SFP 172: A Day in Denaye's Life

Life with young children is always evolving. The way we spend our time changes too. Finding the right balance that works for each of us is incredibly important. The way I spend my time is going to look very different from the way that you spend yours. In today's episode, I am sharing what a typical day looks like in our house--right now.

It could change next week, next month, or next year. Life is dynamic, and that's what keeps it interesting!

Hi, it's episode 172. And today I'm telling you about a typical day in my life. You are listening to the Simple Families podcast, the Q and A style show that brings you solutions for living well with family. Here's your host, Denaye Barahona.

Hi, it's Denaye. Thanks so much for tuning in. This is episode 172, and I haven't done an episode like this in quite some time. I think it was about a year and a half ago where I went through what my day looks like. So as it does, life has changed a lot. In the past 18 months, I wrote a book, I launched a couple of online programs. I started homeschooling. So I want to give you an inside, look on how that all comes together because I'm definitely not doing it all. So before we go there, a quick word from today's sponsor, which is a brand new sponsor on the podcast. And one that I'm kind of weirdly excited about. The sponsor for today's episode is Native, which is a natural deodorant. And my husband introduced me to Native over a year ago and he was using it. So I figured if it worked for him, it probably would work for me.

I started to dabble in natural deodorants years and years ago and gave up many, many times because we lived in Texas and well, you know, it's hot in Texas. So I had tried going natural, gave up, tried going natural, gave up. And I was at the point where I was just ready to give up for good. And I tried Native and it was a total game-changer. And even though we live in New York now, I was just in Texas last week. And I can tell you that it worked. So I am partial to the Lavender and Rose scents. My husband likes the coconut and vanilla, but I really think that most of the scents all really gender neutral native doesn't have aluminum parabens talc. A lot of the stuff that the regular mainstream brands have, if you haven't tried it and now is the time you can get 20% off your first purchase.

Good in nativedeodorant.com and use the promo code "simple" again, that's nativedeodorant.com and use the promo code "simple" for 20% off your first purchase. So back to today's episode, here we go. I'm going to tell you a little bit about a day in my life. Now, of course, there's no typical day in my life, but I want to give you an idea of how I juggle work and kids and childcare, that sort of thing. Now, I definitely want to lead with the fact that I have a very unusual arrangement and I am not advocating anyone take up this sort of arrangement. I'm just simply telling you what's working for us right now. I feel so blessed and privileged to be able to do this work, work that I love, and that is meaningful and allows me to work from home. So I do get to spend extra time with my kids and of course, work that is very, very flexible, but I will say that despite that I still don't feel like I found this perfect, magical balance, but I have gotten really good at saying no to the things that don't fill up my cup.

And I think that that has helped immensely. I hear from a lot of parents that there just aren't enough hours in the day. And I really truly feel like simplicity has helped me to reclaim hours in my day. Anyone that's read my book or done the masterclass with me, knows a little bit about this process. The fact that we have simplified the laundry and the meals and the stuff in our house and the way we feel about parenting and the result has been that I do feel like I have enough hours in most days, depending on the season of my life and the balance we have right now feels pretty good, but not perfect. Of course. So I did do an episode like this about a year and a half ago when the balance didn't feel quite so good. And I had more work than I had hours in the day.

And at that point in my life, I was really feeling like my body was present with my kids a lot, like almost the entire day, but my mind was absent because I was always thinking about the other things that I had to do or thinking about other places that I should be or pieces of work that I should be doing. So for me, personally, right now today, life is feeling a lot more balanced than it was a year and a half ago or two years ago. So I came back to revisit this topic because I got an interesting message on Instagram last week. So I'll preface this by saying that I get a lot of interesting messages on Instagram, but I have pretty thick skin. So it doesn't really bother me all that much. When people tell me I have ugly feet. So, a Simple Families audience member told me that she had read my book and she listened to the podcast and she loved both, but she found that I wasn't relatable or credible because I didn't spend enough time with my kids.

And in essence that I had too much childcare. So of course this is an abbreviated version of the conversation. And I actually, she was really sweet and really kind throughout this interaction. So it wasn't that she was attacking me or anything like that. I think that she was really just trying to give me some constructive feedback and I didn't take it as a personal attack, but I did take it sort of as an attack on women and Parenthood in general, this idea that I like your books, I like your podcast. Keep up the good work, but you work too much. It's a prime example of this impossible standard that we hold women to. And a lot of us hold ourselves to. And one of my missions here at simple families is to counteract that I spend plenty of time with my kids. Let me tell you, I spend the perfect amount of time with my kids.

The perfect amount of time for me. I find if I spend all day sun up till sundown with my kids, I feel a little crazy. And I'm not the mom that I want to be. I'm not as present as I want to be. I get overwhelmed. I get snappy. I get irritable. So I have to have a few hours a day of personal space that I function better. I feel better when I have that. And it took me a long time to come to grips with that. For the first four years of Parenthood, I was truly doing it all, taking care of my kids full time, doing a PhD, starting a business, losing any sense of sanity. So I realized that there are a lot of people in this online space, podcasters or Instagrammers, whatever it is that don't disclose, the support that they have in order to run their businesses.

I actually never really gave this much thought until we brought our first opere in June of last year. When I started writing my book, we brought in an AU pair for full-time childcare and I was posting pictures of her. I didn't even think anything about it. I was just like, well, she's part of our family now. And she lives with us and she's part of our life. So I'm going to include her when I post pictures. And I had a couple of people messaging me, being saying, wow, you're being so open about sharing that you have help. I don't really see that. And that came to my attention that I think more of us need to be open about this idea that this life that we're putting out there on Instagram often includes other people, other pillars of support, whether it's grandparents or spouses or partners or paid childcare providers, whatever it is because it's okay to accept, help.

It's okay to accept support. So to have someone tell me, I'll quote, say that I'm privileged for having childcare. That's just not going to fly. I'm privileged in a lot of ways, a lot of ways, but having adequate childcare so that I can do my job is not one of them. And you know, straight up, I don't think anyone would ever, ever accuse a man of being privileged for having childcare while he went to work. I know that certainly hasn't happened to my husband. It's so important that as we grow and as our kids grow, that we don't put ourselves in any type of box. A lot of times during our first pregnancy, we'll make this decision that I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom. I'm going to be a working mom. I'm going to be an attachment mom, whatever it is, we put ourselves in this box right out the door.

And we don't even know what that box looks like. We don't even know what shape that box is. So once life begins and our kids start growing, sometimes our needs change and our kids' needs change. We have to be open to changing right along with it. And for me, that meant I was almost a hundred percent home with my kids for the first few years. And then I decided I wanted to work more. And that, that felt like balanced to me. Maybe it's the opposite for you. Maybe you're a, full-time working mom and you've decided to scale back and stay home with your kids, whatever, moving towards balance or shifting around or changing a philosophies you've done in Parenthood. I applaud you because sometimes we can get set into this rigid mindset that we're going to do things one way and we're afraid to make changes.

We're afraid to improvise. We're afraid to sort of go back on our word of what we said we were going to do. You are allowed to change your mind and you might change your mind many times over the course of the next 10 or 20 years or however long it is that you're going to have kids at home. So for me, personally, I have to, I have to help support my family. We live in an extremely, extremely expensive area. So not working is not an option. Now, surely we could move to another area and I could probably stay home full-time but I've decided that's also not what I want either. I like to work and I want to work. So don't put yourself in a box, but also don't put other women in a box. Don't judge other parents about how they're spending their time, because the truth is we're all just trying to find the best possible balance that we can a balance that lets us keep our sanity.

And it also allows us to spend enough time with our kids. And when I say enough time, that word enough is very different for every person. So let's get into what a typical weekday looks like at our house. So like I said, every day is different, but I generally sleep about nine to five. So I go to bed around 9:00 PM and get up at 5:00 PM. I love having at least an hour before my kids get up so that I can have some quiet time, get an hour of work done. So my son wakes up at 6:15. So usually I'm up sitting at the kitchen table or at my computer. And he wakes up in such a better mood if I'm up before him. And I've already had a little bit of coffee and maybe it's not him in the bedroom, maybe it's me waking up in a better mood, as opposed to when he comes in and wakes me up from a dead sleep.

So our day together, my son and I just starts off better when I'm up first. So I love getting up, getting an hour of work in before he wakes up. So since it's just him and I up at 6:15, that's when we do his homeschooling, he is a kid that wakes up ready to go like full energy. So at 6:15, 6:15 to 7:00, generally we sit down and do a little bit more formal schoolwork. And that's really all we do sitting down at a desk he's still in kindergarten. So it really doesn't require that much. The other stuff that we do is just kind of woven in throughout the rest of our day, mostly throughout the morning. So around 7:00 or 7:30, my daughter and my husband wake up and then we have breakfast and then the kids play for a while.

And pretty soon after that, my kids want to read books and we spend a lot of time reading together. And we're usually reading at least until my husband leaves around 8:30 and we might do some impromptu open-ended art activity, go outside and ride scooters. Our mornings are pretty open and I follow the lead with what they want to do. So usually our AU pair who provides up to 45 hours a week of childcare. Now it doesn't have to be 45 hours a week, but that's what she's available for. She usually starts around 10 o'clock. So I usually spend 15 to 20 minutes just kind of talking to her about what she has planned for the day, what the kids have going on. I'll usually have them dressed and their teeth brushed at this time, but not always. Sometimes they're still in their pajamas and then she takes them out for a morning activity.

They go to the library, they go to the playground. Maybe if they stay home, they do a yoga video or play outside, but generally getting out. So at 10 o'clock, I go upstairs to my office and I start to work. I'm usually responding to emails, working on the podcast. There's actually a lot that goes into producing Simple Families. And I do it mostly all by myself. So I do generally work 40 to 50 hours a week. That's usually an hour before my kids get up an hour after my kids go to sleep and about five or six hours in the middle of the day, while my AU pairs with the kids. So I'm upstairs working while my kids are doing an outing with the AU pair in the morning. So she makes them lunch and then gets my daughter off to school, drops her off and takes my son out for an activity today.

For example, she took him out to do an autumn scavenger hunt on a hike. So they usually head back around three and depending on the day, and depending on my workload, sometimes I'll take them to swimming lessons on a Tuesday or take them on a hike on a Wednesday, whatever it is. But usually around 4:30 every day, I'm downstairs, spending time with the kids, starting to prep dinner. Now, anyone else that works from home knows that you do actually see your kids quite a bit. So my kids come and go and visit me often throughout the day. And we've found a pretty good balance where they usually just come in and they say they want a hug or they want a kiss. And then they leave. I don't really deal with them coming in and lingering very much so we'll often eat lunch together and then I'll see them kind of spontaneously in and out throughout the day around 4:30, I start making dinner and usually our pair and I are working together to make dinner and spending time with the kids.

And then we eat about 5:30. Then we had pretty much straight to the bathtub and then start winding down in the bedtime routine. After that, now I do the bedtime routine by myself and that's my choice. And it's this interesting switch that I felt over the past year and a half. It used to be that bedtime was so exhausting to me. And the only thing in the world I wanted was help with it. But now that I have work and I have some time to myself during the day, I'm actually excited and I look forward to bedtime. So now that I have more energy, I actually feel refreshed and happy to do it. It definitely feels like less of a grind. Most days my kids are in bed every day at seven o'clock. I know this probably sounds like quite a leap for a lot of people, but because we have simplified so much around our house, got rid of a lot of the stuff, simplified mealtime, simplified laundry.

I really am pretty much off duty at seven o'clock. I don't run around doing a lot of stuff. So my husband usually gets home right around 7:00, and then I squeeze an hour of work in and spend some time with him. And then I go to bed. Now I know that people are going to ask me what about exercise? So right now I'm fitting in exercise. Usually right before lunch, we have a Peloton, which I'm pretty much a walking advertisement for, because I love it so so much. I usually will do a half an hour on the Peloton and then do like some, a little bit of core work. When I say a little bit, I mean like a five minute core video or a five minute upper body video. So that's what balance looks like right now for us, because we do have the 45 hours a week of flexible childcare.

Sometimes my husband and I do take a date night during the week. Occasionally we'll take a full day on Saturday or Sunday and go to the city and do some things together there. But I also don't feel really stressed to use all that time. There are some times weeks where my workload is really light and I want to spend more time with the kids. And I do. I think if I was paying hourly for a nanny, that I would probably feel more stressed to really maximize that time. And I also probably would be really cheap and not schedule enough time and feel always really frazzled. So for us, participating in the AU pair program has been a blessing because we do have this flexible childcare provider, which by the way, is considerably less expensive than a nanny in our area. The AU pair on average per hour is about seven or $8 than a nanny is more like 20 or $25.

And the bonuses that she's also part of our family. And I think that many of us need to be a little bit more open about the ways that we're growing our family, because having a baby, isn't the only way to grow a family. We're heading out on a vacation today for two weeks and we're bringing her and speaking of privilege, that seems like a big privilege to be able to bring a childcare provider on a vacation, but she's coming as a family member, not as a worker, we are super frugal about traveling. We hoard our frequent flyer miles and our credit card miles. And as a result, we use those to do a big trip every year. And if you've been listening to the podcast for any amount of time, you know, that we are not really a fan of busy vacations and we just like to spend a lot of time outside.

And a lot of that stuff is free. So if we can save up our miles and score a really good deal on flights and get a reasonably priced Airbnb, and yes, we are absolutely blessed, but those things being said, it is more reasonable for our family to take a big trip every year. When we get back, I'm going to do a travel episode and tell you some of my favorite tips and things that I learned because they feel like every year when we do this, I always learn something. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And like I already said, at least twice that I am so blessed to have a flexible schedule and to be able to seek this balance. I know that that's not possible for every family. There is absolutely no such thing as perfect balance, but we can do better. Oftentimes think we need to pay close attention to what we need and what fills up our cup.

What makes us happy and how we can really go about being our best selves. And sometimes that means being flexible and making changes life and our relationships are dynamic and they're always changing, which is what keeps it interesting. And as a result, the way we spend our time is also going to change. Thanks so much for tuning in, and if you enjoy Simple Families, please hit the subscribe button. So you get all the new episodes. As soon as they launch. If you want to stay in touch with Simple Families, go to Simple Families.com and you can leave your email address and stay in touch with everything that's going on on the podcast, on the blog and in the community. I'll talk to you soon.

Denaye Barahona

Dr. Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She partners with families to tackle the challenges of raising children. Denaye is a minimalist who claims to be a decluttering expert (don't let her near your closet). She loves to travel, talk health-and-wellness, and give unsolicited advice. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Minimalists, Motherly, Becoming Minimalist, and numerous other media outlets. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in child and family practice.