In this episode, I'm doing a quick-fire Q&A. I have a long list of questions from you all and I'll be moving through, answering a variety of questions. We will be covering whether or not I have a junk drawer, parenting kids with bad attitudes, capsule wardrobes, defiance, video games, camping, lots of questions about partnership, and much more.
- Simple Families Foundations
- NY Times Hormone Surge of Middle Childhood Article
- SEN Superpower Books
- Expansion & Contraction Episode
- Messiness Episode
- Bedwetting episode
Hi there today. I am doing a Quick-fire Q and A. That means I have a long list of questions from you all. And I'm getting me moving through giving quick answers to each one. We're going to be talking about a variety of things, including whether or not I have a junk drawer, parenting kids with bad attitudes, camping, video games, defiance delegating, lots of questions about partnership, capsule wardrobe updates, and so much more. 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 on research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us.
I'm so glad to have you here today. This quick-fire episode will hopefully be fun, but I do want to say that many of these topics warrant a longer conversation. If I mentioned anything today that interests you and you'd like me to go deeper on send me a message on Instagram or by email, I'd love to hear from you. I'm going to be covering a lot of things quickly. So if you feel like I've left some things out, that's why, I also want to add that some of the things I'm talking about here might not resonate with you. I always invite you to take what works for you and leave what doesn't. We are allowed to disagree on many different things, and we can still be friends for anyone who is interested in joining Simple Families foundations, which is my A to Z approach to simplifying and living more intentionally with family.
I wanted to tell you that I'm running a special offer the first week of May, people always tell me they want to be able to plan in advance to budget for it the special offer for the first week of may is $147. That's a 40% discount on the regular price and you'll get some special bonus offers too. And that includes a brand new tour of my new smaller house I know there's a lot of people who have been interested in seeing what it looks like to downsize. So you'll get to compare you can watch the tour from my previous house which was much bigger and our current house where we're living smaller ,to find out more about that you can go to simplefamilies.com/foundations and in the first week of May, I'm going to be running a special offer for that with a few bonuses and the brand new house tour.
Without further ado, let's get started on some questions. My first question is, do you have a junk drawer? I do not have a junk drawer I had a drunk drawer blabla not a drunk drawer junk drawer, try saying that fast. I had a junk drawer for most of my life, but as I've moved towards minimalism and having things, I've gotten a lot better at putting things away where they go and throwing things away when they need to go. And if you've listened to my episode on messiness, simplefamilies.com/episode235 you'll know that this doesn't come easy for me and I find not having a junk drawer or other places that accumulate clutter, like a drying rack in the kitchen for dishes. That was another one for me not having those places forces me to put things away and to throw things away in the moment rather than letting them accumulate and deal with them later.
So getting rid of my junk drawer has definitely forced me towards more immediate action. I want y'all to know that I've had to record this like six times because I keep saying drunk drawer, um, life without a junk drawer is possible, I promise, now that I don't drink anymore I also don't have a liquor cabinet so I guess I don't have a junk drawer or a drunk drawer haha. Anyways, this joke is probably funnier to me than it is to you. Next question. Any advice on parenting a six-year-old girl with a frequent bad attitude? I rolling talking back already. So negativity and bad attitudes can be very triggering for us as parents, I remember I think I was this kid actually. Um, my mom saying to me, don't get an attitude with me and me thinking, well, you're getting an attitude with me. So I'm going to say first and foremost, making sure that we're modeling what we wanna to see in our kids.
So if our kids are getting an attitude with us and then we return in attitude right back to them, that's the brain wiring that we're really reinforcing there. So how do we reflect the words that we want them to say? Let's say you're about to take a family bike ride and your daughter says, this is the worst, I hate family bike rides, and you get down on her level, make eye contact to connect with her so she knows you're really there for her you're really listening to what she has to say and reflect back. It sounds like you don't prefer to go on a bike ride. Can you help me come up with some more ideas of other things that we can do together after we're done with the bike ride? Letting her know that you hear her, you see her, staying calm and using kind words so she can learn that response
and that gets wired into her brain and also reminding yourself that there's a lot going on around age six, there's a lot going on at every year. I read this article in the New York times recently called the hormone surge of middle childhood. Just kind of a good brief overview of some of the brain changes and things that are going on around the ages of five, six, seven. It's a good read I'll put that in the show notes, simplefamilies.com/episode260 something else that helps me is to look inside and ask myself, why am I feeling so triggered by this, is it because I feel like my child's being disrespectful and society tells me she shouldn't talk to adults like this, is it because I feel like she's unhappy and I should be providing more for her and I'm responsible for her happiness. Whatever it is looking within and trying to uncover some of those feelings that come up for me
when I hear my kid get a bad attitude. And when I see her roll her eyes, because all that going on within me impacts my response to her. Next question is how to night train? It's super difficult for my kiddos. So there are lots of schools of thought on this. I would definitely suggest that you go back and listen to my recent episode on bedwetting and accidents, that simplefamilies.com/episode253. And there we talk a lot about bedwetting and accidents. If you've already potty trained your kid, and you're continuing to have bedwetting and accidents, listen to that. But my advice for people who haven't yet potty train their kids and they're strategizing is I'm a big fan of doing it all at once. I remember talking to my mom when I was deciding whether I was going to do it all at once, or I was going to day train and then night train.
And my mom was really confused. And she was like, well, what do you mean? They train versus night train? Like we always did it all at once. And it got me asking around to other people who also told me that this sort of division between day and night training has recently become much more common than it ever was in the past. I did it all at once with my first child and it was going really well. He was two and a half, and then we took a vacation and we stayed at a friend's house. And I was worried that he may have an accident in the bed cause he had, it had only been a couple months. So I put him in pull-ups and I also had a five month old and I realized pull-ups are really easy. So I just left them in the pull-ups for a really long time.
And then when I finally decided that I had the bandwidth to night train him, it was really hard. So I decided with my daughter, we were just going to do it all at once. So we did it all at once and I stuck with it and I was consistent and it worked, now every kid is different. Some kids struggle with night training for different reasons so do your research, listen to that episode, episode 253, and definitely make the decision that works for your family. Next question, best solutions for camping with young kids, we have a tent spot booked for May 30th. So I would start small start with one night. A problem that I've seen is that if you have a kid that doesn't go to sleep easily and attend, they may be up late and they might not get a good night of sleep. So if you plan a big day, the next day, you might be setting yourself up because you might have some really sleepy kids and you're going out and trying to take a five mile hike.
And it feels like a big mess. So I would start with one night, see how your kids do see how they sleep in the tent. They're going to be up later than normal. My kids normally go to bed at seven, but I would never try to put them to bed at seven when we're camping, because that would be futile. They're overstimulated. They're in a new environment. They're in a tent together, as opposed to being in separate rooms. There's so many changes going on now, once the newness of it wears off. So if you go several times and the excitement over sleeping in a tent, isn't quite so strong, you might find that they settled down easier, especially if you've had a big active day. So if you're planning a really active camping trip, I would say, get them really active. Take the long hike before you have to sleep in the tent.
That way, the fall asleep a lot faster. And then just realize that it's probably going to take them a while to settle in, especially for that first time after that. Especially if you continue to go with some frequency, the newness of the tent will wear off. They're probably going to settle in a little more quickly, probably no guarantees there. Next question. How do you handle the overload of digital photos? Apps, emails, documents. So I use something called Hazel. I have an app to handle my apps. Um, Hazel is a noodle soft program and I think it's only on Mac, but you set up some rules and it organizes all your stuff for you on your computer. It has literally been a lifesaver because my messiness definitely pervades my desktop too. I'm the kind of person that has in the past, had a desktop covered in icons of all sorts and been unable to find anything.
So now that I have Hazel, I don't have that problem at all. All of my JPEG has get sorted. All my PDFs, get sorted. All my podcast files get sorted on my phone. I'm very quick to delete apps that I'm not using because I know I can always download them again. It takes like three seconds. So I don't hold on to apps unless I use them regularly. When it comes to photos, I have a shared photo album with my husband and we add our very favorite pictures to the shared album. And we've been doing this for several years. So we just kind of have this ongoing album that we're building together, one single album of our favorite pictures and we store them all there. We use Apple products. So it's an iCloud album. That album is automatically sorted by date and even location. So it makes it really easy to pull up pictures when I'm looking for it.
I don't feel the need to break it down into other sub categories. It's just one album of all of our favorite, most important pictures, all right. Capsule wardrobe, updates, and how to downsize before a move. So I have fewer clothes than ever now. And here are a few things that have helped me. So generally wearing darker colors allows me to wear things more than once. I recently got a pair of light jeans and this has become more apparent to me the importance of this because my light jeans I find to have to wash like every other day. So in general, darker colors lead to less washing and more wearing for me also leaning towards things that are easy to wash, avoiding dry clean. Only if I have a lot of dry clean, only clothes. I find that I'm afraid to wear them because I'm afraid that I'll get them dirty and have to get them cleaned again.
So they end up just sitting in my closet, which results in holding onto a lot of clothes that I'm not actually wearing, avoiding things that wrinkle a lot that needs steamed or ironed, generally keeping easier to maintain clothes in particular things that are very durable and can hold up to a lot of washing that way. We can have fewer things that we just wash more often with ease things that we can grab and go and still look great and feel great. So low maintenance clothes. That's really important to me also making sure that I'm keeping clothes that are suitable to my lifestyle. When my kids were really young, I found that dresses just didn't work for me cause I was down on the ground all the time. So pre-kids, I had a ton of dresses, post-kids. I found that I was rarely rarely ever wearing dresses so I downsized almost all of my dresses. I'm kind of slowly bringing dresses back into my life now because I'm not down on the ground crawling around as much.
About that, how do the clothes actually suit the life that you're living? Not necessarily the life that you want to be
Next question, my kids are so defiant. Please help. So this is obviously probably not something I can really cover fully in a quick fire Q and A episode, but I'm going to say that kids who are just straight-up defiant
From a more authoritative approach to parenting, which means giving them more options, more choices, letting go of some of the control because sometimes often their defiance is related to a power struggle. It's a reaction to them feeling like we're trying to control every aspect of their life. I'm in the process of developing a new program parenthood for partners, partners in parenthood, parenting for couples. I haven't decided on the name yet. Um, but I'm hopeful that it's going to be out this spring. And it's really focused on finding this joint unified approach to parenting, finding this common ground in the middle of the authoritative spot. So many of us were raised by authoritarian or sort of quote unquote dictator style parents. And by default, we take on a lot of these characteristics with our own kids. When I see partners parenting together, usually there's always at least one partner with these tendencies sometimes too.
And what happens when you're parenting with this quote unquote dictator style? You do what I say because I said, so approach is you may have a kid that's a rule follower that marches to the beat of your drum in a straight line does what you say, but you also may have a kid or two who is defiant and who resists everything that you say and which kid you have is less dependent on you and more dependent on who they are inherently. When you think about what is the opposite of defiant, you might think obedience, which is kind of that authoritarian mindset. Either you're listening to me or you're not listening to me, you're doing what I say. You're, you're not doing what I say, but I think the opposite of defiance, what we really need to strive for is cooperation. How do we develop this?
Give and take, how do we give them some control over their lives? How do we empower them to make some decisions over themselves while still keeping them safe while still setting boundaries and limits? All right, next question is other than gardening, what is something that you want to do? But now is not the right season of life. Hmm. This is a tricky one. So I think I would like to travel for work. So I would like to do more speaking engagements and live workshops, maybe retreats, that kind of thing, but I really just hate being away from my family. So, okay. I should clarify that. I do not like being away from my family and my kids for long periods of time, but I do like being away from my kids every day for a few hours while they go to school. And while I work just putting that out there, just in case anyone listening also benefits from a little break, maybe every day, maybe occasionally, no guilt in that.
I talk about expansion and contraction on the podcast a lot. I have an episode on it, episode two 30, three simplefamilies.com/episode233. And I do benefit from expansion and contraction from my kids. I think all of us do and it changes as they get older and as we change and grow, okay, I'm going to take a 62nd break for a message from today's sponsor. And then I'll bring you a few more questions. The sponsor for today's episode is Pandora. With mother's day upon us. It's not easy to express such a profound relationship, especially because your connection with your mom is stronger than words. Finding meaningful, thoughtful clutter-free gifts can feel overwhelming if you asked my mom her favorite gift that we've given her for mother's day was one that my siblings and I came together on. We bought her a Pandora charm bracelet with a charm that represents each of us and each of the grandchildren.
It's one that is built to last and to add on to, in fact, there was just a new grandchild born in the family two weeks ago. So he's going to be getting his own charm. Now I encourage you think the mom in your life for always being there with a sparkling gift from Pandora jewelry, go to pandora.net/family to start shopping or find a store near you. Again, that's pandora.net/family. All right, next question. How do you deal with anxiety around your child being different and how they will cope? So in our house, we talk a lot about differences, being good and differences, being things that make each of us special and recognizing the differences and others. I think we can inherently classify differences as bad. So our kids need to hear us doing otherwise. There's a series of books that I really like. They're called S E N super powers.
I'll put the link in the show notes. They're written by Dr. Tracy M Alloway. Hope I'm pronouncing that right? But her description is that the SCN superpower series celebrates the positive traits associated with some of the common S E N special education needs conditions, boosting the confidence and strength awareness of children with those conditions also allows for understanding and positivity among their peers. So they have a book about dyslexia, one about anxiety, one about ADHD. What about autism? And these books don't define the disorders for the children, but instead they show a bit of the challenges. And then also the quote unquote super powers. So I really like these books because they can help us as parents and help our kids see these brain differences as strengths and find the positives in them, which sometimes is hard to do. Now I realize I'm just assuming that you were talking about special needs.
When you said, how do you deal with anxiety around your child being quote, unquote different and how they will cope? But the truth is there are lots of ways to be different. So even if it's not a brain difference, maybe it's a difference in skin color, in gender identity, ethnicity. How can we talk openly about these differences? The more that we sweep them under the rug, or seem afraid to talk about them, the more likely that our kids are going to take on the assumption that we don't want to talk about these things, because these things are bad, these things are negative. So let's open the lines of communication, even if you don't necessarily know the answers to all the questions, how can you learn together? Next question is thoughts on video games. I feel like video games as I do about cell phones, something that I'm going to try to put off as long as possible while my kids are still young.
I want them to prioritize communicating in vivo with their peers and the people in their world as much as possible, especially after the year we've had with COVID where we haven't been able to see people and look people in the eye. So, yes, I do think there's some great communication and friendship building that happens over video games. These days, the same with cell phones and texting and that sort of thing. But for as long as I can want to prioritize my kids socializing in real life in spoken word, eventually, yes, we'll do some video games. We'll do cell phones, but we'll do it when we're ready to do it. Not when we feel the peer pressure to do it. And I don't know when that will be TBD question, managing partnerships. I'm finding, being a wife harder than being a mom at the moment. So I find this challenge as well.
Sometimes all my patients and understanding goes to my kids and I have very little leftover for my partner. And I think asking this question is the first step in making change, noticing yourself when you're doing it. And in asking this question to the woman who asked this question, I want to tell you that you're far more aware than a lot of us in noticing this. I think it warrants a conversation with your partner asking, what do you need from me? How can we reconnect? Because sometimes that connection really becomes kind of fried or cut off when you're soaked up in the busy-ness of having kids and the day-to-day and the just getting stuff done. My husband and I had a weekend last month to ourselves. The first time in, I don't know, several years, probably we left the kids with my parents. My parents are newly vaccinated and it was really good for us.
I will say that when we came home, things kind of went back to normal and we've kind of resumed all of our regular routines. So if you do that, if you take some time for your partnership and it's great and you enjoy it, and then you find that you come back and life goes back to the same way it was before you're feeling disconnected. Again, don't feel like that was time wasted. I feel like that time spent together serves as a reference point to come back to, to encourage us to do it more often, to spend more time together, to make space for each other, to look each other in the eyes to reconnect. Because sometimes those things have to be things we do consciously because they can slip away in the chaos that is Parenthood. All right, how to train your children, not to break everything in your home.
Thank you. So get them out of your home. If you have kids who are breaking a lot of things, they probably need to get outside. They probably have a lot of energy that they need to get out of their systems. So giving them more movement, more space to run more, more room to breathe. So they're less likely to try to meet those needs indoors. I also make an effort to give my kids breakable things, to take care of, to show that I trust them and to give them practice taking care of those things. For example, my daughter has a ceramic tea set. She has broken a couple of the cups, and that has been a learning experience for her. She knows she has to treat different materials differently. So I think we need to get our kids moving. We also need to give them practice at handling things that are breakable, things that are fragile so they can learn how to be careful.
I know sometimes the tendency is to just clear out all the breakables take away anything that they can get hurt on, take away anything that they can shatter, but how do we make space for them to actually practice taking care of those risky things to in a safe way, of course, and always keeping in mind that accidents happen. I break stuff, not infrequently. And I am very grateful that no one shames me for it because I'm a little clumsy and it happens. I shattered the screen on my iPad a few months ago and I had to pay $500 to have it fixed. And I was so upset with myself, but I reflected on how upset would I have been with my kids if they were the ones that had broken it, but it was me because it could happen to me. It could happen to them.
Sometimes accidents happen. Next question is, how is the hearing aid trial going? It might be too soon or personal, but I'd love an update. So we are doing a two month hearing aid trial for my son who has some auditory processing and attention challenges. And what the hearing AIDS are programmed to do is to not amplify noise, but instead to decrease background noise and increase the sound of the person speaking to them, this is really new technology. It's intended for kids that struggle to hear in background noise, but have normal hearing. There's really not much research to support this at this point. It's just something that we're trialing to see what happens. So my answer to this is the verdict is still out. I'm meeting with a researcher next week to talk more about this. My son's feedback so far is he likes wearing them in school, but he does not like wearing them at home.
I would assume that probably has something to do with there's a lot more noises going on at school, coming at him from all different directions, whether it's the AC a fan voices down the hall, a lot more background noises to filter out at school versus at home. So I'm not sure whether it's something that's going to be permanent for him or not, but it has been something really interesting to learn about and to consider. Question is ideas for what you can delegate to your husband? Some of us have an easier time delegating to partners than others. We talk about this a lot in the mental unload. So there are a few reasons for this one might be the person delegating may have a need to control a lot of the factors. So it's hard to pass off tasks when there's a very specific way that you want things done.
And on the flip side, the person who is getting delegated to the delegatee may have a hard time remembering the things that you need them to do and prioritizing the things that you need them to do. A general rule of thumb for me, if I'm trying to delegate something to my husband is I have to be able to write it down. Simply if it's something I can make a bullet point of and pass off to him, it's much more likely to be successful than if it's something I have to write like two pages of instructions out. If I have to write two pages of instructions out something I'm trying to delegate and probably have some high need to control this circumstance, and I should probably just do it myself or re-evaluate the need for this task to get done in this particular way. Do I need to be a little bit more flexible?
Do I need to compromise more in order to get the support that they need? Because sometimes those are things to consider. So when delegating, how do we simplify the thing that we're trying to delegate ideally to a bullet point, maybe one or two sub bullets, but no more than that. All right. Last question. Tips from transitioning from one kid to two, I will say that I had a harder time transitioning from 1 to 2 than I did from 0 to 1. And the biggest difference for me was really in my partnership. So with baby number one, we really joined together and just kind of fond over this new addition to our family. We had a lot of time and space to do that together, but when we added a second child, it was more divide and conquer. So I felt like we were moving into different directions.
Often. It meant my partner taking the toddler and me taking the baby. So for us in our relationship, I found that going from zero to one really brought us together and going from one to two separated us. So that was something that I had to be aware of. How do I nurture my partnership and stay connected when the dynamics of the family are changing? All right. So I've covered a lot here. I hope some of this resonates with you. If it doesn't leave it, take it or leave it. The things that I do with my family and the way that I live may or may not resonate with you. And that's completely okay. It doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. It doesn't mean I'm doing anything, right. If any of the things that I talked about today, you'd like to hear more about, and you'd like me to dive deeper into send me a message, either an email or message on Instagram. I'd love to hear from you because a lot of these were big topics that I responded to in a very short period of time, as always, thanks for tuning in. If you've enjoyed this episode, give it a screenshot and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. I'd love to see it. Thanks so much for tuning in and have a good one.