We’re Karina & Victor. We have two little girls — Miranda (8) and Lara (2) — and together, we run The Quick Brown Fox Video Production. After running his own video production studio in our native Venezuela for eight years, Victor moved to London in 2010 to finish his masters in audio engineering. We got married soon after and when we had our second daughter, we realised that our demanding jobs were no longer sustainable. We both worked long hours – Victor as a sound engineer and me as an architectural design consultant. Unable to see enough of our girls, we decided to create a business that would provide that all-important work-life balance and so, our third child, ‘The Fox’ was born!
Our mornings tend to be all about work for at least one of us (scripting, editing, doing admin, phoning clients, filming) and the afternoons are all about the girls. It’s a delicate balance that we work very hard to maintain. Lara has two sessions a week with the child-minder. Then one morning she spends with Victor doing some kind of sporty activity or another while I work. Another morning she spends with me usually doing something quieter like going to the library, meeting friends or doing some crafts. Miranda is older so it is a bit easier to manage. She’s either at school or at one of the very many after school clubs she’s signed up for.
Weekends we normally have to play it by ear as Victor is very likely to be filming on location. Truth is that for us there’s no such thing as #friyay. The odd weekend when there’s no work at all AND both girls are at home is a truly precious one and as such we embrace it with lie-ins, huge breakfasts and quiet time at home. If we know that Victor is going to be working through the weekend we plan girly days out. I love taking the girls to museums and galleries and show them the London I fell in love with 15 years ago.
On overcast days like today, I actually love working from my bedroom (I know!) It’s all monochrome and there’s something about the room that helps me focus on the tasks ahead. Victor has a mini-office downstairs where he does most of the editing and research needed for our projects. That’s totally his domain. My role allows me to be flexible though and I’ll happily work from one of the many cafes in our area, in the living room downstairs (if I have the house all to myself), and sometimes I work from our local library too. For a while now I’ve also been choosing one museum a year to become a member of which, among other things, gives me access to members’ rooms where I can work from once in a while. My favourite place to work though is our garden!
Lara is an expert at coming to meetings with mummy. I tend to organise my coffee meetings at child friendly (but not cringe-y) places. I recently discovered the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall. OMG! It’s been a revelation! Such a gem of a place. And if I absolutely have to work from home and Lara is around then it’s a bit trickier so I tend to avoid it as much as I can. If I’m expecting a phone call while she’s at home then she gets the e-sitter (iPad) but normally I try not to get too busy with work when I know it’s our day to be together. Miranda on the other hand is ‘a big girl’ and a bit of a library mouse so she’s happy to just sit and read which is brilliant because, wherever we are, I can get a lot done with her sitting right next to me.
On tough days when it becomes super difficult to sit down and get on with stuff I do start to doubt things and wonder whether Lara in particular should spend more time at nursery. But I soon come to my senses and realise, actually, this is our time together. We’re meant to enjoy it even if it means work will get done much (much) later in the evening. All in all, working around the children slows things down — there’s no denying that — but it also surprises us with random bursts of laughter, the hilarity of siblings trying to get along and the amazing feeling you get when you realise that your desk neighbour is also the best life partner you could have ever hoped for.
As we work together and our hours are so flexible, we don’t have to rely on ‘date night’ in order to spend time with each other. We’re lucky enough to be able to grab lunch together quite often. Seriously! Either out or at home — we stop what we’re doing and we go grab a bite together. It makes for a nice break and injects new energy into our working day. We do try to make it about each other though, spending some quality time together that’s not spent chatting about work or the children.
Sometimes neither of us are in the mood to work / care for the children / feel creative. Those days are the toughest, because we still have to do it all anyway! There may have been some rows and some looks may have been thrown over the years. But we’ve learned to stay away from each other when we sense a sombre mood is about to make an appearance. Sometimes a clash is inevitable. When you work with your partner, you don’t get to ‘go home after work’, there is nobody else at home that you can moan to about ‘issues at work’ so you have to be really careful about nipping things in the bud. Working together and raising a family together is one hell of a rollercoaster. We know that we have to try and resolve situations as soon as they appear and that’s not always the easiest thing to do.
We feel very privileged that ‘Monday’ is no longer a dirty word. We look forward to a new week every week and value the fact that our work is so flexible that we can be with our girls whenever they need us. They’re only little once after all! And I know it sounds a bit cliché but I like them to see that mummy and daddy can work and look after them at the same time. I like them to see that no two days are the same and that it’s very important to love what you do.