When she got an email from a colleague about an opening with the Orange County government, Inaudy Esposito laughed to herself. “Executive director of the Human Rights Commission” seemed out of reach, but she applied anyway. When she landed the job, Esposito, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was 7, jumped at the chance. The position had been vacant for 20 years, so she has had the unique opportunity to build the role from the ground up.
Esposito, who has built her career in social justice – working with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking – is grateful for the opportunity to bring education and awareness to the community. Juggling the responsibilities of the job with being a wife and mother of Gabriel and Allie has been “quite a ride,” she said, “but it’s been amazing. I don’t see myself anywhere else.”
Keeping in touch
The first thing I have to do when I get up is walk our dog, Cooper. My mom and dad live in the Dominican Republic, so that’s usually the time where I get to call, say good morning. At least three or four times a week we get to do that, on the weekends especially.
Preventing the H-anger
I need food in my system within the hour of waking up – and then every couple of hours thereafter – because I do get hangry. So after the walk, I take care of the kids and make a big breakfast. Oftentimes, we all make it together. The kids’ favorites: pancakes or French toast, eggs and bacon.
In the morning, the kids are allowed to have what we call ‘technology time,’ so my son will be playing video games and my daughter will be on a tablet watching videos, and that’s usually next to me while I’m having my coffee. If it’s the spring or summer, my husband and I are out on the porch having our coffee in the morning, but winter kind of ruins that for us, so we’re inside.
Family time is the absolute most important thing to me. My husband works most Saturdays so we cherish Sundays because we all get to be together. Family is it. And the weekends are super important because Monday through Friday, I am not home sometimes three or four nights a week and I usually get home around bedtime. So the weekends are super important for family time. I don’t answer phone calls, from friends even. Family comes first on the weekend.
We usually don’t go out until after lunch. We’re eaters in my house, so meals and snacks are very important.
Sharing the Load
I won’t do heavy chores on Saturdays because Saturdays are my resting day. So just tidy up, whatever needs to get done. The only thing I don’t do is laundry, that’s my husband’s job. It’s awesome; we split everything at home, and have been from the beginning. You know, there are some times where one of us over the other has a heavier lift, but he married a feminist, and he knows it. So everything is pretty equitable, by choice, right? But that’s the one thing we do not divide – I do not do laundry. He says I don’t know how to do it anyway, so he appreciates me not even touching it.
I really enjoy reading. I’ll usually do that Saturday morning and then late again Saturday afternoon when the kids are back on their technology time. Saturday mornings are usually pretty quiet and easy. I really enjoy novels; my favorites are historical novels, usually around wartimes, whether it’s World War II or the Civil War. I also really like reading about other countries: books that take place in India, for example. I like feeling like I’m in the book. I get the sense of the culture, you know, the textures, the colors, the food. I love being immersed in different cultures like that. Those are usually on the heavier side for me. I’m a romantic at heart, so romance novels are all I read in the summer.
I avoid books related to my work. I really do not enjoy reading things about racism, unless it’s through a novel and people are experiencing it and then sharing their experiences – that I’m with. Same thing when I was working with victims of domestic violence, I would not watch a single show where that was there, or a movie, read books – no, that’s my real life. I get to see it every day.
I love happy endings. Netflix has all of these Hallmark-style romantic Christmas movies – that are rated PG, which is great – so my seven-year-old daughter and I get to watch them together. And that’s the kind of book I like to read. I like to read books with a happy ending.
We usually have a million errands to run after lunch. I really like to support small businesses, so we’ll go to the different little shops and get the things we need or we’ll go to the bakeries in the city of Newburgh. We used to do food shopping, but now we do all of that online, just one of the things that we’ve had to change.
Go Big or Go Home
I usually make dinner during the week and then Saturdays my husband and I alternate, depending on who’s in the mood or whatever, but it’s a nice big meal because there’s more time for planning and we’re home already, so I like to make sure it’s a good one.
We love comfort foods. So, Dominican comfort foods like rice, chicken, beans and plantains. We also love the Italian favorites – my husband is Italian – so I’ll make the pasta. But that’s on Sundays; we do not have pasta on Saturdays.
We make it a habit to eat dinner together, as many nights as possible, with the four of us around the table. And when I say as much as possible, I mean 6 or 7 nights a week we eat around the table. If we’re not eating at the table one night, we’re maybe eating on the couch, watching something together. But it’s always together, never anyone eating on their own.
DIY Movie Night
We have movie nights on Saturday nights. It’s really fun, that came out of Covid. Saturday nights, we used to have a social life – even married with children. We’d do Friday nights with the kids, Saturday nights were social. But now, we turned it into our own movie night. I have a projector so we’ll sometimes put the movie up on a big screen, or we’ll watch it in the living room. It always involves me making fresh popped popcorn on the stovetop with extra butter and hot sauce, which the kids love. I usually make brownies, which they also really love... and expect. If I don’t make that, it’s like, ‘Well, where’s the brownies? Or the marshmallows?’
Through the pandemic, one of the great things that we’ve been able to keep supporting is our local movie theater. They’d sell popcorn and treats, including the ICEEs, so we’d go and get the extra-large bucket of movie theater popcorn, ICEEs, and candy and make it part of our movie night. So if I’m not making the popcorn, we’re getting it from them. It just has this awesome, authentic movie theater feel.
Mommy and Daddy pick the movie every time, because the kids can never agree. So we usually choose the older movies; so anything like The Goonies or The Sandlot. We’ve gotten to watch some awesome classics this year, because now that the kids are older, they can handle it. They also love Spy Kids-type movies, so there has to be a little action in there.
Friends of ours will do outdoor movie nights sometimes. There will be about 10 of us watching from our cars, or we’ll be out on the lawn. So we’ve made that into a nice tradition. You gotta thank Covid for some things, I guess.
Once the movie is over, the kids head to bed. My husband and I will usually continue watching a show together. We have Netflix shows that we watch together, that we can only watch when we’re together, so we have to break it up. Right now, we are watching Outlander.
I’ve also been watching a couple of novela, Spanish-like Netflix shows, which are really good. One’s called The House of Flowers, or La Casa de las Flores, which has some old novela actresses in there that I grew up watching.