Chef, Mother, Wife…Me Part Two

Part two of a two-part article of my journey becoming a chef, mother, and wife.

Over the next 5 years my business grew, my child grew, and my husband, well he stayed the same; ha!  Everything was going well.  I was figuring out how to be a chef, business owner, mother, wife, maid and cook.  Business was really picking up.  I got the opportunity to compete on CHOPPED and came in second place!  People were talking about my food and my woman-owned business.  I was competing in this male-dominated world and I was killing it!!!  I was living my dream! I was working hard, doing what I loved and raising my child.  I finally found balance within my 5 hats.  Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of frustration.  Tell me one woman who isn’t frustrated with having to manage her husband’s household duties or lack of doing them.  But I was getting better at asking for help instead of assuming he would just do it.  Because we all know men will never just do what is expected to be done.  It is not in their nature.  Men live on their own planet, and it is a different one than we, woman, and mothers, live on (but that is a whole separate story).

Right as I think I finally had a hold on my new reality, BOOM, here comes COVID! Well, this was a whole new monkey wrench thrown my way.  Just a few months before Covid came to fruition everything was really falling into place.  I picked up this gig working as a private chef for a very affluent family, making good money, we sold our house and bought a dream house, and my daughter was in her last year of nursery school.  I thought to myself; “Finally!”.  But, of course, like much of my past I spoke too soon.

A couple months after moving into our new home, which was double everything, size, and price, Covid hit.  My business shut down. My daughter’s school shut down and my husband was still working every day in the city because he was “essential”. I now became a full-time mom, wife, and teacher.  I added one more “hat” to my life.  

Reality started to sink in and like many people in the hospitality industry depression started to set in.  I didn’t realize at that moment that I was a little depressed, a little sad, and a little mad.  My business, my name, my life over the past 5 years was put to a screeching halt! I feared I may lose it forever.  How were we going to pay our bills; the bills that doubled from those a few months prior.  How will I ever build back the momentum I had?  Will my marriage survive us being together every day and night?  These were just a few questions I had running through my mind every day, every night.  The little sleep I had over the past years now became sleepless nights.  My brain wouldn’t shut off.  It would just run and run and run.  I kept thinking about what would happen if I lost everything.  But then I thought how I am going to do it all if I did start working again.  How am I going to work full time, be a mom, a full-time teacher, wife, maid and cook?  I was going to wear too many hats.  But I didn’t have a choice.  I had to do it.  This honestly gave me my first anxiety attack.  

So, I did what I thought was right and talked it out.  I finally made a choice for myself.  I decided I needed to wear only one hat that day: ME!  I decided to put myself first.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to be anything to anyone else.  For the first time I believe in my whole life I put me first and if felt AMAZING!!!  

From that point on, things changed.  I was still a chef, mother, wife, teacher, maid and cook but I was also being me again.  I wasn’t that selfish me from my 20’s but I was the new me.  A me that put her needs up there with the needs of her business, child, and husband.  It felt good.  And the minute I did that the rest of the pieces started falling into place again.  Work started picking up again, teaching became easier, and my family life was back to enjoying our time together instead of resentment and petty arguments.  I was happy again and saw the future as positive; as more to strive and reach for, a future with so much to live for!!!

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