Find Your People

Happy New Year! Today we are talking about the Simple Families “word for the year”: Community. Building a community in parenthood can feel like “one more thing” we have to do. But it’s invaluable to you and your family as you grow, change, and face the rollercoaster of life with kids. In this episode, I’m joined by my friends Erica Layne from The Life on Purpose Movement, Zoë Kim from Raising Simple, and Rachelle Crawford from Abundant Life with Less. We are sharing more about our own experiences with community throughout parenthood. 

Find Erica online:

Find Zoë online:

Find Rachelle online:

Hi there. And welcome to episode 185. Today. We're talking about our word for the year, which is community. Hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Simple Families. Simple Families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my PhD in child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based in research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us.

Hi, happy new year. I hope the beginning of 2020 is getting off to a wonderful start for you. In today's episode, we are talking about community, which is the word of the year here on Simple Families. Community is something that I want to lean heavily on this year with Simple Families, Simple Families is plural as in more than one family. And I want to hear from you. I want to hear more of your stories. We're going to be doing more journey towards simplicities, where individual families share their journey towards a simpler life. And I'm also going to be doing weekly Q and A episodes where I am answering your questions specifically. I hope to get to know so many of you so much more over the course of the next year.

If you want to get in touch with me, you can always reach me [email protected]. You can also reach out to me on Instagram, which is a really easy way to access me, but I'd love to hear more about you and your story. Therefore, we're going to launch off this year talking about community and I'm joined by a few of my other minimalist friends, Erica, from the life on purpose movement, Zoe, from raising simple and Rochelle from abundant life for less. These ladies recently joined me for a holiday episode and it was so much fun that I thought I would start inviting them back more regularly. So they are with me again today, discussing their thoughts and their feelings and experiences with community in motherhood. But before we get into today's episode, here's a quick word from our sponsor. The sponsor for today is Prep Dish. And if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that my husband and I spent new year's Eve doing our weekly Prep Dish, which may have not been the most exciting way to start at a new year, but it definitely helps to lighten the mental load.

I'll tell you that much for anyone new to Prep Dish, Prep Dish is a meal planning service. So each week you get a list of ingredients, a list of things to do on Prep Day and then a list of things to do on Dish Day. So ingredients go out, do your shopping prep day. You spend an hour or two putting together and preparing all the ingredients for the week. And then on Dish Day, pretty much everything is ready to go and you can get your food on the table with zero stress. If you haven't tried it, I highly it go to, and you'll get two weeks free to try it out again. That's for two weeks free. So speaking about food starting in 2020, I'm going to be starting some new live workshops. Many of you know that I offer programs and courses throughout the year, but I've had a lot of requests for shorter, informative options that don't require committing to a whole class.

So we're starting January off with a live workshop on simplifying food and family. I'll be sharing all of my favorite tools and techniques for simplifying the meal, planning, the cooking and the actual feeding of the children. Because getting the food on the table is only half the battle getting it into their mouths is the other half. So stay tuned. Enrollments can open for that next week and I'll be sharing more information with you. So let's get back to our discussion of community. So back with me today, I have my good friends, Erica, Rachelle, and Zoe, who are joining me to talk about community. The word community shares something in common with communication. That's the same root word, which is communis or something in common. So it's no surprise that community requires communication. Building community requires that we talk to and we spend time with and we serve and we accept help from the people that we love and the people that we care about as a friend myself, I know that I absolutely love supporting my friends and I am grateful for the opportunities that I get to do that.

But as a culture, we are so prone towards independence that sometimes asking for help and leaning on our friends and our family, when we need it, the most can make us feel a little needy. It can make it seem like, what am I admitting that I'm not enough? Am I admitting that I can't do at all in general? I see a lot of women who have a lot of reservations about asking for help. And I know that I've had those reservations myself in the past. So that's what we're talking about today. How do we support our friends and the people around us and how do we accept help? And why is it so important for us to accept help? The fact of the matter is accepting help is actually a really amazing way of starting to build community. So in today's episode, Erica and Rachelle and Zoe and I are all sharing our own experiences.

And I hope that you can gain a little bit of insight and wisdom through those. If you have questions or comments or want links to get in touch with these ladies, go to simple forward slash episode one 85. And if you want to stay in touch with simple families as always go to simple and leave your email address, the email list is the best way to stay in touch and get all the updates without further ado here is today's episode.

Denaye Barahona: Hi everybody. Thanks so much for joining me again. Thanks for having us. Yeah. So let's start just with a few little introductions. Erica, do you want to go ahead and start us off?

Erica: I'm Erica Lane. I run the life on purpose movement. I live in the San Francisco Bay area. We have three kids. They are, if I can remember right. 11 and 9 and 6.

Denaye Barahona: Great. And Rachelle.

Rachelle: Yes. I blog at abundant life with less. And I live in Lansing, Michigan. I have three kids. They are almost 10, 7 and 4.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And Zoe.

Zoe: I am Zoe. Thank you, Danaye for having us here. I am at raising simple. That's where I write and on IG. And then I also live outside of Atlanta with my four kids ages, five, seven, 11, and 13. We just had a few birthdays, so

Denaye Barahona: Great. And I'm Denaye. I am from simple families and I have two kids. They are three and just newly turned six. So today we are talking about the word for the year for us, which is community. And it's something that I've been reflecting on a lot. And I feel like I spent the first early years of motherhood kind of head down, trying to get the job done. And now I'm, as my kids are starting to get a little bit older, I feel like I'm kind of coming out of this fog where I am, hopefully going to be reaching out and being more supportive to the people within my community. I don't know. Did it, did y'all feel like that in the early years of Parenthood, did you feel like you sometimes felt like you needed more than you could give Erica?

Erica: It's funny that you you say that because I did that exact same thing during new motherhood. At the same time that I decided to simplify my life, get rid of a bunch of stuff. I also kind of simplified my relationships just because I felt like at the time I couldn't invest enough of myself into my relationships, even just like park days. With friends felt too overwhelming to get to, without having, you know, a toddler like screaming his head off when it was time to leave, leave the park or whatever. So I kind of took a back setback from my relationships for a time and I still, I still prioritize like a couple of relationships so that I had some connection and community. And I think that is really hard to do new motherhood, young, new motherhood, without somebody to talk to about it. But I totally feel what you feel, which is now that I have a little bit more bandwidth, I'm able to grow my community.

Denaye Barahona: Good. Rachelle, what about you?

Rachelle: Absolutely. As a new mom, I did not get out and try and create new community or get overly involved in anything. I definitely leaned into the community I already had. Um my husband laughs because he's like, you don't make friends, Rachelle, you make best friends like, Oh, the people that are it's good. And it's the whole thing I think. But I very loyal. Yes, yes. Like this is a, this is a lifelong friendship guys. You don't need to know, but I relied heavily on a close group of girls and one in particular kind of kept dragging me out to do more things and slowly made a couple new friends that way. So I think, and I was also at a place where my home was just a disaster I had, like, it was still, it would be years later before I realized I need to simplify. So being home with a young child was very overwhelming because of all the stuff in the clutter. And so for me, getting out felt like relief. And now looking back, I wish I could hunker down and kind of do that part over again. But that's how I got through it was relying heavily on some good girlfriends and playdates, which yes are exhausting as well Erica.

Denaye Barahona:Right. What about you Zoe?

Zoe: Yeah, my experience was similar to Erica's in that I didn't really bow too much on the busy-ness area. I couldn't with you know, being a new mom. I have four kids, but they're, you know, the first two were two and a half years apart. And then the second two were only 15 months apart. And I noticed a definite difference of my bandwidth between those two periods of times, but I'm also an ex military spouse. So I will say that the the military community and the spouses there, they are professionals at rallying around each other and supporting each other. So even though we moved every two years and I mean, which is a ton of work, right? New dentists, new trying to get the kids acclimated, help them, make friends, find out where you're going, all that stuff. It really was a very supportive community. So I was lucky in the sense that I had that, because that was definitely a time period in my life where I needed more than I could get.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. Rachelle, you said you relied on the community that you already had. So were these because you've lived in Lansing your whole life, right. So were these friends from high school, lifelong friends?

Rachelle: Um one friend, the one I referred to, she was a friend I made as a labor and delivery nurse on the night shift and she is super extroverted and I am super introverted. Well, super, I, I tend to lean towards being introverted. So she kind of where we were friends before we had kids and kind of started having kids together. And then our church is a big part of our community at my kids' school. And then my husband's been in his same place in employment 15 years. So we have a Lot of friends and community there. So when we had a baby, there was like, you know, a meal train and my family all lives around here. So I do feel like I have access to a lot of support.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I, when I became a mom, I was new to Dallas, Texas, and I was really still just kind of getting my feet wet there, meeting people. So it actually, I feel like being in a new city have really forced me to get out and to meet other new moms. And I very much felt like those new moms that I met when I was a new mom, it was kind of like my support group from like the, you have like your high school friends, your college friends your new mom friends, and you have this really deep shared experience with these people. If you're becoming friends with them around these life experiences. So I found that my new mom, friends that I met in Texas, we're all going through the same life stage as me and we connected really well. And really formed a really nice community. Did you find that Erica or who was your community during this stage?

Erica: Yeah, I totally agree. Like I said, my community, I would say it was smaller at the time, but those relationships, because you're going through something that's just such a big life change, having, getting used to having a kid and what that means for you and your spouse. I think that that just naturally really bonds you to those people that you're connecting with. So my experience was very much in line.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And when we moved to New York, my kids where my daughter was 18 months and my son was three and a half and that move felt a little scary to me cause I was looking for like, well, who am I going to bond with over that over a shared life experience because I'm kind of in the thick of it now. And I do think it's been a little bit harder in that sense to really find a community here since I don't have this new life stage per se. Zoe, have you felt that with your moves? I mean, I guess you have that built in military community when you were moving

Zoe: Well at that time I did, but now I don't. And so I have made a few moves out of the military spouse community and it's definitely challenging even more so not being in the military community because now I'm moving into an area where I don't have that community of people who know exactly what I'm going through. And I think that's what it comes down to is being able to find and connect with people who are doing life similar to you.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And it's interesting that you bring that up because I want to talk a little bit about the difference between online community and human community. And the interesting thing is the internet is growing and social media as becoming more and more prevalent is that I feel like communities are really narrowing. Like if you want to find an online community around like parents of ADHD, kids or parents who are zero waste, you know, you can find a little niche group for everything and really dive in and get to know and get, and give and get empathy from people who are going through very, very similar life things as you. And I think those kinds of communities that you can get online, those small niche communities can be incredible and can be such an amazing sort of source of support. It's kind of similar to the simple living communities is a shared interest. Right. So I dunno, what do you all think about the difference between an online community versus a human community? Erica?

Erica: I think that's such a great question. I love that you're bringing it up just because we hear so much negativity about social media and about online relationships that sometimes I just want to say, Hey, some of my greatest friendships are with women that I may or may not have ever met because we are primarily friends online. And I think that that can give you an amazing support group and that, that, that we should, that we should see value in that.

Denaye Barahona: Right. Zoe, what do you think?

Zoe: I think with anything you, you get what you put into it. So I obviously, I mean, they are different when I met you Denaye the first time in person. Maybe some of your community remembers we did this location, the four of us met with some other online ladies in Nashville and you said, Oh, it's so good to see your feather earrings in person. So, you know it is always good to see you know, connection and have face to face coffee, but by far I agree and can definitely relate to what Erica was saying that it is it's become a big part of my community online.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. What about you, Rachelle?

Rachelle: Yeah, I would agree if you asked me a few years ago, I probably would've been like, Oh, online is no match for real life. And I think just like real life community online community just takes intentionality and like the willingness to get vulnerable obviously carefully because of all the things that can happen online. But getting to know, I mean, meeting you guys and getting to know you over the last couple of years, it's been really important part of my life. I know. And I, if it wasn't for the internet, yeah. I would never would have met you guys. So yeah. I just think just being authentic and willing to, I think it takes more than just making a few comments in a community page. It takes like, you know, private messaging and I love having conversations through Instagram and DM and some people, I would not know their first name, but just their Instagram, but we will chat and laughing. I think it's great. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I find that I, even my real life friends who I met and I know from I in a human way, I still communicate with them a lot online. So the line is kind of blurry between, you know, even if you started out and we met in person, then we're more of internet friends where we text and we talk online and that sort of thing. But yeah, I feel like that line is blurry and I think that's that's okay. Erica, did you have something to add?

Erica: Yeah, I would just add that if anyone is listening, who, whose community is primarily online, that we don't want to discredit the value of that, because I think, you know, we're like living proof that online relationships can really enhance your life. But at the same time, you do want to make sure that you're putting yourself in situations where you can meet people in your community, because it's just easier for those people to support you in, in that in-person way. Like if you need something in a moment or if your kid needs a ride or so we just want to make sure I think that we're investing in both.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I agree. I recently I have a friend in the area that runs women's circles, which I are primarily intended for mothers. She's an art therapist. So you go and you sit around in a circle and you make art together. And there's a little bit of talking and reflecting, but it's mostly just kind of time holding space for each other. And they're strangers like you don't know the people in the group and I've, I went once before and I just recently went and I invited two friends, but I didn't tell them what we were doing. And it's interesting that I felt the need to do this, but I do think that if I told them where we were going, they may have told me that, you know, they were too tired or they had something else they needed to do. So I learned them with a surprise, but it was really great getting there.

Um and we all enjoyed it. We had a really great experience, but I actually felt like I needed them to commit to go with me because I feel like I might've bailed and I might've flaked if I didn't have that commitment to them to get out of the house. And I do think that that, I mean, it's great to get out of the house with our partners and our loved ones, but at the same time, I think that having those real human friends, we can help to hold each other accountable to get out and take that time and make that space.

Rochelle: Absolutely. That's a great point.

Denaye Barahona: So have any of you been out with friends lately done any activities with any human friends.

Zoe: Real life human friends, or just pretend friends?

Denaye Barahona: Have you had any in-person context with friends lately?

Zoe: I have a few, I mean once or twice a week. Yeah. Once or twice a week.

Denaye Barahona: So great. What about you Erica?

Erica: Yeah, I meet a couple of my best friends on the cycling bikes at the gym. I think if you know me at all, you know about this, cause I talk about it, but it's where we connect. It's amazing. I haven't always had this, so I just really treasure it, you know, while the, during this time where we're all three in the same place and we just bike for 30 minutes and talk and connect, sometimes we cry. Like we really share about our lives and really support each other in those 30 minutes, once or twice a week on the cycle bikes while our kids are in the gym, gym daycare or at school.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, I love that. What about you, Rochelle? Where do you find your human friends the most?

Rachelle: Um I guess I do coffee and dinner dates with a couple of girls. It's been a couple of weeks probably since I've gone out and done anything like that. We've been doing a lot of school, Christmas parties and concerts and trying to get through December that way. But yeah, I'll do girls' nights with some of my closest friends and play dates during the day with a good friend of mine.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, absolutely. So something that I'm aiming to do one of my, well right now, it's my only new year's resolution for 2020 is to increase community. And I am going to be inviting a family over to one of our, one of our friends, a family friend over with their family, to our house for dinner on a Saturday, once a month.

Denaye Barahona: And this seems like kind of a big deal to me because I haven't hosted meals for other people really much at all. I mean, aside from like pizza at a birthday party, but like to actually commit to making a meal and having people in my house and serving them and hosting them feels kind of like a big deal. And it's definitely something I wouldn't have been able to muster up the energy to do two years ago. But like I said, now that I kind of feel like I'm emerging from this fog and getting a little bit more bandwidth back. I feel like I'm ready to do that. Do you guys ever do that? Do you ever host at your house?

Zoe: Yeah, a little bit less. Now that we've been in the apartment for a year some, some of you may know some your listeners may know that I am building a minimalist ish, modern nut farm house nearby. And I'm really excited about my neighborhood. There there's some people that have lived there forever. There's some people that are moving in and in fact, my new neighbors are going to be the people building the tiny home in my backyard. Yeah. Clinton, Haley of muster mustard, seed, tiny homes. And they're just really great. And we're already talking about how we're going to have group cookouts, like Oh, fluff, you know, nothing fancy, just get together and hang out and alternate backyards. So

Denaye Barahona:That's great. Yeah. Erica, do you host at your house?

Erica: We have friends over sometimes for sure, but not as much in, in recent years. Like when we were newlyweds, we had friends over for meals all the time, but then we got a little bit, you know, weighed down by young family life in the best possible way. But now we have, we have friends over more. I kind of prefer that it be spontaneous because then I don't over prep. I just can't because it happens on the fly. So sometimes my husband will just say to friend of his, you know, do you guys want to come over for dinner? And he, we throw some food on the grill and we don't have to clean beforehand. It just kind of a comments you are get together. Those are my favorite kind.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, I love that. Rachelle, what about you?

Rachelle: Yeah. I love that as well. I love the comments you are approach. My husband is a little bit more, he likes it to look a certain way, like have everything put away. So I think for him, if I just did the spontaneous thing, it would be a little bit stressful except for a few.

Erica: My instinct I'm I'm like your husband instinctively. That's why I think these are good for me. My husband, you know, forces the opposite on me. Yeah.

Rochelle: I'm like, why are you putting the dishes in the dishwasher? It's just your parents, but that's just this thing. So but yeah, no, we, I feel like I've always, I've always wanted to have regular, you know, Sunday dinners or have people over every week and life just kind of happens and I try not to overbook our schedule. And then the next thing you know, I'm like, we probably should have done something this week. So I'm looking forward to this next year where we have like committed to do it. And so and with people that we are already kind of doing community with, so it'll be, it'll just kind of just keep us having those dinners. But yeah, I love having, I, we have a pretty big family too, so they'll come over every now and then, or we'll play cards at night with my brother-in-law and my brother. And sister-in-law, that's always fun.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I've decided I have a recipe for a Shepherd's pie, which makes I triple it and make it a big Lake who said that I put it in and that, and it's one of those things that generally everybody likes and kids even like it. So I have decided that one night we had a sort of practice run in December. We had some friends over and I made a pot of Shepherd's pie. They brought a salad and we had some cut-up fruit for dessert and that was it. And Shepherd's pie sometimes make an advance. So it was ready. It was in the oven. Like they came over, we hung out a little bit. We ate, we relaxed, played a couple of games and they went home and we all got to bed on time. And it was great. I think that having people in our home definitely makes us feel more connected to them and it doesn't have to be super overwhelming. It doesn't have to be big and impressive.

Zoe: Yeah. Denaye speaking of kids, I was just thinking, as you guys were talking too about you know, having families over that, a lot of my company sometimes is kids. It's not necessarily the whole family, so because it's my four kids and I in the apartment. And so my oldest she's 13 and she's very extroverted and loves to have friends. And that's part of, that's an important part of community for me is knowing her friends and having them over and, you know, creating a good, safe, fun place for everybody to be.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And that brings me to a question about kids getting older now that your kids are plenty old enough to have drop off play dates, that sort of thing. What does community look as your kids get older? Do you find that your friends have become the parents of your kids' friends or your kids kind of have these relationships independent of you? Rochelle? Like I said, I had a lot of play dates when I was younger with these girls that are good friends of mine, but we, my kids go to a different school than theirs. And so as our kids got into school, they started making their own friendships. And we do have a lot of cousins around which so that has stayed. But I think the, my friendships with them have remained and the kids' friendships have remained, but they just don't do life and see each other. So definitely has caused us to get to know other families. And yeah, it's, it's a little bit different than it was. Yeah. Zoe

Zoe: Yeah, definitely has shifted my friendships and my kids, my two older kids, the 11 and the 13 year old, they do have some friendships where I'm not friends per se, but I do make the effort to get to know them to a certain level. Just maybe not seeing them every single time, but I definitely like to know who, you know, what their family's about. And not as a, like not just as a, are you safe or are you, but it's nice to just know each other and be able to pick up that person's child or something and know that we have that kind of open communication. I like the open communication. So I do make sure that we, you know, text and Hey, how are you? Those kinds of things. But then I have become friends with some of her parents, some of her friend's parents.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. Erica.

Erica: I think the interesting thing about having your children get older in a community is that it makes community in the true sense of the word. Like when we go out into our community, we see people we know from different areas of their lives. So we see like soccer friends and we see church friends, we run into them at the grocery store, you know, it's like, it really makes your kids being involved in more things, whether it's, you know, the local music theater or whatever it is, makes it so that you have community within your community from all of those different places. And I think that this feels really special. It's fun to see people that you recognize when you're at target or wherever.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I grew up in a small town and my community was really just the kids who I went to school with because it was really small. And I feel like I kind of missed out on that. I think that is a cool idea because you have lots of different diverse types of community and you learn how to interact with each of them and how they all come with their own differences. So I think that is a really neat thing to keep in mind is giving your kids some diverse communities to surround with. I think there's a lot of value in that.

Erica: Yeah. As a Denaye, if I could add just as a former military spouse, sometimes my communities are like, but you know, I've got the big communities and the little communities. And I remember we, we moved to Georgia four years ago and my kids and I went to the local ice cream shop down here at the town center. And Bella was like, mom, that boy over there, he was in my class in Hawaii. And I was like, and sure enough, the mom came out and I recognized her and there's not even a military base here. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: It's a small world. So my next question is about asking for support from your community, because I know that so many parents are hesitant to reach out to their friends and to their community to ask for help when they need it. And I know that personally, I would be thrilled to help my friends if they needed help from me. How do you feel about that? I feel like we need to get this message out there that friends want to help friends. Don't be afraid to ask. Rochelle.

Rachelle: Yeah. I was talking with a friend that I've gotten to know over the last couple of years and we don't do life super close together, but we were talking and she mentioned some difficult times. They went through just not so long ago. Like really difficult stuff. And I, my heart just broke because if I knew I would have come over and like dropped everything because it was significant.

Rachelle: And so I feel like, yeah, we have to, we have to be willing to ask for help, which means I have to be willing to ask for help because I can't expect everybody else to. But I think, I think there's a lot of, a lot of things that keep us keep us from asking for help. Like, especially when I was a young mom, I felt like that maybe it was pride. Like I have to do this myself. I got myself into this and I, if I ask for her help, that means I'm not doing it perfectly. So I think that can weigh into that. But yeah, I just, I don't know. And we don't like to inconvenience people. Right. So I think we have to just be willing to do that because people want to help.

Denaye Barahona: I think you touched on an important thing that sometimes asking for help is kind of admitting that you're not enough in some ways it can feel like that, even though I don't feel like that is the case often at all. I think it's the wisest thing that we can do asking for help.

Erica: That's fun. It's funny because we don't, we don't think that when our friends ask for help, but somehow we feel it when we're the ones asking for help. So there's something to notice there. Yeah. I have this friend who had twins and I so distinctly remember her saying when I had the twins, that's when I built my village. I, I, I really needed people to hold one while I fed the other. So that's when I like threw my in-laws in and my parents and babysitters that we trusted and friends that I could just text when I felt ready to give up in the middle of the night. And then she just said, I just wish that I had developed that with my first baby, because

Erica: She had a baby before, you know, an older child. So that always just makes me think. Let's just, let's just develop that now, whatever stage you're in, whether you have older kids or younger kids, or your first little newborn just invest in that community now so that you have a supportive network to rely on because that really does feel amazing.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I do think we have to, sometimes I feel like I have to beg friends to reach out. Like I have a friend when my son's best friend lives just up the street from us. And I, he loves to play with him and we love having him. He's a really nice kid. And when he's here playing with my son, we do drop off play dates with him. And when he's here, my life is easier. Like, because my kids love playing with him and they play well and they're happy and they're kind of distracted and it's just, it's great. Like having him here is actually, it actually makes my life easier. And I felt like for a long time, like, I wasn't sure if his mom who's also, my friend was buying into this. I'm like, no, really like, please drop your kid off at my house. We need him to, any of you feel like that? Like sometimes like having other kids, friends over is actually a breath of fresh air.

Erica: Absolutely.

Rachelle: Yeah. I think some when they were younger, not so much, I think there's like an age where it, the teacher feeling everyone's exhausted after this play date. I can't even keep my eyes open. Everyone's fighting and then destroyed totally in the house. Let's be honest. The house still gets destroyed, but yeah, I think over, I don't even know what age, but when we have friends over now, it is so much easier. The kids have a ton of fun and yeah, it's a disaster. It's good.

Zoe: I had a friend like that. I'm sorry. I, yeah, that would, you know, had to convince me that it really was a benefit to have my two kids over. She had four at the time and this is when I only had two, but she's like, yes, no, really, please. Let me have your kids over because then my kids have someone to play with, but I really value the benefit and the gift that it was to see her do that for me. I think, I mean, I learn things well through people watching people and, and having them model that in my life. And it's, it's nice to be at, get to a point where I can turn around and offer that to somebody else as well.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And even if anyone out there listening is not ready to take that on, right. Like you're not ready to have other kids over for play dates or that sort of thing. Like just keeping in mind that like, that might be in your future and that when you feel ready to do that, making sure that you're being really straightforward with your friends, that I'm not just offering help to be polite. And I actually just had this conversation with a friend last week or the week before who she she's going through something difficult. And I said to her, I was like, I am not saying to drop him off to be polite. I'm saying, please drop him off because we would love to have him. Like, I mean, it, this is not an empty offer. I really truly mean it. And she, she took the offer.

Denaye Barahona: She was like, yes, I'd like to drop them off. So that I felt like I kind of had to say it more than once in more than one way to really make it make it a possibility. Cause I think sometimes when we just say, Hey, if you need anything, let us know that isn't always, it doesn't always come across as so authentic and people aren't really sure if we mean it. Have you guys experienced that? Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. I do. I feel like sometimes when people say to me like, Oh, if you need anything, let me know. And I rarely take them up on it. But I need to be better about it because I think the more that I take people up on that, the more that those people are in return going to take up other people like paying it forward, starting to accept, help from other people I think is going to open them up to accepting help themselves.

Erica: I absolutely, yeah. I agree with that. Deny that when they see you do it, then they can intern. I feel like it gives them permission to not that you, not that they need your permission, but that they see another, you know, woman and friend modeling that and maybe asking for help or giving help. And then they're like, you know what? I can do that too. It doesn't mean I'm weak or I'm not doing a good job or I'm not a good mom. And if there's anybody listening, who's just not in a place to offer that you are absolutely normal and there's nothing wrong with you.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And I think that I, that it comes in waves, right? Depending on what sort of life situation you're in, how old your kids are, like how, how balanced your feeling feeling on any given day. It's not like you're always going to feel open to giving help and to supporting others in your community. But I think the more that we can accept it, the more that others are going to accept it to Erica,

Erica: To add that sometimes being willing to ask for help is the thing that will give you the community you've always wanted because I have, I think it's just this amazing way to draw people together when you're helping each other. I have this friend who went through a real period of depression and we like three other friends. It was a small group who knew about it, cause it was a really personal struggle. But we were in contact with her husband, like asking what we could do. We would take turns and kind of just tag team it and keep her company throughout the day or take her kids. Sometimes we would literally just sit on a bed next to her with like a hand on her while she laid down and just, we were just there and ever since then, our friendship has been so much closer. So I think when you're going through something hard, being willing to let people in is such an incredible glue for friendships and community down the road, even though it's, it can be so hard to admit you need that.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And I think it takes a certain amount of vulnerability too, asking for it and receiving it opening yourself up to that because a lot of times it can involve really personal things like this. I remember a couple of years ago, one of my friends had just had a baby and I suspected that she might be going through postpartum depression. And I asked her, I was like, you know, how are you feeling? Are you feeling depressed? And you're like, no, no, no, I'm fine. But just her behavior made me feel like there might be something more to it. So I actually reached out to her husband directly and I was really scared to do that because I felt like I was kind of going over her head and I wasn't sure if it was even the right thing, but in my heart I felt like, you know what?

Denaye Barahona: I need, I need to touch base with somebody else about this, just to be sure that there's more than one person that has this on their radar and that we're really looking out for her and taking care of her. But that can be, that can be uncomfortable. I know I was super uncomfortable doing that, but in retrospect, I'm glad that I did it. Yeah. That's great. Yeah. But so sometimes yeah, it takes getting a little bit uncomfortable and leaning into that discomfort and I think it can really, it can go a long way for everybody involved.

Denaye Barahona: Well, thank you all so much for joining me in this chat today. It's been great talking with you about this. I'm hoping we can get this conversation going for the rest of the year and get people talking about community because I it's more and more becoming important building up the online and the in-person community as as we grow as individuals and as our families grow in our lives, change and twist and turn. So I want to say thank you all for being here and most importantly, thank you for being a part of my community.

Erica: Thank you so much for having us. Yes.

Rachelle: Thank you for having us.

Denaye Barahona: Thanks. Zoe thanks for Rochelle. Thanks Erica.

Erica: Yes. Happy new year.

Rachelle: Happy new year.

Zoe: Happy New year.

Thanks so much for tuning in. It's always great to have you as a part of simple families. If you have questions or comments, go to, and you can leave those there. You'll also find links to get in touch with Zoe Rachelle and Erica happy new year. And I'll talk to you soon.

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.