FO­CUS ON WHAT MAT­TERS

PART TWO OF THE IN­TER­VIEW WITH BOU­TIQUE TEA PI­O­NEER RE­BECCA DOMOREV AND HER PART­NER ALEXEI AND HOW THEY MAN­AGE FAM­ILY LIFE, RUN­NING A BUSI­NESS AND KEEP­ING IT TO­GETHER.

Sunshine Coast Daily - - MAGAZINE | RELATIONSH­IPS - WORDS: JOANNE WIL­SON Joanne Wil­son is a neu­ropsy­chother­a­pist, re­la­tion­ship spe­cial­ist, work­shop fa­cil­i­ta­tor and guest speaker.

This week we con­tinue last edi­tion’s story on Re­becca Domorev and her hus­band, Alexei. Re­becca started the Tielka — a bou­tique or­ganic tea com­pany — and Alexei has backed her the whole way. Alexei, how do you make it work as a team at home and in the busi­ness world?

Any­one in­volved in run­ning a small busi­ness would know that it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate your home life from your busi­ness.

Our din­ner con­ver­sa­tions quite of­ten in­volve top­ics such as food sup­ply chain, brand­ing, pack­ag­ing de­sign or global food trends. Our two old­est boys (who are 8 and 13) are quite ac­cus­tomed to look­ing at the world around them from a busi­ness per­spec­tive.

Some­times when it gets too much, we give each other per­mis­sion to tap out from the con­ver­sa­tion and change the topic.

We are also used to the idea of tag-team­ing. For ex­am­ple, I will look af­ter our youngest in the late morn­ing or pick up his broth­ers from school, al­low­ing Re­becca to fo­cus on the busi­ness. In the af­ter­noon we usu­ally swap. Do you fol­low a more tra­di­tional style of part­ner­ship or equally share roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at home? Re­becca: I would say we have a part­ner­ship that leans to­wards a more tra­di­tional style.

The do­mes­tic du­ties tend to fall on my shoul­ders with the sup­port of Alexei and Alexei has typ­i­cally taken the re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing the pri­mary provider. The cur­rent un­cer­tain fi­nan­cial at­mos­phere in Aus­tralia is im­pact­ing us and not ideally. We are lean­ing more heav­ily on Tielka for pro­vi­sion.

Alexei: I come from a very tra­di­tional Eastern Euro­pean back­ground, where roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at home are pretty much de­fined by your gen­der.

Both of my par­ents worked full-time, yet my mum man­aged the house­hold, while my dad had a more de­mand­ing phys­i­cal job, so he would help around the house only on the week­ends. That was the model I grew up with.

The cul­ture in Aus­tralia is a bit more re­laxed in that re­gard. I think what helps us a lot in man­ag­ing busi­ness and house­hold is our par­ent­ing style. We have been quite in­ten­tional in in­volv­ing our kids and shar­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at home with them. For ex­am­ple, we rarely have to do the dishes af­ter din­ner as it is our boys’ re­spon­si­bil­ity now.

One will clear the ta­ble, and the other one will load the dish­washer and hand­wash what­ever is left. They also earn their screen­time by do­ing other chores like hang­ing the wash­ing, fold­ing the clothes or col­lect­ing palm fronds in the back­yard. It’s not un­usual for them to ask if there is any­thing they can do around the house to earn time. It is a win-win sit­u­a­tion for ev­ery­one. Do you think Aus­tralian so­ci­ety al­lows flex­i­bil­ity in the work­place for men as much as women to man­age fam­ily along­side their work­ing woman? Re­becca: It’s hard to com­ment on the work­place, as both of us are in­volved in run­ning our own busi­nesses. How­ever, there are def­i­nitely out­dated at­ti­tudes that linger in terms of fam­ily roles and busi­ness. I am part of a 100,000-strong group of en­tre­pre­neur­ial women on Face­book and there is of­ten con­ver­sa­tion around “how do I man­age run­ning a busi­ness with chil­dren”. I never hear this con­ver­sa­tion among the male coun­ter­part of so­ci­ety. It seems to be a non-is­sue for men.

Alexei: There is a lot of talk about flex­i­bil­ity in the work­place for men when it comes to man­ag­ing their fam­ily. I think we are not quite there yet and a lot de­pends on the work­place it­self. I know some com­pa­nies are quite proac­tive in that area.

I have a friend, for ex­am­ple, who re­cently took a leave of ab­sence to be­come a stay-ath­ome dad, while his wife re-en­tered the work­force. Some­thing like this would be con­sid­ered im­pos­si­ble in other coun­tries, even now. I just won­der what kind of long-term ef­fects this ar­range­ment will have on the re­la­tion­ships be­tween chil­dren and their moth­ers. Any other tips for our read­ers on keep­ing it to­gether? Re­becca: On a flour­ish­ing re­la­tion­ship? For­give of­ten, trust the love your part­ner has for you de­spite not al­ways be­ing able to ex­press it well, and find love and ac­cep­tance in God. I per­son­ally don’t be­lieve any hu­man is ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing all the love that an­other hu­man needs and to flour­ish, I be­lieve God can only ever fill that role.

Alexei: Make a de­lib­er­ate ef­fort to un­plug, dis­con­nect from work and just be.

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