CHARLESTON—Tiffany Burnett knows what it’s like to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
As a head chef of Bouchon Bakery and Café at Rockefeller Center in New York City, she knew how to work under pressure. She also worked for Per Se in New York and in Napa Valley for The French Laundry and Bouchon Restaurant — all under the umbrella of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. In fact, she was their first female head chef.
That was over 10 years ago. As rewarding as that career was, Burnett felt called to a different path and now finds her greatest fulfillment as a stay-at-home-mom to her four children — ages 8, 6, 4 and 2.
She is a member of St. John the Beloved Church in Summerville and her kids attend Summerville Catholic. She said her faith played a big role in her decision.
“I really put my trust in God that this was the right decision for our family,” she explained, adding that her husband plays a big role as a faith leader for ther children. “His faith is a prominent part of his life and always has been.”
She met her husband Bryan at Bouchon Bakery in New York City.
“He came to work in the kitchen and we just clicked,” she said.
They became engaged while working there and had their first child within their first year of marriage.
“I actually worked about three shifts a week at first, but I hated leaving my baby. It was heartbreaking,” she remembered.
When her boss told her that she wasn’t needed anymore, she said that was when the decision was made for her to stay at home. Burnett and her husband decided to move to the Charleston area because they enjoyed the culinary scene there.
“Plus we have family in Ohio and Florida so it was a good middle ground,” she said.
When asked if she ever regrets giving up her successful career as a chef, she quickly says no.
“I have a great purpose and I am so blessed to be able to do this. Sure, we have had to make sacrifices because we no longer have two incomes, but the choices I make now are all based on what is best for my kids.”
Her culinary passion has not wavered and she said she could see herself one day running a food truck with her children.
“I guess I could say there is one thing I miss about working as a chef and that is making an impact on someone’s life with food. Someone saying that they loved the taste of it and how they really enjoyed themselves because of something you made. I can see myself sharing that experience with my kids one day.”
Erin Groeber is another career woman who prayerfully followed God’s voice, and moved to a job as a stay-at-home mother.
She gave up her former profession as a lawyer practicing criminal and civil litigation and personal injury after the birth of her fourth child.
“I was still working full time after my first child. I went part-time after my second and then project-based after my third. After my fourth child, I just couldn’t do it anymore,” she said. “I had four kids under six years old at that time.”
She and her husband Cody now have five children, ages 12, 10, 8, 5 and 2.
Her husband is also a lawyer and back then he was working in the county public defender’s office. He now works for the federal public defender’s office.
“I still love the law and sometimes I will help him read his briefings, but I do not miss working as a lawyer full time,” Groeber said.
Staying at home is one thing, but Groeber has also homeschooled her children since 2016.
She credits her Catholic faith on making these tough choices to leave her career and guide her childrens’ education and faith formation.
“It took a lot of prayer because these were big decisions, but at the end of the day, it just felt right,” she said.
Financially, the family has to make some sacrifices, but she tells her children they get to have their mom full time in lieu of expensive items or big trips.
“Many mothers feel they can have it all and I am here to say that you can, but not all at the same time. This is a season and it will change. Sandra Day O’Connor was a stay-at-home mom for five years. You can still go back to your career later if you choose.”
“I hear some people say they aren’t cut out to stay at home, but who is really? God entrusted these children to us for a very short time. Make the most of it,” she said.