Welcome to a new series on the blog called Tales o a Chef’s Widow. I hope to highlight some of the experiences I have of being married to a chef while we try to balance our lives on different schedules. It is a definitely a huge learning experience on both ends.
A majority of chefs are working those long nights. They go into work between 12pm – 2pm and don’t get out until midnight or later. What’s a husband or wife to do if they work a day job while their spouse is a chef working every night?
Dave didn’t always work nights. When I first met him, he had a cushy catering job that created an awesome schedule of mid shifts where he would be home just after 6 or 7pm. So we were able to have a late dinner and go for a walk or catch up on a TV show every now and then. When it was suggested the he transfer to a restaurant to get new skills, he obliged hoping it would lead to a better career in the long run.
It was a major difference. We quickly learned that we would never see each other if I kept my current schedule. At first it wasn’t bad. I would come home from work and get some things done around the house and then wait until he got home before going to bed. Then the nights become longer and longer. Those nights got more boring as they passed. I had a ton of friends who worked different schedules and they also wanted to have dinner with their significant others and spend time with them. No one wanted that awkward third wheel of a girl whose husband worked late nights.
I became a master at the art of dating myself. It sound so silly but it really helped the time pass. If I had a long gap of days that I knew Dave would be home late, I would plan a day or two where I would take myself out for a drink or a cup of coffee. I learned that it was ok to enjoy downtime alone. It was something I was not at all used to. I wanted to be surrounded by friends and people all the time. I never really sat quietly and enjoyed my own company. Let me tell you, it’s nice.
I have a whole Netflix section devoted to shows I watch when Dave has to work late. It’s mostly those awesome shows from my teenage years like One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, The Wonder Years, and Saved by the Bell. I have filled it with movies like Runaway Bride and The Prince and Me. Sappy movies I know he wouldn’t be caught dead watching. Sometimes I grab a beer or a glass of wine, slip into my hole-filled sweatshirt, and find my comfy spot on the couch for a night of Netflix.
I have found a new appreciation for books and tea. Lately I have been reading autobiographies of my favorite personalities like Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Danielle Fishel. I have enjoyed great books about beer and some really great stories in general. I learned to love “me” time.
I think this is important because it makes the time Dave and I do spend together even more special than it already was. I joke all the time about being a Chef’s Widow. It’s only because I never see Dave when normal people would see their significant others. I know that spouses of military persons have it worse than I do, but in a way, it’s not all that different. I still miss my husband. I miss him all the time. I want to go on a dinner date and not a breakfast date. I want to enjoy an evening out with friends. The truth is, it’s not what I signed up for. I know that now and and I appreciate our time together even more.
But I also really like dating myself.