Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Moment Of Dog Mom Clarity While Eating The Best Ravioli We've Ever Had

Earlier this week, I started creating new DIY Dog Mom Projects. I've got close to a dozen that I'm currently working on. My goal was to finish them by the end of the week. However, it ended up being a weird week. I didn't get a chance to finish. Last week, I wrapped up the last 6-week project for a client. I've been tackling these various 6-week projects for over a year. In addition, last year was crazy. Between these 6-week projects, Lisa's promotion, Lyme, Mono, and other miscellaneous mishaps, I put a considerable amount of stuff I wanted and needed to get done on the back burner. Now, I don't have to do that. I can focus on my work.

That's where the weirdness of it all set in. 

Over the past year, I had gotten into a routine of sorts. On the weekends, I spent most of my time working on DIY Dog Mom Projects. During the week, I'd cram with working on this blog, social media, and other Dog Mom stuff on certain days. Then, I'd spend most of 3 days working on the 6-week projects. It wasn't just the work I had to produce for the deadlines. There was a lot of reading and research involved too.

This week, I realized that without having to contend with the 6-week projects and all the happenings of last year, I had to switch my schedule up a bit.


For me, that was weird. At times, I found myself caught up in the old routine. Out of habit. Then, I would mutter, "Wait. Wait. No. You don't have to rush through this or cram or spend the weekend working on DIY Dog Mom Projects." I'd stop what I was doing, take a deep breath in and exhale.

I felt a little lost and disconcerted. I continuously questioned every task and chore that I did.

"Should I do this now?"

"Should I do this later because I'm able to do it later?"

"What days should I work on DIY Dog Mom Projects?"

"How many hours in the morning should I dedicate to working on the blog and social media?"

"Should I utilize more time on the weekend for desk work or continue to work on DIY Dog Mom Projects?"

I went through all the PostIt Notes and to-do lists on my desk.

I paced.

I spent a little time each day watching the birds graze our buffet of feeders.

I got a lot accomplished, but I couldn't get rid of the sinking feeling that I had gotten nothing done.

I drove myself nuts.

Lisa could tell I was frazzled yesterday when she called during her lunch break. I attempted to explain how I was feeling, but I wasn't quite there yet.

She ended up getting out of work late. I suggested that she come right home instead of venturing to the grocery store for our weekly shopping. Lisa was more than happy with that idea. She was tired.

Five minutes after hanging up, she sent a text.

"May I buy my beautiful wife dinner tonight?"

Um. Yeah.

"We'll eat dinner at the table, play some cards, and talk."

We ordered dinner from a great Italian restaurant down the street. We played a few hands of Skip-Bo. Talked. By that time, I was there. I was able to explain things fluently and to express some frustrations that'll be surfacing over the next couple of weeks.

Lisa listened as we ate and played cards.

For the first time all week, I felt at ease. That was apparent in my tone of voice and tension level. Lisa noticed it too.

"You work at home. I work outside of the home. I will never fully understand what you go through as a Work at Home Dog Mom. And, as many times as I talk about the stress and frustrations of my work, you'll never fully understand what it's like on my end."

She paused for a minute. We each took another bite of the best ravioli we've ever eaten. A sip of ginger ale.

"What I do understand is the need to vent. Open. Honestly. Or, as you say, in the raw. I think we need to go back to eating dinner at the kitchen table every night. Even on the weekends. I miss it. We used to talk about our days and that was our time to connect regardless of how crazy and busy our day was."

It didn't take long for me to reply.

"I agree. I think so too. Let's do it."

We finished our dinner. Continued to chat. Played cards.

By the time we got up to clear the table and take the kids out, we had restored and freshened up our sense of balance in the realm of all things work.

Neither of us will fully understand what the other goes through on the work front.

There are certain things neither of us can do for the other to assist with work stuff. I can't spend the day with Lisa at work and help her out with projects and such. She can't take days off to be with the kids so I can have quiet or uninterrupted time to do my work.

What we can do is what we've been doing. Going the extra mile when the other has a stressful, long, and/or chaotic day. When Lisa has exceptionally long days, I make sure she has nothing to do when she gets home except to unwind and relax. On days when I get very little work done because there's an abundance of surrounding noise causing the kids to go nuts, Lisa never fails to jump in with whatever needs to be done when she gets home from work.

We just do it. 

What we can do in addition to that is go back to eating dinner at the kitchen table every night to connect. Vent. Talk. Crack a few jokes. Chat about what's coming up in the days ahead.


We've learned that it doesn't matter how much balance there is on the home front. It doesn't matter how much we do to help each other out.

As I learned this week, the failure to communicate on my end sent me into a state of disarray. That state had nothing to do with what Lisa did or didn't do. I knew that. It was a matter of shuffling my schedule around and adhering to a different routine. That's not something Lisa can do for me. I knew that too.

It boiled down to not communicating the struggle behind all of it. I've been down this road before. I went through the same thing.

Lisa said something during our dinner chat last night that put things into perspective.

"You've been a Work at Home Dog Mom since the day we moved into our home. I don't think you realize how many times you've had to adjust your schedule and routine. Think about each time our family got bigger or when we fostered kittens that needed to be bottle fed. Or, when Lobo first arrived as a foster and needed round the clock care during his recovery. Or, when you took on new clients. When we launched Bodacious Biscuit Love. I've always admired the way you've been able to adjust. I know it hasn't been easy. Far from. But, you did it. And look at our life now. Look at all of our accomplishments. You're amazing and incredibly talented. You've made it work."

I could feel the lump in my throat. I felt as if I was trying to swallow a gigantic wad of chunky peanut butter.

"Things will fall into place quickly as they always do. You'll find your rhythm again. This is your year. You're going to do great stuff. You've got this. We've got this."

When I woke up this morning, I didn't feel the weight that had been on my shoulders all week. I didn't feel the pressure of feeling as if I had to get everything immediately situated. I felt lighter. There was clarity.

I'll be spending the weekend at my desk so I can conquer my to-do lists and the online stuff that got pushed to the back burner over the past year.

During our coffee chat this morning, I discussed my tentative plans on how I'd shuffle my schedule around.


I've got this.

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