Who is to blame? The man or the mission?

May 19, 2014 in Expectations, Life, Relationships

blame him for everything

image: Pinterest

Before you dive in, start here.

The topic that has come up lately has been who to blame…. The man (or woman) or the restaurant? (* see below)

Blame for what, you say? For a sub par level of communication skills, for not being present in their relationship, for choosing to spend off the clock hours at the restaurant (or hanging out with the staff) than to be at home, not keeping in contact (in any way) during one of their really long days, for not taking care of his/her family, choosing to sleep in vs. pitching in at home or with the kids/pets, for having no responsibility around finances at home (or at the restaurant if you own your own), for the RESISTANCE to talk about anything outside their comfort zone, that is obviously putting a strain on the relationship, basically a glazing over of what is a very important part of everyday life… LIFE.

And before I launch into what I want to say about this… as I’ve already mentioned here, there is ALWAYS an exception to every rule. So yes, there are those reading this right now who are not questioning where the cause is. In a perfect world, we would all like to strive to not have to feel this way but for many of us (including myself from time to time), find ourselves feeling frustrated, resentful and without understanding what’s REALLY going on in our restaurant men/womens heads…so it’s easy to want to find something to hold onto instead of constantly living in that confused and frustrated state.  No need to judge yourself harshly if you are trying to find a reason for his behavior… maybe if we talk about it, it will help us find helpful ways to create solutions, instead of staying in the state we frequently are.

So… where was I… oh yes, The man or the mission?

From the conversations I’ve seen,  this is NOT a black and white issue. Many of you want to blame the man and the same amount of you want to blame the restaurant. Understandably so, I find that there is a MUCH greater sensitivity to looking at the cause being the man… and SO much easier to blame the restaurant. I mean, who wants to find the cracks in the man that we have chosen to spend our lives with – SO much easier to look at the industry as the potential culprit for our lives unrest. Blaming the man somehow reaches the core of us about WHY we decided to accept this in the first place, and that is an area we definitely don’t feel comfortable treading. To touchy a subject to broach, so we default to blaming the ways in which the industry “Made him do it.”

Oh, and side note: I feel it important to say, the one topic that I’m NOT bringing up here, a VERY important one at that.. is that what WE think their missing… their perceived notion of what their “responsibilities” are, they don’t seem to even be aware of . I want to talk about that in another post….about what responsibility means, to us and to them. So for now, if you can… please read this post knowing that what I’m NOT talking about is “Don’t they know that life is about being responsible??” but that I’m WELL aware that’s a primary reason for our unhappiness (and feeling of being UNSAFE) which leads us to want to blame the man or the mission in the first place.

I’d like to actually look at both sides, I think like the “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” question, I don’t think there is a clear cut answer. I personally think they play hand in hand. I want to talk about this because whether you believe it’s the man or the mission… it might be good to give you an opportunity to adjust your stance, and find some greater peace in your restaurant relationship.

Let’s do “I think the RESTAURANT is to blame” first… or the mission, since it’s an obviously easier culprit (or is it?)

Of course it makes sense to point the finger at the place where he seems to get into the most trouble. Not returning your phone calls or texts while he’s on the line, getting a little too close for comfort to his/hers coworkers, coming home smelling like onions and a few too many adult beverages. From what you KNOW, it’s his place of employment that he seems to easily get swept up in, and unlike hearing how things are at the office like most 9-5′rs, the stories that come out of the restaurant can almost be a cross between a soap opera and a circus.

You might probably be thinking… “But if he didn’t work at the restaurant, he would be more interested at home, his priorities, etc…” The fact that it’s not just his body but his brain, taking up permanent residence at work, that he would be more…simply AWARE that life is going on around him while he’s living in the vortex of the kitchen. (You know.. like his children who get fed and clothed each day, homework done with his almost oblivious observation. I mean, HOW does he think this happens while he is on the line everyday?)

I’m wondering…Is that REALLY the case?

It’s EASY to want to blame the restaurant, I mean they’re all the same. No matter where he/she goes.. it’s always the same story, right? You could move to another state, he could start working at another restaurant (in another position perhaps) and still within some set time… it’s like you’re living in Groundhog day of “The same as it ever was”.

Makes sense. Here’s where I am conflicted – The unwritten rules and ways of being at the restaurant have been laid down WAY BEFORE your man or woman decided to enter the culinary field. THEY didn’t create them, they willingly (whether they were aware of the degree to which they’d be involved) entered into them. They knew it wouldn’t involve standing by a water cooler, sitting in a cubicle or having to wear a tie. YES… being interested in food was their motivation but they also knew they wouldn’t have an conventional career either.

And because going into the restaurant industry involves late nights and unconventional living, it ATTRACTS people who want those things.

Even the unsavory things…. (alcohol, debauchery, etc)

Yes, it might not be easy to hear (more like read) but I feel confident that your other half knew what being in this industry involved (at least enough to still proceed) and WANTED it (or thought he/she could rise above it) and that’s what sealed the deal that this is a road they wanted to travel down. Again, there are always exceptions, but most of our restaurant men and women are fun loving, spur of the moment, live for today kinda people. It takes a person like that to handle the long hours, the intense stress of a busy dinner service and the ability to change on a dime them so successful in what they do, and what makes us so attracted to them in general.

*I mean come on.. they’re not coming home talking about how they were in a Powerpoint meeting or how they have these reports to work on…you met them talking about the exciting people they met, the interesting ingredients they used or the challenges they were able to overcome. You KNEW either in that first moment or within a relatively short period of time… what life would look like being this this man (or woman.)

In fact, you were turned on by it.

For example… I’ll turn this on myself. I can NOT turn a blind eye to the fact that I KNEW well and good that sitting at the bar and enjoying a drink after my then chef boyfriends shift was a part of his semi-regular routine. I would even sometimes meet him towards the end of his shift, enjoy his new dish and a drink, and catch up on what happened that day… it was a sexy way of connecting early on in our relationship and yet, more than a decade later… I find myself surprised and disappointed when he comes home smelling of his favorite drink. I’m upset with him about this? Is it the restaurant to blame? The restaurant didn’t make him have a drink. Should I blame my now chef husband for working at a place that has alcohol so readily available when there was a time that I enjoyed the perks myself?? *and sometimes still do.

Honestly I don’t think I can. *But I still do.

The temptations and ways of being (nocturnal, fun loving, pushed to the edge, moving fast, coordinating parties..FUN) will ALWAYS be a part of what a restaurant IS. I mean that’s why WE want to go out to eat… to relax, to enjoy ourselves, be treated well by our servers and to partake in eating delicious food. People that work at a restaurant need to be the kind of people who ENJOY doing those things for the restaurant, don’t you think?

I mean…it’s not a library.

We know what we’re getting ourselves into when we go to a library. Quiet time, searching for what we’re looking for, finding a spot to read or do our research… all during business hours. Librarys do… what they are meant to do. To stimulate our brains, to educate us, to hopefully inspire us. People who have the mentality to work in a library… work in a library. Can you blame the library and it’s primary commandment of being quiet when we want to share an exciting (read: LOUD) story with our friends? NO. We just DON’T go to the library. Probably people who work at a library ENJOY the cerebral (and quiet) mindset that is necessary, and are married to people who find that an attractive quality.

Can we blame our significant other for being ATTRACTED to (yes, even in the good and the bad) what working in a restaurant is like.. REALLY?

Now about the man (or woman)… Lets do the upside and downside of why the finger is primarily pointing at your other half.

First, the upside. Going back to what I said earlier… there is a reason why our men and women are attracted to this type of lifestyle. These are the fly by the seat of their pants, living in the moment, and loving life people for a reason. I can’t shake the feeling that one of those reasons are their desire to do something with their hands. I see a few common threads between the chefs I know, one being the desire to take something apart and put it back together. Interestingly, my chef husband used to be a MECHANIC and it’s the SAME sort of career, just this involves food instead of car parts. To others, it’s about the science. The CHEMISTRY of the food. That’s why when I hear the word DECONSTRUCTED… I can’t help spark an image of the mad scientist, working over and over again to find the perfect formula. Finally, I liken what they do with their craft like I see a PAINTER, holding their palate full of oil paints, it takes time, dedication and focus to create a masterpiece… such is the same case of our beloveds and what lies within them to practice their passion.

That said, sitting at a desk will NOT allow our beloveds to feel like they’re doing what makes them feel mechanical, artistic and/or scientific. Most of them KNOW they’re not meant for the 9-5, to sit for 8 hours in front of a computer. They know that standing over a myriad of different ingredients is where they are meant to be.

The restaurant is just their vehicle for giving them the ability to be that mechanic, chemist or artist.

And, because we can’t take the up without the down… there are the things about the restaurant industry that ENABLES our other halves to enter into it. Like I wrote in the hard to say piece (see here), the restaurant industry is a work hard, play hard sorta business. It attracts those who want to work hard and play hard.

Okay… let’s be real, they want to be somewhere that they can work hard WHILE playing hard. Almost always at the same time.

And, just like WE NEED (again, claiming exceptions here) to feel the SAFETY of routine and predictability in our own lives, They live on the EDGE. I know my husband says “I’m a machine” when it comes to pushing himself and doing what he has to do. I know I’m NOT a machine and honestly am grateful for it, but I admire his tenacity and blazing drive to achieve his goals. I need that sometimes stubborn drive in HIM to inspire ME to move forward. (I find myself saying this, especially now as a new mama)

Do I LIKE all the things that make my man tick? Well no, but I KNOW that he doesn’t like all of my ways of doing things either. Ha ha. He doesn’t like that I’m CONSTANTLY thinking of the next step and the next step. It is, I’m SURE, like I’m always a BUZZKILL. In fact, I’ll be transparent, he regularly says, when we’re out doing something spontaneous, “Don’t ruin it.” What HE needs to have a good time (NOT thinking about the next step and the next step, is EXACTLY what makes me feel safe and therefore happy.

THAT’S WHY WE NEED EACH OTHER.

Whether he’s aware of it or not (He’s not), he needs me (to keep his next step in view) and I need him (to remind me that Life isn’t always about preparing for the next step. )

IS IT FUN? To be with someone who pushes our buttons because unconsciously we are with them because WE need the reminder?

Uh, NO.

But I think at the end of the day… I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The man (*) and the mission are both REASONS we are where we are. We are INDEPENDENT, ACHIEVEMENT SEEKING  individuals… attempting to always create BALANCE.

So, whether you focus your grievances on the man (*) or the mission… maybe you can take this moment to see how.. the reason he IS the way he/she is, WHY he works where he/she does… is exactly the reason why you are the way you are. MAYBE… just MAYBE.. there IS nothing to blame here.. but instead, to be grateful for (I know.. I’m pushing it). My prediction about you is that you’re NOT the kind of person, deep down, who likes to watch life go by (like some of the loved ones in your life do) your a risk taker (even if it’s only in your head), you have your own dreams and goals… but are sometimes too stuck in your head to make them happen.

Maybe… just maybe the man (or woman)… who loves his/her mission… helps us get out of our heads long enough to encourage us to get to where we want to be.

If we could only always remember that. Right? Damn if that’s not the tricky part.

QUESTION: Which one is your other half… mechanic, chemist or artist? I would LOVE to know!
__________________________________

* For the purposes of trying to keep it simple and catchy, the title of this post is man – versus man or woman). I KNOW there are a lot of women chefs out there in relationships with their fellow significant others, but at this point, most of what I’m hearing is about the men of this equation. Writing to my known audience.

{GUEST POST} Help! We are raising a family AND my husband is a chef!

April 24, 2014 in Family, Life

Help - Emulsified Family

Before we had kids, I of course had all the answers.  I loved kids.  They were so little and cute, sweet and cuddly, full of hugs and slobbery kisses and loved to draw you pictures and give you things they had made.

What’s not to love?  I loved them so much I taught elementary school for 11 years. Everyone said that parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever do, but really?  How hard could it be?  (Stop laughing at me.  Really.  Don’t think I can’t hear you through the computer screen.)

Then we had kids.

Yes, all the above are true.  Unfortunately, parenting doesn’t stop with the slobbery kisses and cuddling, which we so soon found out.

  • When do I get a break?
  • What do you mean all babies don’t breastfeed easily?
  • Why do I have to keep disciplining them for the same thing over and over again?  You think they would get it by now!
  • Why are they so messy?
  • What do you mean I am going to go through this entire pack of newborn diapers in just a day and a half?
  • Why do they not want to eat the meal I’ve prepared?
  • Why won’t they stop talking?

Oh the list could go on and on . . .

Now I say the above jokingly.  I did know it was going to be hard, but did not expect it to be quite as challenging as it is on a day to day basis.  My experience with kids was that they left at 3:30 pm each day.  So if it was a tough day, I at least got a break in the evening.  Your own kids never leave . . . they are with you 24/7.

While you love your children more than you could have ever imagined, you never get a day off of parenting.  Some days will be easier than others, but there will always be a sweet (or not so sweet depending on the day) little person who needs you.

I truly do love being a parent.  It’s hard to remember what my life was like 10 years ago before our first daughter was born.  I love the time I get to spend with our girls and am so grateful for the chance to be their mom.  Time goes by so much faster now that we have kids.  I really have no idea where the last 9 ½ years went . . .

So now that we’ve established how wonderful and challenging parenting is, let’s throw the schedule of a Chef into the mix.  AHHHHHHHH!!!

If your chef/husband or significant other has a schedule anything like mine does, it is full of long hours and can change at any moment!

Currently my husband is the Executive Chef at Palisade, a large fine dining restaurant in Seattle, WA.  He works between 70-80 hours a week.  I am a stay at home Mom and do a little website development and blogging while the girls are resting, sleeping, or playing nicely.  2 of our girls are in school and 1 is still home with me, anxiously awaiting Kindergarten next year.

Now fortunately, I am able to stay home full time, so whatever days my chef/husband is off, I get to see him.  We can go out and do things in the middle of the week, and actually prefer this as things are less crowded.  While his schedule makes it hard to do things with other couples and families, we make it work for us and we HAD a decent amount of time together as a family.  We even managed to find time to talk with the kids around.

Then came Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade . . .

No longer were week days an option for us to do things as a family.  Some of our family was gone most of the day and then there was homework, dinner, baths, etc. when they got home.  Weekends are busy at the restaurant, so my chef/husband was usually working.  So that now leaves us with no day our entire family is off at the same time.  HELP!!

We have to try hard to find time to do things as family.  Advance preparation (if possible) seems to help (most days).  If I know the days my chef/husband will be off, we try to get ahead on piano and homework, so we can spend the evening together.  On his days off, I try to be as organized as possible so I don’t have to spend as much time cleaning, cooking and doing laundry.

On his days off, my chef/husband also tries to find time to do things with the girls individually.  It doesn’t happen every day, but even something as simple as playing Wii with “just Daddy” is special and they love every minute of it.  (They also tend to follow him around like he is in a parade, making it a bit tough to relax.  But that deserves a post all it’s own!)

Because of my chef/husband’s long hours, a lot of the parent responsibilities fall on me.  This can get discouraging at times.  Like we established above, parenting is hard work!  It’s not easy to be consistent with discipline and to stay on top of homework, AWANA verses, multiplication tables, teeth brushing, etc. when it’s just me most of the time.  It’s hard to ask for help when I need it, even though I know friends and family are there for support.  We all get overwhelmed as parents, especially if much of the burden is on our shoulders.  You’re not alone.

Because so much of the parenting falls to me, I find that if I don’t take time to take care of myself, my family suffers.  It’s not easy to find time to exercise and do things I enjoy that don’t involve the kids, but those things are so important!  If I’m stressed out and exhausted, there’s no way I can take care of my family.

So if you are feeling discouraged and ready to scream “Help!” remember you are not alone.

I would encourage you to communicate with your chef/husband or significant other about your frustrations and work through them together as a couple and family.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Hire a babysitter, ask a friend to watch the kids for an hour or two so you can get some rest of take a break.

And take care of yourself!  You can’t take care of others if you are an emotional wreck.  (Trust me, I’ve tried and it doesn’t work out well.)

We would love to hear your thoughts on how you manage to combine restaurant and family life.  Let’s get the conversation started in the comments below!  J

Emulsified Family

Jennifer Small is a stay at home mom and blogger who has been married to Chef Tom Small for 18 ½ years.  They have 3 children and reside in the Seattle, Washington area.

EmulsifiedFamily.com

Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Pinterest

Tom Small | Executive Chef and Proud papa

Palisade | facebook | twitter

Silence is not an option.

July 11, 2013 in Coping, Fears, Life, Restaurant Industry

Our lives begin to end

photo credit: pinterest

before you dive in, start here.

Read this quote again, isn’t that how you feel, right now?

Isn’t that what brought you to this website? You feel like your in silence with how challenging and frustrating being in relationship with someone in the industry can be?

Can you relate to the words “Our lives begin to end….” ?

Isn’t THAT also true? Wasn’t there a part of you that felt like a part of you, or your relationship was about to end… because you felt “in silence” with what you are always managing, and didn’t know how to get through it?

And if you’re in it for the long haul, are you still suffering in silence?

Let’s face it… the shitty parts of this relationship can be utterly unnerving.

The days/weeks/months on our own, the lack of consideration on our restaurant man/womans part when something changes quickly during their shift, and it’s hours before we hear from them again. The inability to fully be present while they’re at home because they’re mind (and hence their eyes and fingers) are constantly checking their email on their phone? The days when you REALLY don’t want to cook when you get home from work, another day of having to figure it all out, by yourself, makes you question your decision to be in this type of relationship in the first place?

Sometimes this type of relationship just plain sucks.

Add to that, that for YEARS, there has never been an outlet for us. There has been no place to go to relate to others in the same situation, to rant, to be comforted, to be helped back up.  I honestly cannot imagine how significant others of pre-internet times got by. I once heard a pre-internet significant other sort of comfort/defend herself when I said that these types of relationships are not easy, by saying it wasn’t that bad and that there was no sense in complaining about it because there was nothing she could do about it. Gosh, how that must’ve been SO TRUE for generations of significant others who had no place to turn to, somewhere to go to feel like they weren’t crazy and when they turned to their friends/family (in 9-5′r relationships) just confirmed that there was a need to be silent about how hard it is, because noone really understood.

Talk about isolation.

You could’ve been one of those lucky significant others who lived in close proximity to your other halfs husbands and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, and created friendships to relate to that way, but still, everyone deals with things differently and maybe how one person deals, is not quite how you would.

THANKFULLY, that’s why I created this space. So I could find you. So you could find me. So we could find each other. To release the flood gates and allow the silence of those who came before us, suffering in silence to be set free. Thankfully there are more of us who are sharing their experiences online, bringing it to the mainstream, and connecting with our fellow significant others as a place to go to when they need to remember they are not crazy or alone. 

I can feel the decades of silence pouring out in our comments, our posts in our private Facebook Group, our moments of desparation when we simply need to be seen. The outpouring has been going on since the MINUTE I launched this website on Valentines Day, 2011 and it’s not surprisingly, why those who are new to this website, find themselves relieved to find a place to feel safe to not be silent. It’s why, in June 2013, this website was seen in 103 countries.

We’re talking a GLOBAL silencing here.

That said…. The only way we are going to shift how WE see ourselves in our restaurant relationships, and how we will be able to help others in the same place is to NOT be silent anymore. 

Now, before I go on, I’m not talking about protesting on the Capital or boycotting your loved ones restaurant. No. That’s not going to help us. We need to share, when asked about what it’s like being connected to this industry, to be honest. Share your experiences, educate those who have NO IDEA. The perception is that it’s all glitz and glamour and YOU know what it’s really like. 

Why not share it?

As someone who believes that change comes from within, I felt the need to share what frustrates me because I KNOW I’m not the only one. I’m sharing my experiences, NOT because I’m brave, but because the only way I’m going to find help, is to SAY SOMETHING. The only way I’m not going to feel alone is to talk about the things that make me feel lonely.

And also, I’m not talking about BASHING the restaurant industry or our other halfs or their superior either (even though you might want to sometimes), it’s about speaking up, using your voice and even sharing how strong a person has to be to THRIVE (yes, you can use the word endure, it does feel like enduring sometimes) in this type of relationship.

Even though, there have yet to be a man come forth from their silence, I KNOW YOUR OUT THERE TOO!!! I know you’re reading this along with your fellow women significant others, who are needing to be supported. Even MEN need get their frustrations OUT!

Men, let’s break the silence!! 

And finally, and most importantly, I want to talk about the silence we feel from our restaurant man/woman NOT to speak about what’s frustrating us. I’ve heard from so many of you that your chef husbands think this website is FUNNY. Like, ha ha, amusing. I’ve actually told others what I do (I’m the creator and resident life coach of Married to a Chef, supporting significant others in the restaurant industry, because MOST people have no idea what it’s really like.) and they say “Oh how cute (or funny).”

Really? Cute?  Funny?

Of course they think it’s cute.. they have NO idea. They’re still in a deep trance that it’s all non stop VIP events, and guest appearing on some Food Network program.

It’s up to US to tell them why NO… it’s NOT CUTE.

It’s up to US to share how it’s somewhat similar to the wifes of policemen and fireman (minus the constant danger, but sometimes I wonder)

And to our restaurant men and women who want us to keep our mouths shut… to NOT speak of how challenging this type of relationship is for fear of them being judged for being an absent husband, a narcissist, an uncaring human being (I mean, wouldn’t most people think we’re being neglected with how alone we feel sometimes????)

OF COURSE THEY WANT US TO KEEP QUIET!

While this is their passion, this is a BUSINESS. They want to keep their jobs, keep their dreams, keep their reputation intact… so OF COURSE they don’t want us coming in and saying “Well, actually, my husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend DOESN’T walk on water.”  while their eyes bug out because you might reveal their innermost secret.

THEY’RE NOT PERFECT!! THEY’RE STILL FIGURING SHIT OUT AND MAKING MISTAKES ALONG THE WAY!!!

*Sorry for the strong language in this post, but I feel it’s necessary.

They didn’t create the unwritten rules of this industry. The glorified “Chefs are Gods, they do no wrong.” rule that they willingly bought into and we are all mandated to keep the myth going. Try to cut them some slack (TRY) that I’m sure that in some little way, they wish it could be different too. I’ve mentioned before, this is a well oiled machine that’s been running a LONG time… they either hold onto what keeps it going… or they will inevitably be thrown off.  We have the power to make a subtle shift by sharing our experiences and beginning to share a new paradigm. The “I love being married to a chef and it’s NOT because of why you think.” paradox. :)

Let me ask you a question… Have you ever thought that in my postings… that I have publically BASHED my husband?

I want to say no. I am talking about such a broad stroke, that these scenarios, our frustrations can be discussed with chefs, with those in the restaurant industry around the WORLD. This is a UNIVERSAL experience we are all having with some small specifics thrown in. We are all more alike than different.

That’s another reason why staying quiet will NEVER help anyone else. Even if it’s someone on the other side of the globe from where you are.

YOU can help your fellow significant others. Start by speaking out, not by publically revealing your other halfs flaws (even if they’re most likely something at least 1000 of us can relate to) but put your teacher hat on and EDUCATE when you speak.

You just might make the difference between someone who is REALLY struggling to find the way… and leaving them to suffer in silence.

YOU found your voice here… now it’s your chance to pay it forward.

SILENCE IS NO LONGER AN OPTION.  

*One way to speak up… be a guest poster here. SEE HERE.

 *Another way is to contribute to our mission and get the perks of being a part of your larger, global Village. SEE HERE.

*Finally, another way is to create a local meetup group of significant others so you can meet with and release some of that pent up frustration you have inside. Trust me, it really helps to see someone in person in order to feel like you’re not crazy for feeling the way you do. (If you do create something like this, let me know, and I’ll promote it.)

The one unknowing that keeps us trapped in our lives.

June 5, 2013 in Life

Hes not perfect you arent either Bob Marley

photo credit: Pinterest

Before you dive in, start here.

BEFORE I DIVE IN, I want to say – I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. Please forgive me. I’ve been wading through the waters of first trimester exhaustion and morning sickness. (Hubby and I are expecting November 6th-ish) For the good part of March, April and May… I was not able to get my brain to focus on much. Thankfully, I feel my energy, focus and therefore my renewed passion for our plight, returning with a vengence.

Interestingly,  in this pause,  it’s become ‘hit me upside my head’ clear that there is one thing that most to ALL of us don’t understand about our lives that keeps us feeling powerless, out of control, and at the whim of everyone elses decisions. This unknowing prevents us from feeling happy, knowing what to do next, and because we don’t understand, we end up sitting on our hands, feeling doubt and loneliness and end up doing nothing. I’ve seen it with clients, TIME AND TIME AGAIN and even in my own life.. it’s almost like we really do not even know we have a a WELL of amazing information we know to help us guide our lives.

I’m talking about knowing WHAT DOES AND DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU.

Do you even know that it’s up to YOU to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you? It’s NOT your parents job, your siblings job, your educators job or even your restaurant man/womans job to figure out what works FOR YOU, but for some reason that I honestly cannot fully grasp, we all don’t live out of what does or doesn’t work for us.

We don’t even know that we CAN make decisions based on what does or doesn’t work for us.

For instance -  in our everyday lives, there are PLENTY of things we KNOW we do or do not like.. that we are not willing to budge on.

  • Know that you are not an early morning person?
  • Know that you don’t like horror movies?
  • Know that you won’t be skydiving anytime soon?
  • Know that you do not like tomatoes on your ham sandwich?

That is what you KNOW about yourself.. and instinctively you make decisions based on the fact that you know this information.  You don’t question these things you KNOW… you just work around them. You don’t feel bad about these things… you just do (or don’t do) them based on what you really KNOW about what you want.

But for some reason… we don’t make decisions based on what we KNOW works (or doesn’t work) in our relationships, our friendships and the bigger, life altering decisions.

I’m convinced thats because we don’t even know what works for us with these bigger topics and don’t know that like tomatoes, scary movies and waking up early.. we are able to make decisions based on what we already know about ourselves.

Where did this unknowing come from? Of course it’s easy to say it comes from conditioning, our parents beliefs on us, mixed with our own desire to “fit in”, we have sort of silenced the part of us that KNOWS WHAT WE WANT but thinks we can’t POSSIBLY get it. *even more, definitely think we don’t DESERVE it.

I came to this conclusion after talking with a coach friend of mine about how… when I say…

“YEA, THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.”

I feel SO empowered. I felt like I wanted to run through my life, kinda like going through the clothes in my closet, purging the things that I knew that no longer FIT ME.

BUT theres the rub – I don’t give away the clothes that no longer fit me… I keep them. I keep them WAY too long. I think about all the “What ifs”, and “When I”‘s and daydream about when it will be what I want it to be. All this time WASTED with NO ROOM for new clothes in my closet.

WHY? Because a little mix of parental conditioning “What if you can fit into those jeans one day, don’t be wasteful.” and a LOT of my own belief that if I let go of it, means I was not strong enough to accomplish what those smaller jeans represent. Self control. Disipline. Taking action.

It is a daily reminder of how I’m not good enough. And so there they sit… collecting dust. Secretly I WANT those old jeans around to remind me how I’m not worth what I REALLY want, which is to be thinner, running again, and making exercise a greater priority in my life.

But when I actually go through with getting rid of doesn’t work for me… despite that twinge of old messaging that says “But what if…” I will feel BETTER and my closet will have more room for what DOES work for me now.

Sound familiar?

You might be thinking… “SO WHAT does this have to do with my restaurant relationship?”

Well… What in your restaurant relationship IS OR ISN’T working for you? Do you even know? If you’re in the dating part of the Evolution of your relationship, and you are still figuring out if you want to take the leap, do you even know what YOU WANT and don’t want in a relationship IN GENERAL?

Like… the question ALL dating significant others should ask themselves NOW…. “Does being alone alot, on the weekends and on holidays WORK FOR ME?”

The sooner you ask this question and really trust the answer  you get (and act out of it).. the BETTER OFF YOU’LL BE.

Odds are you already know the answer to that question but are resisting that knowing based out of the “What ifs”.

And what if you’re already married, and when things change in his/her schedule, or your schedule… do you KNOW what does and doesn’t work for you or do you just keep sitting in the dark, feeling like you don’t have a choice. 

OF COURSE YOU HAVE A CHOICE. That’s the thing.. I don’t think we realize we DO know what we want and when we do… we don’t express it.  (and even if we do, it doesn’t have the POWER of saying that you know what does/doesn’t work for you.. so of course he/she doesn’t take you seriously. Note to myself here. :)

For instance:

  • Know that you don’t like it when your other half doesn’t text you after being at work for 12 hours?
  • How about when they sleep ALL day on their ONLY day off… How does that work for you?
  • What about when they decide to cook something at home and leave ALL the dishes for you to clean?
  • How do you feel about their choice to grab a drink after work, instead of coming home? *Especially if it’s more than one night in a row.

I BETCHA you know if that does or doesn’t work for you but instead of saying it doesn’t work for you… it just feels like one more thing that doesn’t make your relationship work. Instead of telling him/her “You know, this going out, having a few more drinks than I”m comfortable with, and then driving DOES NOT WORK FOR ME” feels differently than to just start yelling at him or feeling like your opinion doesn’t matter.

TRY IT – Say, (with a firm voice) “YEA, THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.”

Feels good, right? *I know it does.

Okay, it also might FEEL a bit defiant but that’s why I know it’s GOOD FOR US. It’s challenging that old conditioning saying we are not supposed to know (or get) what we want. Keep doing it, that defiant feeling will diminish as you get more comfortable with it.

DARE you to say it out loud a few times.. and then say it WHENEVER you are faced with a choice.

  • Staying up late again because he’s now decided he’s going to work late?  – YEA, THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.
  • Taking the kids to the inlaws on an already busy weekend?  – YEA, THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.
  • Hosting the next book club gathering?  – “YEA, THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR ME.”

This phrase basically empowers you to LIVE from our innermost knowing. It sort of throws out the excuses about why it COULD work for you, even though we know deep down that it doesn’t and only allows for ONE CLEAR PATH of what does… or doesn’t.

GIVE IT A TRY – We KNOW what we want and what we don’t want, it’s time we give ourselves permission to EXPRESS IT.

Six Valentines Day Messages of Love

February 14, 2013 in Celebrate!, Everybody Else, Expectations, Life, Relationships, Valentines Day

Spicy Heart Paprika Tortilla Chips

Photo by Snixy Kitchen
http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/02/09/spicy-heart-paprika-tortilla-chips/

I know.

95% of you will NOT be spending this DAY O’ LOVE  with your other half.

He or she will most likely be cooking up a storm for the masses, who are looking to profess their undying love to someone else.

In reality, your restaurant man/woman will spend the evening weeded, as the flurry of Valentines Day diners allow their restaurant to turn one MAYBE two times tonight.

This is a very successful (meaning profitable) day for the industry worldwide.

Hopefully you’ve been with your other half long enough to sort of navigate through the wave of hearing your friends, co-workers and family oooh and aaah about how they’re “getting jiggy with it” this Valentines Day.

Hopefully you have come to understand that it’s not their FAULT, that because it’s the second most popular day to dine in the restaurant world, that he or she will not be making an appearance to hand deliver your VERY deserving flowers or chocolates or … insert your own gift here.

Finally, maybe you’ve even taken it upon yourself NOT to feel sad and blue, not sequestering yourself at home in front of the TV but have made plans to do something proactive with your evening. If you have children, maybe you focus your energies there, making sure they can feel your love on this day.

That said… no matter how you manage, navigate, accept it…let’s face it. It still stinks.  

It will always stink. There will never be a moment when you’re ever like YAY! I LOVE THAT I DON’T GET TO SPEND VALENTINES DAY WITH MY HUSBAND/ WIFE/ BOYFRIEND/ GIRLFRIEND!!!

No matter how much work you do to understand and accept WHY you are not with your beloved, it will never fully remove the twinge of sadness that you wish you could experience the days worth of swooning and swirling of LOVE that the day inevitably brings to so many.

(Insert your name here), It’s OKAY.

I am here to support you on this day by reinforcing six (6) Valentines Day Messages that I know you DESERVE to hear on this lovey dovey day. Consider this a reminder of how VALUED AND NEEDED I KNOW YOU ARE!!!

Pretend you are hearing this from your other half, okay? I am going to write it as if it was coming from your restaurant man or womans mouth. Consider this EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED TO HEAR, from your love.

  1. I NEED YOU.  – Whether I am aware of it or not, whether I tell you often enough OR NOT… I need you. I know I could not get through HALF of the things I get through if I didn’t have you in my life. I know, I forget SO many things sometimes, It must seem like I’m totally oblivious to what’s going on around me on a regular basis, that’s why it’s imporant you know, THAT I KNOW, that I NEED YOU.
  2. I’M SORRY. – Babe, I know that there are so many times when I forget to call you to tell you I’m not going to be home when I told you or that I forgot to pick up my stinky shoes from where I last left them. I am sorry that I am not able to be there when our little ones are sick, because I am on the line and how I know planning a vacation seems almost IMPOSSIBLE. I know it might seem like I do not know what I’m doing most of the time (the truth is, most times I don’t), but I’m sorry for the many times that I’ve not considered your feelings when something that changes in my day, affects you too. I’m sorry I don’t stop to tell you how amazing I think you are enough, how I seriously grateful I am that you manage to continue to stick by me.  I can only HOPE that in some small way, I give you a little of what you give me.
  3. YOU ARE AMAZING. – I know it might seem like days, weeks or months of our lives becoming like one GroundHog Day after another, never telling the difference between one week to the next. SO in the routine of my routine, I can EASILY forget to tell you how AMAZING I think you are. I mean, look at’cha, you HOT potato you. It’s important you know that I think, in the good moments and even not not so good ones that I think you are AMAZING and I am so happy you picked me. Only someone AMAZING like you, has the courage and the strength to manage through my wacky career. I know that part of the reason why I feel SO LIBERATED to shoot for my dreams, and make things happen is because I KNOW that I have someone AMAZING in my corner, cheering me on. I only hope that I do for you, even a little, of what you do for me.
  4. WE ARE AMAZING – Like I said above, it’s so easy to forget how awesome we are together, when life seems to go so quickly, day after day. Sometimes I forget how you help me, and how I help you (even when you don’t see it) and how we have created this FLOW that helps us get through our day to day lives. I love who we are as a couple, a family and even more, how many more exciting things we have to look forward to, as we continue on our journey. I am very proud to be a part of your life, as your (husband/ wife/ boyfriend/ girlfriend)
  5. THANK YOU – You ready? Here it goes…. Thank you for putting up with my long hours, for my forgetfulness (whether it’s selected or not), for forgiving me for the thousandth time for not picking up the dog food at the store, for not being there when the kids are sick, for rarely kissing you good night, for not rubbing your feet when you have a bad day, for pushing me to be the best chef I know, for the times when I know I needed to hear your stern words (even if I didn’t want to at the time) for knowing what I need without me having to say it, for UNDERSTANDING that being with me in this career is not always easy, for finding ways to make life so amazing, for giving me the best gift of the most amazing family, for being the most AMAZING mother to our children, for showing me that you are an independent woman and I don’t have to always worry about you. I am SO grateful for you for this and for SO MANY MORE things… I will just settle here to name just a few. THANK YOU MY LOVE.
  6. I LOVE YOU. -  It goes without saying that you have my heart. I know I don’t always SHOW it, but I LOVE YOU and I am so happy I get to be a part of your life. I am honored that you have picked me to be your partner, your friend and your mate in this life. I am honored to know that your heart is with mine, and this overwhelming feeling that I KNOW that I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be.

Whether your other half is able to communicate this or not, I just know that they would say these things if they knew how. How I wish I had my husbands voice, saying this to me as a recording on my phone when I needed a reminder. (hmm, maybe a good idea everyone!) *And, if they already say these words freely, REMEMBER THEM when you find yourself in the middle of an argument and forget.

Please read and re-read these six messages when you need to fill yourself up. It’s SO FREAKING EASY to feel empty when life moves so fast, especially when our other half is not there. It’s so easy to FORGET that you have such a vital role in your relationship, resigning to feel like the victim because it didn’t work out the way you expected. PLEASE remember, my dear significant other, that YOU are the cornerstone of this relationship. The more you understand and appreciate who YOU are and what YOU bring to the relationship, I ASSURE you you and your restaurant man or woman WILL feel it, in turn, your relationship and your family will get stronger.

Because today, they are probably up and out of the house early (if not already) to prepare for the hundreds of deuces that are on the books tonight. They will be busy, prepping, directing and expediting, and whether they remember it or not (fingers crossed they do) REMEMBER they are able to do what they do, BECAUSE OF YOU.

Today marks the TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY of Married to a Chefs launch. YAY! I picked today to launch this website because I KNOW FIRSTHAND, how it stinks to not have any plans with my love on this day. It has brought me such JOY to find you, to connect with you and to tell you what I KNOW you deserve (and need) to hear (even when you don’t want to), as well as to help you find others in the SAME boat as you. I have barely scratched the surface with where I see us going, excited about some changes and additions to our mission in the very near future ahead, and I just want to say THANK YOU for being a part of our community. WELCOME if you are here for the first time, to find some relief.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!

much love,
Kerilyn

TELL ME: How do YOU know you are loved and valued, not just on this day but everyday?