide for your family as the head of the household. I am grateful for that. It’s wasn’t easy and I know they sacrificed a lot. But that’s what you do as a parent, whether it’s easy or not.
So while I could go back to work full time, we chose for me to stay home and take care of the girls and our home. Could my chef/husband go out and get a different job that required less hours? Yes, if he changed careers. But at this point, he would probably have to get two jobs starting out in a different industry just so we could pay our bills, which would mean the same hours he has now, and he wouldn’t be doing what he loves. Plus, he attempted this a couple times and it never worked out. It’s pretty clear to us that God wants him in the kitchen as a chef.
So back to working long hours with last minute changes in schedule to provide for your family. . .
I have dealt with these last minute changes in schedule numerous ways over the years, some definitely better than others. At times I was extremely verbal about how I felt, which made it worse and far harder on him. The times it was the worst revolved around having to work on Sunday mornings. This was obviously not good for our marriage and I definitely don’t advise trying to make your husband or significant other feel bad and using words to “punish” them about having to go into work last minute or working very long hours. Been there. Done that. It doesn’t work and makes things FAR WORSE. Just being honest here.
On the opposite end, keeping it all inside and pretending everything is fine and that I didn’t care didn’t work either. He knows me too well and I wasn’t fooling him, which made it worse because we were not communicating with each other about what was really going on.
So now, we talk about it and I support him and tell him I understand (because I do for the reasons stated above). He knows I am disappointed already, so I don’t need to say it, although sometimes we do still talk about it, especially if it causes a change in plans that affect our whole family. While I am disappointed, I try really hard to remember why he is working and to be grateful that his job and hard work allow me to stay home. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with this EVERY TIME! This last time it happened I noticed that because of my disappointment and frustration, I had much less patience with the kids and got frustrated with them very easily. I’m sure it’s always been like that, I just happened to notice this time. Guess I’ll be working on that . . .
As far as the kids, the change in plan announcement usually comes from me and we talk about it and work through it. While it’s hard to see them disappointed, in the end, they know that he loves them A TON and that everything he does at work is to provide for them. It’s not easy and will continue to be a work in progress.
As the long hours continue and plans constantly change, we try our best to stay positive and not get too discouraged. I know many people who are out of work and are struggling to find a job in this economy. So I am grateful and never want to take his job for granted. I would definitely choose the inconvenience of last minute changes over unemployment. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is a great reminder – “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
So this is how we handle the last minute changes in schedule as a family.
How do you handle these last minute changes with your chef?
From one chef’s wife to another,
Even though my husband wasn’t a chef he was a police officer and I can relate to the change in schedule, going to lots of events by myself or the kids and I. When he worked nights he then would have to wait at court many times because one of his cases were coming to trial. This was before they let you be on call. When he finally got home he’d sleep for awhile and I’d try to keep the kids quiet. Then he’d try to eat something but didnt know if he wanted breakfast or dinner. Then have to go back to work. Plus he worked a second job so I could be a stay at home mom. It was hard and I felt guilty that he had to work so much. I don’t think there is a 40 hour job anymore. But we both agreed we needed to raise our kids not a stranger.
Feel free to pass on the tips about keeping the kids quiet!
I often feel guilty as well, especially if the girls and I are out doing something fun and he’s working and exhausted. When I once told him this he said he wouldn’t want it any other way. He’s happy to know we are having fun. (I still feel bad though.) 🙁
Less than a week our from Christmas and it all turned around today. My plans for visiting a friend on Boxing day…forget it. I can live with it but friends and family find it harder I think.
Oh bummer! Hate it when that happens! I agree that family and friends have a harder time with it, probably be cause we’re used to it by now. 🙁
Being married to a chef is hard, it takes patience, understanding and sacrifice. I was started to feel sorry for myself on a Saturday night wondering what time my husband was going to be home from work. He’s been gone since 8am and its 11:30 pm and he’s still at work. The hardest part is we have 2 young kids and no other close friends or family around. Sometimes I try to be supportive because if I didn’t it would make it even harder for him to be at work so long, but sometimes I’m just so angry and resentful.
Ugh! That’s a long day!! I’m sure you are both exhausted!
I know exactly how you feel. We moved away from our parents and friends about 5 years ago and it’s tough!
It’s hard not to be resentful and angry, but as you said, being supportive makes it easier for them. I know it’s hard, but so much better for our relationship if we can somehow get past that and not take it personally. (I know, easier said than done.) Hugs to you on this Saturday night!!
I’m struggling to deal with my boyfriends career at the moment. He’s had to work for the past 2 weeks straight, at least 2 of those days were from 6am to past 11pm. It’s physically and mentally exhausting.
We just moved to a new city together (one which we don’t really like, admittedly) for his job. While I work 9-5 I haven’t really made any friends here yet, and spend most of my free time cleaning the house so that I have something to do.
But it’s lonely and exhausting trying to keep him from being alone and exhausted. I try to stay positive, but I’m not sure how to, really…
I know it’s hard. I remember how hard it was when we moved up to Seattle for my husband’s job and I was home, without a car, and didn’t know many people. I think it’s really a mind game. Sometimes, I had to make myself stay positive and I reminded myself a lot that he was working the long hours to provide for us and not get away from us. 🙂