Back to Baseline

We just moved into a new house. We’ve been renting for almost a year and found a permanent spot right down the road. Even though it’s not a far move, it’s been a big move. Big life transitions like this can feel really out of control. There’s always unexpected stress. Unexpected tasks. Unexpected emotions. 

If it feels like you are constantly “Putting out fires”. Jumping from one crisis to the next. Like parenting is one big uphill climb—you can never find that easy, flat road. You don’t feel like you have a baseline to return to in times of struggle. Then this episode is for you. 

What's your baseline. We just moved into a new house. We had been renting for almost a year after we sold our last house. And now we found a permanent spot right down the road from our rental. And we're really excited about it, even though it's not a far move, it's been a big move, big life transitions. Like this can feel really out of control. There's always unexpected stress, unexpected tasks, unexpected emotions. If it feels like you're constantly putting out fires, jumping from one crisis to the next, like parenting is one big uphill climb. You can never find that easy flat road. If you don't have a baseline to return to in times of struggle, then this episode is for you. 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.

Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today's episode is sponsored by Prep Dish. Today we're talking about finding your baseline and I will tell you that Prep Dish has been a huge part of my baseline for several years now. Prep Dishes, and meal planning service. And for far too long meal planning was a huge piece of my mental load. And it's a piece of my life that I really felt like I was failing at. But thanks to Prep Dish, that's not the case anymore. Each week in my inbox, I get a PDF with multiple different types of meal plans from Prep Dish, but I always choose the super fast one. That's just my style. In that email, I get a grocery list, a list of things that I need to prep in advance and then a dish day list of how to prepare and get the meals on the table.

On dish day, I take that grocery list and I add a handful of other things like things for school lunches, some snacks, and then right there, half of my work is done for me already. If you want to try it out, I encourage you to go to, and you'll get two weeks for free that's I wanted to let you know that we are in the middle of a special offer, a one week special offer on the Simple Families Foundations program. It runs from September 16th through September 23rd. Simple Families Foundations is my A to Z approach to simplifying your family. And for this week only you'll get 40% off the price and some extra bonuses, including a get started group coaching session, live with me, a fostering independent play toolkit, the positive parenting audio mini course, and the quick-start simple living checklist.

So to get that go to So let's talk about your baseline. Your baseline is your starting point. It's where you're coming back to, even though you don't always have to stay there with our recent move. For example, our house has been in chaos. Emotions have been running high. We've been eating frozen food and take out. But the thing that keeps me moving forward is they know that we have a baseline to come back to. Once we pass through this obstacle as of today, we're one week out since we started this move and I'm back to my practice meal plans. So I'm cooking at home. Most nights, my kitchen counters are clear or they're easy to clear at the end of the day, because pretty much everything has its place. And most importantly, my fuse is getting longer and longer with my kids and partner because I'm sleeping better and I'm in a better place.

Emotionally. It's easier to face these rolling Hills, that life throws at us when we have a good baseline to come back to now, I'm about to go into one of my metaphors and I hope I don't lose anyone here. Maybe you remember my metaphor about the poorly packed. You haul boxes from a couple months ago, then you know what I mean? I want to start by having you ask yourself about the parenting journey and what it feels like to you. Does it feel like A. The people mover at the airport where you just stand there and move along at a steady pace? It feels easy or B. Mount Everest, a constant uphill battle. You never get to catch your breath. You don't even know what an easy flat road looks like anymore, or C. A hike with rolling Hills and a few big climbs mixed in you don't have GPS that tells you the exact route or elevation changes.

And no one has hiked to this exact trail before. So you can't read the reviews to know what to anticipate. So what do you think? A. a people mover B. Mount Everest or C. A hike with rolling Hills and a few big climbs mixed. In which one does it feel like to you right now? Now think again, which one do you think it should feel like? I'm going to go ahead and tell you what parenting is not, it's not option a, the people move her at the airport, just standing there cruising along social media may lead you to believe that this is parenting. It looks so easy when we see it in everyone. Else's highlights. If you're hoping for this, when you have this picture of easy and carefree, it's an idealization. The image that comes to mind for me, when I think about this is this family frolicking in a meadow wearing flower crowns.

Okay? Sure. You can frolic in a meadow wearing a flower crown from time to time, but this isn't regular life. This is probably a photo shoot. It's probably a glimpse, a beautiful moment of calm, but it's not every moment or even most moments. Let's talk a little bit about idealizations idealizations are by definition representing something in your mind as perfect or better than it is in reality. I never parented in the eighties, but I'm pretty sure that idealizations weren't as common. Then when our own parents were parenting, maybe they saw visions of perfect ideal family life, occasionally in movies or on TV. But those reviewed at a distance, you know, movies aren't real life. These aren't real people. But fast forward to today, we are inundated with idealizations due to the fact that our neighbors, our friends, and even our family seemed to have it all figured out.

And they broadcast their serene happy moments for all the internet to see frankly, parenting is not an airport. People mover. This may come as a relief for you to hear, but if you've been striving for this level of ease, try to let go of these idealizations that leaves us with options, B and C. It's more like a hike, but what kind of hike is it an unrelenting uphill battle or a hike with rolling Hills and a few unexpected climbs thrown in. I'll tell you that most families that I work with think that it's supposed to feel like a, the easy people mover, but it ends up somehow feeling like, see the unrelenting climb. They think that it's supposed to be a ramp in the meadow and it ends up feeling like Everest. Having these core beliefs can have a huge impact on your self-esteem and wellbeing.

You'll feel like you're doing things all wrong and it sucks to feel like you're messing up some of your most important life work when really you just need to adjust the core beliefs that you're striving for. As I was preparing for this episode, I was texting a friend. Who's having a hard time with her daughter. And here's what I wrote to her, which I mean, from the bottom of my heart, I said, I'm sorry that it's so hard, but I want you to know that it's so hard for me to you aren't alone sometimes because of the work that I do, people are surprised to hear this, but for anyone that needs to hear this parenting is really, really hard for me. It's not an unrelenting uphill battle, but it's absolutely full of rolling Hills and some big climbs. What helps me is letting go of those idealizations and finding the path that suits me, even if it's not an easy walk in the park or the people mover at the airport. So you might ask me what if parenting feels like an unrelenting, uphill battle? Am I doing something wrong? I will tell you that you're not doing anything wrong. You're actually probably trying to do too many things all at once. If you've heard the analogy, throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, that's what I mean.

You see parenting has some unexpected twists and turns and Hills and mountains, but also periods of flat easy trail. Some of those challenges on our hike are out of our control. We will all have Hills and mountains, but it shouldn't feel like a constant uphill battle. You need some flat road to return to. For me, that flat road is the baseline. Sometimes, often things get elevated above the baseline, but I know we have this baseline to return to. And for me, I find that baseline in simplicity. Now I know that finding that calm, flat road or baseline to return to after you face obstacles, it can be hard, especially if you haven't had one in some time, I've been thinking about this analogy throughout our move, because we've had a lot of Hills and twists and turns, but I'm just starting to see that flat road up ahead in the distance.

In the meantime, life has been crazy and frustrating. I've yelled. My kids have yelled. I definitely yelled on the first day we moved into our house and all the windows were down. And my husband said he could hear me all the way outside. Pretty sure the neighbors did too. How's that for first impressions? Because right now we're in the midst of this rolling hill, maybe even one of our climbs, but I find comfort knowing that there's flat road ahead, the flat road or baseline that I have found through simplicity, having less, doing less, finding calm in a simpler life, even if it's not always simple. And that's what I want you to look for in your parenting journey. We're looking for option C rolling Hills with a few mountains mixed in, and then start to notice when you're on a climb and acknowledge that this climb is not going to last forever.

You have a baseline to return back to, but we are surrounded by this. Do more, be more messaging everywhere we look. If we follow the status quo, if we follow our neighbors and the marketing materials and the Joneses, we'll be buying too much, spending too much and doing too much. There's a lot of fear in this. A lot of fear. If we don't do all the things in, by all of the things for our kids, we talked about fears of simplicity back in episode 267. That's If we listen to the world around us, chances are good that it's going to tell us that we're not enough and that we're not doing enough for our kids. I've been hearing this commercial recently for a certain educational app. That's aimed at preschoolers. And the messaging is really bothering me. One of the ads said something along the lines of my son had a brain injury at birth, and we thought he could never learn, but now he uses this app and he's thriving. Hmm, really? I think there's more to this story.

So what is this marketing intended to do? It's intended to make me feel like I need to add this to my family. If I want my kids to thrive too. If it can work for a kid with a brain injury, imagine how much my kids could learn. So what can it hurt? Let's add it in what's one more app. One more activity, one more educational toy. The truth is that it's hard to have kids who aren't on top. Maybe your kid isn't the top athlete or the top dancer or the top student. And you want life to be easy for them. So you keep adding things on to help them improve, but stop yourself. Do you want life to be easy for them? Or do you want life to be perfect for them? Are you accidentally seeking perfection on behalf of your kids? If you are, maybe without even knowing it, the result is that life is probably going to feel like this unrelenting climb up Mount Everest.

You will never summit. You might feel like you can't breathe. Most of the way up. You will never summit because there is no summit. The end goal is a moving target and that's an exhausting journey to be bringing your kids along because we are surrounded by such intense complex messaging. And the world around us simplicity becomes anything but simple simplicity is something that we have to fight for because it won't just happen to us. When I first started my journey to simplicity, I didn't have a course or a program. I just kind of fumbled my way through. Took two steps forward and one step back. But what I did have to keep me focused was my education and my work experience. My doctorate in child development has really kept me grounded in the research because I know what kids really need to thrive. And it is not an educational app.

It's human connection, lower levels of stress, more time to rest. If you are well on your way to this, and you are embracing your rolling Hills, then Bravo. I hope that this podcast and Simple Families has helped you along the way, but when it gets hard, sometimes we get discouraged. When you hit one of those rolling Hills or one of your clients, you might feel like you're doing something wrong, but the truth is that this is hard work and it feels hard because it is hard. There's a lot of trial and error, and you're going to see only small incremental improvements in your lifestyle. If your progress feels slow, don't let that get you down. You're on the right path. And I'm so glad to have you here with me. I hope you've enjoyed this episode today. And for anyone out there who can't seem to find your flat road and your baseline, you feel like you may have plateaued and you want a helping hand on this journey.

I'd love to have you join us in Simple Families Foundations this week, September 16th, through the 23rd, I'm offering a one week special offer. You'll get 40% off the program and for extra bonuses, including a live coaching session with me. So go to to get signed up. I look forward to getting to know you better. I hope you're having a great September. And if you're on one of your climbs on one of your rolling Hills, know that we all face them and look for your flat road ahead. And if you're on an unrelenting uphill climb, where can you find your helping hand? Don't wait to ask for support, to ask for help. Thanks for tuning in and have a good one.

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.