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sleeping alone

August 25, 2011 in Everybody Else, Favorites, Life

My Side by teenytinyturkey

 

Let’s face it….

It doesn’t take long to realize that if we’re going to be in a relationship with someone in the restaurant industry means there are nights when we’re going to bed alone. We’re setting the automatic coffee pot to go off in the morning, locking the doors, turning off all the lights, possibly tucking the kids in and hitting that pillow with no one to kiss goodnight.

It comes with the territory.

You are not on the same cycle as your other half. You pass through the night. You’re sleeping when he/she gets home and their sleeping when you wake up. It just is. It’s part of the dance you two do. Like an earlier blog post, this is not like your usual team sport. It’s a relay. He does the night shift and then hands off to you in the morning. It’s something that we ladies and men who are married to these nocturnal creatures either have to get used to.. or find a way to cope with it. Is it always desirable? No. But like our weeknight dinners alone, we quickly manage to create an evening routine that works for us. Why?

Because we’re resilient.

One of our greatest strengths is our ability to adapt.

Even though there are times when it stinks to go to bed alone, if you were to REALLY look at the situation, you’d find that there is a PART of you that enjoys having your evenings to yourself. (whether you admit it to yourself or to others is another story!)

If you didn’t, then this type of relationship wouldn’t sustain you.

Most likely one of these reasons will sound familiar to you:

  • You enjoyed your single days, being able to come and go as you pleased and this type of relationship serves that feeling, that sense of independence.
  • You are very driven in your own goals and so, the fact that you have events/school/get togethers in the evenings allows you to do those things without feeling the guilt that you are out, doing what you want.
  • You are the type of person who NEEDS a solid amount of alone/quiet time to decompress, without a lot of the noise and distractions that would be around if your other half was there.

If you can admit this to yourself, then you can TAKE ADVANTAGE of this, see this as an OPPORTUNITY to create what YOU want for your life. (I mean, it IS your life, right?)

I don’t know about you, but when I know that I will be going to sleep alone, I actually look forward to it. I am a little bit of all three above, and having the evening to do what I want (whether that’s going out with girlfriends, working on my business, having a client coaching call, or just watching TV in peace – with FULL control of the remote) makes me feel grounded and at peace.

Doesn’t mean I don’t love my husband. Not at all.

Means I understand the VALUE of what this relationship brings me. *time to myself? check! It’s what I need in order to feel… well ME! It took me a long time to understand this. This WORKS for me! I actually ENJOY this!

I am sure that from an outsiders perspective, this might bring up thoughts that I don’t CARE about being with my husband, or that I’m selfish. (You ever get that vibe from others?) It makes sense, a “typical” relationship involves both parties spending every evening and weekend together. There’s the rub… THIS IS NOT A ‘TYPICAL’ KIND OF RELATIONSHIP. It has very different parameters, and what works for ‘typical’ relationships, does not, WILL NOT work for this type. Trying to fit this type of relationship into the box of whats ‘typical’ only brings up the belief that there’s only one way to do it and therefore, that there is something wrong. This kind of relationship is not for everyone.

Can you imagine how that belief can seep into your relationship? Causing resentment and doubt?

If that’s how you’re currently feeling, lonely that you have to head to bed alone, feeling like that MUST mean there is something wrong with your relationship, let me assure you – You are not alone. Anyone that’s just starting out can absolutely get hung up on how this is just not ‘normal’. It’s common that learning what works takes a while. This is just part of what makes your relationship tick. Isn’t that what you want to know anyway? Instead of spending time worrying that this is a big red flag, you could choose to see this as an opportunity, something you look forward to instead of something you dread.

How can you make this work for you?

To the contrary, I’m not being selfish, I understand how this works FOR me, instead of against me and am CHOOSING to see the perks in it. *Not to mention that this works for my husband too. When I am OKAY with our independence, it gives my husband a greater sense that ALL IS WELL, allowing him to focus on what he’s doing more, making him more present in his role as the one who runs the kitchen.

Happy wife, happy life, right? 😀

When I have those moments when I miss my husband in the evenings (yes, they do happen)… when the thought of cooking a meal by myself, or heading to bed without our usual banter of laughter and love makes me feel sad, brings me even CLOSER to him. The next time I see him or am with him, I feel THAT much more connected and revived in my feelings toward him. I miss him in these moments and I allow myself to miss him. When these moments come up, we message each other with sentiments of love and longing… while he’s busy on the line, making sure that the restaurant runs smoothly. I still feel that moment of missing him, but when I understand that these moments are not a USUAL occurrence, I am able to pass through it without it feeling like I’m missing something, or that something is wrong.

Tell me, How do YOU handle the fact that you are usually sleeping alone? What is your evening routine?

Look Familiar?

March 29, 2011 in Cooking, Favorites, Life

Loneliness Is - Day 129

Loneliness Is... by Christen Shaw

Come on.. tell me this doesn’t look familiar to you?

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday  nite (maybe more?) … eating alone?

Yes it does. That’s what WE significant others do.

This is EXACTLY what 99% of most of the people out there (you know…those who, right now – are sitting down, watching cooking shows or reading a foodie magazine- are thinking about what it must be like, being married to a chef) – have NO idea about. For all they know, it’s all glitz and glamour, 24/7.  Usually meeting someone and explaining the dynamics of what we do.. sound like this:

Me: “My husband is a chef”

Unaware masses: “OOH, he must cook for you every night!”  or “You must eat really well in your house!”

Me: “uh, yea NO.”

This logic doesn’t make any sense to me really. WHY would they be home cooking for me when their PURPOSE is to be at the restaurant cooking for YOU???

And when they ARE home… they’re most likely too tired to cook so at least one night a week it’s Chinese delivery nite. (Okay, there are a few restaurant men and women who come home with the same energy as when their at work.. but they’re rarely seen, kinda like Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street.)

So most nights…we cook for ourselves (or our children).  Alone.

I can only speak for myself when I say, for the record – I’m NOW totally okay with that. Yes, there was a time in an earlier chapter of my life, back when he was just a boyfriend (or not a boyfriend at all!) that I daydreamed of coming home to someone and cooking together. Wandering the aisles of the grocery store together, seeking out unusual recipes to try out. Creating a nightly menu of what we’re going to eat every day of the week. I briefly had that with a previous relationship (fellow 9-5’r) and will admit; yes, it had it’s moments of being fun. But like most things, we romanticize these moments as greater then they really are and end up not having the long term appeal that we originally thought.

Whether we’re with a chef or not, at the end of the day it’s challenging to always be up on your game with regard to preparing home cooked meals.  (No wonder Rachael Rays 30 minute meals are so popular! 30 minutes from prep to eat? SCORE!) I mean we’re tired. After a day of enduring the 9-5, picking up the kids, hitting the gym, running some errands, or surviving the long commute home. It’s no wonder why the allure of being with a chef is so great… MOST people take themselves out to a meal (i.e. have someone cook for them) because they don’t want to do the cooking at home! Why is it any different for any of us?

As for me, I’m not a foodie. I don’t have a pantry full of exotic and far reaching ingredients. I grew up with a  meat, starch, vegetable mentality. (Unfortunately I also grew up with an ‘Eat everything on that plate or your not leaving the table!” mentality, but that’s a post for another day) I didn’t grow up with fresh herbs sitting on my window sill. My mother didn’t cook fish all that often (like at ALL), so I didn’t grow up eating it or more than that, cooking it. My idea of a home cooked meal is a box of Rice-a-Roni and some baked chicken dish with canned vegetables. Yes, I said canned vegetables.

So that is what I do. When I know I’m cooking alone, I look up a recipe by it’s keywords “quick and easy” or “one pot meals”.

I even have a confession: I even  have, on occasion, come home to a box of  Hamburger Helper when I want something hot and fast. It’s a joke in my house when I do so but ps: who eats those leftovers huh? yep, the husband when he comes home at night. Whose joking now?

It’s not like I’m completely clueless – I like to step it up a bit when I am cooking for my husband or guests. You’re just not going to find me whipping up a 4 course meal with the “Secret Ingredient”  as they do on Iron Chef!

All of this earlier upbringing means that I am quite intimidated when it comes to cooking for my husband. I inevitably say before placing any plate in front of him, “It’s nothing fancy…”. It’s apparent that my shortcomings in the kitchen are apparent when he’s around. Here’s the thing…

It’s just not my bag.

It works for me that I don’t have to give too much thought to having to cook knowing that I’m doing so alone. I don’t have the all encompassing eye, leering over the stovetop, watching how much salt I put in my water when I cook pasta (answer: none. I only salt water when the husband is home).

And so it is…this is part of being with someone in the industry.  I KNOW most nights, I will most likely eat alone. I have come to enjoy the choice I have of what to cook, where I eat what I cook (usually on the sofa in my pj’s, catching up on my shows I record) or that I’m able to make plans with my girlfriends without the guilt of making sure I’m home before the husband gets upset. I will admit, it took some adjusting of what I thought my life would look like, but once I did, I realize its part of the freedom that I VALUE about being a strong and  independent woman,  successfully navigating through the life of being Married to a Chef.

pass the baton

March 9, 2011 in Everybody Else, Favorites

tack04 by tim_lytvinenko

So this is not your typical team/relationship you’re in. Figured that out yet?

Yea no. It’s not the type of team where you’re all playing at the SAME TIME. Like Volleyball, or Basketball.

Nope.

This relationship is like a being on a track team and running a relay.

Each person on this team has their individual personal best to make. One person hands off to the next and they GO. If you look at this photo, both people are looking in the same direction. One is not looking at the other. The one whose grabbing the baton would lose their footing if they turned to look at the person behind. They have to TRUST that they are coming up behind them and that their teammate is going to hand it right to them.

The one is waiting, anticipating the arrival of the baton.  The other is running as fast as they can to meet the other person. To “hand off” as they say.

That’s what this relationship is like.  One person runs, does their personal best and hands off to the next while both reaching forward. They both know that it’s up to the individual person to do all they can to win. (And when they win they win together as a team) That’s also where we get tripped up if we don’t know what type of team we’re joining. We get lost in ‘he/she doesn’t make time for me, or puts their job first,etc… when yes, that’s the sort of team you joined.

He or she comes home and ‘hands off’ to you. On their day off, you ‘hand off’ responsibilities and goals to them. It’s a back and forth kind of joining. Here’s the kicker…

…in this type of team, you’re not going to be running together.

If you need that type of teamwork, then this might not be the kind of team/relationship you will find success in. (And that’s okay!) Success in this team is a knowing that we will be standing there, what seems like alone, seeking out our own personal best – but they ARE there, doing their best to meet you where you are, and when you reach out behind you, you feel them close.  Then they support you when you are running, and the cycle of support continues. You, them, you, them.

No, in this team you each do what you can to be your best, do your best KNOWING that the strength of your team is that moment when you ‘hand off’. You don’t look back, you just know they will be there. You TRUST.

Yea.. it takes practice. Anything worth having takes practice. And the resilience to know we’re all going to have a bad day.

How does this feel? If it makes you feel good, that you can relax knowing how to maneuver within the parameters of this relationship more, Congrats! If it doesn’t make you feel good, almost makes you curl your lip in disgust. No matter! We all need different types of teams to feel supported. It’s good information, don’t you think, that you can make valued decisions with.

If this sounds exciting to you, let me ask you – HOW can you meet your personal best to be the BEST teammate on a winning team? Whats your dreams? Your goals? How can you go for them knowing that your other half, your partner – WILL be there when you reach out your hand?