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It’s time. – PART ONE

February 7, 2013 in Coping, Everybody Else, Expectations, Favorites, Fears, Life, Restaurant Industry

before you dive in, read here.

I’ve been trying to avoid this post, but it seems I can no longer ‘look away’. It has become GLARINGLY obvious that something needs to be said and any amount of trying to be positive isn’t going to make it better.

I want relief. I KNOW you want relief, so here we go. I’m going to attempt to make this short and sweet, so you can hopefully feel better, faster.

It’s time. We can not ignore this any longer.

YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.

  • You’re NOT crazy for thinking he or she is selfish sometimes.
  • You’re NOT crazy for thinking their priorities are out of whack.
  • You are NOT crazy for the moments you think that the restaurant is more important than you and your family.
  • You are NOT crazy for the moments you think they need to grow up.
  • You are NOT crazy when you feel sad and angry that you’re the only one who seems interested in what comes next in your lives.
  • You are NOT crazy in those moments when you are considering why you got yourself into this type of relationship in the first place.
  • You are NOT crazy when you are pissed off because it seems you are the only one concerned about your children.
  • You are NOT crazy when they leave the house a MESS, like they don’t even see it there, day after day.
  • You are NOT crazy to wonder if they think of anything but themselves.
  • You’re NOT crazy if you think the ONLY reason why they’re still with you is so you can take care of them.
  • You are NOT crazy when you have to remind them OVER AND OVER AGAIN to do one thing.
  • You’re NOT crazy if you think their friends might not be the best influences.
  • You are NOT crazy when you’re infuriated that they, YET AGAIN, didn’t tell you when they were getting off, and you wake up panicking about where they are in the middle of the night.  *and then come to find out that they just “had their phone off”.
  • You are NOT crazy when you feel crazy that you are the only one upset.
  • You are NOT crazy when you are attempting to save money for the future, and they think if they see it there, they can spend it.
  • You are NOT crazy that their family thinks their The Golden Child, which makes you feel even more crazy that you do experience what you do. Talk about second guessing yourself.
  • You are NOT crazy when all you want is a day alone, with your other half.
  • You are NOT crazy when you feel SO SAD that you are alone/ not with your other half on a holiday or your birthday. When you see your friends out celebrating with their love, and you’re not.
  • You are NOT crazy for thinking you are not sure you can deal with this the rest of your life.
  • You are NOT crazy for being uncomfortable with how often they go out for a drink after service.
  • You are NOT crazy when you have your weekly plans set, and because they haven’t told you when they’re working (open/mid/close), and are suddenly available, they want you to drop your plans to spend time with them.
  • You are NOT crazy when you think that their co-worker is strangely “too close for comfort” to your other half.
  • You are NOT crazy for getting frustrated when people tell you “How Cool” it is that you’re married to a chef. You want to yell at them and say “NO! It’s NOT what you think!”
  • You are NOT crazy for never quite knowing when you can plan your vacation but when THEY want to do something, they always make it happen.
  • You are NOT crazy that they do something SO nice one day that it makes you doubt your initial feeling crazy, and then, a few days later, it returns back to their regularly scheduled routine and you then doubt yourself that you doubted yourself initially.
  • You’re NOT crazy when your restaurant man/woman reads this and suggests you stop reading these posts.
  • (This one is for me) You’re NOT crazy that the industry does NOT want anyone on the outside to know just how hard it is to be married into the industry, that sharing that might somehow jeopardize the glamorous image that it’s worked SO hard to keep up. You’re NOT crazy for getting serious resistance from those who work night and day to keep the dream alive.

You hear me… YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.

Go ahead and give yourself PERMISSION to not feel crazy. You’re NOT.

Whenever you need a reminder, come to THIS post.

Really… let hearing that you are NOT crazy SINK into your bones.

Give yourself a BREAK today. Okay?

And when you’re READY, REALLY ready…

READ PART TWO.

TELL US IN THE COMMENTS – What else are you NOT CRAZY for/about?

 

 

 

 

Six ways to weather the next storm

October 30, 2012 in Coping, Fears, Life, Restaurant Industry

 

We knew it was inevitable when we first heard the news.

The storm was coming, and there was NOTHING we could do to avoid that.

We also knew that because of that fact…how we planned to weather it, also came into question.

While we’re heading to the grocery store for bottled water and to make sure we have a full tank of gas, just in case the power goes out, our beloved other halves were devising a different game plan.

Like fireman and policemen, our chefs, managers, servers and bartenders are all part of an Emergency Response plan to keep the restaurant open and in business. Like an elaborate dance number, our restaurant men and women are called to “take their places”, so to give those in need of a good meal and a warm escape from the storm, a temporary respite from the elements.

Most of the time, these Emergency plans can be as intricate as some Government defense strategies, with those who have the most reliable transportation, picking up and delivering those who are not as lucky. Coordinating when their next deliveries will arrive, and how to keep the precious food in the walk in cold if the power goes out. It is this time when your husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend seems to be focusing on everything else BESIDES house and home and how you’re going to stay safe.

Needless to say, this can (and does) become very frustrating and can be the cause of us feeling like we’re the last on their list.

Most of the time, it seems like they go on automatic pilot… responding to their restaurants needs like a man (or woman) on a mission while having tunnel vision to anything else going on around them.

That’s why I wanted to write, to talk about how this makes US feel and hopefully come up with a way to be at more peace about it. I know that for most of us, this has become second nature, as we adapt and manage…but it doesn’t quell our frustrations and inability to shift them out of this mode, until the storm has passed, and all returns to their regularly scheduled program.

So here are some suggestions to hopefully be at peace, the next time the storm comes our way (AND IT WILL). These are not miracle cures.. just thoughts to consider to bring yourself some peace. Dealing with a scary storm situation is emotional enough… why not prevent additional upset by finding ways to bring calm to what’s going on in and around you.

Let’s start with a few that might be pushing your buttons, BIG TIME, right now.

1.  Whether we like it or not..it boils down to SUPPLY and DEMAND.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, what your beloved does for a living is a BUSINESS. The owners, managers… shoot most likely even your chef sees the potential in how this storm can bring in additional business (read: finances), and will do all they can to ensure that they keep things up and running. As you know… groceries run out of stock and lines begin to form when the DEMAND is there. The restaurant is the same. People will flock to the places (and spend more money than usual) they KNOW are open. Therefore they do all they can to make sure all systems are GO.

2. It’s NOT personal.

I almost cannot believe I’m saying this, partially because I personally resist the belief of “It’s not personal, it’s business.” but in this case, I think it’s wise to talk about it. I know it feels like it’s YOU that he/she is overlooking but let me assure you… IT’S NOT PERSONAL. They go into automatic pilot NOT because they want to. They are not deliberately leaving you to fend for yourself. NO. Unfortunately, they are reacting based out of the the long established and underlying belief in what I mentioned above. I’m sure if you were to question them in the midst of their auto-pilot behavior, they would say “But I have to… this is what you do”.

I can’t speak for wives of policemen and firemen… but my guess is, how they cope with this First Responder behavior is the same as what we need to develop in ourselves.

If we knew that their jobs were to save the lives of others… how would that change how you feel about their instinctive GO GO GO mode?

I know that in reality, keeping the restaurant open is not saving lives, but I think the mentality is similar. Food, Shelter, Water. What our beloveds do, is to make sure that the food part is in abundance. The adrenaline kicks in, they “Don their Cape” , and AWAY they go.

How does this help you? Well, it might not in the moment, but while you’re preparing for the storm, it might be good to regularly remind yourself that it’s NOT personal. This is a train that has been on this certain track for a LONG time, and instead of getting run over, it’s best to stand aside and watch it as it passes by. If you watch it from afar, and see it as it really is (You’re other half is a part of a very old train system… running a track and it doesn’t know how to stop) then hopefully it will minimize the feeling that he or she is personally neglecting you and your needs.

He or she is just doing what those before them have done. Not saying it’s right, but knowing that he/she is a part of a larger system, hopefully can diminish how personal it can feel.

3. Create a three step plan of your own BEFORE hand.

That way, by the time he or she goes into Superman (or woman) mode, you have already initiated the steps in your own plan first. Maybe one of those steps is the intervals with with he/she needs to check in with you or how long they can be away (specifically in the cases of Hotel Restaurant men/women where they can and usually do stay at their place of business to keep the shifts moving. ) Maybe it’s BEFORE he/she takes off (think Supermans lift off… leaving Lois Lane  standing there by herself) they have to make sure you are safe and secure (with enough food) to leave you, wherever you are.

Know your non-negotiables (Things you will NOT settle for) Like…

  1. I expect to hear from you every 12 hours.
  2. I want you to make sure there are always enough batteries in this house, for just this occasion.
  3. Make sure YOU call your mother/father to make sure they too, know you’re alright.

Create the plan BEFORE the adrenaline kicks in.. and their off saving the appetites of those around them.

4. Take advantage of the LULLS.

Just like a storm has a lull, the adrenaline will wear off and he/she will come to his/her senses and remember that there is someone at home, weathering without them. Take advantage of these lulls when you can. You probably notice that on a regular basis, they usually call you before dinner service, like the calm before the storm. Use these cues to find ways to remind them that their only responsibility is not just at the restaurant. Send them a picture of how you’re hunkering down (or in my case yesterday, the completely unfortunate leak in the living room ceiling) so remind them that what is happening in front of them is NOT the only things.  We cut our beloveds a LOT of slack for being the passionate and driven men and women that they are… still doesn’t take away the fact that the need for work/life balance is necessary.

5. Reach out to your fellow significant others.

You’re other half is not the only one who is ‘coming to the rescue’ when a storm hits. So are his fellow co-workers. If you are so inclined, why not reach out to the wives/girlfriends, boyfriends and husbands of those who work with your beloved. Connect ahead of time and collaborate on a support system of your own (like a phone tree) so that you don’t have to wait for your restaurant man/woman to call you back, when it’s been a few hours and you’re worrying.That way whomever checks in first can call the other for an update.

*Yes, it takes a bit of coordination to do this but we already know (or are beginning to know) that we are STRONG and resourceful and what better way to empower yourself that you are doing all you can to make sure they’re doing okay.

6. KNOW You’re right.. it’s not FAIR.

Really there isn’t much more to say than you’re right.. it’s NOT fair. It’s not fair that you will be the one doing most of the coordinating on the home front. You will most likely be battening down the hatches, lighting the candles when the power goes out and soothing your childrens fears from the wind. It’s not fair that you’re going to have to do the leg work while it seems like they off doing something that you just can’t grasp to be THAT important. It’s not fair that nothing seems to work to get him or her to realize that they could be home, with their families instead of always picking up the phone with the restaurant calls to tell them to come in.

It’s not fair and frankly, there’s nothing do DO about it but KNOW IT. Is it always fair that we seem to be lower on the totem pole when it comes to these moments of Emergency? NO. Is it that we REALLY are unimportant? NO, it just might seem that way while the tide is high. It is my hope that you will feel just a bit less alone that you are NOT the only one going through this… that SO MANY of your fellow significant others are thinking the same things and feeling the same. We CAN take steps to be MORE at peace.

I want to know.. How do YOU handle life with your restaurant man/woman during an emergency situation? What works best for you?

Climbing the ladder

September 7, 2012 in Coping, Dreams, Expectations, Learning, Life

Source: marcofolio.net via Jennifer on Pinterest

First off… could this photo not be ANYMORE appropriate? Okay, maybe it’s a bit severe, but in your experience, hasn’t the journey up the ladder for your restaurant man/woman been seemingly pretty severe at times?

I’m not usually a betting kinda woman but I BETCHA that your beloved restaurant man/woman didn’t have a clue what he or she was about to get into when they started climbing the culinary ladder.

Most likely it started out with a genuine interest turned carefree statement of “I like to cook”, that lead to a life changing decision to to go culinary school.

Okay.. let’s be honest. It was more than a statement. It was a pursuit…a destination…someone might call it an

OBSESSION.

Packed with their brandy new knives and chef whites, off they go to culinary school to learn the SKILLS… to hone in on their focus, found out what they enjoyed,  felt the pressure of being on their feet for long periods of time, maybe had a glimpse into what they will soon experience as an extern.

Maybe this was years ago… maybe it is happening right now.

Either way… Even after they graduate, I’m sure they had NO IDEA what they were getting themselves into when they first started out on the line.

They probably got a huge dose of it, their first week on the job.. just how LOWEST MAN ON THE TOTEM POLE they really were.

But in the end…if they don’t know… YOU don’t know either.

Brings me back to a time on my then chef boyfriends first day at TenPenh, a well known asian fusion fine dining restaurant (now closed) in Washington, DC.

Remember it like it was yesterday, actually.

I was SO excited for him…like first day of school excited. I remember when I came home from work that day, I baked him a chocolate cake and bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate with him when he got home. I was so proud of him for so many things… for making the leap to move to where I was so we could be together, for almost instantly getting this position without much effort, it seemed SO serendipitous. This first day symbolized so much for me, for us. Our future. I was excited at what was to come.

I waited for him to come home…

Waited and waited and waited. It soon got dark, and hours went by. I had to work the next day and at this point, I had NO idea when I was going to see him, so like in the movies, when one person prepares a nice meal and then waits in vain until they give up and go to bed.

That’s what I ended up doing…  I went to bed.

Reluctantly, I shut out the light and tried to sleep, unsuccessfully, until I heard the key in the door.

I think it was midnight, honestly who knows. I ran up and grabbed the champagne and uncovered the cake… ready to say “Surprise!” and was shocked at what I saw.

My excited when I left him, then chef boyfriend came in looking like he was just in a street fight.

He was exhausted, wincing, and moaning in pain.

I tried to be happy for him, to maintain that celebratory energy but he quickly said “Honey I had a really hard day, all I want to do is sit down.”

It was like he too.. had NO idea how hard that first day was going to be and was almost in shock at what he experienced.

Defeated.

He had worked at other restaurants before this… but I don’t think he expected to feel such drain, especially on the first day.

My first glimpse into what my life would look like, going forward, along my first experience with that feeling of resentment.

My celebratory action was quickly dismissed as I sadly covered the cake back up, I remember telling myself as I placed the champagne back in the refrigerator,

“We’ll celebrate when he has time. Maybe this weekend.”

HA.

I ended up never opening that bottle of champagne. Remembered I wouldn’t open it unless I could share it with my chef. That day never came.

I remember attempting to pull from him information about his day… he telling me just how he ended up running around helping everyone else on that first day, mainly butchering. I remember thinking,  “But you’re a CHEF…. why are you doing all the grunt work?”

Seriously I had NO idea. Maybe you had no idea as well.

This went on QUITE a while… as he learned something. I learned something in his wake.

And let me tell ya, I wasn’t happy with everything I was learning.

  • LIKE… I have to stay out after the kitchen closed in order to commune with his fellow chefs on the line, just to name one.
  • Like the time he came home with his hand in a large cup of water, now warm, because he had burned himself so badly.
  • *Why do they just deal the pain unless it’s severe?
    Like… you know.. how to deal with the stench of those damn clogs.

And not all bad either…

  • Like how he and everyone else on the line, knew exactly where I was sitting when I went to eat at the restaurant.
  • Like how I never had to actually order anything and yet, the food came out in abundance.
  • Like that it takes really WANTING TO KNOW  (and understand) what I wanted in my life, what I wanted in my relationship, so that I could figure out if I had the strength, after all, to withstand the ins and outs of all these lessons learned.  *This lesson took a LONG time. Years.

 Twelve years have passed since that day, and I can tell you I’m STILL learning what to expect as he continues to climb that culinary ladder.

As he learns more… I learn too.

I spent those early years BLAMING HIM for not explaining the ins and outs to me… how sometimes the lessons I was slow to learn made me feel like a fool. (Whew, the arguments we would have.)

I have, over time, learned that I cannot expect him to explain it to me, and even if he did, I’m not sure I would even understand what he was trying to say.

Cause whether I like it or not, he’s figuring it out too.

I’m sure there were times when he didn’t WANT to go out drinking with everyone, but wanted to come home to me.

I’m sure there were times when he wanted to take a break instead of going, going, going for 16 hours/day. Giving his tired legs a chance to recover.

I’m sure that he felt dissapointed at the beginning that he wasn’t the one doing the cooking like he thought he would’ve when he graduated from school.

Later on… I’m sure he was sad that he wasn’t chosen to be EC, but instead someone else was chosen to fill that position.

Your restaurant man/woman might not tell you everything she/he’s learning as they climb up their ladder.

You might find that frustrating. *Most likely you will.

But just KNOW… that that’s a PRIME opportunity to find out that you have what it takes to climb your OWN ladder.

Taking the precious (and sometimes more than you want) time to figure out what steps YOU can take to move up the ladder WITH him/her, instead of waiting for them to pull you up.

Like for ME… Climbing the ladder means understanding that being a planner doesn’t mean I can plan to expect to know how everythings going to go ahead of time, even in my resistance to accept this as true. *Secret: I have serious resistance here, let me tell ya.

Climbing the ladder for ME means that I have to put in the work to understand what I can and will accept in my restaurant relationship.

Climbing the ladder means knowing what is and what isn’t okay for me.

Climbing the ladder means knowing I can change my mind.

Climbing the ladder means knowing not to expect that things will always be the way they currently are. That YES… just when I think things are going smoothly, they inevitably will change. (Change restaurant locations, change his schedule, etc…) 

Climbing the ladder means knowing that I have what it takes to get through whatever he goes through. And knowing when to reach out for help. *Ahem, another reason why I wanted to find YOU.

Where I am now (just to share) – Climbing the ladder means reaching for my OWN dreams, even if he isn’t ready yet. It’s having faith that he’ll catch up to me and meet me where I am when the time is right. It’s being okay that I’m a few rungs ahead of him, doesn’t mean we’re not together but that we help push each other upwards. He does that for me, I do that for him.

You will inevitably find out the ins and outs of what being in a restaurant relationship is like. It is my hope that by creating this space, I can help ease some of the pain that most of us feel. That you will have a place to go to when you don’t know HOW to continue climbing… or even if you want to. *And that’s okay too.

You will hear of those exceptions to the rule, and those who enjoy being connected to someone whose become celebrated, by way of their unsatiated obsession.

You might’ve found out the hard way too. For YEARS… there was no place to go to find relief. You had to climb that ladder on your own. Inspire your own way upwards.

That’s how I know you’re strong. That you can do this. That you have what it takes.

I assure you… if you put all your focus on his/her own ladder, staring intently on where THEIR ladder leads, and not focus on where you are reaching, you will find the answer to why you instantly feel lost and out of step.

Grab a hold of your OWN ladder… and CLIMB IT for YOU.

*I can almost guarantee that your restaurant man/woman will stop climbing long enough to take notice of how you’re achieving your own goals, climbing your own ladder. Celebrating and encouraging you to keep going…

One rung at a time.

NO, you’re NOT crazy and there is NOTHING wrong with you.

August 21, 2012 in Coping, Everybody Else, Expectations, Fears, Life

Do me a favor – Before you continue reading – Read the title of this post again. OUT LOUD. *Come on… DO IT! I dare you.

I’m NOT crazy and there is nothing wrong with me.

Why? Because I know you are thinking this. Whether it’s every once in a while or even every day.

I know you are.

Why are you thinking you’re crazy? Let me see if this captures it…

  • Because you feel like a broken record, asking your restaurant man/woman OVER AND OVER AGAIN to help you get something fixed/cleaned/accomplished,etc… Shit, BE AROUND.
  • Because the statement, “you knew what you got yourself into” replays in your mind,  causing you to constantly doubt yourself.
  • Because your never feeling rested, because there’s always something ELSE to do.
  • Because you are angry with yourself that you are angry with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend because you KNOW they’re not going to change.
  • Because you feel like, even AFTER being connected to him/her for YEARS – your family and close friends STILL do not understand why you “put up” with this.
  • Because you come home, after a day of work and see that the house is a mess because your Tasmanian devil of a restaurant man/woman did NOTHING to clean up after him/herself.
  • Because you are SO DAMN LONELY on a Friday or Saturday nite when he/she is working and EVEN THOUGH, YES…you have girlfriends you could call/things you could do… you’re still not doing what you want to do and that makes you SO SAD.
  • You know that the ONLY way that the groceries are showing up in the house.. is if YOU get them there. *Yes, I know there are a few exceptions out there on this.
  • Because you feel like you’re the ONLY one in the relationship who wants to find a way to regularly have sex. They’re working all these different hours, and you never can ‘connect‘ and he/she NEVER seem like it’s a priority to them. (uh, HELLO!)
  • Because your children don’t have the experiences that your friends husbands (9-5’rs) do.. weekend dates at the neighborhood pool, Chucky Cheese, playing ‘Tea Party with Daddy” and you feel this sense of RAGE that they’re not going to know what that’s like.
  • If you’re new to dating someone in the industry, you feel a strange sense of guilt that you’re hanging with your single friends when you’re restaurant man/woman is working.
  • You are on standby at the house/at their restaurant on the DAY BEFORE you’re supposed to leave for a VERY planned vacation to “see”  because he has just “one more thing to wrap up before I go”. Three hours later…. still no sign.

Need I say more? I THINK NOT. *actually, I could very well go on… but I think I’ve made my point.

Yea… let me tell you again. YOU’RE NOT CRAZY.

Here’s WHY:

Because up to now we have NOT had a voice. We have not had a chance to express OUR opinions, the good AND the not so good. Up to now it hasn’t felt BALANCED. Up to now, we’ve been in the shadows while their standing in the spotlight, right?

On TOP of that,  if the world knew that it was NOT all home cooked meals and VIP treatments at swanky restaurants (like it looks like on TV/magazines)… that their never home, are usually physically and emotionally spent when they are home and that in reality, there’s a high likely hood that some of us are struggling with chefs who are:

– workaholics – avoiding their family/friends, choosing to focus on work than on their responsibilities in their personal life.
– dealing with drinking/drug/infidelity problems

Commonly overindulging in the temptations that the restaurant industry brings. IF everyone KNEW that – the CREDIBILITY that the restaurant industry has been built on, would regularly come into conflict. And no one who is running a business wants THAT.

You do get that, right? Where your restaurant man/woman works IS A BUSINESS.

Investors, owners and possibly your own restaurant men/women want to succeed, to thrive – to open more restaurants and cast a wider net.

*maybe even become ‘famous’ in the process.

It makes no sense to expose the not so fun part of what it takes.

*More on this in an upcoming post.

Just think about it…

That’s WHY most people have NO idea what it’s like…

Why, when I tell regular folk, “Why would he cook at home FOR ME when his JOB is to cook for YOU?” I regularly get the response…

“OH, I never thought of that before.”

Why would they?

*The same goes for our fellow significant others who are connected to policemen, firemen, etc… – No one wants to hear what life at home looks like for them. They just want to know they will be there when needed.

So you’re NOT CRAZY when you ask yourself why you feel you can’t ever “get a grip” on the ins and outs of your restaurant relationship. Why you might be feeling like you’re always either CRYING or YELLING.

Give yourself a break.

There has not been, up to this point, a place to go, just for US. In the past few years, with the advent of us “regular folk” creating websites, there are now a dozen or so websites for us to VENT and find relief. *I thank my lucky stars for Hilarys Desparate Chefs Wives when I needed to find help.

SO… now that we have a voice.

Start using it.

When I say use it… I mean share YOUR experiences, (and don’t forget to share the good ones… we all like to focus on the not so good ones first)

  • Guest post here and share what your journey has been like
  • Meet a fellow Significant Other near you and commune
  • Figure out what YOU need and then make it happen (It’s the make it happen part that we get stuck… that’s why I’m here as your resident coach)
  • Create new RULES in your relationship (Who says you have to go by the ones already laid out for us)
  • Buck the system.

We are silent no more. Now the question is…

What are you going to do with your voice?

Finally, I know this might be hard to accept, with our try, try, try again mentality but

There is NOTHING wrong with you if (when) you feel like you are not strong/willing enough to ‘do’ this.

Nothing wrong with admitting that. I know… it pushes on us to think that if we are not strong, that must mean we are weak.

What if it doesn’t have to be all or nothing?

We’re figuring all this out as we go along, of course we’re going to have moments when we are unsure, stuck, lost and even scared.

Doesn’t mean you are weak. It just means you have something to figure out.

Take yourself OFF the hook for once.

So I’ll end here with a statement that I want you to say to yourself right now…Say it out loud a few times… until it sinks in your gut and becomes a bit more comfortable. {Oh come on…give it a whirl…}

Just because I feel overwhelmed/angry/unsure right now…. I know I still have what it takes. I know I will figure it out.

*You are not crazy and there is nothing wrong with you.

But what if… it wasn’t their fault?

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

 

Source: Uploaded by user via Mette on Pinterest

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.

NOW GET OUT THERE AND SHOW THE WORLD THAT YOU KNOW YOU’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO THRIVE IN THIS TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP!!!

(*) 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.