A workaholic mother-of-two realised she was not spending enough time with her daughters after swapping houses and budget with a skint family in Buckinghamshire.
Kelly Filistad, the CEO of a successful digital marketing company based in Buckinghamshire, appears on Channel 5’s Rich House, Poor House tonight as she describes struggling to juggle work life with family life.
Kelly, who lives in a five bedroom mansion and splashes £1,600 each week, relies on the daily help of a nanny housekeeper to look after their two daughters, Sienna, eight and Bella, four.
On the show, she swaps live with Natalie and Nikki Ryan, a skint couple who live on £100 per week and have three children, with a fourth on the way.
After living in Natalie’s shoes, Kelly realises she wants to spend more time with her children after they question why she is always on her phone and never picks them up from school.
She says: ‘It has made me realise the time I spent with the girls needs to be quality time to focus on them and not being distracted with work. I might do the school run more than once every three weeks.’
Kelly Filistad, pictured, is a CEO and mother-of-two who lies in a five bedroom, five bathroom mansion in Buckinghamshire with her husband Rob and their daughters Sienna, eight and Bella, four, pictured as well
Kelly reveals she decided to launch her business after her daughter Sienna suffered complications following her birth in 2012.
Once Sienna recovered, Kelly says she believed nothing worse than that could ever happen, and she bravely set out to launch her agency KVA, which was now a thriving business.
The company started as a three-people project but now counts 50 employees and several awards. Meanwhile her husband Rob works as her company’s Creative Director.
Thanks to the company, Kelly and her husband Robert live in a beautiful home, and they spoil their children with gifts.
Kelly swaps lives and budget with Natalie and Nikki Ryan, who live with their three children in a rented two-bedroom in High Wickham. Natalie, pictured, is pregnant with their fourth child
Their nanny housekeeper looks after the house and the homework, meaning the couple can focus all their energy on their business
They also admit to having a taste for shiny things, with a Tesla proudly sitting in their driveway, next to a brand new Audi.
Yet despite seeming to have the perfect life, the couple confess they feel they aren’t spending enough quality time with their children.
Kelly says: ‘I think as a mum the one thing I’d really like to change is when I’m with the children I’m actually there with them and in the moment.’
Meanwhile, childcare has been what has held Natalie back in her quest for financial stability.
The pregnant mother-of-three lives in a rented two bedroom with her husband Nikki, her son from a previous relationship Luca, 13, Kyan Brody, seven, and their daughter Veronica Rose, who was 19 months.
Natalie and Nikki’s businesses are struggling to take off, and the couple have racked up £30,000 in debt
Natalie was just 15-years-old when she fell pregnant with Luca, and the teenager suffers with ADHD and autism.
Meanwhile Nikki works long hours as a joiner, explaining: ‘I need to stay at work as long as possible to actually finish a job to get the money for it.’
Meanwhile, Natalie has a wedding planning business, but little time to focus on it.
The couple live on just £100 per week for five people, and have racked up £30,000 in debt.
Nikki confesses: ‘The spiral started as soon as we lived in our first flat.
‘We just started buying things, that we didn’t have the money for and we needed,’ Natalie says.
The skint couple are completely blown away by Kelly and Rob’s house when the two families swapped abodes.
Kelly learns on the show she needs to spend more quality time with her daughters, who call her out for working too much
The Filistad house has a playroom for the children, as well as a home office and a cinema room.
Natalie says: ‘I knew it was a rich family house, but I never thought it’d be so extravagant’.
Kelly and Robert’s impression of Natalie and Nikki’s home is very different, with Kelly admitting she was ‘a bit scared,’ and Rob saying: ‘I don’t know how the family manage, really, because they got three kids but only two bedrooms.’
The rich family soon realise the family they swapped with have a huge amount of debt.
Kelly says: ‘A lot of the time you just bury you head in the sand and you ignore things and when they don’t go away they get worse, so at least they’re making steps in the right direction.
Throughout the week, they also struggle with material things, such as an old bed which leaves Kelly feeling tired, and a broken boiler, which means there is no hot water in the flat.
Sienna opens up to her parents, telling them they rarely do anything together where Rob and Kelly are not on their phone.
The eight-year-old tells her mother she dreams of her waiting at the school gates, saying: ‘Maybe some days surprise me and pick me up.’
Meanwhile she also tells the camera: ‘It’s been nice to spend more time with my mum and dad because they’re normally working constantly.’
Rob is left upset by the revelation, saying: ‘It’s always surprising when they’re quite forward like that, you only live once and the business is really important but so is family time as well.’
During the swap, he says he has been enjoying spending more time with his girls and reading to them at night.
He adds: ‘It’s been really lovely to have this time with the children, sharing that family time which is so important.’
The swap also brings home some tough truths for Natalie, who cries after her family enjoy a movie night in the Filistad’s grand home.
She says: ‘I had a few tears earlier because it just dawns on me it is such a wonderful house and it’s not necessary the life, it’s a wonderful lifestyle that Kelly and Rob have created for their kids.
‘It’s a mixture of emotions, a mixture of “I want to work harder, I want this for my kids” and the other is part of me is asking “can I do it, it is something in can aspire to or is it something I could never reach in my life?”‘
And after visiting Kelly’s offices, Natalie says she feels the mother-of-two is spending too much time at work.
‘I worry about Kelly a bit because she’s doing an awful lot for one person, burnouts is a thing a lot of business people have when they overdo it,’ she says.
Meanwhile, Emily, a friend of Kelly, tells Natalie during a visit that she does feel guilty about working too hard and couldn’t see her children.
During the experiment, Natalie says she feels guilty for not being able to afford a better life for her children
After spending a week in Nikki and Natalie’s shoes, Kelly and Rob decide to help the couple however they can.
‘I really hope that we can genuinely inspire him,’ Kelly says.
‘They have all the kind of positive energy and its just channelling it into something, Natalie’s business for example,’ Rob admits.
‘I guess you got to put yourself out there, and that’s almost the first step towards change,’ Kelly agrees.
Rob continues: ‘Sometimes you need to take a risk to get a reward at the end of it that bodes well for them if they really want to achieve something.’
When the two couple finally meet, Kelly admits she understands why Natalie and Nikki struggle financially.
‘I can definitely see how long-term, that would be very difficult, especially with three children and one on the way,’ she tells the couple.
Rob says: ‘I think it’s very exciting now that you have your wedding business. You know that by having the business there’s unlimited earning potential.’
Kelly tells her: ‘We looked at your branding and your website and the fact you’ve done that and you’re where you are and you also have thee children, you’re incredible.
‘There’s obviously almost two years worth of bride and grooms who haven’t been able to get married, there’s a very good opportunity.
‘I’d love to offer you something. I’m gonna work very closely with you, and I’m going to do everything in my power to help you make your business your success.’
She offers to advertise Natalie’s business to help it grow, and orders them a memory foam mattress so they can get a better night’s sleep.
‘i don’t think there’s words for it,’ Natalie says.
Kelly says: ‘I guess this experience has given me even more drive and determination, if it’s possible.
‘it also made me realise the time I spent with the girls needs to be quality time to focus on them and not being distracted with work.
‘I might do the school run more than once every three weeks,’ she jokes.
Rich House, Poor House airs on Sunday at 9pm on Channel 5.