I’m excited to start a new series here on Emulsified Family called A Chef, A Wife and a Child. During the series I’ll be sharing about our life with children, but have asked other chefs’ wives to share their stories as well.
I’ll be posting in this series every Tuesday evening through September. If you haven’t already signed up to receive my posts via email, you can do so here and then come back and read the rest of the post. I can wait. 🙂 Other blog posts on different topics will pop up here and there as well.
We all have different stories and different experiences about having a child with a chef. If you have children, or are thinking about it in the future, I hope you will be able to relate to one or more of us as we share our lives with you. I’ll also be talking a bit about miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and infertility as so many of us struggle with those issues as well.
To those chef families who do not have children yet, having a child is often an overwhelming thought because of the long and crazy hours a chef works. And for those of us living it every day, there are ups and downs as we try and figure out how to combine restaurant and family life. Then there are those with grown children who have lived to tell about it. (Feel free to leave your advice in the comments!!)
So to start off the series, I thought we should start at the beginning. . . .
Help! I’m pregnant and married to a chef!
I wonder how many of my friends will congratulate us before they read the rest of this post.
No, we are not expecting another child.
But after 19 years of marriage, 5 pregnancies and 3 children, I am here to say that having a baby with a chef is possible. Not easy, but possible.
We were married for about 10 years before we had our first child. (We got married young – 20 and 21 years old.) By that time, my husband had worked his way up the kitchen ladder to the position of Executive Chef and we had adjusted to the crazy hours and lifestyle that went along with it. I was working full time as a teacher. He was working more than full time as a chef and we somehow found a way to see each other in the midst of that.
We always knew we wanted to have a family and both desired for me to stay home full time once we did. But how in the world do you cut out half of your income and add the expenses of a baby at the same time? It looked impossible on paper. But after praying about it and taking advice from godly friends and family who said if we waited until we thought we could afford it, we might never start a family, we decided it was time to start trying.
Below is the first bit of my pregnancy journal from our first born:
I took a pregnancy test this morning a little after 7am and it came back positive! Tom got home around 3:30 last night, so I didn’t wake him up right away. I made coffee cake, got ready and made him a “Happy Father’s Day” card. He got up on his own around 9 am. I got him his breakfast and gave him the card. He was surprised. I hugged and kissed him almost crying. He asked, “What do you do next?” I told him I’d go to Kaiser later today and have another test to verify it. WOW!
My first reaction was that the test might be wrong. I laid down on the bed in our guest room and prayed that if it was God’s will, I would carry the baby full term.
After verifying my home pregnancy test, we called our parents and a few close friends and told them the news. Oh that was so much fun!! I wish we could have recorded their reactions!
But while it was so much fun telling them the great news, there were also tears of sadness because I couldn’t tell my Mom that she was going to be a Grandma. (Tears even start as I type that, 10 years later.) My Mom passed away about 12 years ago – you can read more about losing a parent in this post. Fortunately my Dad screamed and yelled (in the phone) with excitement when hearing the news, so the sadness quickly turned to laughing and surprise as I had never seen him react to anything like that before. It was priceless and a moment I will never forget!
After the whirlwind of excitement slowed down, the reality of pregnancy set in. I will never understand how something so tiny can just suck all your energy out and make it so you can hardly function. During my first trimester, it was all I could do to make it through the day in the classroom. Then I would come home and crash for the rest of the night. With my chef/husband and I working opposite hours, this wasn’t a problem, at least for a while.
Then the laundry kept piling up, dirty chef clothes started to stink, dishes were everywhere, I was tired of eating Taco Bell (I was too tired to cook) and the house was getting dirty. First trimester pregnancy is the only time in my life when I have been able to sit down and relax with a messy house. I cared that it was messy, but physically couldn’t do anything about it.
I eventually got back to the routine of laundry and cleaning (a little) and my chef/husband helped with some meals. I made it through the first trimester and we made the big announcement to everyone.
Then the reality of actually having the baby and not just being pregnant started to hit me. I’m sure this happens to every women who is pregnant.
Are we ready to be parents?
What if we can’t do it?
What if the baby doesn’t sleep well?
What if I can’t breastfeed?
What if we don’t have money to pay our bills after I quit my job to stay home with the baby?
And then the big one . . . how are we going to do this parenting thing with my husband being a chef?
My husband works a ton of hours! Will he ever be able to see the baby?
I’m sure I’m going to be taking care of the baby most of the time. What if I can’t do it? What if I get too overwhelmed?
How can I add more laundry in? I can barely keep up with the chef coats and regular clothes as it is!
What if I have an emergency with the baby in the middle of the dinner rush? (Only a chef wife would think that!)
What if, what if, what if. . . .
Well, there’s one simple answer – with God’s help. We couldn’t do this on our own. I couldn’t answer all those questions. But God could. He knew our fears, my fears. If it was His will for us to start a family, then somehow all those things would fall into place. Worrying about it wasn’t going to help at all. (Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made know to God.”)
Having survived pregnancy (multiple times), let me tell you that worrying did not help or make anything better.
OVERWHELMING . . . that pretty much describes being pregnant and married to a chef . . . there is too much to think and worry about. So just stop worrying!! It doesn’t help!
Sorry. Does it look like I’m yelling that at you? I don’t mean to. But really, if you take just one thing out of this post, I want you to take that! It is overwhelming, but you will survive. Feel free to email me if you need support because you just don’t think you can go on another minute. I’ve been there! Trust me!
So in answer to the above questions . . . Yes my chef/husband worked a lot of hours. But he did have time to see the baby. (And seeing him in his chef clothes holding our tiny little daughter was adorable!!)
I did take care of the baby most of the time. I survived. Some days were really hard and overwhelming, but worth it. I had to ask for help a lot (which is very hard for me), but my friends and family were wonderful.
If there was an emergency with the baby in the middle of the dinner rush, there was always the option of calling the restaurant directly and having them pull my husband off the line to come to the phone. He would have left at a moment’s notice and his crew would have supported him. The restaurant could survive without him. No one’s dinner is more important than a baby’s life. (Seriously, I had to tell myself these things!)
The rest of the pregnancy went pretty well and on my first day of maternity leave, as we were getting ready to head to Disneyland for one last trip before the baby was born, my water broke and off to the hospital we went! That night, our beautiful daughter was born.
Our lives would never be the same.
Am I the only chef wife who wondered how in the world we were going to be parents with the crazy hours a chef works? I’m sure I’m not alone!
From one chef’s wife to another,
Also in the series A Chef, a Wife and a Child. . .