When You Fail

We try so hard sometimes, with the best of intentions, but despite this things don’t work out the way we hope. How do we accept defeat? How do you move forward with grace when you fail?

I will be the first to admit that when we got the green light for a family dog from my in-laws, who we were living with at the time, we moved too fast. In hindsight, I can see that we were looking for a balm to soothe a lot of wounds. A bit like those people who think a baby will make everything better (in our case, a human baby actually did, but that’s another story). We thought we knew what we were doing. We even planned to bring our dear friend and amazing dog trainer with us to choose the puppy, but a scheduling burp on our part messed that up, and we ended up with a very beautiful, and very deaf dog. We had her nearly a week before we realized she was deaf. That’s how puppy savvy I am.

Then some things happened, and I had to be away from home, and the dog for a week or two. During some pivotal training and bonding opportunities. We had lots of hands trying to puppy wrangle, and no real clear alpha. And she was so damned mouthy – something I had never really even thought about in a puppy. Soon the kids, one of whom is only two years old, were too afraid to go near her.

Then we found a place of our own, a place we really needed, with a landlady who is passionately against dogs in her house, though ironically a dog owner herself. Yes, this is illegal in this province. But yes, it’s been a huge source of stress/nightmares for me. I know, I need to learn to let go.

Then, with the dog finally in our care full time, we learned she cannot settle unless she’s crated, she continues to teethe and chew and bite things we don’t want her to, she needs lots of hands-on attention and special training with a vibrating collar. Like any puppy, she needs as much attention as my toddler, and I’m the only adult who has the time and space to give it to her, and I. Just. Don’t.

I’m trying to be brave when my landlady threatens to call her lawyer.

I’m trying to transition my son into his own bed/room and so I’m not sleeping through the night. My adult time is entirely gone. I’m exhausted.

I’m trying to run our household while my poor wife drives nearly five hours each day to commute to work and my husband is pouring his blood sweat and tears into a start up.

I’m trying to be patient, and realistic about my nine and almost twelve year old daughters who can really only do a little to help with this high energy pooch.

I’m trying to prove myself to everyone, to show them I can do this, I can handle it. I’m a dog person after all! I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying.

The dog flops at my feet as I’m working. She gazes up at me with huge, dark green eyes. That look of love and trust that only a dog can bless you with. I feel that I am failing her, and that I am failing my entire family by insisting that I can be the person she needs in her life. I am not that person.

She needs someone who can give her a vigorous walk each day.

She needs someone who can spend lots of time helping her learn her hand signals. We got her to learn ‘sit’ and ‘lay down’ and she’s getting better and better at ‘stay’. Now she needs someone who can teach her that her vibe collar means ‘look at me’ or ‘come to me’. I just don’t have the time each day to do this.

She needs a family with people who can be dedicated to her training, and not so distracted and busy with all the other stuff of life.

She would greatly benefit from a home with another dog who is tolerant of puppies.

She needs lots of things she can chew because she lost almost four bottom teeth at once and the adult teeth are all coming in. Too many toddler toys, shoes, and rocks have been pressed into service for this at our home.

She needs a little patch of earth to dig and to bury all of the various bull pizzels and greenies she is given, to save for a rainy day.

She’s a wonderful dog. She loves people, loves kids, LOVES other dogs. She’s happy to rest in her crate when she’s worn out, she’s house broken, and we’re going to turn her over to a rescue through our trainer so she can find a home that is better for her. Where she can get the attention that she deserves.

Tonight we’re going to talk to our children and tell them about our decision. You will read this post the morning after. My heart is breaking because I know how empowering this dog has been for our middle daughter, who really needed something to feel proud of. They have a beautiful bond, and I feel sick about separating them. I remember when my own childhood puppy became too much for our family, and she had to be turned over to a family friend. I was devastated, but now I really understand what my poor mom was going through.

Our life just isn’t meant for pets right now, so what do we do when we are faced with the hard realities of our failure? We take a deep breath and listen to our hearts. We face the truth and push away the fear of failure. We reach out with vulnerability to friends who can help. We accept and try to empathize with all of the feelings from all of the people. We take each moment slowly. We practice self-care and self-love instead of allowing guilt and regret to take over. We feel grateful that we have options, that there can still be a happy ending for this beautiful four-legged soul that we crossed paths with.

Now, if any of you are looking for a deeply loving animal companion, and you have the time and energy for a smart and energetic puppy. Please let me know with an email and I’ll put you in touch with the rescue organization.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex

It’s Freaky Friday over here at Playboy Mommy HQ, and today I want to reach out and ask you for a great, big favor. I want you to send me a note and tell me what kind of sexy subjects you want to read about. I have my own ideas about what makes for good sex education, but I’m always happy to be inspired, so please send me your suggestions, or better yet, send me a note with a specific issue or question and I’ll respond either in a blog post just for you or with a video reply on my coming soon YouTube Channel. Your anonymity is guaranteed, so don’t be shy. You can drop me a line here and I’ll let you know when I’m going to post a reply, or tackle the subject you’ve suggested.

In other freaky news, the reception for my soon-to-be-published sex manual has been overwhelming. It’s a sex guide for guys in relationships, in case you haven’t heard. For those of you who read it and got back to me so quickly, I’m so grateful. For you who are still reading, I can’t wait to hear back. I’m up to my ears in formatting research and self-publishing tips, and I can’t wait to get this book out there. I’m really proud of how it’s turned out.

Internet Gems

Remember Macy Gray? Well, she’s back, and I have a few ideas of what she’s been up to while not in the limelight. Witness this catchy tune, with animation that is disturbingly similar to that of the popular game Dumb Ways to Die.

I love me some Amy Schumer, and of course she’s making the talk show rounds to promote her film ‘Trainwreck’, which I’ve not yet seen. : (

Check out this great moment on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:

That’s it for now lovers, I hope you have a sexy weekend!

xo

PB Mommy

I Need a Few Good Men

I am so freaking excited to let you know that I’m nearly ready to begin the publishing process for my first book! It’s a sex and relationship guide for the average hetero guy in a long-term relationship, and it’s called Keeping It Up. I’ve lined up a cover designer, an illustrator, and I’m cutting my teeth on self-publishing this bad boy, but now I need a few good men to beta read this manuscript for me.

It’s a quick read, only 22,000 words, which is about 55 Word document pages. If you are a hetero male in a relationship, and can commit to reading this thing and getting it back to me within a week, I’d love to have your feedback. I’ll ask you to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and then I’ll ask you for an honest review on Amazon and perhaps a couple of other platforms when it’s done. What’s more, I’ll give you a free copy in the format of your choice of the final product.

So, if you’d like to have a look, please email me and let me know, and tell me a little bit about yourself. Ladies, if you’d like to sign up your fella, please have him email me. I want to make sure he’s as enthusiastic as you are!

Thanks lovers, I can’t wait to share this book with all of you!

xo

The Facebook Cry for Help

I don’t ever want to be a chronic case, but every now and then, the ‘Facebook Cry for Help’ really gets you what you need.

This morning was another immensely challenging start to the day with Noah. I had let him play with my phone in bed, but then asked for it back to send an important text. He went postal and started with the punching and screaming. My initial approach was calm, explaining that hitting hurts, and if he kept hitting, he wouldn’t get the phone back. This didn’t work. I tried sympathizing with him, while still being firm. This didn’t work. Finally, I told him that if he kept hitting and kicking me, he would have to leave my room. I’m not proud of this, but when it continued and even ramped up to pinching (and trust me, the little monkey is quite strong) I plucked him from the bed, set him outside my room, and locked the door. Bad parenting, 100 percent.

Now, with the whole house awoken by the sounds of toddler screams, I didn’t need to send any texts. I got some helping hands from the other parents, and my bewildered tween gave me that look she gives when I’m feeling overwhelmed. A look of trepidation and uncertainty. I project onto this look, “She thinks I’m a terrible parent.” because I think I’m a terrible parent in this moment. Then my partner returns with my son, and she tells me he’s too young to have separation be a consequence for bad behavior. She’s right, of course, she usually is, but I’m falling so fast into the spiral I can’t hear her. Instead I break down, citing exhaustion (partially true) and ineptitude (what I believe is mostly true) as my reasons for making a mistake.

I made a mistake. I make lots of them. These mistakes are often around issues of parenting. Now that my animal brain is mostly switched off again, I’ll hazard that most parents do this. Here, the mistake is less of an issue than what happens inside my head when I make it.

Noah felt like the only thing I was really good at. I figured it was because I got to start from scratch with him. And maybe because of our biological tie. I told myself that I would always be great at Noah, and I could always hold on to that. Well guess what? Noah is approaching three, and I’m more and more feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m also thinking I put a crap load of unrealistic pressure on myself to be perfect.

The challenge isn’t parenting resources. There’s an abundance of those. The real thing that I need is to be able to love myself through my mistakes, and not fall into the well where I feel so terrible that I believe with great clarity (in those moments) that everyone is better off without me. How can anyone learn or grow from such a place? How do I stay away from there?

I posted a cry for help. I got lots of loving advice. These words of encouragement worked. I saw my pain reflected in others’ who have had similar experiences with failure feelings. I was gifted with this wonderful video created and produced by a Facebook friend, Tamara Levitt. If you are struggling with feelings of failure, you must invest ten minutes to watch this, it was beautiful.

My narrative started to shift. Maybe just admitting I was sucking at parenting made me a better parent because it opened doors to improvement? Maybe these profound feelings of shame are a clue that I need to access more self-love and compassion when I am feeling challenged? Maybe I should shelve my work responsibilities and spend the morning watching parenting videos? There were suddenly possibilities beyond “I should leave because I’m ruining everyone’s life.”

Progress is realizing how much faster that turn around has happened. A matter of hours today instead of days. It would have taken me days to feel worthwhile again, not long ago.

This morning after the other parents brought Noah downstairs to play, I had a good bawl. Then I splashed water on my face, got dressed, and went downstairs to try a restart. I got hugs from everyone, including the still wary Hannah. I played with Noah who was right as rain. I fed him, we snuggled, and then I took him to school where he got extra hugs and kisses from me when I dropped him off.

Next I’m going to set up a Skype session with my therapist so I can talk about self-love strategies. Avoiding the pit of despair will bolster me with the confidence I need to get through this challenging toddler time.

I’m not sure what else I can to do be better at this, but this is a start. And another lesson learned; keep breathing, ask for help, apologize, forgive and the shift from desperation and pain to possibility and hope is inevitable.

Poolside Pondering

Don’t you love those Mondays when you hit the ground running, totally organized, motivated and ready to start the week? I had the opposite of that this morning. Now as the dust has settled, I’m stealing a few moments for a bit of poolside pondering.

While I feel a near desperate need for productivity and routine, it seems that life, or more specifically, toddler-hood continues to conspire against me. This morning, I woke to the crankiest boy in the world. Screaming (primal) was his mode of communication. Kung-Fu took the place of cuddles (my bad, I let him watch Kung-Fu Panda, and now nobody is safe).  True, his molars are coming in. True he thinks it’s bullshit that his sisters get to stay home while he has to go to daycare three days a week. Still, what happened to my sweet little baby?

He refused to get dressed. He refused to eat breakfast. We started to run so far behind that I had to take him along to our vet appointment. This was a delight, of course, and by the time we were done he was happy to roll into his class and share his adventure with “the friends”. I got home wondering what the rest of the day would hold in store.

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So far, so good. I finished my final draft of the non-fiction book I’m working on. I managed to write this post. I’m currently acting as a lifeguard to my daughters and their friend who are splashing in the pool. Soon I will vacuum our house. My to-do list continues to get done, when I allow for some breathing space, some deviation from “the plan” rather than getting all wound up. When I tune into the needs of my children, who need at least one of us parents to be nearby while they eat up the lazy days of summer, I can still have my own little bit of productivity.

Lucky for me, I get to be their front line. I get to work poolside with a happy puppy snoring at my feet, paws wrapped around the bone she’s buried and dug up about five times now. I’m so grateful for our three-parent life, all of us working together to make our days full and happy. I’m so grateful for this new home, which will keep our children and their friends amused all summer.

How has your Monday surprised you?