two aspiring chefs need parenting help!

Joined Dec 29, 2009
My wife is currently a line cook at a local Italian restaurant (they just opened up there second restaurant); the restaurant is a great place to learn. They make everything from scratch: stocks, mozz., tiramisu, it's great! I am a cook in the Navy; contrary to what some might think about the culinary education that I could receive in the Navy I have learned a lot. One thing that it has all taught me though is there is always more to learn, and by all means I know there is A LOT more for me to learn! My question is, is it possible that my and I can both be professional chefs and raise our two year old daughter? We both know the amount of time that being a chef takes and it is something that we both really love and want to do. We are just not sure if we can make it work with having our daughter. Please help, any advice or personal experience from someone in the same situation or single chefs could give would be great. Thank you.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Hi Kannon,

You do have dilemma, one that faces many people in many industries. Especially as you both appear to be at the stage in your careers where they are taking off, and that is the best time to learn.

However, you have to commit yourselves to the fact that you do have a child to care for and you have the responsibility to be involved in her life as much as possible. This is first and foremost. Do you travel away with your job with the Navy? That would make it extremely difficult. If you don't, one option may be, if your workplaces are flexible, for one of you to work an early shift and the other to work a later shift, so your daughter spends the minimum time necessary in day care. It means you won't see each other much, but its a price that would have to be paid if you both want to follow your dreams and raise your child.

Not an easy decision - no easy answers.
Joined Nov 21, 2001
the only thing that worked to my family's advantage was that when the kids were young i was able to work opposite shifts from my husband. thankfully he wasn't employed in the food industry. the advantage was that the kids weren't in daycare that much, and a parent was with them most of the time. of course it didn't leave much time for seeing each other, but it was a sacrifice we were willing to make for the kids. and after 25 years of marriage we joke that we've stayed together so long as we didn't see each other much those first few years!
like DC said there is a price to be paid, all depends on what your priorities are.
and it really helps if you've got some sort of support system, family, friends - for occasional backup, and to take the baby once in a while so that you and your wife can have some time together.
it wasn't always easy but we did manage somehow.
good luck,
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Kannon, not to sound hardnosed, but this is a simple matter of priorities. And only the two of you can set them, recognizing that once the choices are made, there are consequences and ramifications that must be considered.

One aspect of this is that there often are situations where the choice is either/or. There is no room for compromise (except in the sense that "compromise" means everybody loses).

In the ideal world everything would be a simple, open choice. Stay home with the baby, or go to work? The decision would be made based on what you want to do, rather than what you have to do.

But in the real world, choices aren't as simple nor as open as that. Most families in America today have two working parents. An open choice? Not hardly. But it's the only way they can make ends meet; or achieve career goals; or send the kids to the proper schools.

We like to pretend that there is something special about the culinary industry; that our problems are unique. But they aren't. They're the same problems everybody else faces.

I will throw something into the mix as you weigh your choices. Contrary to the modern thought, pursuing a career that leaves you less time to spend with your kids does not make you a bad parent! It just reflects a choice you make.

Like thousands, perhaps millions of others, I grew up in an economic milieu in which both parents had to work. Note the word "worked." Wasn't a matter of choosing a career path. It was a matter of need.

Yet, I consider myself to have been raised in a loving household, with parents who would no anything for their kids. ****, that's why both of them were working in the first place; to build a better life for their children. And I think almost everyone raised in households like mine feels the same way.

So, if your choice is to both continue with your career goals, you are not bad parents. But on the other side of the equation think of the things you will miss. Raising children is an adventure of its own, and you will miss out on much of it if you aren't there.

At base, what you have isn't a parenting question as such. What you face is deciding between two fundamentally selfish choices.

Raising kids and developing a career are the two greatest rides in the adventure theme-park of life. But the lines are long on both, which often means you have to pick one or the other. But what I'm trying to say is that the choice doesn't make you good nor bad. It just means you made a choice.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Just as a footnote - people who make those comments about the Navy know nothing about the discipline, challenges and sheer grit it takes to work in a naval kitchen. You learn fast or you don't last. Many could benefit from the experience.

Hope you can find a solution to your situation.



Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
I agree with a lot that KYH has to say. It's not that it can't be done, it's about the priorities you set for you and your family.

I whole heartedly agree with that statement. Both my wife and I work full time, in managerial positions. I used to be a chef and am now a Foodservice Director for a county jail. Our daughter has been in daycare since she was 12 weeks old. While I wish that wasn't the case, finances dictate otherwise. And believe me there are both pros and cons to both daycare and home care by a parent. It is not a cut and dry debate and there is contradictory info out there that claims that either one is a better choice. Kids are resilant and will make the best of whatever you decide. It is more about what you can and will live with.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
You have been given some really good advice here and I agree, it is a choice you make for your family and what works for you may not work for someone else and no one has the right to judge you and your wife based on the decisions you make.

I was fortunate that we were able to afford for me to stay home and raise our kids even though it did mean pretty much giving up my career but I enjoyed every minute I spent with them (well except for the temper and if I had to do it all over I would do the same thing. I also discovered while I was at home that I really wanted to cook and well here I am now. My husband is a graphic designer and spent most of our dating/engaged/early married life paying his dues so to speak and he knows that I am going to have to do the same. Our kids are in high school now and I have to say.. they need us more now than they did when they were little just to talk things out.

You need to do what is best for you and your family and not worry about what anyone has to say. Just because you both work outside the home does not make you lesser parents than a family with a stay home mom or dad.. and it is the quality of the time you spend with your daughter that matters the most, not the quantity.

hope this helps
Top Bottom