Motherhood is fraught with guilt. In so many ways, I am a “terrible mother.” Sometimes – perhaps more often than I’d care to admit – when my little girl is perched on my lap eating her breakfast, I lean back and scroll through Pinterest and Instagram, tucking my phone behind her back as she eats so that she doesn’t get distracted. Some days, I’d rather be somewhere else, rather than getting leg cramps from folding myself up on the floor doing puzzles or stacking blocks. I miss sleeping in. Or sleeping at all.
And I’m supposed to enjoy every minute of it, and I’m supposed to put my phone down and snuggle in, letting her smear my work clothes with blueberry jam and tuck my nose into the soft nape of her neck to smell last night’s bath.
Though sometimes I rail against the endless, day and night-long responsibilities of motherhood, I am drawn to that little girl and all of her needs in my deepest heart, with my basest instincts. For all the mornings when I suggest that there might be horsies outside and shouldn’t we go out to see and by the way get into the car and go to daycare, there are the nights when she calls out for me and I tuck myself in next to her, curled fetally and face-to-face, clasping each others hands like the Pompeian mother and child, holding on to all that is necessary and important in life. And even when she’s fast asleep again, bad dream erased or pyjama foot adjusted, I stay, holding her through the night, because there is no where else I’d rather be.
So, it is in this way that I dance through the complexities that are the joys and perils of parenthood, thankful for anything that makes the good times sweeter and the bad times easier to weather. Mama friends help. Coffee too. And crockpots. Because everyone is happier when all that needs to be done when we return home from work and daycare is nurse, talk about our day, and read stories while a rich, healthy dinner finishes simmering.
Recipe courtesy of food.com: Easy Crock Pot Moroccan Chicken, Chickpea and Apricot Tagine
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- 6 ounces dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (14 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 (14 ounce) cans of chickpeas
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 pinch saffron or 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat until softened.
- Pour chicken stock into the onion and garlic mixture, and whisk in flour gradually to avoid lumps.
- Whisk in honey and tomato paste.
- Add all herbs and spices, as well as ginger, and then the diced tomatoes.
- Pour this mixture into a crockpot, adding the chicken, chickpeas and apricots as well.
- Stir the mixture and set the crockpot to cook on high for 3-4 hours.
- Serve on top of couscous or rice.