Our kids are watching a show in the kitchen while we do another round of Q&A! I’m Katie, the founder of Dear Mushka and my husband Robert helps me run the company. This month we're discussing all things business, marriage and discipleship.
Q: What were your jobs pre-Dear Mushka and what was it like to make the jump to being full time in your business?
A: I was a psychology major. I knew I wanted to be married and home with my kids, so I never went beyond my bachelor's degree. I worked at various doctor’s offices until one day I just decided to stop and start Dear Mushka. At the time, Robert was working at Home Depot, so it wasn’t the best financial timing, but God provided!
Robert was an IT project manager. It took him nearly a year to feel ready to go full time. He wanted it to feel as much like a guarantee as possible. Adjusting to being his own boss was a challenge initially, but now he’s into it! He loves being home, working with me and supporting Dear Mushka.
Q: Katie, how do you balance work, free time and motherhood?
A: It’s helpful to have a list of priorities. For me to be the best mom, wife and business owner, I need two things: I need time with the Lord in the morning and I need to exercise. I try to make those things happen and then the rest falls in line.
I work on Mondays and while my boys are napping. Reading and gardening are my favorite hobbies. I do those with the boys around or in the evenings.
Some days or even seasons are better than others. When my boys were newborns, I didn’t wake up early to be with the Lord or exercise. We survived!
Q: One tip for a newlywed?
A: I was so lonely the first year of our marriage. I gave Robert so much of my time and energy, I didn’t leave room for female friendships. I’d recommend still prioritizing time for yourself and the things you did before you got married.
We both agree that it’s wise to establish new routines and boundaries as a married couple. I swung too far and neglected what made me a healthy wife and person. Communicate and be willing to reevaluate.
Q: How do you like your spouse when they’re unlikeable?
A: Don’t make the foundation of a marriage whether your spouse is likeable or not. The foundation of your marriage is based on deep and abiding love. We can both be pills to live with, but we said vows. Remember that you weren’t likeable when Christ saved you. Use the same eyes to see your spouse. You love them with the eyes of our Lord rather than whether or not they’re meeting your particular needs in that moment.
Q: How did you meet and what were you originally attracted to in each other?
A: We met in college at MTSU. I ‘entrapped’ him to make an ex-boyfriend jealous! Oh, to be 19 again!
Originally, and still today, I was attracted to Robert because he’s fiery! He was flirty which I didn’t like, but I knew underneath that he was passionate and willing to fight for what he wanted and believed in. I rarely know exactly what I want or think, but Robert always knows. I need that! He’s so intelligent and funny.
Robert was attracted to my independence and confidence. I didn’t play any of the flirty mind games he was used to with girls. This initially frustrated him, but ultimately encouraged his interest in me.
I’m so grateful the Lord went before us in the marriage. We were so young and immature.
Q: What are your love languages?
A: We’re so opposite! Robert loves words of affirmation. He can’t get enough of them. I’ve had to learn a lot about this as I don’t need this at all. I pray weekly that God would give me words to heap on Robert! Remember that God is for our marriages. Pray to Him to cover your weaknesses.
I’m a mixture of quality time, acts of service and gifts. Robert likes to spend a zillion dollars on me, but I prefer small, meaningful gifts. Really, I just want to feel known and seen. He’s been making the bed for me, and I feel so loved!
Q: How do you think and process?
A: Robert never stops thinking. He thinks about everything all the time.
I’m the opposite! I’m a verbal processor. Something I said at the beginning of a conversation isn’t necessarily what I’ll mean at the end. I don’t process for long and make decisions quickly.
Q: How do you serve the local church?
A: We’re both on the prayer team. Robert prays at church with people in person and I pray at home over any requests that come in. He’s also a group coach guiding group leaders. Unofficially we’ve started having our church’s residents over on Thursdays to eat dinner and talk. We love it!
And of course we tithe. That’s part of serving your local church!
Q: What are your favorite date night activities?
A: Robert loves Bonefish Grill or J. Alexander’s! He doesn’t like surprises or unexpected results. He wants to know the food will be great and we can relax and enjoy the evening.
I love doing something new and fun! We’re really different y’all! We probably do one proper date night a month. It’s usually dinner and walking around a store. Just being somewhere calm is so refreshing.
We try to do two date weekends away a year. We stay in a hotel locally and that’s when we usually eat at a new restaurant or have an adventure. I’ve learned to try out new experiences with friends and then invite Robert along once I know what to expect.
Q: Is it normal to feel scared about getting married?
A: Yes! It would be naive not to be afraid to some extent. Marriage is a major life change! It’s hard and it takes a lot of effort. Recognizing the weight of marriage before you enter into it is wise. Feeling extreme anxiety or discomfort though could be the prompting of the Holy Spirit to re-examine your decision.
Q: Do you have divisions of family labor between husband and wife?
A: Robert is the spider killer and trash remover!
We came into our marriage assuming our spouse would do what we saw our parents do. This is another conversation you should have before you get married! My dad did so many of the household chores, I expected Robert to do more than he did. We’ve learned to communicate and adapt for what we need in different seasons. Mostly I handle the daily chores and errands and Robert does big or long term tasks like insurance and taxes. I gladly choose sweeping over taxes.
Q: How do you manage when one person needs more (like in sickness)?
A: Robert has had a few knee surgeries that required me to do more and I’ve had kidney stones. If your spouse needs more, you try to give more. Marriage is not primarily about you and what you get, it’s about reflecting the way that Christ loves and serves the Church. It’s for our companionship and sanctification and for our joy. The more you serve, the more joy you’ll have.
Currently, the last few weeks have been hard for me. Robert has been good at giving me support. He’ll do bedtime with the boys so I can grab coffee with a friend or walk around a bookstore alone. This has been so life-giving for me!
The Holy Spirit can give us strength and power to love our people beyond what we feel capable of.
Q: Do you play with your kids or let them play independently?
A: Both! Robert wrestles and kicks around the soccer ball with them.
A dear friend once told me, “It’s your job to be your child’s mother, not playmate.” I found this freeing. I don’t frequently play around on the ground with our little ones. I read or do puzzles with them. I also encourage them to play together independently.
Q: What should male leadership in the home look like?
A: The apostle Paul tells husbands that they are the head of the family as Christ is the head of the Church. The model is based on sacrificial love, not overbearing patriarchy. Christ died for the Church. He laid aside his rights, powers and privileges. Follow His example in the leadership of your family. Be the first to repent, apologize and seek reconciliation. Biblical male leadership isn’t a dictatorship. Demanding certain actions isn’t Biblical leadership. Robert is great at this (all glory to God). I’m able to thrive because he creates an atmosphere for us to flourish in.
Robert describes male leadership as being like a snow plough. You’re clearing the way for your family’s journey, making it easier, safer and guided. This doesn’t mean Robert is always the first to pray or initiate conversations about God. But he’s created a place where it’s safe for me to do so.
We love answering these questions each month and getting to know you all better! Follow us on Instagram to watch our daily stories for more.
For adoption questions, see my adoption highlight here! It has tons of info!