[Don't] Enjoy Every Minute

What is it with parenthood nostalgia? I mean, yes, I get it, but what's with parents of older children imposing it on new parents? Early parenthood is overwhelming...you're all jiggly from the birth and your hormones are *raging* and your sleep is messed up, and to top it all off you're supposed to be the happiest of your life ever? Oh for the love of god. 

I remember when my daughter was less than a month old;  I brought her to my Zumba class for the ladies to meet her. One well meaning woman said, "Don't you just wish she would stay this size forever?!"

Answer: No. Fuck no.

I went home and cried for two days, thinking something was wrong with me. Because this is a common phrase you hear people say to new moms. That and the phrase, "Enjoy every moment," with that *wink, wink* that always left me scratching my head in those early days.

As time marched on I was able to pull my head out of my hormones. I realized that people are whimsical about the newborn stage more for what it represents than what actually happens while you are in the thick of it. It represents the hope of new life, the infancy of your family and the tenderness (perhaps even naïvety) of early parenthood. But most of this comes in hindsight. With my daughter swiftly approaching two years old, I look back even now with a bit of whimsy at that terrible, awful, tender, beautiful, cuddly, wonderful time that is postpartum parenting.

Perhaps the fact that I don't foresee any more children entering our family gives me a bit more perspective. Let me lead in here by saying my mantra over the first six months of my daughter's life was, "I never have to do this again!" Having a newborn felt emotionally and physically challenging to me... I simply couldn't "enjoy every moment."

It felt so disingenuous to me when others asked me to "soak it all up, and enjoy." At a certain point, I even began giving it back to people. When they said, "I miss that stage," I would fire back, looking at them through my sagging the eyelids and mutter, "No, no you don't."

But here's my point: you don't---and perhaps shouldn't-- enjoy every moment. Why the hell would you even try? The thing is, armed with the knowledge that I might be the "one and done" type,
rather than enjoy, I just tried to be present as I whispered my mantra to myself along with the occasional "I accept this moment."

Not all moments are meant to be joyful. Some moments downright suck. You can lean into presence rather than feign enjoyment and the surprise is that it can suck considerably less. And if you are one of those moms who really does enjoy every stinky and tearful and hormonal moment of early parenthood, hey, more power to you. No judgments. I just can't pitch my tent at your campsite.

But for the rest of us out there not enjoying the all nighters, sore tits, and other countless moments that make us want to run screaming over the nearest hill, just know it's okay not to enjoy it sometimes. Try not to lose it, but try not to feel so pressurized, either.

Life is a tapestry and so is motherhood. The hard moments in our children's infancy give way to those sweet moments where they say their first word--or sentence--and enjoy story time at the library and go to school, and all the other countless moments that lead up to the bigger moments. It all builds. We put in the hard work as parents to reap the benefits, and sometimes, rather than enjoying, we just have endure. 

Homemade Hoisin Sauce Recipe/ Hoisin Chicken

I have been really into cooking from Pinterest these days. While I love coming up with my own recipes, this last year and a half has been a bit of a black hole with learning to juggle parenting, being a wife, and working from home. It's been fun. And hard. And fun. And hard.

You see the dilemma. 

Anyway, in my quest for nondairy recipes, I have come across many, many Asian recipes, and some call for this ingredient called "hoisin sauce." You can buy it in the store, but if you are like me (very cheap) then you may want to make your own.  I started experimenting and over the last several months have honed by hoisin craft. I am proud.

I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while...but without any accompanying serving suggestion, it seemed a bit out of place. Do people just post recipes for hoisin sauce? Maybe they do, but to me it felt incomplete. So you know what I did? I poured the recipe over chicken and then baked the chicken. Heavenly, I tell you. Heavenly.

Incidentally, over the holidays we went up to the D.C. area and had Christmas with my husband's extended family and we had this AMAZING pork made by Uncle Charlie and Aunt Kathy. It had a marinade that consisted of Chinese Five Spice, which I am also using here... Chinese Five Spice is unique, and I really like it. Given the awesomeness of the pork we had, I think you could use this sauce on pork as well.

Billie's Hoisin Sauce & Chicken

Time: Sauce, 7 mins/ Chicken, 40 minutes | Makes: 1 batch/ 4 Chicken Thighs | Difficulty: Easy! 

You will need: 

3 tablespoons brown sugar
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
a squirt of ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon of water
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
Several dashes of hot sauce (to taste)

1 recipe of the sauce
4 bone-in chicken thighs
Olive oil

1 cast iron skillet
1 half pint mason jar


I hate to sound overly simple, but this is ONE SIMPLE RECIPE. I put that in caps to really emphasize the point. To start, gather all your ingredients...this is literally the hardest part.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in the mason jar. I give it a little stir with a fork, put the lid on and shake it...shake it good. Then give it a little taste. I like to make my husband be my taste tester because he's really good at it pickier than I am. Now your sauce is made.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Place your cast iron skillet on the stove and go around the pan a couple of times with the olive oil. Heat over medium high heat. Once heated, place your chicken in the pan. Cook the chicken five minutes on each side, turning once.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and place in the preheated oven. Allow it to cook about 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (or juices run clear.)

 I like to serve this dinner with rice and broccoli. It would also go realllllllly well with THESE NOODLES, which are addictive as all get out, so proceed at your own risk!