Erin and Ben Napier are partners in life, love, parenting and business, which makes them an authority on communication, teamwork and commitment. They star on the hit HGTV show Home Town where they renovate historic, turn-of-the-century homes in their hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. We chatted with them about everything from caring for wood floors to how they show each other they care.
How do you communicate with each other when there’s conflict, whether it’s about work, parenting or your romantic relationship?
Erin: “We tell each other about stuff that we don’t even need to know about. He’ll tell me if there’s something stressful going on in the woodshop, a build that they were really excited about, the parts where he didn’t come in, or it’s not going to work out the way they hoped it would and that puts him in a funk. Then I know that he’s not being funky towards me about something. We always just know everything that’s going on in our life, and then that way, you know how to give someone grace if they’re having a bad day and because we have to be together 24 hours a day, we work together, we live together, we parent together. We have to know everything that’s going on.”
Ben: “We just overshare and over-communicate on everything.
You’re very busy parenting and running a business. What time do you take for yourselves?
B: “I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, typically 4:30 to 7 AM, I read my Bible, catch up on news, work out, drink a gallon of coffee, and that’s my time. Erin, I would say that your time is after I fall asleep.”
E: “He falls asleep before me every night, and that’s when I read books. I like to read at bedtime, but our time is always once the girls are in bed. We have about two hours together to make sure we still are us. We’re watching Ted Lasso right now. I think we’re the last people in America to watch. A really lovely way to end the day.”
B: “We always end our day together, and I start the day by writing a note to Erin every morning, and now I write one to Helen also.”
What’s the last little thing you did for one another to show how much you care?
E: “He always writes me a letter, and I make his coffee the night before, I set up the coffeemaker.”
B: “I got to go to a Duke basketball game a week ago. It was one of Coach K’s last home games. The next to last home game. My brothers, my dad and I are all huge Duke University basketball fans, my dad went to Duke. It was a dream come true, but it sort of fell on a really hard weekend as parents and shoulder that so that I could go.”
E: “I was excited he got to go. I mean, it’s Coach K, and it’s his next to last game. I could never forgive myself if I didn’t let him go and have a ball and do that.”
B: “The turnaround was that we were taking Helen to see Frozen on Broadway the next day, so Friday night and Saturday night combined I slept like five hours and had two of the hardest days as far as travel and what you were doing. I was really excited, but if something happened and Erin needed me to stay, or she couldn’t handle keeping the girls, then I wouldn’t have been able to go, so that was a big one that came up recently.”
How is running a business together and parenting together similar and different?
E: “When we run our business, we have partners, our best friends are partners in that, and you always have to be mindful of everyone else’s expertise and failures. When you’re parenting you have to be mindful of what your kids may be going through developmentally, so their expertise and failings, so it’s really quite similar. Our backgrounds are very similar. The way our parents did it was very similar, and we’re trying to retrofit the way our parents did it in a world where there’s now social media and TV that you can watch anything on it anytime.”
B: “And mom and dad are on TV.”
E: “All of it takes enormous work, that’s it, that’s the secret.”
B: “For anybody. We are all parenting in a totally different world than our parents parented it.”
What are some spring cleaning tips people may not already know?
B: “A big one for us is that we pressure wash our house exterior. It lets the pain hold up a little bit longer and keeps mold from building up.”
E: “When you see spots that are starting to show their age, you can go ahead and patch it up before it becomes a problem. And when you’re doing it, I would always recommend tucking old towels around the doorways.”
B: “Especially if you live in an old house.”
E: “Especially if you have wood floors because taking care of wood floors is apparently intimidating for a lot of people.”
Why do you think people are intimidated by taking care of wood floors?
B: “That’s something that has always baffled me when we’re talking about doing wood floors in a house, and the homeowner would be like, ‘well, we worry about the maintenance of those.’ So actually, Swiffer WetJet Wood ($28) is specifically designed for cleaning wood floors. There are a lot of products out there that you can use, but this is what we use in our house. It’s great.”
E: “It’s really quick, especially when you have little kids. WetJet Wood is so handy, and it’s super quick. So much better than dragging out a bucket and a mop to clean when the toddler spills a cup of juice.”
What drew you to a partnership with Swiffer WetJet Wood?
B: “It’s a product we actually use.”
E: “Since we got married. Our first apartment was a loft in downtown Laurel, and it had these 10-inch wide wood floors. And that was the first homemaker thing I would do was Swiffer the floors.”
B: “It was one of the first things we bought as far as keeping our house up. So that’s one thing that we’ve been really conscious about with having this platform that we have is aligning ourselves with brands that we actually use and believe in.”
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