I Never Knew How Hard Mother’s Day was for So Many Women

Until I lost my mother to cancer 12 years ago, I never knew Mother’s Day was a hard day for anyone.  For me, it was a fun day to celebrate my Mom and my Mother-In-Law.  While my chef/husband was always working, (hello busiest day of the year – no Mom wants to cook) we just chose another day to celebrate and that was that.

I have no idea why it never occurred to me that this would be a very hard day for so many women.  My Mom lost her mother to cancer when I was 9 months old and my Dad lost his mother when I was 7.  I’m sure all those Mother’s Days after they died were hard.  But either I was oblivious and didn’t notice, or they did a pretty good job of hiding it from me. (more…)

Why Can’t Daddy Have a Normal Job?

chef and daughter

How do I answer that?

What is a “normal job?”

To a 9 year old, a normal job would be one where Daddy was off on Saturday and Sunday, the days she is off of school. 

A “normal job” would be one where he is home this afternoon so she could stay at home with him, instead of having to go to a baby shower with me (knowing her friends will not be there, but will be home with their dads.)

I guess a “normal job” would be what we consider a 9-5 job, although I know very few people who actually work a job like that.

It would not be the job of a Chef.

So this morning, in tears, she says to me, “Why can’t Daddy just have a normal job?”  She was crying and angry (not angry at him, but angry he can’t be home more).

My husband and I have a hard enough time with the crazy hours and ever changing schedule of a chef, but apparently now we have to figure out how to explain them to our oldest, who sees him the least of all of us.

I am not sure why it hit her so hard this morning, but it did, and I got this question, in tears, for the first time.

I really have no idea how to answer it either.

She is in school or on the bus for about 7 hours a day during the week.  The other girls are home at least part of the day when he’s off, so it’s not as big of a deal.  So when Daddy/Chef is off only during the week, she only sees him for a couple hours, some of which have to be spent doing homework, eating, taking a shower, etc, normal things that just have to be done.

We can plan date nights for just the two of them.  We can plan ahead as much as possible to make as much free time on his days off for her, but it still stinks.  We all know it does.

How can I help her cope with this reality that will be probably always be part of her life?

How about crying?

Yep, that’s what I did.  I sat on the couch, held her in my arms and we cried together.  It’s so hard!  I know it’s hard!  I miss him too!  Less than an hour earlier I had just told my chef/husband over the phone that I missed him so much (and I was home on his day off 2 days ago.)

So after a little sobbing, we talked.  I reminded her about how much we both loved her and how grateful Daddy and I are that his job allows me to stay home and take care of our family.

We talked about the gifts and talents that God has given my husband in the area of cooking and how he uses those every day to provide for us.

We even talked about his brief attempt to get out of the kitchen to try and have a “normal” life.  It didn’t work.  God had other plans.  He went back in the kitchen and kept getting promoted.  How can you argue with that?  It’s clearly the profession God has for him.  (This probably went over her head, but it sure helps me when I’m discouraged.)

We talked about what to do when we get angry.  We talked about praying and asking God to help us not be angry, to help us calm down and to not be upset.

And we cried some more.

The day went on.  We both recovered and are fine.  But it’s tough.  And this is only the first of our three children to ask that question.  We have two more who will be in school full time soon too.

So as the days go on, school and work will continue.  I guess I’ll be adding this to my list of things I pray for her each morning.  Missing Daddy is no fun.  🙁

Before I conclude, I should probably say that I do not write this post to make my chef/husband feel bad or guilty in any way.  While we miss him very much, it’s just as hard for him to be away from us at work for so many hours. 

I almost didn’t write it because of that.

But this is our reality.  This is what we go through at home.  This is the whole reason why I blog . . . to share what our ups and downs are as a family trying to combine restaurant and family life. 

While I feel like I’m alone in this part of parenting, I really don’t think I am.  There are thousands of restaurants in the US alone!  Where are all the other chef wives and moms having this same conversation with their kids?  If you are out there, please speak up!

Wow that sounds like a desperate cry for help – lol.  But seriously, I would love to connect with you.  Please leave a comment.  Hunt me down on Facebook.  Let’s talk!

Last Minute Changes in Schedule

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.)  🙁 (more…)