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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: Gettin’ Married and Gettin’ Divorced

September 25, 2014 in Coping, Life, Restaurant Industry

lightstock_120134_small_kerilyn_

photo credit: Lightstock

Guest Post by Annie Wang from frites & fries  . You can also find her on her own site – j. annie wang

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Some of you have entertained the thought of leaving your relationship. Some of you may have even fantasized how much easier life would be if you weren’t worried about his (or her) health all the time, hoping that they have enough covers for the week to make rent, or praying that the big meeting with restaurant investors will pull through. I’ve been there. But there’s one thing that makes me a little bit different: my Chef and I are divorcing.

It all happened very quickly. One day I was engaged, then married, and then the D-word happened.  There’s so many reasons why this decision happened — people divorce for multiple reasons after all but I would be lying if I said the restaurant industry wasn’t a part of it; it wasn’t because I couldn’t deal with his lifestyle or hours — I just couldn’t deal with someone who couldn’t put me or us first. The us part was so severe that we never celebrated an anniversary, not even our first wedding anniversary. On our first wedding anniversary, I had a bottle of champagne signed by 20 of our closest relatives in my lap while I sat alone at home in tears. A “make-up” celebration didn’t even happen because of the restaurant. The restaurant was more important than our relationship. But he doesn’t deserve all the blame. I played my role too.

Our relationship started out strong: a rom-com like story of how it all began, an unexplainable chemistry. We were both passionate about our careers and we supported each other as much as we could. At one point, I felt like we could conquer anything and take over the world because we complimented each other so well. Knowing what his goals were as a chef, I was always behind him 100%. Eventually, I was so focused on him because I wanted him to succeed in New York so much. Gradually, I forgot about my needs and wants shortly before he started forgetting what mine were. Overtime, our lives were so deeply entwined but my voice was almost non-existent and I had lost myself. Perhaps I was so too immersed in the New York City restaurant culture (the gossip!). Perhaps my competitive spirit clouded my own ambitions. Perhaps I wanted the fairy tale to work out — in the dream world, he would have his restaurant and I would visit him with our two chubby toddlers before dinner service so we could work on our cookbook. But now, I can’t tell if that was his dream or mine now because our priorities were skewed and had been so for so long.

While both of us had accomplished our original goals in New York (I finished graduate school and he had opened a restaurant in Manhattan as Executive Chef), our ambitions were stronger than our love for each other. One of the core elements of a loving relationship is having a supportive presence. In the early stages of our relationship, I always “understood” why he had to work late and why he couldn’t come to an event with me (work or personal). In retrospect, I should’ve pushed for that “me”-time in the beginning. If I did, I wondered, would we have celebrated a wedding anniversary? Would we have even celebrated an anniversary while we were dating? Who knows.

Do I regret being married to a chef? Nope. I learned a lot from it. Not just about being married to the industry but just marriage in general. Once the legal steps started, I learned a lot about myself too – about what I needed and what I wanted. There’s one thing that I have to thank him for though: if it weren’t for him, I may not have re-discovered my love for food or pursued my current career path. In fact, I would have never continued my career in food if it weren’t for him, divorce or no divorce.

Connect w/ Annie on  Twitter and Instagram

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Signed, Always The Bad Guy

September 13, 2014 in Coping, Life

bitch etsy

Photo Credit: House of Miranda

Before you dive in, start here.

Okay… so as you can probably assume, this subject hits home for me. Hence, why I HAVE to write about this. I’m going to do my best to not make this a bashing of my husband and of a good handful of chefs out there (perhaps yours?) but to take ownership of my OWN feelings and limiting beliefs.

No guarantees, but I’ll do my best.

Whether I actually am always the bad guy, or that’s just my perception (ding ding!), I KNOW there are so many of you, reading this, that also feel like they’re ALWAYS the bad guy in their restaurant relationships and so I write this not just for me, but also for those of you who can relate.

*And it doesn’t matter what stage of your relationship Evolution you’re in, my guess is you’ve probably already come across this feeling, at some point.

As I look back… I can honestly say I probably felt like ‘The Bad Guy’ from day one. (For simplicity’s sake, going forward, I’m going to simplify it and say TBG when appropriate) I wasn’t as understanding why my then chef boyfriend felt he HAD to go out with the Executive Chef after the restaurant closed until 5am. I definitely wasn’t as happy go lucky when, on his ONLY day off with me, he chose to go eat dim sum with a bunch of local chefs instead of spending time with me.

Not to mention my early failure to understand that he will NEVER be available on Valentines Day. (Or my birthday, Christmas, etc…)

Gosh, I can say that feeling like TBG was one of the primary reasons why I created Married to a Chef to begin with.

I wanted to find YOU… so I wouldn’t have to ALWAYS feel like The Bad Guy.

I wanted someone else who could understand HOW frustrating it can be sometimes, maneuvering through this type of relationship. (Read: understand how frustrating my man could be!) Someone who could unequivocally say….

“Kerilyn, I GET IT!”

Despite the YEARS that my now chef husband and I have been together, if I were being completely transparent, I have yet to completely surpass this feeling, and can honestly say that it’s probably the ONE thing that keeps me still feeling stuck in my partnership with my husband, when I let it.

Again, just because I am the creator and resident life coach here, does NOT mean I have it all figured out. NOPE.

I’m feeling like TBG, while it APPEARS my beloved doesn’t give one thought to how his decisions affect me. Or at least that’s my PERCEPTION of what I’m experiencing.

And I KNOW you know what happens, when I impulsively think I’m the bad guy…

Yep, I want to RUN.

*okay, I’ll admit it… sometimes I actually do. I have actually impulsively ran out of the house,  went for a drive/go to the movies/go grab my favorite sweet treat when I’m in the midst of the storm in my head.

I immediately think “See, I KNEW this would happen. There MUST be something wrong with me and I KNEW BETTER (read: I made a mistake/I’M a stupid head) and now I need to get the HELL away from him/this situation and be single again.”

Sometimes, I impulsively start planning and scheming my way back to my apartment on East Glendale Avenue where I was single and only had myself to take care of. Daydreaming of that time when I didn’t have to tell anyone what I was doing, that all my decisions were based around ME.

Then… after some period of time (which is what I really want to talk about today), I would calm down and remember that I have been through this before and I WILL get through this experience this time. I’m not so sure I’m conscious of it, but it’s only WHEN I remember that I AM strong enough… that I’m not actually the bad guy… that the rain stops and the storm clouds begin to part in my head.

Admittedly, calming down usually takes a while. Depends on how severe my feelings are of my husbands absentmindedness or my belief that I really am a stupid head. Because I know myself a smidge, I know this is one of the biggest places in my life that I sabotage myself. The messages I tell myself….

that I’m not smart enough to know what I’m doing/choosing for my life.

makes me act IMPULSIVELY when my husband does what he does.

I ran across this quote somewhere on Facebook a few weeks ago… as I read it I think I yelled YES! inside my head!

the impulse to jump ship

Anyone that has been in a relationship for more than a fortnight, can attest TIS TRUE…. the longer you know someone, the more opportunities you will have to WANT to jump ship!

You know when people say they get into an accident and their life flashes before their eyes? That’s an impulse. It’s done without conscious thought. It just happens. That’s EXACTLY how I feel when I get the impulse to run, when I think (or okay.. say to my husband from time to time) “See, there you go thinking I’m the bad guy!” All the memories from the past almost 15 years flash before my eyes, usually their the monumental occasions, like the decision to break up to be with a 9-5′r, and the decision to leave the 9-5′r and get back with my now chef husband.

These impulses stop me from being able to process what’s actually happening, and I am mindlessly REACTING out of habit. Or impulse.

The key to the quote above is in the last line…

“… defying the impulse to jump ship.”

Damn if whoever wrote this quote isn’t RIGHT ON… RIGHT?

How can we learn to DEFY the impulse to jump ship? Actually, how can we learn that it’s not actually our feelings that are hurt, not that we’re not really a stupid head, but an automatic impulse… and how to learn NOT to judge ourselves for having these impulses.

Putting your arm out to protect your children in the car is an impulse. Even if your children get frustrated or embarrassed. It happens, nothing to DO about it or judge yourself…just know it’s going to happen.

How can we learn that WHEN (not if) the impulse happens (AND IT WILL), that we want to get off this ship… that it’s not something wrong with us innately (or being THE BAD GUY), just an automatic response that has been created LONG before our realization of it.

Part of learning how to do that is to learn what MESSAGES we tell ourselves when these impulses happen. For ME… it’s that I’m an idiot (I think saying stupid head is kinder) the message is that I AM NOT TO BE TRUSTED WITH MY DECISIONS.

Yep, these messages play INSTANTLY when something happens that makes me knee jerk into thinking I’m the bad guy. I’m not even conscious of them in the moment. Where did these messages come from? Well, you probably can guess it… it’s a summation of the ASSUMPTIONS that I thought I was being taught by my parents, my teachers… etc…  It most likely isn’t that they said I’m not to be trusted, but because that’s the message I THOUGHT they were saying… that’s what I took in.

Is it TRUE that I’m not to be trusted? NO.
Do my parents think I’m not to be trusted? I really hope not.
Did my teachers think I was an idiot? I’d like to think not.

But who knows… that ONE moment when I was eager to do something and my dad didn’t think it was a good idea… or when I didn’t do as well on a test as I thought… that look in my moms eye when she sees the score… could’ve in fact PERMANENTLY created a message that I began to play….

over and over again.  Endlessly.

I am stupid.
I am not to be trusted.

It happens that fast.  To the point that it becomes my default. An impulse.

Does this make sense?

Then we bring these impulses into our lives.. we project them onto everything we see.. then life actually becomes what we are thinking already.. because we are telling ourselves some pretty nasty messages.

Here is the blow by blow of what happens in the moment… I am writing this to see if you recognize a pattern for you.

1. My husband handles something differently (like how we take care of our son or choosing to go out after service, etc)
2. I instantly, without any thought fire up the messages that I’m stupid for making this decision to be with him in the first place, that I should not have been trusted to marry him.
3. Because I don’t LIKE that feeling, because that goes against what I REALLY know about myself, deep inside (that I am smart and I am pretty damn trustworthy)… I end up yelling at him and/ or running away.

100% IMPULSE.

It’s a tug of war… the voice telling us that we are stupid and not to be trusted which doesn’t QUITE resonate with us… with the knowing (hopefully) that we got this far and are most likely handling SO much in our restaurant relationship – SO… to test this theory out.. we ATTRACT more situations into our lives. You don’t have to believe in the Law of Attraction (even though, I did learn about it in Junior High Science Class) to sense that there is something strange going on.. .when we think something… strangely sometimes happens.

Can you see that it’s not that YOU are the bad guy, that he/she is a bad guy/wrong, or your relationship is doomed… but that this impulse happens SO FAST that we instinctively knee jerk most of our reactions. Then we attract more and more situations that look similarly, that the impulse becomes almost immediate. There is NO pause between what we’re experiencing and firing up of the messages we have unconsciously believed.

I’m not going to leave you with any sort of divine A-HA moment except maybe… after reading this, you can simply take a look at your own impulses, what messages INSTANTLY play in our minds… not to try to change them or deem them insane… but just take awareness of them. MAYBE if we can just take notice when we are reacting out of impulse… we can then start to create a distance from how fast the impulse occurs. MAYBE EVENTUALLY, we can learn to see it for what it is.. an impulse and not an accurate view of what’s happening in the moment.

Eventually. TRUST me… I am no where NEAR slowing down the impulse. But my awareness of it, after the fact, helps me to realize that when I’m yelling at my husband… when what I really need, in that moment… is a reminder that I am a SMART woman who is to be trusted with the decision to marry my husband in the first place, DESPITE the situation that is in front of me.

Again, does this make sense? I know I’m a chatty Cathy, but I hope the message you get from this is that you are NOT the bad guy. You and your restaurant man/woman/relationship are not doomed. What is doomed, HOPEFULLY are these devious messages we tell ourselves that prevent us from ever fully being present in our interactions with our restaurant man/woman.

What messages do you tell yourself that have created an impulse with how you interact with your other half that have you believing you are always the bad guy?

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My ONE answer to how to connect in your restaurant relationship

August 6, 2014 in Life, Relationships, Restaurant Industry, VALUES

sacred time*photo credit – Cuddles on the Couch

Before you begin, start here.

So many times the NUMBER ONE question I get asked, about how to navigate through our restaurant relationships is…

“HOW do I find time to connect when we’re on opposite schedules, live in different cities, etc…?”

Back when my chef husband was my chef fiance, I discovered the answer to this important question, almost by accident.

My then chef fiancee was just promoted from Exec Sous to Exec Chef. After YEARS of putting his time in, he finally hit the jackpot.

Executive Chef-dom.

Which came with one HUGE perk… regular days off. Sunday/Monday were his regular days off. Which mean that I knew we could plan more things on his day off, even that quick 3.5 hour (one way) trip to and from his family on a Sunday (Gotta love a less than 24 hour trip because you have to work on Monday as a 9-5′r) Regardless, I LOVED knowing that I could count on this time.

Within a few short months, I discovered a pattern. Sunday and Monday evenings, I found us doing the same things, Sundays around 9pm, we’d meet on the couch for our favorite cable network TV shows (Homeland, True Blood, I honestly can’t remember what we were watching back in 2008/09) On Monday evenings, we’d continually find ourselves discussing what we were having for dinner, him making a delicious meal (of course that I’d then be cleaning up the entire contents of our kitchen) and we’d rent a movie On Demand (this was before redbox)

Sunday and Monday evenings. Became like clockwork. When he was asked to do something that would keep him out at these times, he would naturally decline. So would I. These short periods of time became VITAL to our connecting, when I work Monday and he’s usually out with his chef friends (or riding his Harley) on Sunday afternoons. Sunday and Monday evenings became OUR time.

SACRED.

I quickly discovered that these time slots in our busy, passing through the night schedules… allowed us to connect, to catch up, to be next to each other… and because we valued our INDEPENDENCE, it was just enough time to look forward to, that didn’t have us feeling like it was too much. *Ha… we’ve been together a LONG time, we both understand that it’s about quality, not quantity, at this point of our lives*

It was this time that really helped me NOT feel AS resentful about our limited amount of time together, for the rest of the week. I really was surprised how much it helped.

I surmised that it was this time that helped us moving forward. It felt SACRED. Sorta like when I was little, and I went to church every Sunday. It was something I could count on (even if I didn’t want to go, but that’s a different story) I know my Sunday mornings were church and breakfast with my family. I knew I couldn’t DO anything until mid-Sunday afternoon. It gave me a routine I could count on.

For most of us, significant others, we THRIVE on having something to count on, routine. (It’s because we’re the planners in our restaurant relationship, am I right?) *Again, calling EXCEPTION here.

So… what does this mean for you, my dear other half?

So my answer will ALWAYS be… to the question of how to find time to connect is to FIND SACRED TIME.

It does NOT have to be an all day affair. My own guess is that a minimum of ONE HOUR of sacred time a week… WILL help you feel grounded and rooted in your restaurant relationship. Whether it is sitting and having coffee at the table, going grocery shopping together (don’t laugh, I know some of you shop with your restaurant man/woman) or making a meal together (or going out to eat even) Something that is REGULAR, REPEATABLE, and is done with the energy of being VALUABLE.

I am not one to guarantee anything – Life is full of exceptions, and uncertainty….  but I will continue to answer that finding SACRED TIME in your restaurant relationship IS the one thing that will help connect you (and I’ll go so far as to help you THRIVE) in your restaurant relationship.

OOH… and for those of you not in the same city/country -  I have one word for you…. SKYPE. (or FaceTime) How about making your sacred time a regular Skype date? I can imagine how SEEING each other, your facial expressions, the way you blush when he tells you he can’t wait to see you next time.. WILL help you both feel connected. I challenge you, in todays technology age, on not finding some sacred time on the regular. Even if it’s just 30 minutes. (shoot, even 15!)

I have a feeling a question some of you might be asking is… “HOW do I get my restaurant man/woman to commit to SACRED TIME?”

Honestly.. I don’t have an answer for you on that. What works for one restaurant relationship will NOT work for another. For us, it just naturally happened, we didn’t say “Hey, how about Sunday and Monday evenings we get together and connect?” I think we both would agree that since our son, we are both DESPERATE for a date night (we’re working on it!), even though we still meet together on Sunday evenings for our regular TV shows. It just became that we both like doing this one thing, and doing it together feels better than doing it apart.

It just happened.

That’s what sort of makes it feel SACRED. It has become something we don’t even have to talk about, or bring to our awareness. It’s burned into our routine, that not doing it.. isn’t an option.

I just looked up SACRED in the dictionary – the definition that stands out, among the few that are there, are

“… reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object.”

Dedication is I think the word that stands out. It’s about DEDICATION. And even though I don’t KNOW you, or know your restaurant man/woman specifically… I know that DEDICATION is just another word for PASSION. You wouldn’t be in this kind of relationship if you didn’t have the passion and dedication… and your man/woman wouldn’t be in the restaurant industry if he/she too… didn’t have the same.

The trick, as I would believe it to be, is to find the mutual dedication to devote to this small amount of time, each week. Whenever it is toward your relationship.

MAYBE that is the topic of conversation that leads you to this conclusion. Your relationship… your love… your… DEDICATION to each other.

I am convinced that you start using the words SACRED TIME in your conversations with your other half, and the space for just that will make itself known. Maybe it’ll take a few adjustments, but like church, you don’t go if you don’t WANT TO (okay, so many of us were forced to, including myself, but you get my drift) but the hope is that it’ll help bring your commitment to what you believe in, even closer than where it is now.

Maybe for you, you will need to “schedule” this time with him/her. Maybe because he/she is spontaneous, you can steer your schedule so that it appears to happen, to him/her, to just pop up every week… who knows. If finding a regular time in your week to connect, SACRED TIME, sounds like a viable option (honestly, I say it’s THE KEY to thriving in this difficult relationship) – then TRUST YOURSELF and your man/woman that you will find a way to make it work.

So if/when you next find yourself reading the question, whether it be here, on the Facebook page, or in The Village, about how to connect… I will always answer the same way…

Where do you and your restaurant man/woman have SACRED TIME in your relationship?? If you don’t… how can you find it??? And now.

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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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