I’m absolutely excited to announce that Denaye Barahona, Ph.D., of the “Simple Families” blog and podcast will be writing the Foreword of “Have Yourself a Minimalist Christmas.”
It is such an honor to have her voice beginning this book, as I’ve considered Denaye as a “mentor” from afar as a listener of her podcasts from my early days of motherhood. So much of what I’ve learned has stemmed from her teachings and interviews. I will never be able to fully express my thanks to her for the help she has given me in guiding me through parenthood and opening my eyes to how minimalism could help simplify this other ways overwhelming and chaotic task of raising tiny, messy humans. Her approach is gentle and forgiving. She leads with grace and intelligence.
Denaye has a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in Child and Family Practice. She followed up her Ph.D. with a Post-Grad Certificate in Behavior Analysis of Children. She has spent much of her career working with parents who deal with challenging behavior in children–whether it be eating, sleeping, screaming, cussing or hitting.
On top of a five-star top-rated podcast, a massive social media following, a fantastic blog churning out helpful content, and several courses where she coaches mothers on simplifying their life in all aspects, she is also an author. Her book, “Simple Happy Parenting: The Secret of Less for Calmer Parents and Happier Kids,” was published in 2019 and provides a revolutionary approach to parenting. Her book is full of practical tips to help you step back from the system overload so common in modern family life and, instead, create more time to enjoy living and learning together. From easier meal planning to mindful shopping, worry batching to waste reduction, “Simple Happy Parenting” is an honest and practical roadmap for all families striving for balance. Her ‘Simple Manifesto’ is to buy less, fear less, referee less, hurry less, and entertain less. She guides readers to begin their journey to “simple” by embracing a new, lighter way of life in your home.
She is obviously the most perfect person to introduce how to “Have Yourself a Minimalist Christmas.” I’m so humbled and honored.
I personally applaud her bravery for tackling topics I haven’t heard on typical minimalist, personal growth or motherhood podcasts. In particular, she addressed quitting drinking alcohol (not because of alcoholism, but for overall simplicity and health), despite cultural norms urging mothers to regularly indulge as a means of coping with the stress of motherhood. This struck me as an interesting notion at first, and then a year later, I found myself following in her footsteps and watching my life drastically improve. She offers by her personal example new ways to opt out of society’s traditions around holidays. She carves out new traditions for her family instead, shedding much of the consumerism that traps so many of us. She speaks up about women receiving help in order to be successful in a career while also staying home with her children. She goes into detail about her experience of hiring a au pair to live at home with them and to help her juggle her many duties. Most successful entrepreneurs hide the fact that they have help and promote a false image of unachievable balance on their curated social media accounts. Her honestly and guts are something I admire greatly. These are only a few examples where she has stepped out into a new territory to say “We are not following the status quo” and showed the rest of that it is okay for us to decide that, too.
As she so perfectly says on her website:
“Whether it be from my on-the-job training as a Mama or my professional experience, I have learned that as parents–we so desperately want to get everything right.
But in the process we have the tendency to overcomplicate, overthink, and get overwhelmed.
I am here to convince you that simple really is smart.
I have a personal and professional passion for helping women thrive in motherhood.
…I advocate for taking a holistic approach to helping the whole family stay well: physical, emotional, and relational. That means living well by developing a healthy relationship with yourself, your family, and your home.“
Again, I cannot state enough how honored I am to have Denaye’s voice a part of this book. She is brilliant at what she does and has been a guiding light for me in navigating motherhood simply and gently. I could not have written this book, or found the time to write this book, if it weren’t for her guidance on finding my priorities and reducing the excess in my life.