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while you were out.

April 24, 2016 in Coping, Dreams, Expectations, Family, Life, Relationships

while you were outphoto credit

before you dive in, read here.

I don’t know what to say. It’s been way too long since I’ve written, I know that, I do… but still as I sit here, I still don’t know what to say.

Literally.

The past two and half years, have been both the best and the worst of my life.

Let’s talk about the two things that have made it the best… but first let me start by saying… I had (3) main dreams in my life: 1. to start a family, 2. to move back down south and 3. always have 10,000 in the bank (linked to my purpose). Well, in 2014, I found myself making 2 out of the three come true.

1. In October 2013, my husband and I had our amazing son, Leonardo.
2. In May 2014, my little family packed up and headed from the DC/VA area back to Savannah,GA (I graduated from Art School here in Savannah and fell in love with the south, told myself that if I ever had a chance to move back south, It would be a dream of mine) so my husband could teach cooking classes at a cooking school. *He still does this and I think still loves it.

These two things have literally been pinch me moments the past two+ years. I LOVE being a mama and… while I DESPERATELY miss the restaurants and the culture of the DC area, I am SO grateful that we headed south. The slower pace of life, the weather (no snow) and the lower cost of living have definitely been a welcome part of our decision that I know both of us feel no regret.  (The difference in daycare alone made it worth the move)

What has also been pinching me, in both a sad and lonely way, is the twisting and winding and unwinding in my heart, about the state of my restaurant relationship, that honestly I wouldn’t know where to begin, and wouldn’t be able to tell you where we ARE.

But I guess I’ll try.

It’s literally mind blowing to me how everything UNHEALED within ourselves, specifically with regards to our relationships to our own parents, unforgivingly comes to the surface when you become a parent yourself. I had a vague idea it was going to do so but I had NO IDEA to what degree both my husband and myself would have to face our inner demons ourselves and regularly and with fierce defensiveness, was a battle of survival of the fittest.

I’ll share three places in our lives where we find ourselves dueling.

1. TRIGGERS – BOTH of us, for whatever reason… are very sensitive when we hear the other person say that they don’t like how one of us is “doing it” with regards to parenting our son. From DAY ONE, about whether we should let our little baby cry it out or not (we were on opposite stands of this topic, guess which one I was on?) to even now that he’s a toddler and whether we should “let him get away with something”… The knock out drag out arguments around how BOTH of us feel like the other thinks they are wrong… I could write a single post on this. It is clear to me that this comes from both of us not feeling like what we want, how we want to parent and ultimately (unhealed stuff with our own parents) is important… and TRUST ME… I could share some stories that I either feel totally ashamed of myself for my behavior or also question what the hell I’m still doing in this marriage. Not joking. ***ALL WHILE IT BEING SO VERY IMPORTANT THAT OUR SON DOE NOT KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON BETWEEN US. IT’S IMPORTANT YOU KNOW THIS. At the end of the day, it BLOWS MY MIND how we’re all just little children inside.. ACHING to feel heard and validated. To feel like what we say is important too. Amazing how all this stuff comes up when we have to make decisions for someone else, day in and day out. Parenting is relentless. Never ending.

2. VALUES – While all this triggering was going on, who we are as people, our VALUES don’t change that much even after a little person who needs us 24 hours a day comes into our world. The fact that we both VALUE our independence… hasn’t. My husband still needs to go out and decompress after work… and I need time alone and in silence. (Even more alone time and silence are needed now after becoming a mama, as my sensitivity is now off the charts) since I am the primary care taker in my house, I mean my husband works at night… it’s mostly me caring for our son.) I was sitting with two women recently, talking about how my husband goes out once or twice a week still and I found myself conflicted when they expressed their dislike. “Girl, I wouldn’t let my husband do that.” and while I agreed that multiple times a week going out doesn’t work for me… It hit me. Saturday nights, when he goes out after his night cooking class.. is when I have the house to myself on a weekend. I don’t have to work the next day.. I look forward to the peace and quiet with a Saturday night movie of my choosing. It was in this dislike that I realized… Who my husband and I are.. hasn’t changed. We STILL need what we needed before Leo… now. Sometimes it works (like Sunday mornings papa takes Leo out for a few hours to breakfast and papa time, so I can have the house to myself) and sometimes it doesn’t (keep reading No. 3)  – but in case your thinking about having a family with your restaurant man/woman or are wondering what the hell is going wrong in your family’s experience now… this is part of it.

I once wrote about intimacy and connecting in a restaurant relationship (You know, when do you see them/have sex with them) involves CREATING SACRED TIME. That is still true and frankly, more important now that we have a family. Sunday afternoons/evenings and Monday evenings are more important than EVER now. Any thing that comes up during this time that would take him or I away from this SACRED TIME, is discouraged.

3.  EXPECTATIONS – Yup. You heard me. How to say this nicely…..While YES, both of us are very independent people and I LOVE that about us…and while I don’t think I expected my husband to CHANGE… I sure did expect him to EVOLVE. Like I was.. and quickly. I have been ‘hit me upside my head’ surprised at how much resistance I have gotten that WHO HE IS (independent) needs to temporarily cease while we are learning this parenting thing. You know, getting the hang, creating a routine? I know, I know… part of this is the man vs. woman problem (women are more adaptable, multi tasking is in our genes.. men are more simple… dog like) *be nice Kerilyn.*  – As I had to learn ON THE FLY how to be a mother… it seemed like my husband relied on me to figure out the ropes.. and he’ll pop in when it doesn’t interfere with his thang.

I will admit that I still call him, in the middle of an argument, a “pop in parent”, not because he works different hours (which i am totally cool with STILL) – it’s that when he is here.. he’s still not HERE. The fucking phone addiction that I KNOW so many of you struggle with, I got it going on too. Part of the unspoken expectation on my part is that when he’s home, he’s HOME. But I truly believe that threatens his independence (and triggers his undiagnosed ADD) AND… brings up his unhealed stuff with his own parents, so in order to NOT face his uncomfortable feelings, he checks out.

Our therapist tells him that when, what he’s focused on, when he’s with his family.. is NOT his family… it’s the SAME as if he’s not there.

This is how I feel when my son is sitting on the floor playing and my husband is on his chair, looking at his phone instead of on the floor playing with the legos. I GET it… they don’t slow down at work, and being home with not much to do but play with your little one might sound like HELL to our restaurant men/women, but they need to GET that that’s what the EXPECTATIONS are, when you have a family. *or maybe I am crazy. mmm, nah, ask my therapist.

My expectation that yes… while I’m totally OKAY with you going out on Saturday nights… It does NOT work for me that you tell me, on a Wednesday night after your class ended, that you’re going out for a smoke (he’s a cigar smoker, bleh) and if I say no… I’m the bad person.

What? I have to remind you that you can’t just GO OUT WHENEVER YOU WANT?

You get the point, I know you do and let me tell you, this shit is EXHAUSTING.

What’s underneath this… is this assumption that my husband doesn’t understand what he’s doing…. when he ‘acts a fool’… I literally do not know if he does know but doesn’t want me to rain on his freedom parade.. or he’s just that stupid (remember.. simple… dog like) I don’t know. But what I DO know is it doesn’t work for me.

Finally – I will tell you I AM NOT PERFECT. I ended up having a C Section, was understandably bummed about that but then I wasn’t able to breastfeed which put me into a spiralling post partum depression and then we moved and then I wasn’t working (read: money probs) and then and then and then….. Who I was MYSELF changed, but to ME… it was more towards who I really am inside. Sensitive, empathetic… searching. Being a mama has allowed me to be who I really am inside… a neat freak who likes routine… who values independence and wants her son to find his own independence…. While on the OUTSIDE.. it probably looks like I’m a mess to my husband… who I am on the INSIDE is more resolved and certain than I’ve ever been and damn if that has been so awesome and SO… OUT OF CONTROL for my husband. HE needs to go out… I need to be OFF and in the quiet now. Same independence, just before Leo.. I would meet girlfriends, and be more social. I don’t have the energy for that, as much now. My husband really thinks that’s depression and we have had multiple therapy sessions about why I AM NOT HAPPY and I try to tell him I AM HAPPY.. just very differently than what HAPPY means to him (on the outside).

Becoming parents has made us drift apart and while we very much STILL love each other, it’s just different now. I’m just not sure we would ever be able to connect in the same, mutual happiness ways again. Before Leo, what united us was going out to dinner…. now… we still do that but then whether we let him read books at the table or (gasp) use our phone to watch PBS Kids app so we can eat in peace comes into question (you know, TRIGGERS) and it’s a vicious cycle.

At the end of the day, right  here, right now as I type this.. I do NOT know what’s going to happen. We’re in therapy weekly, definitely one step forward, two steps back, kinda progress. I think we both are happy we are doing this as a way of doing all we can to see if we can make this work. At the end of the day, we want to do what’s best for our beloved Leonardo, and I KNOW that both of us are commited to that. I am SO grateful for my husbands willingness to do therapy in the first place… but I wish that meant I knew what was going to happen.

Sadly, I don’t.

I have thought many times about dissolving this website through the past two years. We were struggling SO MUCH that I would tell my closest friends, “What do I still have to offer these chefs wives? How can I be a coach, and try to help others when I am ON MY KNEES in my own restaurant relationship” but still, my kindreds told me to just go easy with myself and when the time came, it would feel right to write again.

I still don’t know if now is that time, but after a call with a chef wife a few weeks, ago, another chef wife and MAMA… talking about the SAME EXACT THINGS I am experiencing myself… I used my experience, not to tell her how to work through it, but to tell her she’s not alone. I think both of us felt better that we’re not CRAZY (it’s still SO EASY to compare ourselves and even our parenting methods to regular 9-5 relationships – NOT POSSIBLE) So I thought I’d write to say I’m still here, if you need me, you need to know I am still just as passionate about shining a light on the restaurant industry, what it’s REALLY like (you know, not what the Food Network wants you to see) and that I am in the trenches with you all.

I do not have all the answers, like I said, before you dive in you should read my beliefs on why I created this place in the first place, but I hope this might help some of you out there. I still believe we’re the glue that holds our chefs, and our relationships together. I KNOW we are stronger than anyone (especially ourselves) are willing to give us credit for… I just want to say that While I’ve been out…I have learned SO much.

Maybe so I could find a way to help all of you… who knows.

In the meantime, I’m here. If you want to contact me, email me at kerilyn@marriedtoachef.com *The website has been hit with a tremendous amount of spam comments over the years and so there have been a few comments that have slipped through the cracks, I’m sorry.*

I am finally finding renewed energy to rebuild my coaching practice in order to make my third dream come true. I have some availability with taking on clients, if you’re interested, and am working on a few other focuses (I’ve become obsessed with understanding FEAR and how it stops us from anything and everything in our life) and so… I’m still here working on Dream No. 3.

Finally – I am considering a Gathering in the Savannah,GA area…. if you are a chef wife or know one who would be interested, shoot me an email and let me know so I can coordinate.

Until next time… I’m here, doing this hard work with you.

Don’t give up *OR…. give up but do it because you know that’s what’s best for YOU. I mean this.

always,
Kerilyn

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GUEST POST: On taking the Next Step – When do you know you’ve done all you can?

February 25, 2015 in Expectations, Family, Relationships

say it before it's too late

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My Story

Probably the hardest issue I dealt with concerning my husbands job as a chef; was spending quality time together. We were so young when we got married and his dream was to work as a chef and cook amazing food. When he began as an apprentice I was heavily pregnant with our first and only child, it was difficult because I was alone almost every night.

I remember being terrified that I would go into labor and my significant other would miss the birth of our child. That fear was unreasonable as my labor began while we were both off work. I had stopped work a few weeks leading up to my due date and he was taking holiday. It was January, which is not a busy time in the restaurant, so we were together the afternoon our daughter came into the world. Apart from this, I was always pretty secure about being alone. In fact I love time to myself. It just began to feel like it was too much.

After our child was born I stayed at home with our child. This was important to me as I was raised by a mother who chose not to work and I always believed that one parent should be at home. As I said above, many of our disagreements and fights were about how we never saw each other and I was always alone at family reunions or regular dinners with his parents or my father. The resentment I felt began to build and while it almost destroyed our marriage, but somehow, we got through it. My significant other and I are not together anymore, but it had nothing to do with his job.

Do All You Can To Make It Work!

So I am going to share with you some things we tried to get things back on track and what actually worked for us. Once my daughter got to school, I worked part-time so I was able to be more flexible and be available for my child. My chef husband worked at a popular restaurant, where he eventually became head chef. This promotion occurred after we had parted ways, but I now see why he worked so hard because as the head chef, he does not seem to be working as many long hours these days and has more time for our daughter.

Make the Most of the Time You Have Together

When he first began his apprenticeship he was required to work split shifts, which meant going into work at around 10 am to do the lunch time service and then he would come home for a few hours and return to the restaurant at 5 pm for dinner service. It was a brutal schedule, requiring him to work seven days per week at times, he did get Monday’s off and sometimes Tuesdays during the quiet times. He did split shifts on Thursday to Sunday, so that left Monday totally free, Tuesday and Wednesday he was free until 5 pm. We had to make the most of the time we had together.

The warmer months in an inland town send people running for the coast, so there were times where we could take advantage of this. The slowest times were often some long weekends, but sometimes there were long weekends where people would stay in town and this was when the restaurant would get busy. The winter months are often busy and Easter and Christmas are too, especially December with Christmas parties, as I KNOW you are also familiar with yourself.

Date Night

We often had a date night on Tuesday if he was off and sometimes we would arrange to do something special with our daughter. If he wasn’t needed until 5 pm on Sundays we would have a picnic, a trip to the zoo, or arrange a get together with our families. This strategy did work for a while, however we sometimes did not stick with it and the fighting started again. A friend of mine told me to create a playbook. What is a playbook you ask? My friends saved us a lot of arguments in any case.

Create a Playbook

A playbook is a simple exercise book or note book that you buy from the newsagent or supermarket and you write down your favorite places to go and things you love to do. When you are stuck for an idea of what to do one day or night, refer to your playbook, pick a restaurant you both love, call them and make a reservation. Don’t get into the habit of having your dates at the restaurant where your significant other works, you could regret this when he or she is in the kitchen talking shop with the other chefs and you are left alone at the table. You also need to be communicating about the distance in your relationship!

So, back to the playbook; when you go somewhere new and you both loved it, write it down in your playbook. Keep it handy, like on the coffee table in the living room, so if you think of something the two of you can do – write it down immediately before you forget. Spending quality time with the one you love is difficult for any relationship, so the playbook might just make reconnecting just that little bit easier.

For me, the playbook was a God-sent when it came to communicating and avoiding unnecessary arguments or disagreements, simply because it was created by both myself and my significant other and it was created from all the “Likes” we have in common.  How can there be a disagreement when we choose something we both loved? It’s just impossible!  Aside from this factor, the playbook was a great activity that helped us learn more about each other, interact regularly with one another and most importantly it allowed us to spend “Quality Time” together.  This was the best, most important part of the effectiveness of the playbook. 

Marriage Counseling

Marriage or relationship counseling is something many couples might do, but honestly, I believe that if you bring in a counselor and they cannot help you then where do you go from there. Counseling should be left as a last resort, I would focus your efforts elsewhere in your marriage first. There are plenty of ways to reconnect your relationship.

For us, marriage counseling was a whole other story!  It gave me and my significant other permission to argue during our counseling sessions, which most often times was continued as home.  In my experience I think this created more issues for us, rather than helping to resolve them.  If we had only been able to communicate better at home, or at least had time to, I personally wouldn’t have involved a third party.  I would have found other solutions for home.

Those Who Nap Together – Stay Together

If he or she comes home from the lunch service and needs a nap, then join them for a nap, at least until the kids return from school. Try to have a nap during the day and be up at night when he or she gets home, so you can be with them during their period of winding down. This is not easy when you have a job or kids and need to be up early. Friday and Saturday nights should be taken advantage of here, when your significant other comes home at around midnight or later, there’s no reason why you cannot be there to greet him or her.

There is no problem that couldn’t use a little cuddling right? For me, it always made me feel closer and more connected to my partner.  Nothing else in the world matters when you experience that feeling!

If the ideas above and your own ideas have already failed and you have tried marriage counseling, gave it your best shot, and not just made a half-hearted effort, and things are still a mess and left unresolved. Going to marriage counseling takes commitment to a schedule and it might be difficult to fit this into your significant other’s schedule, but if the two of you are serious about the health of your marriage, then you must attend counseling regularly and for at least three months. Again, I must point out that if marriage counseling does not work for you and your significant other, you might need to make a hard decision.

When We’ve Done All We Can

My partner and I tried everything we could to keep our marriage in tact, but nothing seemed to fix it. When we were left with no communication because the arguments were never-ending, many tears fell and everyday was a fight with not an ounce of joy – I realized it was over. This was most devastating!

You may have gotten to the point in your marriage where there is nothing left to do that will resolve this situation.  Sometimes we move heaven and earth to fix our marriages and they are still unhappy and we have no other option but to contact a family attorney and discuss a separation or divorce.  Not sure if it’s time, then you may want to checkTell-Tale Signs That It’s Time to Divorce”. Although this is sometime the last resort, you still want to get through it with as little pain as possible, so you wouldn’t want to try handling it on your own.

As I reflect upon the past, we really could have done more, we gave up too soon.  One thing I take away from this experience, is that being married to a chef or being a chef who is married takes commitment, time, love, communication and especially understanding.  The hardest thing for me was walking away and always feeling like I could have done more.  A life of regret is never an easy one.  It was just easier to avoid the problems than face them head on.  Which I think was probably my biggest downfall – always acting like there weren’t any issue.  As I look back now, I wish I had a chance to do it over again, there is so much I would have done differently.

About the Author:

Jennifer Caughey is a content writer who has written this guest contribution on behalf of Colgan & Associates, a York family attorney.  Jennifer herself used to be a chef, and was also once married to a chef for 15 years.  She feels that it is an utter tragedy when a marriage may face challenges or end in divorce as hers did, mostly because there was no effort put into fixing it.  She likes to offer significant others her tips how to make restaurant marriages and relationships work and overcome the hard times together.

Connect with Jennifer on Twitter.

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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!
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* 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.

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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?

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It’s time – PART TWO.

February 7, 2013 in Coping, Expectations, Favorites, Fears, Life, Relationships

Before you dive in, read here.  And if you haven’t read PART ONE yet, DO HERE.

Feel BETTER?

I hope so. Hopefully you are really beginning to GRASP how NOT CRAZY you are.

It’s NOT EASY being connected to someone in the industry.

All the things you are feeling, the REASON why you’re not crazy is because MOST of us are right along with you!

I wanted you to fully soak in a whole post where you could go to when you needed a reminder.

You are NOT crazy, nor are you the only one feeling the way you do.

*Reminder – there are always exceptions to the rule.

THAT SAID.

We’re never going to move from the place of always feeling resentful (and crazy) if we are not willing to look at why it is.

WHY do we feel crazy when our other half seemingly behaves so unaware?

What’s BEHIND these feelings?

We can’t just go ahead and continually blame them for doing what they do, without understanding what’s going on within us to create such frustration/anger/sadness,etc…

WE are responsible for our own choices… our own actions (and inactions)

We are POWERFUL and STRONG.

NOT helpless.

WE decide what does and doesn’t work for us, right?

RIGHT?

I mean they are only ONE PART of the relationship, right? It takes TWO to meet in the middle, right?

It can’t be that it’s JUST their fault and that’s it.

So I ask myself, when inevitably some of the statements from PART ONE ring true for me…

WHY am I accepting this?

Why am I choosing to let this continue, without changing course or direction?

What is BEHIND why I’m continuing to experience frustration and not peace?

As uncomfortable as it is, how willing am I to really look at what’s causing ME to be frustrated, in order to release myself from it?

How willing are you?

As I was recently researching a hypothesis about WHY they do what they do, I’ve discovered The Peter Pan syndrome , a phrase coined by psychologist Dr. Dan Kiley about typically men who choose not to grow up, stating:

“The Peter Pan Syndrome (PPS) describes men, who are childlike in their relationships, their ability to handle responsibilities, and their pursuit of pleasure. “He’s a man because of his age; a child because of his acts. The man wants your love, the child your pity. The man yearns to be close, the child is afraid to be touched. If you look past his pride, you’ll see his vulnerability. If you defy his boldness, you’ll feel his fear”

The other side of the coin in that scenario is something I found quite eye opening and shocking to me. – The Wendy Dilemma.

“The Wendy Dilemma describes women who are very dependent upon their mates in a special way. They mother their mates, treating them like immature children. It is not uncommon in my practice for these women to state, “I feel like I have four children, instead of three, because I have to treat my husband just like one of the kids.”

Wow, right?

It’s SO EASY for us to see how our significant others might not want to grow up, but SO challenging to see why they feel it’s okay to do that.

I mean, we’re calling a Spade a Spade here, right?

When we understand what’s BEHIND the reason we get frustrated and angry, feel sad and alone, we have a much greater chance for liberating ourselves from it and creating a new way of being.

Why am I mentioning this?

I mention these two hypothesis’ to help us not feel so ALONE, when really what we want is to understand what is really going on.

Especially if this has been happening for years, right? Most likely in our frustration isn’t just about what they’re doing, it’s about not understanding WHY they’re doing it and WHY it affects us so.

For me, finding this information has been like turning on a light, for myself, my relationship and as the captain of this ship. As a coach, I’ve always understood that there is motive and reasoning behind everything we do, that it’s always about the cause and not the effect, but HERE… it’s explained so clearly that it can no longer go ignored or misunderstood.

  • You’re NOT crazy but you might be feeling like you are because you don’t understand.
  • You’re NOT crazy but until you really look at what’s BEHIND what’s causing you pain, the crazy will be all that you see and feel.
  • You might be feeling CRAZY cause you know that somethings going on here but can’t put your finger on it.

What do I do now?

Honestly, whatever you want. YOU have the choice. You can use this information to find some sort of peace within yourself, a confirmation that you’re NOT crazy; maybe you can continue to do your own research to help you understand the concepts behind these philosophies, or you can partner with a professional coach or therapist who can help you move forward to help liberate you from what holds you back from THRIVING in your restaurant relationship.

Or nothing at all.

Maybe these two possible explanations do not ring true for you at all, only you know.

Either way, I still maintain that you are not CRAZY for feeling the way you are, that there IS a reason behind why this is the way it is.

It’s totally up to YOU to discover what that is.

How do you feel? Care to share in the comments? Did this FREE you or frustrate you even more?

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