Mom Crush: Evita Chu, Mother of Chickens
Evita Chu outside of PDR, the Los Angeles based knit factory she founded and where AU Baby blankets are born. Entrepreneur, factory owner, knit expert, mother of 2 children and...a lot of chickens. We had to sit down with her to chat about her brood.
You're the mother of 2 beautiful children and... how many chickens?!
LOL. Currently I have 38 chickens and 12 surprise chicks! One tiny hen that I thought was missing suddenly emerged out of nowhere with 4 babies. She hid under a box to incubate her eggs! Chicken addiction is real. The other 8 were also a surprise. When I found out that 2 of my hens were missing (and found sitting like statues), the eggs were already developing…I could not abort the babies! I love chicks!
How would you describe your motherhood style?
A lot of my friends said I’m a tiger mom. But actually, I’m not. I am a disciplinarian, for sure. I do not like to dictate to my children what I want. Rather, I give them options to choose and once they make their decision, they have to follow through. I want them to be accountable for their decisions. I also don’t mind them making mistakes. What I will yell or be angry at is if they make a mistake and hide it. That is dishonesty. Again, I demand accountability. If they make a mistake, be honest and let’s find a solution.
I make sure they live by these principles:
You’re Indonesia born - are there any values from your homeland you’ve instilled in your children?
Yes. I always said that they should never take things for granted, a.k.a. entitlement. Nothing is given to us for free. Achievement and reputation are earned. They should work hard for their goals and make the right choices. The choices they make today will determine their future.
We came here as immigrants; my parents did not speak English well. So as the eldest of 2, I had to figure things out for myself and my brother because my parents did not understand how the system worked in the US.
I also make sure they learn about their roots in Indonesia. When we went to Indonesia as a family, we visited many cultural workshops and museums. I want them to be proud of their heritage even though they are Americans.
How do you balance running PDR, your luxury knit factory in LA with motherhood?
It is definitely not easy! I homeschool my children now. They are 12 and 13 yrs old already, so they know the importance of discipline. It was extremely hard in the beginning. Fortunately, it was during the lockdown when we decided to pull the kids out from school completely.
I think it took me 2 full months of discipline boot camp at home, with less and less supervision as the time went by. Now they manage their own schedules, their own educational pace, their extra-curricular lessons (my son takes Japanese and French lessons, my daughter takes Japanese and Mandarin lessons), their tutoring classes (they have a math tutor from Singapore and a science tutor from Japan), and they are straight A students.
My husband works from home, and they are all in the same office/classroom setting. We supervise very little now, and they really love homeschooling. I can still work as normal, come home and do all the mommy tasks (cooking, cleaning, checking school progress), and have heart-to-heart conversations with them on a daily basis.
It may sound easy now, but it’s really not. Especially now that they are entering the teenage phase… parental guidance is the most important at this stage.
How did your chicken obsession start and how is it going?
Haha! It was because my husband hates dogs. I asked him if we didn’t have dogs, could we have chickens for eggs? Surprisingly, he said yes. What he didn’t know was that I was ready to order fancy chickens whose breeds are not egg layers! When the 4 chicks arrived, my husband was shocked that the chicks looked so weird and he said, “This is not what I agreed to!” So, I bought 4 more chicks, and the rest is history.
It is going out of control - I have about 38 chickens now (most from my first batch passed away this year) PLUS I have 12 chicks. My chickens have gotten smarter too. They hide under anything to hatch their eggs. All 12 chicks were surprise babies. I am going to give some to my friend.
What is your favorite part of raising chickens?
The fresh eggs! I can never eat store-bought eggs anymore. The yolk is just so savory and creamy. I don’t know why, for the longest time ever, I always felt a bit yucky when I had sunny side up with raw egg yolk. But with fresh eggs from my chickens, I only want to eat the yolk raw. Always!
Also, chickens are so affectionate. They know me, the food lady. They wait for me and line up to be hugged every morning. The ones I personally raised are extremely affectionate. The ones that were raised by mama hens are a bit wild, but they’re still very tame. Even the roosters are very affectionate to humans.
Is it bad to ask if you have a favorite chicken?
YES!! My loves are Elvis (she is a Polish chicken – a breed with bouffant hair) and Rania (an ordinary looking chicken, ha, golden color). They are the most affectionate, who know their names and will follow me everywhere. I also had a favorite rooster; his name was Sunny. He was a very very tiny 6” tall rooster. He died suddenly one morning, in my arms while I was petting him. To me, it seemed like a cardiac arrest. I had taxidermy done on Sunny, and now is standing pretty in a glass display. Am I crazy?!
Any grounding daily rituals?
I pray when I wake up, and then I go on my daily routine before I go to work: feeding chickens, watering plants, and preparing lunch for the family. When I come home, I try to cook again (if there are no lunch leftover), and while the kids are having lessons with overseas teachers, I study languages.
We don’t have TV at home, so family time is precious. We talk about everything, from spirituality, to current events, to politics, to future plans in terms of education and career.
Any advice for would be moms?
I’m still very old-school. I believe in tough love with compassion, and I don’t compromise. I hate to sound so harsh, but having children is like building a house on a foundation. If we train our kids right from the beginning, they will be very grounded, and their foundational values will be solid and strong. I always believe that the building's foundation is more important than fixing (damage control). If we build a house on a weak foundation, when the storm comes, the house will crumble.
We can’t help but ask - What do you love about AU Baby?
I love everything about it. From the material to the sustainability story behind it. I always worried that chemicals and cheap materials would harm my children when they were babies. AU Baby dye stuff are of all-natural plants and insects. I brag so much about AU Baby blankets to friends in my personal circle. I’m going to buy one for a baby shower soon for my niece!