Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I've decided to move this blog to a more creatively-named and all-inclusive one... Please follow me to hedgehogsandheartburn.blogspot.com

Friday, September 5, 2014


Wow. The week before school starts is always a little nerve-wracking for me and the kids but this year it was just insane. As I mentioned, Jackson is now living with us full-time, a decision that was made seven days (yes, days) before he started seventh grade. Now, were it up to me, I would say some rather unkind and harsh things to his mother both making this decision and choosing to make it so close to the start of school.

Austin and I also bought a minivan this last week. That involved about three days of test driving, negotiating, and researching cars. I hate car shopping with a passion but I'm also really good at it. Austin and I have completely opposite and complimentary styles of shopping - I'm all about numbers, practicality, and usefulness. He's much more interested in the "emotional" side of the transaction - how things feel, or look, or how we relate to the vehicles. It's an odd and maybe unusual combination but it tends to work well for us in making decisions.

So, with all of that going on, the HoH and D/s stuff kind of took a nosedive. I threw a fit Friday evening when things were all discombobulated and Austin just didn't know what to do with me. I refused to listen to him, or take a break, or be nice to him, or even try to breathe for a minute before getting on with the evening. The kids have a habit of all converging on our house asking questions, demanding food, and generally disrupting any sense of peace and tranquility I've managed to create during the time they were gone. It happens every other week so I really should be used to it but it still manages to rile me up just about every time.

Add in dealing with an ex-husband who has been uncharacteristically temperamental and demanding lately, my feelings about Austin's ex-wife and her choices that deeply affect our family, and my general level of anxiety and I become more than a handful.

Austin has backed off of trying to run things just because I can get so hard to handle and it's very difficult to maintain any kind of enforceable dynamic without the time and privacy to enforce it. It's not a choice he was actually eager to make but when the opportunity to carry through with a consequence for being rude to him did not become available over the course of five days, it just sort of lost its steam. He resigned himself to talking more and figuring out how to keep things from going to crisis to crisis, which has been mostly how we've been operating lately.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I feel like all I do here is complain about the hard times. Given that this blog is my place to work out what is troubling my mind or causing me to stumble, I guess that is to be expected. But what I have been complaining about so far seems almost insignificant in the face of the newest development in our family's life...

The middle child, the boy child, Jackson, is Austin's son. Jackson's mother, like my daughters' father, lives about 15 minutes away from our house (in the opposite direction, of course). All of which means we share custody of the children with our respective exes - one week at our house for all of them, then the next week they're all at their other parents' houses. It's a nice schedule that gives everyone a chance to be together while allowing Austin and me time to ourselves, much like we would have if we were a young couple just starting out.

Except things have gone seriously awry on the end where Jackson's mother is concerned. She has made some relationship choices over the last month (and more broadly over the last few years) that have led to her ultimately deciding she would rather focus on her relationship with her "boyfriend" than be actively involved in her son's life at a crucial time in his development.

(I have to stress that Jackson's upbringing until about a year ago was less than ideal and as a result he has rather significant anxiety, self-esteem, attention/focusing, and social/emotional problems, all of which impact his ability to participate and succeed in school despite (or in combination with) the fact that he is incredibly gifted academically. Cognitively he is well beyond where he ought to be. Socially and emotionally he is well behind where he ought to be and for most of his life has been incorrectly labeled as ADHD and subjected to numerous medications. It was not until earlier this year - already in middle school - that he stopped throwing violent screaming fits of rage and frustration.)

I know, having grown up with parents who split when I was about Jackson's age, how hard it is to understand why a parent might choose a new relationship instead of custody of a child, and how ultimately damaging it has been to my relationships with my parents. When I was thirteen my father moved several states away in order to marry a woman he re-met at a high school reunion. I barely saw him until I ended up living with him when, about a year later, my mother couldn't figure out how to help me overcome severe depression and instead decided to focus on her academic career. I felt abandoned and ignored by both of them for the majority of my adolescent years, something that haunts me to this day.

Knowing that my father or mother was several states away was a lot different than Jackson's situation will be. His mother is still living in the house in which he grew up, close enough that he can ride his bike there, with the man she is choosing over him. Jackson will still see her every other weekend and a day or two in between. But she is choosing, because her new boyfriend is isolating, controlling, manipulative, and has anger-management issues, to let go of her son in every important way and any way that matters to him.

It really worries me... what this will do to Jackson and what it will do to the rest of the family. I think I just need to focus on the long-term. It will, ultimately, benefit Jackson to be here almost full-time during the school year once he is over the shock and grief of being abandoned (for what I believe and I am positive he will correctly interpret as his mother being incredibly selfish, immature, irresponsible, gullible, and lacking in any kind of parenting morals, although I will NEVER say as much to him). He will continue to learn the skills he started to acquire last year regarding how to focus, learn, study, work, and succeed. He will continue to learn how to appreciate his strengths while acknowledging that areas of weakness are simply opportunities for practice and growth. He will learn how to recognize, understand, and act appropriately on his emotions. He will become a fine young man under the watchful and loving eyes of his father, me, and our amazingly hard-working family therapist.

But his mother? She has chosen a man Austin and I (from personal experience in an almost identical situation) believe is and has been emotionally and very potentially physically abusive to her and Jackson. All I can say is thank goodness Jackson will no longer be subjected to the manipulation, bullying, harassment, and violence his mother's boyfriend has brought to her house in the month he has lived there since returning from a year's absence overseas. She will continue to wander until she realizes the answers she needs are right there inside of her and until then, I wish her the best.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


"Come here."

"What?" Even though I'd heard him perfectly well.

"Come here!" 

"I'm doing my hair." Even though my legs are not at all involved in putting my hair up.

A pause. He picked up his tablet and started doing something else. I turned around.

"So every time you say 'Come here' and don't follow through, it's like the little boy who called wolf. Next time I'm going to wonder if I really have to pay attention and do what you say," I said.

He stood up, walked over to me, grabbed me by the hair, and guided me over to the bed, saying, "I said, 'Come here'." I grimaced when he got a good grasp of my hair.
When I was face down on the bed he said, "When I say 'Come here' are you going to listen?" 

I nodded and squeaked out a yes.

"Good. Give me a kiss." He let me kiss him then let me up. "Go do your hair."

I went back to my dresser and took my hair down to redo it. 

"That wasn't me that said that, by the way." I glanced back at him with my eyebrows raised.

"What? Who was it?" Austin looked like maybe he was afraid I'd been taken over by aliens.

"It was a helpful little Domestic Discipline elf, helping you out. It wasn't me." I smiled and turned back to my mirror. He laughed and went back to what he was doing. 

Friday, August 22, 2014


I have't told Austin about this blog yet. It seems like a more useful way for me to process things if I don't have to second-guess myself when I am writing, wondering what he might think about it. But it also allows me to write things without having to consider what he might think about it. Kinda like a two-edged sword, I guess.

Of course, now that I've written this, I will most likely tell him about it tonight. He knows, from long experience, that I work things out with words. He has read parts of my old blog and has mentioned that he found it extremely useful. I can tell he has picked up some techniques and phrases that I've experienced in the past so knowing what's going through my head now seems like it can only help.

Yesterday was... Well. Awful. Let's just leave it at that. Even worse than the day before because it wasn't just me in a bad mood, it was everyone in the family. All five of us were angry, annoyed, hot, frustrated, and just about at wits' end with each other. Austin got home late from work because of unforeseen problems with his commute. I lost my temper with my older daughter for pushing me too far on something we go around and around on almost every day. Dinner was late because Austin was late so everyone got too hungry. The two younger kids got in a huge argument that resulted in tears all around and me and Austin arguing in the garage (that has become our go-to spot for anything louder than a normal conversation since our house is too small for any real privacy for disagreements or punishments). A decision Austin made earlier in the day ended up with all of the kids displacing their anger toward him onto me and me being as equally frustrated at them. I had to deal with my ex-husband in a setting I hate, discussing topics over which he has become ridiculously upset in the recent past...


It was a mess.

Austin ended up separating me and the kids, giving me and them good talking-tos in turn, and exhausting himself trying to keep everything from just exploding. I came *this close* to being spanked for talking back to him about his decision to take the kids to ice cream but in the end he opted for a very cogent and forceful lecture instead. I was left at home alone (as an introvert I require alone-time to settle down) while he took the kids out (they needed to be distracted and have the pressure of being in public to get back on track), figured out fitting consequences for everyone (the boy will be doing the younger girl's chores for two days for saying some pretty awful stuff to her; the girls had to make me breakfast in bed for being disrespectful to me), and got the kids off to bed by himself.

Austin has stepped up to not only Head of Household but also parenting in an amazing way this last month. He has created a whole new picture of how we should operate as a family and has worked incredibly hard to make sure everyone starts heading in that direction. The lives of the five people in this house are so complicated - I can't even begin to explain it all - and I know how much effort trying to keep everyone on an even keel takes. Austin not only choosing to commit himself as an equal partner (what I'd been requesting for several months) but then putting himself directly in the line of fire as the leader of the family means as much to me as our engagement. His actions are a very real reflection of his thoughts and feelings, something I haven't often experienced in my life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I could very easily blame it on the weather. Or lack of sleep. Or the dog. Or the heat. Or the kids. But the bottom line (no pun intended) is that I was in a really bad mood, I didn't take care of myself, and I was my typical rude and disrespectful self to Austin yesterday evening.

One of the ongoing symptoms from a rather overwhelming bout of depression I experienced during the winter is insomnia. I normally take half of a sleeping pill to help me get to sleep, but more importantly, to help me stay asleep. Monday night I had the brilliant idea of not taking the sleeping pill to see what would happen. Well... that was not the smartest decision I've ever made. Probably actually not the smartest decision I've made this week. I ended up waking up at least four times and feeling my shoulder pain much more intensely than I usually do. So, come time to get up I was already tired and hurting and it just went downhill from there.

By the time Austin got home I was in a state. I do need to take a moment to point out that he called to tell me he was on his way home so I started the more complicated part of dinner so he could help me when he arrived. He didn't come through the door until at least 15 minutes after he said he would, I was trying to juggle too many things by myself, and I was pissed. I would barely talk to him and when he did explain what happened he said he stopped to talk to a neighbor on his way into the house.

Austin and I have discussed before how much I count on him to say what he means and mean what he says. If he gives me a specific time frame for something I will generally double check with him to make sure he really means it, just so I know I can count on him. Making stops on the way home without telling me is something we have talked about many times, as recently as last week, so I felt especially frustrated and disappointed when it happened again.

After a few hours of edgy silence, Austin trying to take care of me by being sweet, me just feeling horrible in any number of ways, and Austin eventually lecturing me on how important it is that I speak respectfully and kindly to him no matter what, he'd had enough. When he got back from running a few errands (most of the time I sat in the car and either pouted, cried, or listened to him lecturing me) he directed me into our detached garage before we made it to the house and the kids saw us. I got even more pouty and hesitant when I realized what he was doing but he insisted. After another brief statement of how much he loves me and how strongly he is pushing me to change the way I interact with him he whacked my bottom a few times with his bare hand. He is strong enough and practiced enough that it hurt. A lot.

That was all I needed to start sobbing for real. Tired, hot, overwhelmed, frustrated, confused... I just sobbed into his shoulder and felt myself going soft in the way that only happens when I finally let myself surrender to Austin. It doesn't happen very often but every time it does I just wonder why I can't do it more often. Why does it take him getting really upset with me? Why does it take me being completely broken down by just about everything in life? Why can't I just let go and soften, surrender to him, whenever it is appropriate?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rules and Requirements

(The funniest part of this post is that I had to stop halfway through writing it to go do some of these things...)

There are a few things Austin requested right off the bat, as soon as he really figured out how much I thrive on routine and accountability. Some of these go beyond the typical Domestic Discipline framework and incorporate more of the Dominant/submissive vibe. That's just how we do things around here...

When Austin calls to tell me he is on his way home from work I am to have the following completed by the time he gets home, approximately 8 - 10 minutes later :
- Have a pair of his shorts and a t-shirt laid out on his side of the bed, along with his flip-flops
- Have a glass of iced tea waiting for him on the kitchen counter
- Have his mail on his desk
- Any mess the puppy has made in the living room is to be cleaned up - pieces of cardboard I give him to chew on or toys spread around the room
- Be prepared to give him a kiss and pause my work to spend 15 minutes chatting with him, including updating him on my plans for the evening and next day.

Since I work from home the majority of the time it is very easy for me to start working some time mid-afternoon and forget to stop when he gets home. This used to lead to one of those downward spiral things where I was so focused on my work that he felt ignored so he chose not to pay attention to me which I, in turn, took to mean he didn't want to talk. Often it would end up with both of us feeling slighted and annoyed without either of us ever meaning to offend the other. Now when he calls I finish up what I'm doing, figure out what I need to complete before I go to bed, and glance at my schedule for the next day.

Other things I am required to do:
- Be in bed by 10:30 pm, ready for him to rub my shoulder to help it feel better, with lights out at 10:45
- Wear my perfume every day because he likes the way it smells
- Ask him or one of the kids to scrub the kitchen counter so I don't irritate my shoulder
- Speak respectfully and kindly to him, no matter what

That last one is the biggest and most pervasive rule. It causes me the most problems and is the only thing that has earned me a negative consequence thus far. It is definitely an area I need to improve and one that continues to bother both of us in many ways. It has always been very easy for me to slip into annoyance, frustration, anxiety, or criticism and Austin isn't putting up with it any more, much to his credit.