But what if… it wasn’t their fault?

July 20, 2012 in Coping, Everybody Else, Expectations, Fears, Life, VALUES


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When will it be MY turn?

Ever say that to yourself? Come on… you can tell me. I know you have.

  • When will you make time for me/us? Your family?
  • When will you be off to see our little one grow up?
  • When will you be around to help me get the car fixed?
  • Why am I always the one doing all the errands and YOU get off doing nothing?
  • I have a job too… why are you so special?
  • Why do I still, after all these years, feel like the restaurant is WAY more important than me/us?

I know… most of you reading this can attest to saying these things at some point. I know, because I have seen enough evidence that it is most likely what spins in your mind, most of the time.

Whether you want it to or not.

Let’s just be honest… most of you still feel like you are a victim to your restaurant relationship, yes?

I just recently received an email from someone, having recently gotten married to a chef, is now waking up to the harsh reality that things have NOT changed (still waiting for that “Happily Ever After” to kick in) feeling really frustrated that things are even more ‘the same’ as they ever were.

Maybe you’re feeling the same way. Wondering what you got yourself into…

Doubting  yourself.

Never feeling like you have a say in his/her everyday decisions when their seemingly walking on auto-pilot… doing the same thing, day in and day out. Never stopping. Almost like in a trance.

I know. I want you to know I see you.

And I can admit it too, I’ve been there. I have my moments too.

It’s SO easy to blame them for the things that are clearly not working out, right? Easy to point the finger and feel justified that there isn’t anything you can do about it except continue to argue and stay angry for longer and longer periods of time.

I’ll admit it, it can seem to be. Sometimes it seems EASIER to just blame him/her or their career as the reason why I am unhappy.

“If only he/she would….. (have a regular day off/show me that he/she wants to be with me (our children) on their day off/show me that the restaurant isn’t the number one priority)… then I would be happy”

But that only last so long, right?

We can stay angry for so long, give the cold shoulder for so long then it seems to lose its steam until something changes and we pass by that moment and are into the next thing.

That’s how life works, right? Things keeps moving whether we want it to or not.

This happens to ALL of us. Me. You. Your family. EVERYONE.
It’s part of the human condition.

There is not ONE PERSON here that doesn’t have to continually work to manage these feelings.

Question is…

  • What if there is another way to manage this?
  • How willing are you to consider another way?

Hopefully you said that you are ready to consider another way.

I want to share with you THREE observations that I have seen as common threads between us, sharing how these three things have showed up in my own life, and then give some suggestions to make change in yours.

Okay… here we go.

1. Up to this point, we have NOT had a voice.

For longer than I can imagine… the things that have us stuck in our restaurant relationships have been going on. 30-40 years ago (shoot, hundreds of years ago) As long as there have been restaurants, there have been significant others feeling the EXACT same thing that we are now. That fact ALONE is pretty amazing to consider, right?  For decades, there have been wives/girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends who just had to deal with the ins and outs of this industry. There was no place for us to go to find relief.

That’s part of the reason why I created Married to a Chef. I tell people when they ask why I wanted to do this that I had a vision, before I even began, of a significant other, sitting alone and lonely, wondering when her chef was coming home… IN JAPAN. I knew that this was not just something happening to me in my life. I had an idea that it was happening to SO MANY of us and I thought why not attempt to connect us all.

Personally, I want to thank Hilary for her blog. Her courageous step to share her experience is what initially helped me realize that there WAS a need to find a way to support us in a bigger way. But before finding her, I thought I was ALONE. I had NO IDEA that there was others in the same boat as me.

That’s the thing… for so long we WERE alone.

Why am I saying this as number one?

Because OF COURSE you’re feeling this way! GO EASY ON YOURSELF! At this point you’ve been managing solo… with NO idea how things can be different. You didn’t even know that there were other women and men (I know you men are out there!) that are feeling the same way as you are. RIGHT? That’s why it’s SO important for you to realize, IN the moment of feeling angry, resentful, confused, that you are not the only one.

The underlying message about why you want things to be different is because we’re constantly comparing ourselves to our 9-5 friends and family… looking over at them and how they have the time to be together and that pushes on your button that says that because you don’t have that… that your relationship isn’t going to make it.

This is the number one thing that trips us up… STOP COMPARING YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO 9-5’rs. It’s NEVER going to be the same. Ever.

Doesn’t mean that your relationship isn’t VALUEable! Just means that you have to play by different rules.

**More importantly, learn that you CAN play by different rules. Eventually you’ll figure out that if you don’t find rules that work for YOU and your restaurant relationship… you’re never going to be able to enjoy where you ARE. *And let me tell ya, it can be very fun…being where you are.

2. Your restaurant man/woman is a part of something LARGER than him/herself.

Yep, it’s not like he or she created the rules. It’s not like they WANT it to be this way. NO.

This is what they, themselves, entered into. The long hours, the working to build a reputation… the fear that if they don’t show that their serious enough, that they’ll be forced out?

I am sure they also didn’t know what they were expecting when they were in culinary school. Does any of us? I know I didn’t.

They are doing the best job with what they have.

I bet if you ask them.. they’ll say “Hell no, I don’t WANT to be called into work at the 9th hour just to fix something. or NO… I would rather have a regular schedule than all over the place.”

Just like we have not always had a voice.. they have not created the system. That’s why this is MUCH bigger than your individual chef, restaurant man/woman. This is been a snowball running down hill for DECADES. Add to that the TOTAL misconception of the public when it comes to chefs and the restaurant industry all together, and it’s NO WONDER why we have workaholic, stressed out men and women in our lives who don’t know, THEMSELVES how to stop.

*Personally, this is why I DECLARE to you that it’s become part of my mission to get into culinary schools. TAP THE ROOT. (Mark my words on this – Most likely in 2013)

Yes, perhaps your restaurant man/woman could take more action in their life when it comes to being with family/their health (my next subject) or GOD FORBID, mowing the lawn, but whether they do or do not take action is determined on their awareness that there is something else to do.

Try asking him/her what they would change with regards to their own industry and how they do that, I’m sure they don’t even know where to begin.

Which brings me to my third and possibly, most agitating point. Get ready for some tough love, my STRONG significant others.. I know you can handle it.

3. What are YOU doing to take ACTION in your OWN life so that you can learn a new way of maneuvering this relationship?

Ever hear of the saying “If you point one finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”

Ouch, right? I know. Trust me, I feel the sting too.

I’m the first one to raise my hand that I need to take my own advice. When I’m SO QUICK to lash out at my husband for not taking care of something fast enough… I never stop to ask myself what I could be doing to help the situation NOT get to this point.

I know… we significant others are already handling so much, right? Now you want to add something else?

My answer to this is if ALL we do is constantly remember point 1 & 2… we will hopefully find a way to remove some of the frustration and resentment… ENOUGH to possibly/hopefully find another way to look at the situation.

If we were able to 1. Remember that “Up to now.. I really thought I was alone but now I know I’m not. That ALONE makes me feel better” and 2. Remember that he/she is a part of a LARGER system… I dare you to see how that might ease up on your frustrations.

Here’s the rub… We CANNOT can’t do this alone… We’ve tried it… it doesn’t work. By way of number 1… we NEED to lean on our own community to find support and relief. Whether that is via a reminder to calm the heck down and walk away from the situation for a moment, or WHEN to get help (ahem, work with me!)

I hope at whatever stage you are in your restaurant evolution, you’ll do whatever it takes to realize this. We might’ve not had a voice in the past but NOW WE DO... so the question now is, “How are we going to use our voices?”

To wrap, here are a few suggestions when you are really ready to put your energy to good use!

  • Find a significant other who lives close to you, and regularly get together with them. You know, the buddy system? When you’re feeling that urge to change the locks while he’s SO BUSY making sure everything runs smoothly, maybe it’ll help to have someone you can call closeby who DOES understand.
  • Figure out what it is that you want to do with YOUR OWN life. My guess is part of that “Why don’t they want to be home with me?” is the fact that they LOVE WHAT THEY DO (even if they are caught up in the larger system of it all) What is it that you LOVE to do? Are you doing it? If not, maybe this is a time for YOU to figure out how you can bring more passion in your own life. If it’s being a mom… how can you share that love and passion in a BIGGER way?
  • If you are the kind of person who really likes being pushed (ahem, raises hand) and likes looking inside to find the things that hold you back in your relationship – You can PARTNER WITH ME AS YOUR COACH and we can work through these things on a one on one basis.

Just so you know.. (or in case you didn’t know) It is I, Kerilyn Russo, who is running the show here at Married to a Chef, me…. ONE person (at this point) I have a BIG dream to reach out and connect with significant others all over the world, BOTH as your resident life coach and FELLOW Significant Other. I created this place for me too… I need support too. As a coach, I have learned HOW to move someone from where they ARE… to where they want to be. I’m sure you know that it’s much easier helping someone else as it is helping yourself, same goes for me. I have my OWN coaches (two at the moment) to help me moving forward. I do not think I’m better than you and let me tell you.. I do NOT have it all figured out by now. Just because I have a few tools/ tricks up my sleeve… doesn’t mean I don’t need someone to use those tricks on me. (*)

Sign up HERE to schedule a ‘FREE TASTE” (aka complimentary session)

Finally… if you ever need a reminder that you are strong enough not just to survive but THRIVE in your restaurant relationship – you email me/ Twitter me… whatever. I KNOW you have what it takes. I do. I know it takes a strong woman/man (again, men… I KNOW you’re out there!) to maneuver through this type of relationship. I DO NOT TAKE THAT STATEMENT LIGHTLY. I believe in you.


(*) This is for the NAYSAYERS. I want to help you but I also want my OWN dreams and goals to come true. How I do that is with a FULL coaching practice.

But what if… it wasn’t their fault?

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    1. […] 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 […]

But what if… it wasn’t their fault?

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