Juggling Marriage, Motherhood & Entrepreneurship

Published on: May 06, 2020

Photo of Sirilak (the author) with her husband and young son. Being a wife and mother with a professional career is no serene sunset stroll. However, as Sirilak Narongtanupone will tell you, no experience in the world is more rewarding than juggling marriage, entrepreneurship and the call of motherhood.  

By Sirilak Narongtanupone  

Life has a knack of throwing up surprises. Often these can alter the course of our lives in the most unexpected ways.  One of those moments was when my husband Peter Wainman had an allergy attack. In 2010, Peter suffered severe allergic reactions to fabric softeners. It took us a few months to find out where the allergies came from. Everything was back to zero. He could drink coffee, tick. He could eat egg, tick. We ended up throwing our closet of clothes away. It was a very difficult time. Then, we tried to find natural products on the shelves but couldn’t find one that was up to our standards, so we decided to invent one ourselves.   

Heading into unchartered territory

So began our journey from life partners to business partners with the establishment of Equator Pure Nature Co. Ltd. The toughest part of getting into business was that we were pretty much heading into unknown territory as spouses and business partners. We created something new in an industry that is highly competitive.

Respect differences. Remember you and your husband are two different people and will have different ideas about bringing up a baby (and growing a business).

In addition to that, Peter and I have quite different personalities. I tend to look at things from the bottom-up perspective whereas Peter looks at things from the top-down. Both of us have a few perfectionist traits so the business was not a smooth journey for both of us.

A gratifying experience

In the midst of our start-up, I got pregnant with our son. Ricky was born in 2014. Having a child impacted my life in a big way.  The moment I saw Ricky for the first time, we were connected by a strong bond that I can’t really put in words. With my family in Nakornsawan and Peter’s family in Connecticut, we didn’t have as much family help as we would have liked. It took a while for me to be less anxious to get help from a caregiver.  As a new mom, a woman can be overloaded with hormones and that can create unnecessary fears. I found that exercise helped, and it was a great way to ease mom anxiety.   

The secret to balancing marriage, motherhood, and business

How could I get through this? Here are some tips that I can share on how it eventually worked out for me:

  • Maintain your good health. Get some help with your child from family or a nanny. Get as much sleep as possible and train your child to sleep by him/herself at an early age. This gives you the opportunity to sleep better and spend quality time with your husband.  
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Manage your time. As mothers, we always want the best for our children’s development and it’s natural to look out for the best centers to do so. But living in a city like Bangkok, we have to be realistic about the amount of time it takes to navigate traffic.  Buy online, if you will.
  • Allocate time for your spouse. Peter and I try to have a date night every week, go for yoga classes together, and spend Sundays at home. 
  • Respect differences. Remember, you and your husband are two different people and will have different ideas about bringing up a baby (and growing a business). Through these experiences, I learn to accept my own shortcomings and open up to my husband’s point of views and he learns to respect mine. For me, respect is one of the critical foundations of being in partnership with someone, be it in life or professionally.

Tips for young couples getting into business together

  • First, appoint a captain. There can be only one captain on a ship. Someone to make the last call. We agreed that Peter would be the captain of the business. Without this covenant, things can easily get out of hand and possibly strain the relationship.
  • Don’t stress so much. There will always be worries, but don’t let them consume you. There will be another day. When you go home, leave all the work stress at the office. We promise not to bring work or even discuss work at home because home is supposed to be your sanctuary, a place you can unwind. There will be another day to solve the problem(s) at work.

  Photo courtesy of the author.

About the Author

Sirilak Narongtanupone is the founder and managing director of Equator Pure Nature Co. Ltd. Equator Pure Nature manufactures and sells natural household cleaners made from fermentation of pineapples under the brand Pipper Standard (www.pipperstandard.com.sg). Currently, Pipper Standard products are sold in 15 countries throughout Asia. It is the first and only brand in the world to have a globally-patented pineapple fermentation technology.

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