Meet the Hansen family; busy parents with three busy kids, determined to make life work.
Jamie and Anna Hansen are trying their hand at living a “blended” lifestyle –a term they’ve coined themselves to describe life with three children, two businesses run from home, and a move out of the city to make it all work while still fitting in regular trips to the beach.
The family (Anna, Jamie and their children; Grace aged six, Elisha aged four and Ollie aged 18 months) moved to Silverdale a year ago and love the relaxed lifestyle offered on the Hibiscus Coast, north of Auckland. The area is one of those dream locations – close enough to the city for work and family, but far enough away to boast small town vibes and community-feel.
Anna is a nutritionist and the director of LoveFood. She is passionate about showing people how easy it is to eat well and get more out of life. Anna has also just joined the OHbaby! team of experts - read her article Food for Life.
Jamie is a financial consultant offering mortgage and business advice with his company FinanceFit. His specialty is personal finance and he says he wants to help other families find the freedom that comes when there is an absence of “finance stress”.
While obviously different, the two businesses reflect the couple’s passion for health – both physical and financial, and also their desire to help people make the most of their resources.
A typical weekday sees both Jamie and Anna based at home while Grace is at school and Elisha is at pre-school (three days a week). Ollie will be kicking around with Mum and Dad while they navigate their way through business operations based in their home office and meetings out and about. Both Anna and Jamie offer tailored consultations Auckland-wide through their respective businesses. Anna’s mum steps in one day a week to keep an eye on busy little Ollie, allowing Anna and Jamie a bit more time to focus.
The couple share domestic responsibilities but also offer each other help with their respective businesses. Anna says, “We bring different strengths to the table and complement each other – it’s a team approach rather than two separate businesses. Jamie lends expertise in the finance and business sense and I’m stronger in other areas.
“If I have an urgent deadline then that becomes priority and Jamie will take Ollie for the day so I can get a solid day’s work done. If Jamie’s busy I’ll do everything I can to keep the kids out of his hair and not expect him to be around for dinner and bedtime routines.”
In the weekends the family can be found at one of the local beaches. They love the outdoors and try to make the most of their environment.
Not surprisingly, food is also very important, so the Hansens aim to regularly spend quality time sharing meals with their friends and family.
Married for 14 years, Anna and Jamie met when they were 18 and 20. Both had lived overseas for a time growing up; Jamie in Johannesburg, South Africa and Anna in Edinburgh, Scotland. “We want our kids to have more than just a head knowledge when it comes to other ways of life. We would love to travel with them – when they are slightly older!” says Anna.
Following dreams is a value the couple want to model to their children. “Life’s short so it’s worth making the most of the years we have,” they both agree.
“If life’s not an adventure then we may need to change something. This is balanced with the needs of our family, and with three kids under six we are at a certain life stage that requires a lot of time based at home.”
Another core value obvious at the Hansen home is family and relationships. “We both come from big families so there were always lots of people around growing up,” Anna says.
The value of contributing to society in a meaningful way was passed on to Anna by her parents. “People matter more than ‘things’; this was instilled in me as a kid and I believe it has grounded me as a person. We’re keen to teach these attitudes to our children. A lot of teaching moments happen naturally. If we see behaviour that lines up with this outlook we’ll praise it and talk about why we like what our child has said or done. And vice-versa, we’re quick to pull them up on behaviours that don’t line up with what is fundamentally important to us.”
Jamie reckons an entrepreneurial spirit is in the DNA. “One Saturday Grace decided to sell ‘loom bands’ to the kids at a local playground. She put collections of them in pretty packages and was really stoked that all the girls loved the look of them. She even sold a few.” Proud Dad was her biggest advocate.
The family neatly sum up their mission statement with four words – Love, Live, Give: Intentionally.
Faith is centrally important, as is giving rather than simply taking.
“Our kids are often rummaging through their stuff and wanting to give things away to their friends. We don’t mind, it’s great to see that they are not hoarders. Occasionally though, if Grace is clearing out her cupboards, we will check to see that she actually knows what she is doing!”
“Thankfulness, for both the people in our lives and what we have, is a foundational value for us. We want our kids to see and appreciate who they are and what we have – not who they aren’t and what we don’t have.”
Here’s a tip from Anna:
“I give my kids a breakfast smoothie alongside their cereal in the mornings. I put Ollie’s smoothie on his cereal instead of milk. It’s a great start to the day nutrition wise – they get a serve of LSA or chia seeds plus fruit and almond milk. They are all big fans of smoothies (and smoothie ice blocks), which is a bonus.”
JAMIE AND ANNA’S TIPS FOR JUGGLING FAMILY AND BUSINESS
• Know what you are getting into:
The couple recommend talking to others who run a business from home so as to be encouraged by the benefits, but also aware of the challenges you may face.
• Stick to your core strengths:
They’re intentional about playing to their strengths, both in business and at home. Teaching children to do the same will help lift their confidence.
• Keep life simple:
Constantly re-evaluate your expectations of what can get done in any given week.
• Be flexible with your schedule:
Further to the point above, Anna says, “Life is much easier if we can go with the flow when our plans for the week get turned upside down because the kids are sick or there is an influx of work to be done.”
• Collaborate and communicate:
Anna and Jamie sync their diaries so they’re aware of what the other has on each week. While it’s a juggling act running two businesses and a young family, they say the key is to always cover each other’s backs.
• Be deliberate about work and play:
In the busy weeks a “heads down” approach is required but when it’s quieter prioritise the fun things, and ensure family becomes the focus. Make the most of down time and don’t feel guilty for taking time out when you get the chance. “Sometimes we have snippets of time midweek and make the most of this by simply grabbing a coffee together and focusing on the moment,” Anna says.
• Have fun and remember to laugh:
Life is challenging but having fun along the way makes a day so much more enjoyable. So take a leaf out of the Hansen’s book and try not to take yourselves too seriously. Grace and Elisha both share their dad’s sense of humour, which Anna says always keeps life entertaining.
Ask Anna a question at ohbaby-experts. Be sure to like her Facebook page (AnnaHansenLoveFood) for regular tips on making healthy family-friendly food. You can also check out Jamie’s business at financefit.co.nz.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM MOTHERSOLE (sammothersole.co.nz)