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    The Working Class Sacrifice

    Written by: Elyse Sinsay

    Everyone always asks me, “Oh, you must be so spoiled. Do you eat well at home? Does he cook for you all the time?” I always smile and say, “Well, I am a chef too, so yes we do eat well but just as well as anyone else. I guess our holidays are just a little better.. ☺” People always find a way to glamorize professions. It is amazing. As of late, I have even seen more and more jokes being made about people’s professions. One joke in particular struck a chord with me and it was on a freaking t-shirt. It said: Chef’s wife yes he is working, no I don’t know when he will be home, yes we are still married, no he is not imaginary. At first glance I can see the joke. But with further refection on my life, this t-shirt, really quite frankly, pissed me off. Who is anyone to judge someone’s life like that? And not just because of what was said but what it implied because um, hello, I was a chef too… but feminism is another topic that I don’t want to get into. Which brings me to the root of my topic why are we, as individuals, passing judgement on anyone who is providing for their family and making their spouse feel like crap about it?

    I don’t know how many times I have been asked where my husband is. Or if he ever gets time off. It’s like people don’t believe that he is ACTUALLY AT WORK. Still, every time they ask, I defend not only him but myself and our relationship, and it strikes me sometimes, why do I even HAVE to defend myself?! I see my husband. My kids see their dad, it may not be on a schedule that is considered “normal” but it works for us, and when we need him he is there. Always. I can even say from personal experience of working in a kitchen, being a woman AND a mom, it is hard. You already feel like you are missing everything, but to have people continually say that you are never present is rough. You are there for every second that you can be. A chef’s work day is not over just because the scheduled work hours are up. In a chefs world people come in late and want to eat and drink late all the time and you have to wait to do any of the cleaning or paperwork till they are gone… And. It. Sucks.

    This is the norm for not just chefs though. I don’t know how many military friends have people come up to them and say, “Where are they? When will they be back? I’m sure they won’t meet someone. Etc.” Because hey, it’s normal for that kind of stuff to happen to people in the military, so it’s okay to say it. I mean even if you are just saying it to be supportive, do you really think that is something that they want to hear? To put that kind of doubt in someone’s heart like that?

    Let us not forget about doctors. They work all the time, sometimes 24 hour shifts and with television shows it doesn’t make the imagination run any less crazy. All those whispers of doubt that circle people who are just trying to make it through a day.
    Let us also not forget about police officers. I was a kid of two police officers. I know that as a child I would worry about if they would come home. When I got older they told me that at work they had to deal with people would bet on them not being together anymore because my dad was an asshole and my mom was a bitch. (Side note; 23 years later and all those haters can kiss their ass, still together!) All of these stupid reasons or rumors that could just as easily go on a t-shirt about my parents who were just trying to make a good life, a safe life for myself, my brother and my sister.

    And now my point. It goes without saying that this fine country was built on hard work from all different types of people. Not everyone has a 9-5 job that pays them well with benefits, a 401K, a retirement plan or has the ability to have a savings for their kids to go to college. Times have changed. But that is okay. Some people are chefs, artists for Disney, singers, doctors, police officers, home-makers, drivers, construction workers, military personnel, or just people trying to get by. Those are their choices and with any hope it makes them happy. But remember, for all those people who are lucky enough to have a spouse or a family… they matter. They exist. They are always missed. They are loved. And love is something more people need to remember to have some respect for.

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    Photography by: Jeffery Cruz

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