The HGTV personalities, who wed in 2008, share daughters Helen, 4, and Mae, 14 months. While the couple said Helen is “an incredible big sister,” that doesn’t mean there aren’t any issues.
“We still have some jealousy,” Ben, 38, revealed to Us.
Erin, 37, explained that playtime can be a major point of contention. “It’s very hard, but they’re starting to play together and that’s exciting ’cause Mae is almost a year and a half,” the Laurel Mercantile Co. co-owner added. “She wants to say things and do things and take things from her sister. So they’re having fun and playing together, but they’re also having little jealousy over toys.”
Sharing playthings is tough, but sharing mom is even worse. Ben was quick to add that they fight over her attention as well. However, they only battle with each other.
“Mae bites Helen — and no one else,” Erin noted.
“She won’t bite anybody else, but she’ll bite her sister, which is not, like, a good thing,” Ben said with a laugh.
He understands, however, that Mae is just looking for ways to communicate. “[Toddlers] want to walk, they want to talk, and they just can’t do it the way they want to. They’re very frustrated all the time,” the Scotsman Co. founder said, noting that he really loves the toddlerhood years despite the difficulties.
Luckily, the jealousy stays at home when Helen goes to school. Their eldest is thriving after starting school this year.
“She is loving it. It has been awesome for her. She’s made a friend — who’s not a cousin,” Erin gushed. “This is her first non-family member friend, and it’s a big deal. Really big deal for her.”
When they aren’t parenting their own daughters, they are trying to make life a little easier for local families who are less fortunate. The Napiers redecorated the Salvation Army homeless shelter in their town of Laurel, Mississippi, on Friday, September 16.
“We got to tour the shelters and it was really cool to see how they cater to everyone, you know, all walks of life, families, single people,” the Home Town: Ben’s Workshop host said. “Then we got thinking about our kids and if we were to have to come and stayed in a shelter, and we wanted to help them do something to make it friendlier.”
That’s where Ben and Erin‘s skills come in. They wanted it to feel more inviting for people who were already going through a difficult transition.
“If you have family staying here, we want this shelter in Laurel to feel like a home,” Erin explained to Us. “Even if they’re here for a short time, it’s a difficult time that brought them here. So we thought it would be great if we could help by making the spaces feel more like a house, less like a dorm, less like a shelter.”
She added that it was shocking to learn how necessary the local branch is in their hometown. “We had just had no idea how many people our Laurel Salvation Army feeds every year. It’s unbelievable,” Erin added. “So we wanted to help, and this is the best way we know how. We’re not necessarily leading the charge. We’re here to help with anything they need. We’re painting rooms. We’re gonna build a little coffee bar in the dining hall. It’s just little things to make it feel a little more like home.”
Ben echoed his wife’s sentiment: “Nobody sets out and says, ‘You know what? We’re gonna end up at the Salvation Army shelter.’ That’s not anybody’s life plan, and so, if we can do anything to help ’em make it a little more homey and a little more friendly, we wanna do that.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi
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