Once a month we like to do a Q&A which you all love and we are so honored that you enjoy listening to us or reading our answers. You can find the recorded interview here.
Q: Robert, what does your day look like?
A: I run Dear Mushka day-to-day which involves inventory, customer service, production, shipping, managing the team, accounting and finance - all of those fun things! I am also chief of staff for Your Enneagram Coach and help run that with all of the courses, public speaking and books that go along with it.
Katie gets up early to spend time with the Word and pray and get the day started with the boys. I wake up after Katie when some of the boys are already up, often with one of them jumping on me in bed or them coming to find me. I jump straight into emails in the morning to make sure our website is still working, that nothing broke overnight. I take the boys to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I love doing that! My days are largely unstructured. They involve a lot of emails and putting out fires and seeing what needs to happen day-to-day within the business.
Q: How did you get started with jewelry making and growing Dear Mushka?
A: You can read all about it in this post.
Q: What practical boundaries have you set or found helpful in marriage?
A: Just making a decision to not speak negatively about your spouse in public. Obviously you can share with a friend that you trust, but it’s about not being an expert on their weaknesses and rather focusing on their strengths. It can be challenging, but I always want Robert’s name to be safe in my mouth. I want people to know that I love him and respect him, and that’s how I’m going to talk about him.
I think it’s important to not build an emotional relationship with a person of the opposite gender. You can have friends and coworkers, but it's a bad idea to have an emotionally charged relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Even if you think there is no attraction or no risk, being emotionally or spiritually intimate with someone else when you’re married is probably not going to lead anywhere good.
We also make sure to be intimate frequently, whatever that means for your marriage. We make sure to bring ourselves closer to each other even in busy seasons.
Q: What steps can you take to prepare your heart for marriage or just to enjoy your singleness?
A: We aren’t super equipped to answer this as we both got married when we were young. I do think its really important to know that marriage is not the answer - it isn’t going to take away your problems. You’ll probably have more problems! Don’t let yourself believe that lie and turn marriage into an idol. Marriage is hard work.
Do your self work now. Go to counselling, figure out how you can love the Lord better, how you can serve Him. How has God equipped you to serve His Kingdom? Do all these things now because they’re all going to be important in a marriage.
Q: Tips for enjoying the holiday season with littles who are overtired and out of routine?
A: Set boundaries and remember your kids can’t stand up for themselves, so help them. We’ve decided that our immediate family is more important than all the other things. If my immediate family’s routines don't coordinate well with other family activities, we don’t go. It’s okay to say you aren’t available during nap time or that you need to be in bed by 8.
Also remember that the season is only a few weeks. Kids are super resilient, but if you know they don’t cope well without their nap or they can’t handle a lot of sugar, ask for help. Set yourself up for success. We’ll often give a clear indication of the times we’re available in the mornings or afternoons. If something is happening during those times, we’ll either miss out or say we’ll see everyone a bit later.
Q: What is your approach to schooling decisions?
A: We are in the middle of it right now! We’re figuring out kindergarten for the first time. I don’t really know what to do besides pray and listen for God’s direction. We said that we would never adopt and never homeschool and yet here we are with three adopted children and we feel like God is currently steering our hearts towards homeschooling. We just continue to pray and trust for guidance.
Also know that you’re not locked into anything forever. Try it out! If you feel like you made the wrong decision or one of your children responds differently, just recalibrate.
Q: How can I best encourage and respect my husband to lead our family?
A: I did it wrong for so many years - I tried to nag Robert into leading our family the way I wanted him to. This really does not work! It was really helpful for me to acknowledge that what I wanted wasn’t necessarily what Robert needed to do. I needed to see his strengths instead of what I wanted his strengths to be and celebrate them.
When I realized this, I turned to prayer instead of nagging. I prayed that God would equip him with leadership and give me insight into how to best serve my husband. The Lord has truly answered my prayer over and over again. Pray daily for guidance and for your husband!
(Robert) I would just want you all to understand that being a man in a Christian environment and feeling the burden to lead can feel daunting and overwhelming. A lot of us haven’t had leadership modelled well for us in our lives. When all of a sudden a man is being asked to lead and he's never done it before, it helps to understand his heart and his motivations. Come to him with help and desire rather than with judgement and criticism. Start small and celebrate wins!
Q: How do you celebrate Advent in this busy season?
A: Once we get into December, we don't launch any new products. We concentrate on fulfilling lots of orders and getting things out. It might be busier for our employees, but I intentionally keep things less busy for me. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!
You can watch our highlight about what we do for Advent. I do something really simple for the boys in the morning and at night we set aside 20 minutes to light a candle and read a story. Serving and loving the Lord comes first, so if we can’t make time for this simple routine, it means we need to scale back our business.
Q: What books would you recommend to learn about starting a business?
A: I haven’t ever read a business book. I did skim a few chapters of The E-Myth, but I didn’t find anything relevant to my business. Honestly, a lot of my business advice has just come from praying for guidance. Reading a big book makes me feel overwhelmed with tons of things I should be doing. I just keep praying that the Lord will establish my next step. He’s always brought exactly what I’ve needed into my life.
(Robert) I’ve read a few business books, but it depends on what you’re looking for. For good practical start-up advice, I would go to blog posts or articles. The internet is the great equalizer of our age. You can monetize absolutely anything, but make sure you’re doing something you love.
Q: What is your favorite thing about raising boys?
A: I love wrestling and roughhousing! Katie sometimes has to leave the room because it makes her so uncomfortable. The boys think it’s so fun being thrown onto the trampoline and having pillow fights. This is my favorite! They love being outside and adventuring. And they’re not super dramatic or emotional either. I’m in awe of moms who have girls and seem to have a lot more to cope with! Our boys are so quick to forgive, easy to talk to. They don’t hold grudges. I’m learning a lot from my boys!
Q: What things did you disagree on in your marriage and how did you work things out?
A: We parent differently although I do think this is how the Lord created us - that mothers and fathers should be different. There are times I’ll want to talk with Robert about he handled a parenting moment, and vice versa. That doesn’t always go super well in the moment to be honest! We’re still working on how to appropriately handle that.
I think that in any disagreement, just remembering that we’re on the same team with the same goal is so important. Even if we blow it the first time, we’re able to re-have a lot of conversations and they’re better the second time. We’re both opinionated and we have to make room for one another. Remember that you love your spouse more than whatever you’re disagreeing about. A disagreement is an opportunity to grow together and to practice loving your spouse more.