Marie’s Story

In today’s episode, I’m sharing a journey to simplicity. Marie, a Simple Families community member is giving us a closer look inside her day-to-day life. She’s been working towards simplicity for over a year and has found that a simpler life improves her well-being and the overall harmony of her family.

Marie and I discuss her adventure in decluttering the physical “stuff” in the home, as well as scaling back on the calendar to find more peace and quiet in the way they spend their time together. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Marie!

Hi there today I have a journey to simplicity for you. If you're not familiar with this series, it's one that I love here on the podcast and I speak with a member of the simple families community about their own journey towards a simpler life with family.

Denaye Barahona:Today I have a conversation with Marie and I think you're going to love it. Before we get any further into today's episode, I'm going to bring you a quick 60 second word from our sponsor. The sponsor for today is prep dish and Oh, how I love prep dish and I know that so many of you have tried prep dish and also sing its praises as well. Prep dishes, a meal planning service, and it's one of those things I didn't know I needed until I had it and then I realized, wow, this makes my life so much easier. Each week, prep dish sends me three steps.

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Denaye Barahona: She works outside of the home and she is bringing so much wisdom to this conversation today in her experience. So Maria and I are talking about her decision to go back to work, which wasn't necessarily an easy one for her, but as the breadwinner in her family, it was one that was really outside of her control. So I think that she has done an amazing job of prioritizing her career, but also finding and creating a home that is her calm, joyful place to come back to at the end of the day. Cause as she'll share with us, her job is pretty crazy and pretty busy. So home is that place for her that she loves to be. So I'm so glad that simple families has been able to be a part of that as well. All right. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Marie. Thank you for tuning in. Hi Marie, how are you doing?

Marie: Hi Denaye. I'm so good and so excited to talk to you today.

Denaye Barahona: Thank you for taking the time to do this. Someone brought to my attention a couple of months ago that most of the journey to simplicity that I've done are with stay at home moms or work at home moms. So I put a call out to some work outside of the home moms and you responded and I loved your response. So I'm excited to talk more with you about your story.

Marie: Oh, well thank you so much. It really is an honor to be here. You have done a lot for my family and like I said in my email, we just didn't even know that we needed you.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. So tell me a little bit about your family. Where do you live? Who's in your family?

Marie: Sure. So we live in travelers rest South Carolina, which is right outside of Greenville, which is not a huge city. Greenville's right between Charlotte and Atlanta. Both my husband and I were born and raised in the state of South Carolina. We both went to Clemson. We have not been dating since then, but we got married about five years ago and we have two kids. We have David who's three and a half and we have Catherine who is nine and a half months.

Denaye Barahona: All right. And so you're both born and raised in South Carolina and your family, are they close by?

Marie: They are, they are very close by. They're right here in the upstate with us.

Denaye Barahona: Oh, okay. Great. So you are a full time working mom outside of the house. Tell me a little bit about your job.

Marie: Sure. So I'm a controller for a real estate developer. We develop apartments, a little bit of retail, but mostly apartments. I've been with this company for about three years. Again, I'm their controller, which just means that I do all of the financial stuff. I do all the financial reporting, basically. If it's a number I'm, I'm in charge of it. And then I have a few ancillary duties. But yeah, that's, that's how it goes.

Denaye Barahona: Is that more accounting or more finance?

Marie: My current role is, is accounting, but I do a lot of finance because we're kind of a small company, so it's kind of all hands on deck all the time.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. So a little bit of each. So you've been there three years. So tell me a little bit more about life before you had, before you became a mother. So your son is three and a half, you said. So what was life like? What kind of work were you doing before that?

Marie: Sure. So my, my whole career has been in real estate. I kind of fell into accounting and developed a serious love for it and still have a passion for it before kids, before kids, I couldn't imagine myself having kids to be, to be honest. My husband was more of of the pusher first starting the family and I was, I needed to have my handheld and needed just a little push to, to get started. And actually we had been trying for about two months and I got pregnant and I remember bringing the, the stick to my husband and going or pregnant. I was going to tell you that we needed to stop cause I wanted to focus on my career. It wasn't like exciting, like finally pregnant.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So what was your career, your main reservation? Starting a family or was it just more of just a big life change that you were fearing? My career?

Marie: It's definitely super important to me and it always has been. I think the other part of it was that I felt like I wasn't grown up. So how can I raise a tiny human if I'm not all fully grown up yet?

Denaye Barahona: Right. Are you, so did you grow up with a working mom?

Marie: I did. I did. My mom was a single mom until I was about nine years old. Her and my dad split when I was super young and so yeah, I always had that strong influence of, of the single mother and I mean she, she worked her way through a career and made it into, you know, the boys club where she was the only woman at the table and just very inspiring.

Denaye Barahona: Did you, so you always knew that you were going to go back to work or that was your plan in your first pregnancy?

Marie: Absolutely. my first pregnancy I was in a different job. I was in a job actually where had a lot of people who are my same age and it was, it was really nice. When you went to work, you felt like you were going to hang out with your friends. Everybody was your age. So when I was going back to work with my first, it wasn't a big dread. It was okay. Well I knew I was going back and I get to go see my friends and he's going to go to daycare and life will be fine. I did have a little bit of man, I would like to stay home, but I just knew that it wasn't for me, that staying home just it w didn't fill my cup up.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And your husband, he's not staying at home either. Right? So you said your son's in daycare. Oh, he was in daycare at first. Okay.

Marie: Yes. My husband is he's a teacher and he, I should clarify, I wrote in my email to you that I'm the breadwinner, but he wanted me to clarify that I just went more bread than he does and we're both bread winner. That's true. Right. But he is a teacher and it is widely known that teachers don't make a ton of money. And I always knew that I would go back and I didn't have a problem with that. Sure. But yeah, it was tough to leave my three month old baby with someone else.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So then your daughter was born earlier this year, right? Yeah, in February. Okay. So you are in a new job now. Did you anticipate going back was going to be hard after your second?

Marie: I kind of had a feeling that the job that I have now, it's very demanding. It's, it's very stressful. I love it cause it's exciting and you never repeat the same day twice, but it's demanding. And while I was on maternity leave, I actually worked one one day a week I was in the office just to try to keep things up and, and help out there. But yeah, it was, it was really tough going back. And I think the reason why was my job is so stressful. So it was like, I've had this small break and why do I want to go back into this crazy life? And now I have two children, which makes things twice as complicated if not even more than that. And so it was, it was a much tougher decision the second time around just just because of the, the job that I'm in now.

Denaye Barahona: Do you feel like you were in your thoughts or your reservations about going back to work after your second? Do you feel like it was more feeling like you wanted to run away from your job or you wanted to run towards your kids? Was it one or the other? Do you feel like it was kind of pull a pull of both?

Marie: I think it was a pull of both. You know, it was, I was a little resentful towards my job because I did have to take the time during my sacred maternity leave. You know, I was never gonna never going to get that back. So it was, I was a little resentful of my job, which, which made it difficult to go back. And then also my daughter was a fantastic baby, still a fantastic baby. She slept through the night. She was so easy, she hardly ever cries and so it was a lot easier to say, yeah, I want to stay home with the easy one and just hang out with her all day and teacher things and be with her.

Denaye Barahona: That's it. That's an interesting point. So your first I assume was probably more difficult as a baby.

Marie: Yes. Well and you know, being a new mom, gosh you, I don't care what people tell you, you are not prepared until you, you wake up and you're like, where am I? You've been at home for the first night. Your baby's crying. You don't even know where you are. Yeah. I think with my son it was getting back to that normalcy after dealing with Parenthood for the first time. It was kind of, I welcomed going back to work cause I felt like that was, that was normal.

Denaye Barahona: It was your real life. That was your, your, your typical, what you were anticipating. Yeah. Typical is a good way. It's funny you say that because when I, after I had my second, she was a really hard baby, a really difficult baby and I, and I think I felt like this a little bit with my first two, but I definitely, I want to say maybe around the four week Mark, I was like online searching full time out of the home jobs because at that time I was working from home part time and home most of the time with my kids and kind of working during nap times. And yeah, I was like, I dunno, but it's four weeks in, I have a tiny baby and I need a job. That's what I right now. And what I really needed was just some space and some time to sort of settle into our new rhythms, which took, you know, six to 12 months. But yeah, in that way. And, and that period of my life I felt like I was kind of running away or wanted to run away from the changes that I was facing at home. And I think that's a real reality for a lot of moms who are adding kids to their family or just going through difficult transitions in life.

Marie: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Denaye Barahona: So when you are getting ready for Parenthood with your first, did you, were you the type that wanted to read all the books and do everything to prepare? Are you, are you just winging it?

Marie: I definitely just this it, I did read Emily Osters expecting better, which in hindsight it's, it's funny and it's so true. We, we play so much emphasis on the, the giving birth and the pregnancy and there's this whole life and this whole body that has to, you have to raise that you have to create and you have to make them a respectable human. And I just think we, we spend a lot as a society, we spent a lot of time focusing on the pregnancy and the birth, which is only nine months in one day.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So much. And I felt the same way when I was pregnant the first time was that I was just like, well if I'm just reading books about pregnancy, like what am I going to do is actually here when I don't even have time to read at that point. And I think we need to shift that and I can have a lot of the even the classes that you do when you're pregnant, like the, they're all focused pregnancy and delivery and that sort of thing. Maybe like early infant care, like how do you give a brand new baby a bath, but the, the time in your life when you don't have the time to read all the books is when you need the books, I think. And when you, if and when you have the time before you have the baby, I think that that's such an ideal time to start reading about things like sleep and feeding and all the stuff that you're going to need to know afterwards.

Denaye Barahona: But I know a lot of people do. They just kind of want to go in it, winging it. I was definitely in the mindset where I wanted to read all the books and have everything figured out before it actually happens, which you know, as you know, you can't, you can't figure it all out until it's actually there. But I always kind of wonder that about how other people approach if baby number one versus baby number two or three, if you going back, did you feel like you wanted to better prepare for any one area than another? Like do you like, Oh, like I really messed up sleep at the first one. I got to get it right for the second one. Were there any areas like that you felt like you wanted to make big shifts on with your second baby?

Marie: Absolutely. so one major point on that was I'm breastfeeding. So my son, I breastfed him for 10 days. We had some yeast issues passing, passing it back and forth, and speaking to my doctor, it just was best for us to stop. So being the person that had was, and I was really focused on giving him breast milk, I pumped for a whole year and that was challenging in itself. You know, having, you can't take a break, you can't take a break from breastfeeding, you can't take a break from pumping. Like you take a break, you're done. So I did that and with my daughter I said, come hell or high water. I will breastfeed this child. I will not pump again. So I did, I successfully breastfed her for about eight months and then just work and life and stress just made it so that that couldn't happen anymore. And I promised myself, because I knew I would be so crazy about the breastfeeding, that I would stop when it was right for her and for me that I to just do it, just to do it.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I think that's such a healthy balance. Talk to me a little bit about breastfeeding and going back to work. And I know that that's a big fear for a lot of women is how is that actually going to happen? And in some jobs it's really, really hard. Some, it's not so hard, but summits,

Marie: So I'm going to set the tone with the small. So I don't know if you've ever watched the TV show new girl, but in the, I think it was, I haven't seen all the seasons, but a little bit. The F the final season season CC has, has given birth and she's gone back to work and it, it flashes over to a board room and she's got her pump parts on her and she just has this look on her face and she just says, you didn't move the meeting. So here we are. And I just think I'm just like that. That's how it is. You're, you have your set pumping times, you got your timer set on your phone, you're ready to go, you've got your parts, you remembered the 19 parts that go and the bag and the keep it cold, all that other stuff, you know. And then somebody goes, Oh, we moved the meeting to 10 instead of 11. So if you could just, you know, make that happen. Or when you have a marathon day of meetings. I mean there, there are times when I'm with people for five and six hours and I just have to have my bag and it's do it when I can, whether that's in the car or on the way or in my office, whatever, whatever the case may be. Make it make it work

Denaye Barahona: Good and I love that you said you did it for as long as it was working for you and your daughter because it's a lot. It's a lot and I, and I always feel like when I hear mothers going through that and they're dedicated to doing it, I think that's wonderful, but at the same time, if it's causing you so much stress, to me, huge consideration too. If it's taking a toll on your wellbeing and your ability to be a parent, I think you always have to be constantly reevaluating and reassessing your choices and the bigger picture of the impact of those decisions.

Marie: Absolutely. Absolutely. When I was, when I was still breastfeeding, I would get off work. I get off work about between five 30 and six and my daughter eats between six and six 30. So of course I walk in the door, I've met by my three year old, my two 40 pound dogs, my husband and my daughter's like, Oh man, I got a little crazy. And that was just, you know, another reason that led me to like maybe we should stop that's breastfeeding. Like give her a bottle and she's hungry. No dad's with her. That shouldn't have to suffer because mom wants to breastfeed her and we have no idea when mom's going to be home from work.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So you have to find a balance in there somewhere. Definitely. So you and your email to me, you said that your job was the most, the most stressful, the most demanding and it was just so, so much. But you love it. And I think that that is, I think that's going to resonate with a lot of people because there are so many women out there who want to continue with their career and continue building their career, but they also want to be growing a family. And you said that you had a realization that if I had to work my crazy job, my home life would be my happy place and my calm. Can you tell me more about how you came to that decision and just what that, what that has looked like for you?

Marie: Sure. So I think I also told you I had done all the spreadsheets. I'd run all the numbers. I mean, if I was going to really say home, it would, it would mean so many changes for my family, which ultimately I decided that that just, that wasn't the way for us to go. But in that I decided that home has to be the place where I come in and, and joy hits me. It's and it's, it's not just my family that I love that hits me, but if I walk in the door and somebody's shoes are right there or you know, the, the laundry basket has fallen over and I'm tripping over it or you know, whatever the case may be, I just want to walk in the door and greet my family and place my purse down in the same spot every day and you know, be happy in that way. And that includes not only your house being nice but have set setting yourself up for other things like meal times and your weekends and just trying to try to slow down. I'm trying to really capture what's important to you and what's really important to me is to spend wonderful time, important time where I'm present, where I'm there with my family, my husband and my kids included sometimes together and sometimes separate.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. It sounds like you really were craving predictability. Yes. Yeah.

Marie: I think that stems from my job. My job is crazy. I'm constantly making decisions and you know, I just have to go with it because it's work and if it's wrong, well later I'll, I'll fix it later. But it's, it's very fast paced and it's very just, it's a lot. So when I come home I want it to be slower and I want it to be easier and just lighter.

Denaye Barahona: So how have you done that? Tell me how it start with the stuff. Like what is the stuff in your house? How has that changed?

Marie: Sure. So I completely rearranged my entryway. I took almost everything out except I think like our shoes and some jackets now, I mean, we're in the South, so now we're getting into to winter. So we've, we've hung up some hooks. Another thing we, we've streamlined is meal times. We use a meal planning service that you pick the meals, you put it in your shopping cart and you can pick it up and you have the recipe ready for you during the week. I love to cook, but I hate to shop and I hate to prep and planning pieces. I'm, I'm all about taking a these, a chicken and some vegetables out and looking at a recipe with the spices and making it that, that's a totally love that. So, so meal times my home, Oh, I should, I should tell, I should share this story with my husband, a little rink. So for my birthday, I had been listening to you for probably about two months and my husband was starting to pay attention. He was listening and I was telling him about all the things. And so for my birthday he sent me off for a me day to get manicure, pedicure, a massage, and then I got home. He completely cleared out our bedroom, our bathroom and our closet, completely clean, nothing in it.

Marie: He emptied everything. Like it was just bare. It was just bare like our, I think he, I think he had made the bed, like the bed had sheets on it, but everything else was there. So it was like a hotel room and he was like, I put it all in our bonus room and you can bring it down when it's deemed worthy. And that just, Oh my gosh, him doing that was amazing. First of all, that he was really paying attention and for him to realize that I needed a little bit of a push to get me started that I really wanted to do this. But it was, it's overwhelming. Like where do you even begin and in your home. And so that was wonderful and I think I did it all that weekend. I was so excited that I went upstairs and I pulled everything out and I put the rest in boxes and I got that room. Doug coed.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And did you feel like you wanted to go to every other room after that?

Marie: Yes. Yes. I definitely had a lot of ideas. And we started a few things, but you know, life and everything else gets in the way. We still have some half finished projects, but we're getting there.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, I definitely remember that feeling and I never expected, cause I have a lifelong history of clutter. Like I always, always had the messy of the messiest room. And even in my early married years, like we had messiness everywhere and it was always me. My husband is actually pretty clean. His parents owned a cleaning company when he was growing up, so there was a pretty high high standards. But I should also say that my family also had really high standards for cleanliness and I always fell short. So he likes to say like maybe it was just the differences in the way we were raised, but we were both raised in really clean houses. I actually think it's more for me, the way that my brain works is that I just am like running around doing things quickly a lot. And which is why intentional, simple, slow living is unnecessary for me and so much work for me because it's not natural.

Denaye Barahona: But yeah, I'm just running around a lot and I tend to leave things places and they end up just everything, just kind of as a catastrophe. After that. And my husband and my son are much more, much more methodical about putting things away in the places that they go. My daughter is just like me though. She's just like a tornado and we'll just like, if she's not, if we're not well, if I'm not careful, I will end up like leaving things everywhere. I've gotten so much better about it in the past couple of years as we've cut back on our stuff, but I see the same tendencies kind of erupting in her, the tendency to just kind of like go from one to the next and just leave things laying everywhere. Do you feel like you lead in one way or the other and your family members? You see any of those tendencies?

Marie: I am definitely. I'm just like you and I, I don't know, this is really bad, but I think the way my brain works is I have way more other important things to do to clean this up right now, which is really bad. But I think that that's just how I, how I connected. It's like, well, that's not important. I'll clean that up later. Now I will say it. My husband is not the cleanest. However, when we first started dating, I remember coming to his house on Sundays and on Sundays he would do laundry. And right after he did laundry, he would hang everything up, even his t-shirts, he would hang everything up, all nice and neat and put it away in the closet. And we got married and I completely RET like pulled him into my messiness and I give him a hard time all the time and I'm like, you are so clean and meet before I just came in and ripped up your whole world. But,

Denaye Barahona: And I moved in with my husband when we were engaged. The way that he, he had two closets in his apartment and the closets had all these shelves and the way he was keeping his clothes were like this shelf. Like there's three parts of this shelf. This part is for long sleeve exercise shirts. This is for short sleeve exercise shirts. This is for shorts that I wear. Biking. This shelf is for shorts that I wear when I'm running. Like there were so many different categories and I'm like, this drawer is for bottoms and this drawer is for tops and it just anything in many ways that is just kind of how we function in all aspects of our life. Like if you look at my purse, like everything is just in there in the middle. Like how do you keep your purse?

Marie: That's about it. Yeah. Actually I don't keep a person, keep everything in my pump bag. Okay. My cell phone, my wallet, my keys and my purse is just my junk drawer right now.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. In mine, that is exactly how mine is and I've gotten better about emptying every day and that helps to bring me some sanity because I definitely as it, because messiness is my sort of my default as I've started to simplify, I crave it. Like if things get messy I need them to get to be put back and I take care of it because I know how good it feels when things are where they should be. Do you feel like the more you have a simplified space, the more you crave it?

Marie: For sure. For sure. So my husband takes charge of the kitchen and I do all of the laundry, which works out really great for us. But there is not a bit better feeling than when you put away that last piece of folded clothing and know that you don't have a full load in the washer or the dry or anything else you're done. It's, it's the best feeling in the world. And I mean I definitely got on a really good routine about like I would put my daughter to bed and then I would go do my load of laundry and then I was all done and it was, it was the best feeling ever. And it's really, it's really been nice.

Denaye Barahona: So you're on the daily laundry bandwagon too, right.

Marie: And I am there are a couple other things that we do daily. We, we'd sweep and vacuum daily just cause we have to, we have two dogs and we have a crawler now, so we have to really be mindful. Otherwise you pick her up and you're like, Oh, you are a dog. So,

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. Well, I, I also have that feeling when I finished the last piece of laundry that I am on top of the world for like five minutes. I've got everything figured out. Right? Like my life is just all put together when there is not a single piece of dirty laundry in my house. Like there's just, you get like a little glimpse of that like feeling of like this is like I lived, but you take what you can get. Right?

Marie: Yeah. Same, same thing. Like when you've had like a really long day with your kids and like they both lay down and you walk out of the, the second one's room and you're like

Denaye Barahona: Break. Right, exactly. Once everybody's in bed and finally in bed and if it happens ahead of schedule. My daughter's been extra tired lately since the time change. I really feel like she's just, it's been, it's taken a long, long time for her to adjust and she's been needing to go to bed like a half an hour earlier and so I'm putting her to bed at six 30 on a lot of nights. So I put her to bed at six 30 and then my son to bed, he'll go to bed at like sometimes like six 45 and then like literally by seven o'clock I'm like on o'clock. I'm like, alright, like this is like again, I get that brief moment of like I got it all figured out. They're like, of course something happens and like brings him back to reality and homeboys very quickly. But yeah, I feel like there are moments where it, where it all does come together and like you said, home can be a place of calm and it can be a place of peace. But then there are also moments of chaos and there's, especially when we're, when we are living with little unpredictable, irrational people like that, it's, it's sometimes that's just not going to be the case. And as much as we want it to be calm and we want it to be a happy place, it doesn't always feel like that. Right.

Marie: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Denaye Barahona: Are there days you walk in and everybody's screaming?

Marie: Oh, for sure. For sure. So I normally call my husband when I'm on the way home cause I kind of want to feel like, what am I walking into? I need to know. Have you had an okay afternoon or have you had like, Oh my gosh, when are you getting here? I'm counting down the seconds. Yeah. So I kind of get that. But within, there are some days when I call me, it's like we're having a great time. We're playing on the floor. I've already got dinner started and then I get home and both children are crying and my husband's like, can I just take a walk for a moment? And I'm like, I talked to you 10 minutes ago. But I mean that's, you know, living with young children, it can, it can go from good to bad and about 2.5 seconds. So.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And I, you have, you done the mental unload, you did the masterclass, but have you done the mental unload with I didn't.

Marie: I, I w I want to. And I think you said you gonna start it in January. It's probably gonna be my [inaudible].

Denaye Barahona: February will be. Yeah, I'd love to have you. But so we talk about in one of the things we've talked about in the mental unload is this sort of hand off the time after work when everyone's kind of coming together where, whether it's both parents or one parent and what that looks like. And I, there's so much in, I think that if there is one partner that's already home, like your husband's already home. And like for me, I'm already home cause I'm working from home that in that handoff period, there's so much of the attitude of the parent who's already there that impacts the attitude of the parent who's about to join. And I think that many of us, myself included for a long time, felt that I needed to sort of portray the fact that, you know, I've been busy, this has been really hard.

Denaye Barahona: You were here and you didn't have to do it. And sort of portraying that to the partner who isn't home yet. And I think that that's a real, it's sort of a slippery slope to get into because I know that when my husband also does that phone call or it's kind of like checking in, like sometimes it's a text kind of like how was your day? And if I say like it was horrible. Like I was like, you need to rescue me right now. And it's rare that that's my response. But I think that that he already, that anticipation coming home towards that I think is really, it's hard to come back to. Right? Like how do you feel when your husband is like things are crashing and burning and like get home right now? Like how, like what, how do you feel walking in the door?

Marie: Sure. So I know my husband and what's funny to me about him is I feel like things that really upset him, he can hold them in. You will never know it. He's very quiet and calm and then like our kid will walk by and like kick a toy. I'm asking, it's like, why didn't you kick that? Like what are you doing honey? You got it. He kind of let the little things go. So when he, when he is upset, I kind of, I kind of take it with a grain of salt because I'm wondering like is he mad because our husband, my, my [inaudible] punched him in the face or is he mad because our daughter sped up a little bit on her on her Wednesday and he couldn't find the cloth in time before she spit up more or whatever the case making things up at this point.

Marie: But I do take it with a grain of salt but, but also I realized that I'm not him and I'm, I haven't been living it and although it may seem trivial to me, I didn't, I didn't go through his whole day. He only he did and only he lives the life that he lives and I have to be respectful of that. And yet that stinks. Sometimes I walk in and I'm like, this is silly, you shouldn't be upset about this. But he has some feelings just like I have my own feelings. And like I, I know you said before, I think you actually did a post about it last night. Like we have feelings too and it would really stink if someone yelled at me because I had feelings or someone, you know, stuck my nose in the corner or if someone spanked me or whatever the case may be. Like no one does that to me. Like I'm, I'm allowed to have feelings and whether they, I of course I control them better than my three year old, but no one gets upset with me when I have them. My husband embraces me, he hugs me, he loves me. And we just really try hard to do the thing for our kids and for each other.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And it's hard cause I do feel like there's a lot of pressure from society to come down on our kids for having tantrums and having these big feelings. And I think it's hard to sort of keep in mind that even as adults that we absolutely 1000% go through that. Like, and I don't even know why we don't call it tantrums like adult tantrums because like it's the exact same thing. Like we're yelling, we're upset or angry, like we're irritable. Like it's the same set of sensations as our kids get, but yet we don't call it tantrums as an adult and we think that it's supposed to. My my pediatrician told me at one point that tantrums end between ages three and four that I can expect tantrums to stop around ages of three to four. And it was just like, okay. Like, cause it all depends on, on what what we define as as tantrums because yeah. I don't think anyone ever truly outgrows them.

Marie: No. For sure. We definitely don't. I mean, just because as adults, if I'm, you know, if I can hold it in better, that doesn't make me better than my three year old. I mean, we still are feeling the same things.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And a lot of times our kids are feeling things that are just a reflection of what we're feeling and we're just holding it in a lot better. I it's funny, I actually was doing a coaching session with a group a couple of weeks ago and I asked the question has anyone ever felt like they could hit their kid? Got the feeling like I could hit you right now? And which was interesting. It didn't go anywhere. That question didn't go anywhere. No one fessed up. But I can say that I never got that feeling like a friend. I had a friend when I had my first child, I had my friend who said it to me, she's like, have you ever got that feeling like you could hit your kid? And I was like, Nope. [inaudible] I think my son was like maybe like 18 months at the time.

Denaye Barahona: And he was a super chill, like easy kid. And I'd never had that feeling. And then one day I had the feeling it was this very, I like felt it and I was like, I could hit him right now, but not that I ever would or I ever have, but it just, that feeling arose in me that I was angry enough that I felt like this is the feeling that people get and if they're feeling, if they're not able to manage those emotions, this is what comes next. Like for people whose, who maybe are still working on, on restraining those big emotions that may be, this is when kid people hit, people hit their kids. And I asked this question and I was just like, and it was like crickets. No one said that they've ever gotten that feeling. But have you ever gotten that feeling?

Marie: Oh yeah. I will admit to that. Like there's probably a lot of things that won't to admit to, but especially like when your kid just out of nowhere punches you in the face. Like you're your first reaction. Well. And you also have like, you know, you're your own your own instincts or when somebody hits you, yeah, you want to hit them back. Like I want to protect myself, but, but I mean it's tough and, but as an adult you keep against yourself, don't hit your kid.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And it's like those times when you're feeling that feeling like I could hit you right now I'm not going to because I'm an adult with a fully developed brain and I'm able to hold it, hold that in. They don't have any of those skills yet. Their brains are underdeveloped. Their ability to control their impulses are pretty much nonexistent and they do hit you. So it's funny, it's like think like how could you do that when the reality is there's a lot of reasons that that could go down. And a lot of times we, we feel those same, those same impulses, but we have the impulse control to hold them back. Right, right.

Marie: We have to, yes. And you might want to edit this out, but I do feel like I should add this. Okay. My mom on more than one occasion has said to me like, cause we talk about children and I'm like, yeah, it's really tough and so on and so forth. And she just said to me more than one time, like, no, those people you see on like the news that like hurt their children or whatever. She goes, I get it. Like children make you crazy, but you know you are an adult and you have to control it. But she's like, I get it. Like I get what they were feeling in the moment. She said, obviously I would never do that. You would never do that. She's like, but I, I, I, I empathize.

Denaye Barahona: Yes. And I absolutely, I absolutely do too. For sure.

Marie: My mom's a bad person. I mean I just basically I said this and I have the same feelings as your mom. So that would make us like right in the same boat. It's a great mom

Denaye Barahona: Friends. I absolutely have those feelings and I'm sure that my own mother had those feelings about me a lot for many, many years. I'll have to ask her for Thanksgiving and be like, did she ever feel like you could hit me? Right. If

Marie: I have to ask, cause I know the answer to that question, right. I mean I was spanked. I mean not, not at my mom's spanked my hand. I mean it was nothing, nothing violent in any way, shape or form. And, but yeah, I'm sure that there were times when she wanted it to be more, especially as a single mom, like she had to, she had to be tough

Denaye Barahona: Bearing all the stress and overwhelm all as a single person. Yeah, for sure. So tell me a little bit about your calendar and ways that you've simplified your calendar. And I think there was one thing that you said in your email, you said we were doing thing because things, because we thought that we were supposed to be doing them because there was a fear that my son would get behind and not be as advanced to SOC really as the other children, which I love that. Like if your son didn't start soccer at 18 months that he was going to be behind.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. It's funny that I remember, I remember seeing a program called soccer tots. I think it was called me. It starts at 18 months. There's, I think that this feeling like if you are just kind of going with the flow, you're like, Oh, there's an 18 month old class for soccer. That's when kids should start doing soccer is 18 months. If there's a class for it, then that means that's the best time. Right, right. How do you, how do you sort of, I mean those classes have a Rose because of the tendency for parents to want to, you know, do all the things but their kids and all the things. And that's the reality is people will pay for it and they'll do it and they'll spend their time there. So they exist. But is that what kids need at 18 months old or 24 months old or 36 months old. So tell me about your experience in soccer with your son.

Marie: Sure. So we did soccer shots and it was, it was, it was just as you said, well they take them at two. So obviously they should be starting to play soccer too. And so we started in and he really loved the first class, but he loved it because we were involved, the parent was involved so we would run with him or we would play with him. And so we went through the first round of class and then enrolled him in the class up. Cause he, he changed ages and so that was what you do. You don't see if they're ready or give any consideration to your own personal child. You just go with the flow. So we did that and it was miserable. He, he hated it. He was literally like on the ground, just like picking flowers while everyone else was playing.

Marie: I mean I've so many Snapchat videos of like, this is my kid, the one that doesn't want to participate. But it was like, wait a minute, two weeks ago, you guys are with me or three weeks ago and now you're just like, okay, we're over here. See you later. You know, and it's, we just stopped. I think we just stopped going. I even think we finished cause I said this is particular, it's like he hates it and if he hates it, why are we getting in the car and trying to be there at nine 30 in the morning? No, we have an incident. I was still breastfeeding. We're just trying to get through all of that. Like why, why would we do that? It was so, so silly.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah and I think when we put our kids in these early programs are highly structured. We can put a lot of pressure on them sort of accidentally if they're not participating, you know, if they're picking the flowers or if they're sitting on the sidelines, you're like, I'm paying good money for this. Like get in there and do it. Get in there and play. Get in there and like tumble in gymnastics class. Like you're not sitting on the sidelines. You need to participate. And we can end up putting a lot of pressure on them because we are spending money on, we're spending time on it and we want it to be valuable. And I've seen this sort of time and time again. We kind of, I didn't really do many, much in the way of classes around that age with my kids, but we demoed a few classes just to kind of try them out and to see how they felt.

Denaye Barahona: And funny with my first, I remember taking him to, it was like the little gym or one of those type of gymnastics places when he was, I think he was 21 months old, I want to say. So just shy of two. And we went and it was super, super structured. And he was like, he was the easiest of the easy kids, like so easy going with the flow and everything. Always like kind and gentle and quiet. He's grown out of a lot of those tendencies now. But like you, at that age, he was super, super easy. And I remember he ran for the door, like in the middle of the class. Like he got up out of my lap and like ran for the door. Yeah. And it's funny because at the exact time that he got up out of my lab and ran for the door, I was thinking to myself, I'm like, Oh my gosh, get me out of here.

Denaye Barahona: Like I can't stand this for another minute. And like, he like ran for the door and I was just like, alright, let's go. You know, I, in my mind, I didn't want to be there. He didn't want to be there. So we were like, peace out. And like, I like emailed me like, sorry, we left. Like we, we had to go and like, I dunno, somebody didn't feel well. I don't really think it probably made up some kind of excuse, but like we didn't go back. It was a demo class. It didn't work for us and that was fine. But I just thought it was so interesting that like, he literally like, was like, I gotta get outta here at the same time that I was thinking that and how often that our kids are like, one step ahead of us in that kind of thing.

Marie: It's, it's so true. And I actually, we actually had that kind of quite the opposite experience at the little gym here. So it is very structured. I will agree with that. But I will say that, and it may just be the people that run this one, they were very great about if your child doesn't want to participate in the circle activity or whatever they're doing, they can just go play. And so I think my son every single time would just go play while while we sat in the circle and did all these activities before the free, before the free play. But

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, and you know, I think that is very common. Like I didn't feel like they were pressuring us to be in the circle doing this stuff. But I think that the problem is that a lot of parents feel like they're not getting their money. Like if you're not doing the programming, like why are we even here? And then that's where the pressure comes in to like, like you need to do what you're supposed to be doing, like playing, just playing like you can play at home. Like, I don't have to pay for that. So the pressure for the kid to be in there like it sounds like you were okay with your kid just playing and like that was just, that was fine. And if the case on anything it's totally okay. But I think it's when you start to feel like kind of like cringing like we come here every week and you don't participate, you don't do anything sort of reevaluating. I was like is like you did with soccer, you know, is this really working for us? Like what is the real value of this? And I know a lot of people hesitate and letting their kids quit things and like I don't want to raise a quitter. Is that something that you guys went through?

Marie: No we didn't. You know, we, we definitely did the, I didn't pay $75 for you to catch butterflies and pick flowers. You know, we were also like, if this isn't working for us, it's not working for us and you're three years old, you're never going to remember that you quit soccer. We forced her to quit soccer. And it's funny is there was a, there was a daughter there with her father and he did that to her in front of everybody. Every little time would just quite frankly berate her and in front of everyone saying like, I didn't raise a quitter and we didn't come here for you. You don't have to play. And, and you could just see the resistance from her that she was just resisting to resist because she was so over her father's pushing and pushing her and then me and my husband are just looking at each other like we never want to be that way. Yeah. And you don't want to judge her. The parents, I'm certainly not placing judgment, but it was, it was eyeopening for us for sure.

Denaye Barahona: Well I think, and I, I suspect that maybe South Carolina is like this, I'm not sure. But in Texas and I feel like in larger parts of the South that the culture on sports is a lot more intense that you feel that in South Carolina. Yeah. You always like Saturday's a year old semi-pro. Like there's just a lot of early pressure. And like if your kid is like 10 and they're not excelling, then they're wasting their time. Kind of idea that it's much harder to enjoy youth sports in certain parts of the U S I think than others.

Marie: I, I definitely, I would definitely agree with that for sure.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I think that also leads to the tendency to want to start doing all the things even earlier and earlier.

Marie: Right, right, right. You're trying to give your kid that edge.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, absolutely. So less activities. So you pulled out a soccer. What about just kind of like general, the way that you manage your calendar, your social calendar, your free time, since your free time is limited. I mean, it's really just the weekends. Right?

Marie: Right. So I will say that in the fall we we do go to all the Clemson home football games. That's just something we've always done and something my husband and I really enjoy and we started bringing our kids to some of the games and I've really enjoyed that. So that's, that's the fall and that can create some busy-ness. But outside of that, if before [inaudible] I would, I would try to, Oh, we don't have anything to do on Sunday. Like let's call our friends or let's go up and see our parents or let's go do this or let's go do that. And I will say there were some times where you just, it was, we were stir-crazy we just needed to get out of the house. But there were some times where like, we were gone all weekend and we'd come home and we would say, what did we do? We just work, gone all weekend. We didn't get anything done around the house. We reset for the week. We didn't relax and now we have to turn around and go back to work tomorrow.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And especially, I feel like you're still in that phase of life, which for me was our hardest phase so far. And they're my maybe harder phases in the future. But having an infant and a toddler, it's, I mean, I don't know how you've experienced that, but for me that was so, that was such a heavy time. I think the first six months of having an a newborn and having a toddler was like an excruciating six months for me. Months six through 12 started increasingly feeling a little bit easier. But what is your experience been managing managing a newborn and a toddler?

Marie: Sure. So I think the hardest part for me with, with having a second child was, so I have this, I have David who is my first child who I love and want to be around and listen to everything. And now all of a sudden I have to bifurcate my time. I have to bifurcate all of my energy between him and his sister. And that was the hardest part is, you know, like I'm, I'm feeding her, I'm changing her and he's coming up and wanting to tell me the story that he can't wait to tell me and hold on buddy, I gotta do this. And that was the hot thing. That was the hardest thing is trying to make sure my attention was spread equally among my children. I wanted so badly to continue to give everything I could to my son, but I had my daughter so I have to give her some and some at, at sometimes more than I give my son just because she's helpless. She's just a little winded.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I don't know about you, but my daughter is who's three and a half is still in a stage where I have to physically make sure that she's safe. Like I have to worry that she's going to like run into the road or like wander too far from me. And I feel like that stage having a kid in that stage where they're getting a little bit older but you still can't really trust that you can turn around and they're still gonna be there. That having that combined with a new baby I think is, is a heavy, heavy thing. Like having your brain in both directions, going back and forth.

Marie: Oh, for sure. When when I was at home on maternity leave still I would, I would pick up my son from school and of course he would want to play outside. So I would stick my daughter in the little bouncer just inside the garage so that I could still see her and play with him. But occasionally he would just start like trying to go to the backyard and like, no, no, no, no, no. Like I have to be able to see your sister. You cannot go away from you and I have to be able to see you. And so, I mean it's all tough. But dude, this kid,

Denaye Barahona: Right? So I want to hear about a day in your life. So especially the, for work and after work, because I know, especially before work, I'm getting to getting two kids out of the house. Do both of your kids go to out of home care? They do. Okay. So getting those kids out of the house, getting yourselves that at the house, how does that feel? What's the routine look like?

Marie: So I will tell you that our daily routine, there is nothing simple about it, but that's right now both of my children go to separate daycares. My son goes to to a Montessori school and my daughter just goes to a regular daycare, although they call it an educational program. I've heard your thoughts on that. I totally agree. So luckily for me, my, my husband is able to take my daughter, so once they're out of the house at about seven 30, I only have to worry about my son. One thing that I really it was on one of your podcasts, I think it was the one with Janet Lansbury about, about slowing down. And it really hit me when she was talking about how just because your child knows how to get ready, does it mean that they, they will and it might not be because they don't want to.

Marie: It might because you want, they want that connection with you. They just want to be with you. And so I completely rearrange my morning routine so that as soon as my my husband left with my daughter that I was completely ready to go and I had that 30 minutes to spend with him to get him ready to get him out the door. And, and doing that has really made the morning a little bit easier, but just that small tweak of yeah, you're right, he can do it. Like he could totally put all of his clothes on and get ready to grab his lunchbox and be ready at the door. But there are some mornings when he just needs me. He just wants me and I am totally okay with that. It just took me way longer to figure it out then. But then before there was a lot more yelling before.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. Like figuring out how to make that space to let that happen because it's now it's, I mean, I don't know, there are a few, three and a half year olds who are actually going to execute that in way, shape fashion that you want them to do. So on any given morning, maybe once in a blue moon but not on a general general basis, I wouldn't say. So knowing that and fine. So do you get up a little earlier now in order to be able to have some extra time in the morning?

Marie: I do. I get up a little earlier now we'll say stopping breastfeeding has has helped cause you know the, the pumping is a fixed amount of time with breastfeeding you're like could be 10 minutes, could be 30 minutes. That's helped really kind of helped me streamline my day cause I'll know or my morning cause I'll know what I need to do and about how much time all that happens. And then after I take my son to school, I go to work. And I work until about two 45 and then I go get my son and I take my son to my husband who gets off work at four so that we don't have to pay for childcare for just one hour. It would just be really difficult to find somebody from three 15 to four o'clock. So it's tough with my employer because they just can't fathom like why would you take your lunch break from two 45 to three 45 and you're like, why do you care when I take my lunch?

Marie: But it really is it. And also it makes me stop. It makes me stop at two 30 and go, I have to go get my son. It's not like five 30 when the day is over. And it's like, well let me just finish this email or well I'm in the middle of this project, let me just finish it up, you know, at two 30 like if I don't go get him, who will. So it makes me stop. And it also gives me that extra time with him and it is in the car and it's not, you know, perfect. But we talk and we point at things and we, you know, listen to music or we'll listen to a book on tape and it's just that small extra time. And it is complicated. And yeah, there are some days where I'm like, yeah, no, it'd be nice to just like go on a lunch break and eat lunch. But, but it's okay and it works for us.

Denaye Barahona: I love that you have a positive attitude about it because I think you could also approach it from the mindset of like, this is this huge burden. I have to interrupt my day everyday for an hour and run out and get him and take him from one place to the other. And, but I do think so much of it is mindset, right? That you're looking and looking for the best in this, in the positive of it, even though it is, it's a disruption, but it's also one that in many ways you can, you can find beautiful things in, in your day. And

Marie: Very fortunate that although my employer thought that really understand the weird schedule, they, they accepted, you know, they're, they're like, you know, you, you do are entitled to a lunch break of course, and you are getting all of your work done. So who are we to say that you can't do something that's not normal? And, and it does create some problems sometimes when we have some meetings. I mean there's just a set, like I can't be in a meeting, I can't be fully present in a meeting from two 30 to four o'clock. I can be on the phone and probably just have it muted and maybe be listening. But for the most part I'm just unavailable at that time. But I also look at them and go, you're also an available from 12 to one 30 or from 1130 to one. And just because my time is different doesn't mean it's not less valuable. Yeah,

Denaye Barahona: Absolutely. Go ahead. Well I love that you've gotten creative with that and figured out a way to make it work for your family and you're keeping a positive attitude about it too.

Marie: Got to do that for sure.

Denaye Barahona: So you go back to work, you get back about four.

Marie: Yup. I get back to work about four. I finish up my day and then I leave work between five 30 and six 30. Come home and my husband is usually started dinner, or at least this is what we're having. But you know, I haven't necessarily gotten all that stove yet. So we can come in and, and we do that. He's usually cooking dinner and then I'll put my daughter to sleep. She goes to bed between six 30 and six 45. Like I said, she's a doll baby. She goes right to sleep. I don't know how I got so lucky. And then there's, there's my son where it could be seven o'clock, could be midnight, we don't know.

Marie: But he usually goes to bed between seven and seven 30. And then yeah, it takes him a little bit longer to go to bed than, than my daughter. But I would say by seven 45 almost every night. It's, it's my time with, with my husband. And we really try to cherish that time. And there are some times when both of us have to have to work after the kids go to bed. But we have a laptop and a desktop and we sit in, sit in the office together and do work and it's, well let's work till nine and then we'll watch a TV show or you know, like let's work till nine 30 and then maybe you can go get some ice cream. You know? But we, we just

Denaye Barahona: Make the best of it. Yeah. Cause even if you're just sitting side by side doing other things, at least you're together. And I do think that there's value in that too.

Marie: There really is. There was so much value in just being together. My, I went and I was pregnant. I swear I fell asleep on the couch at by seven o'clock every single night when I was pregnant. And but my husband would sit with me on the couch while I was sleeping and then he'd wake me up and be like, all right, I'm going to bed. You're coming with me. We were like, Oh, it's so sweet. Yeah. We just definitely believe that just being together and being, even if you're in the same room, if even if you're not talking, just being together so important.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, it helps you feel connected for sure. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, Marie. Absolutely. It was such a pleasure today and I hope we'll talk again soon. Absolutely. Absolutely. Take care. Thanks for tuning in. I would love to hear from you if simple families has played a role in your journey towards simplicity, and I love to tell your story. If you want to stay in touch with simple families, go to simple and you can leave your email address. The email list is the best way to stay in touch with what's going on on the podcast, on the blog and in the community. Thanks again.

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.