Bianca is a work-from-home mom. She works with her husband running a website development and hosting company, and they recently launched their own new website called My Wild Earth. There they share their adventures, and their love for the outdoors.
She has some great insight on working from home, and spending a lot of time with her family – and how she sometimes needs a break. Don’t we all? Read on to see how she manages her family life and her business.
Describe your home life – how old are your kids? Does your spouse work as well? Or are you a single parent?
Being two work from home parents, home life is very relaxed. We have an 8 year old son who goes to school nearby, so our weekly routine is free of traffic and we pretty much stay in our little bubble.
We play a lot. We are a family of Playstation and Lego addicts, and when we’re not home, we are out exploring a new hiking trail, water park or anything where fun is involved. We’re lucky to be a very close unit and great friends.
Our home is in an enclosed complex and the neighborhood is very child friendly, which is a wonderful environment for our son to build independence and explore with friends. This also gives my husband and I the space to spend time together when not working, and do the things we love to do separately.
What do you do? Describe your working life.
For the past 10 years, my husband and I have run a website hosting and development company from home. With staff working remotely, it’s just us in our cozy home. Our most recent creation, MyWildEarth.com is a website we started to share our love for the outdoors. My Wild Earth has been a rewarding project, and the first website we built for ourselves after years of doing it for clients.
The nature of our business allows us to work from anywhere, so coffee shops are a great change of environment a few times a week, when we’ve had enough of the home office.
And how many hours do you work in a week?
We work between 20 and 30 hours a week. Our goal has always been to grow a passive income and work less as our son grew up. When he is home, we get to spend time with him and not live a work centered life. We have enrolled him in a learning center that facilitates a homeschool curriculum, this way, if we want to travel, he can join us at any time and continue his studies on the road.
How soon did you return to work after having a child? And is your work life the same now (same job, or role at that job?)
I returned to work a week after my son was born. It was not a massive adjustment, being that we worked from home. Work life remained much the same, although as any mom will know, late nights often resulted in sleeping in late, baby permitting.
My husband and I tag teamed when necessary. As work was flexible, tasks could be done when time allowed. Instead of a set structure, we got creative and worked between feedings, bath time and all the other coulorful activities that come with parenthood.
As my son grew, we changed our business model so that we did not have to physically see clients. This had bound us to one spot, but by going fully digital, we became free to move while still keeping the business active and growing.
What do you do to treat yourself? Do you have something in your routine that you do just for you?
This is something I had to work hard on. Motherhood can mean sacrificing personal pleasures just to get through the day. (My baby was a happy one, but he was not a sleeper.) As he got older, and easier, I realized I had developed a pattern of self sacrifice and that had to change.
I started running to get off the baby weight… (okay, my son was then 3 years old, so it wasn’t quite “baby weight”) This resulted in a fitter and happier me, and from there, I joined a gym and Yoga classes.
Today I still love Yoga and take at least 2 classes a week. My daily indulgence is a long hot bath. I love a good movie so once a month, movie night, with popcorn is a must.
We love hiking as a family. This is something that initially took some cultivating, while my son’s strength and endurance grew. Now, at the age of 8, he leads the pack.
Touch on your most and least favourite things about being a working parent.
My favourite part is I get to be just me. I love the feeling of being efficient and powerful in the day. Things tend to slow down when I switch into mommy-mode, so I love rocking it in my work time.
I get to travel with my son and show him the world. I also get to write. I find it cathartic and get to put quiet, personal time into something I enjoy.
My least favourite things are interruptions. If work needs attention when my son is home, it’s near impossible to get into the zone. Even if he’s out playing, I’m aware that I should be wearing my mom hat. There is occasionally a battle between being the mom who needs to get dinner going and the working woman who loves doing the work she does.
What are your goals going forward?
My goals are to travel and live abroad. We successfully lived, travelled, homeschooled and work overseas for 6 months, which was an incredible experience, but the one area which took strain was schooling and being with our son 24/7.
Without school and a support structure, the amount of attention he needed became overwhelming. We all needed space. We quickly learned the importance of having our own space and time, not just for our son’s benefit, but to allow my husband and me the time to just be us.
Although we kept up with his curriculum, schooling is equally important for a child’s social development. We met up regularly with other travelling families, yet the short interactions did not allow stronger friendships to build. So round two would have to have this handled, and is something we’re working on.
Ask for help! That’s been a big one for me. I have a need to prove I am strong and can do it all myself. It’s an exhausting way to operate and the relief that has come from letting go has changed me.
Always seek out a different perspective in a bad situation. Sometimes, we are so “in it”, and stubborn (reference to self) that we dig our heels in, and are immovable on issues that aren’t real issues. 90% of the stuff is not worth stressing about. Just step back, have a laugh and get on with being happy.
My name is Bianca Kanuf and I currently live in South Africa. I believe that the pursuit of happiness is the most important thing in life. My family is my everything, and my purpose it to live the fullest life I can, and make every moment an adventure. The realization that the only limits I have are the ones I put on myself, keeps me pushing forward and breaking out of my comfort zone.
If you enjoy this series, click here to read the other ladies who’ve volunteered their stories. Then join my email list – I’d love to have you in my tribe!