How Tiffany Dufu, Author and Activist, Spends Her Sundays

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Tiffany Dufu is the author of the book “Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less,” which comes out next month and encourages women to embrace imperfection. She has also worked with Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization and has served as president of the White House Project, a nonprofit that operated from 1998 to 2013 and had the task of increasing women’s representation in government. Later this month, Ms. Dufu will take part in the Women’s March on Washington. In addition to her activism, Ms. Dufu, 42, works with millennials as the chief leadership officer at Levo, a professional network focused on that generation. Most of her Sundays are spent close to the two-bedroom Harlem apartment she shares with her husband, Kojo, 43, their son, Kofi, 10, and their daughter, Ekua, 7.

GYM BEFORE BREAKFAST I figured out years ago that if you get your husband addicted to Formula 1 racing, he’ll get up early with the kids, because the races air early Eastern time. So a lot of times he’s up and I’ll run out to the gym before breakfast. I do cardio and a little stretching. I used to not go to the gym on Sundays because my family didn’t really like it, but then I decided, no, every day is my day. They’re not going to die if I take the time to go to the gym.

BREAKFAST BEFORE GYM If I sleep in, which means around 8, then I’ll make breakfast before the gym. Basically, I have dropped the ball on cooking for my family every day. And I used to be the queen of domesticity, so we’ve had a careful negotiation as a family. On the occasion that I cook, I make Sunday breakfast, and it has to have either buttermilk biscuits or pancakes or scones. And eggs. There’s a mutiny if there’s no bacon.

OPRAH HOUR Before we head out for the day, the kids will have a couple of hours of quiet time where they’re allowed to watch TV. That’s a big deal because they’re not allowed to watch during the week. While they’re doing that, I’ll sit down with whatever book I’m reading or my O Magazine. I’m always trying to catch up on reading O.

PARK, OR TOY STORE If it’s a nice day, we’ll end up at Marcus Garvey Park, which is right across the street. But if it’s not a nice day, we’ll find something else to do. We might go see a movie or a play at New Victory Theater. If there’s a birthday party the next weekend, which there always is — when you have school-age kids, someone is going to a birthday party — then we’ll go to Grandma’s Place, which is a toy store right around the corner. The kids will check out all the toys and pick something out for whoever’s birthday it is, or for someone we forgot to buy a gift for.

LATTE SUPPER Then everyone’s like, we’re hungry. So we’ll end up at Il Cafe Latte, which is this place around the corner from our house. It’s basically the only neighborhood place we can agree on. The kids always get the same thing. Kofi has quesadillas and Ekua orders a burger and fries. That happens early, because we have to get back to our place and prepare for the week.

CRISIS AVERSION My husband and I both work outside the home, so every Sunday we have to trade notes on what’s happening for the week. Otherwise it’s a disaster. So I manage the babysitter, but my husband manages the kids’ social calendar and their after-school calendar. We go through the week and he’ll say, “She has a play date on this day or he has something that day,” and then I create the schedule and send it to the babysitter. Then we sit around the table and read it together and I put a copy in each of the kids’ backpacks.

A MARRIAGE MYSTERY The kids are in bed at 9:15 or 9:30, and I get into bed not long after that because I’ll be up at 5 to go to the gym the next day. Monday is the most important day to go to the gym, because if you don’t go on Monday, you’re not going to go the rest of the week. I’ll say, “I’m going to bed, honey,” and Kojo will stay up watching a game. He’s a sports guy, so he’ll watch whoever’s playing, or he might have recorded something he needs to watch. I have no idea what time he ends up in bed. That’s the big mystery of my 19-year marriage.