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

April 24, 2014 in Family, Life

Help - Emulsified Family

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

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

Then we had kids.

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

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

Oh the list could go on and on . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emulsified Family

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


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Tom Small | Executive Chef and Proud papa

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


    1. […] first blog I came across (because she took the domain name I wanted (just kidding Kerilyn)) was MarriedToAChef.com.   It’s been so much fun chatting back and forth across the country with another […]

      • Kerilyn Fox says:

        ha ha! I’m just excited that whenever I FINALLY get a chance to sit down and chat with you… I have a feeling we can do great things together to help other significant others in the same boat! It’ll happen… I know it will!

    2. It will happen eventually! The 3 hours time difference doesn’t help either. Our kids’ naps/rest times are not at the same time!! We’ll just have to skype with them on our our lap or dancing around in front of the camera!!

    3. Jane Flury says:

      Enjoy your writing and support so much. I wanted to be “marriedtoachef.com” too, but alas only the girlfriend! I can’t imagine throwing kids into the mix of a chef’s schedule. After raising a high needs child in my former marriage my best advice is to maintain a good support group with other moms and to be open about your failings. Sometimes motherhood gets to be a comparison club with other moms, but don’t let that stop you from reaching out. All these blogs are so important for women. Thanks for taking the time to reach out to us.

    4. Thanks Jane. ChefsGirlfriend.com is a great name! 🙂 I agree that when you start to compare yourself to other moms you can get into trouble easily. But being around others in a similar situation (at least those who are willing to be open and honest with you) is so helpful!! Thanks for the encouragement.

    5. claudia strange says:

      i’m so glad i found you and your blog. funny enough, my chef husband was sharing your post on what chef’s really eat after work on his FB and there you were! I found you. i haven’t left your site in an hour. i should probably get back to work. 🙂 i am also a wife of a chef/mom to 2 very small children (3 and 1) and work full time. it is a struggle. every. single. day. sometimes i want to cry, sometimes i laugh like a crazy person. i love and hate all of it. thank you for showing me i’m not alone.

    6. Jaclyn says:

      So much of this resonates with me as I too am married to a chef and have two young daughters (3.5 and an almost 1yo). It’s incredibly challenging managing the household, working, taking care of two kids, three if you count my husband, and the idea of having time for myself is almost comical!

      • I know what you mean. I often find myself staying up really late at night (like I am right now), just so I have some time to myself. 🙁 Unfortunately, I usually pay the price for it in the morning when I’m exhausted!

    7. Jewel says:

      Thank you for this blog…

      It’s NYE and I’m sitting here cuddling my 7 week old son and just feeling so awful for my fiance, who’s an exec at a major Miami restaurant. I know he’s weeded and missing us…and we are missing him. I’m a fish rep (his fish rep, of course, that’s actually how we met) so I understand and appreciate the hard work everyone puts into this industry. Our souls are in it. December is my busiest time of the year down here, too, so it’s been a real struggle with both us going through high season with a newborn. I guess I was just feeling sorry for all three of us and so I googled “married to a chef” and all this loveliness popped up. Thank you for sharing your experiences… it gives me hope that our family can weather the hard times and last the “forever and a day, extra messy!” That we promised each other. Hugs from Miami!

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

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