Dimana and Eva from DivanE are the living proof that mothers of two can have a job and a hobby, and make their dreams, one by one, come true. One is an architect, the other is a nail artist. Eva would be doing Dimana's nails, and you know how women tend to chat away in the snippets of time they manage to find for themselves. So, the two found out that they shared an interest in restoring old furniture, and, lo and behold, the duo DivanE was born. One of the most important things you can learn from them is that even if you dedicate a single day per week to something, if you are persistent, you will get results. What’s tricky is to find the will to get started.
Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Dimana + Eva: We are Dimana and Eva and the job that connects us is restoring and upcycling furniture under the brand DivanE. We are the founders, head designers and workers of DivanE.
Eva: I have many activities, but my main source of income is being a nail artist.
Dimana: I am an architect, specializing in interior design.
Tell us more about your job and how you started it? What is your job for you? What does it make you feel?
Dimana + Eva: Our co-work is creating restored upcycled furniture. We collect damaged old pieces of furniture, restore and upgrade them, creating our own designs. Every piece is unique.
We started it as a hobby, a joke, but out of desire and shared passion for designing furniture.
Dimana: For both of us it was a side job. My architectural job takes hours of computer work, visiting construction sites, communicating with distributors and clients and trying to please their demands. With DivanE I wanted to do manual work and create our own design of a piece, not conceding with a client’s demand. This work makes me feel useful and proud, because it costs me back pain, broken nails, dry skin. Also it requires a lot of learning, which at my age is very hard to accept. But the result is sufficient and worth it.
Eva: I consider myself a blessed person, because I do everything that I love doing. I have the freedom to organize my schedule, to meet and communicate with different interesting people, to make friends and business contacts at the same time. For me DivanE is an escape from reality, because after a hard day/month of work, I can see my dream design materialized. The result is visible and physically satisfying.
How many children do you have and what are their names?
Dimana + Eva: We have 4 children between us.
Eva: I have 2 daughters: Stela – 10 years old and Lila – almost 4 years old.
Dimana: I have 2 sons: Simo – 6 years of age and Kosta – 4 years of age.
What is the first thing that came to your mind about your job when the children came?
Eva: I work with very sharp tools of different shapes and my first thought was: “Don’t touch anything!” (laughs) With my first child everything was very romantic and taking a leave from work was no drama for me. But with my second pregnancy, my first thought was: My life is over. That feeling never left me completely.
Dimana: My story is similar to Eva’s. My first pregnancy was long awaited and desired and I was impatient to stop working and embrace the mom-role. Professionally I needed a break anyway. I was back to working half-time about a year after my first child was born, I had 6 projects on my head and two months later I got pregnant again. Then my thought was: How am I going to make it? That led to working until 9 months pregnant, panicking about meeting the deadlines and guilt for ignoring my older child - being the crazy-pregnant-working-mother for him.
What is the most difficult part of motherhood?
Eva: For me it’s the lack of all kinds of time. Especially self-time.
Dimana: Like people say: It’s not about you anymore. For me the most difficult part is patience. Also keeping my ego in the corner.
Eva: … where garbage stays! (laughs)
If you have the book “Mamah” by Helene Deforge, which is your type of mom? If you don't have the book, as what type of mom do you define yourself?
Eva: I haven’t heard of that book, but I define myself as a busy mom.
Dimana: I did a quiz in a magazine once and I turned out to be “the hipster mom”. (laughs)
I haven’t read that book, but I would define myself as “mom-friend-of-her-kids-wannabe”. I try to not get mad at them, but trust them, accept and adore them as they are, like a good friend. Remains to be seen if I’ll make it.
How do you unwind from motherhood and what is your recipe for handling the tough moments?
Eva: I try to find time for myself, I go to the spa with friends and I try to have conversations about anything but children. I can’t say I go to art events… for example, recently went to see an exhibition and I took my little daughter with me. I saw nothing of the exhibition. So what is the recipe? Just freestyle cooking! If you have the recipe, I’ll take it! (laughs)
Dimana: I rest from motherhood at work. I am lucky to have friends for co-workers, but work is not enough for me. It’s not who I am, but what I do. My personal recipe is improving myself to a version of me that I like. I started regularly exercising after my second child turned 2. I love being fit, dressing up, nail art (by Eva, of course) – all that makes me like myself as a woman and as a person, which makes me like myself as a mother as well.
What are your tips for going through the tough moments and keeping your other life alive?
Eva: Drink wine. Good wine. My tip is to find a good husband. Mine helps me a lot in every situation.
Sometimes I have the guilty feeling that spending me-time deprives my children of my presence. But I tell myself: No! You must take care of yourself in order to be a better, calm and happy person and mom.
Dimana: My first tip is to remember the things that make you happy, aside from your children and return to these things. It’s hard to find the exact things that help you restart and improve yourself and your psychological state. That’s a recipe and when you have free time frame for yourself, you’ll know exactly how to fill it.
I am still working on that.
Also it’s important to have a reliable partner (in my case – my husband) who can do the parent job equally.
What do you dream of? ( not in general, but personally for yourself)
Dimana: My dream is to be able to do a full split. My other dreams are not so realistic. (laughs)
I dream of becoming really good at the things that I’m still learning.
Eva: I want to learn how to do longboard-walking. (laughs)
I dream of building a foundation, through which I can help people in need. Helping people is fulfilling for me.