Hi...I'm Renee!

I'm a busy mom who uses mindless-creativity to easily calm my mind, ignite my joy + savor life. Learn more here.

My Heart Is Full Of Mama 'Doggie' Guilt

My Heart Is Full Of Mama 'Doggie' Guilt

Ah, Rusty!

My first baby.  We got him the week after I moved to Guam.  D had been there for a year already.  So once I arrived, we talked about getting a dog right away.

We went to the only pet store on the island, and there he was, in the back (away from everyone) dying to be seen.  We walked over and fell in love with his cuteness.  They told us he had kennel cough and that's why he was in the back away from the other dogs.

He nibbled our fingers with his sharp, puppy teeth and showered us with his energy.  We walked over to see the other dogs who were just laying back and relaxing without a care in the world.

While standing there, I notice a water bowl flying up into the air, several times, where soon-to-be-Rusty was (we couldn't actually see him at this point because he was behind a shelf).

I thought, "That's the one! He's got spunk.  He's cute.  And what a personality!!"

We left without a puppy to "think" about it and hours later we were back purchasing "the chubby one" - his nickname from everyone on the island.

We loved his spunk and all, but let me tell you, he gave me a whirlwind of a ride during his first year as a puppy.

Because the island was full of, what everyone called, boonie dogs (dogs that roamed in packs and didn't have homes), we always kept him by us on leash.

They're weren't any fenced-in parks for him either.  So, his play time was mainly walking on the shoreline of the beach and being smothered by all the Japenese tourists who flocked to the beach from the nearby hotels they were staying at (what a life, right?).  You definitely don't have to speak the same language to know if someone LOVES dogs! :)

I've never thought of Rusty as hyper.  Only full-of-energy. He LOVES life (and FOOD!).

Here's a glimpse of his puppy energy.  While trying to get our first family holiday picture, he was more interested in grabbing the ball off of D's Santa Hat.  He knows how to make us smile and laugh.

And here he is trying to tear up the leftover cardboard from the wrapping paper so I'll chase him and give him attention (he did this with my shoes, too).

And then stuffing the stocking in his mouth so, yep, I can chase him. (Yeah, he's really a lot like Marley from Marley and Me, which by the way, I've never watched because just knowing what happens at the end makes me want to cry.)

We were stuck in a condo on the 4th floor and he was SO SCARED to go downstairs because the garbage truck freaked him out when we first brought him home.  We literally had to drag him down the elevator so he could do his thing.

So, yeah, I don't blame him.  Not the right living conditions for him.

He's a wonderful world traveler.  He's flown from Australia (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he was born there) to Guam.  From Guam to Hawaii and then from Hawaii to Florida and then Florida to Virginia and then Virginia to Louisiana. Whew! :)  So thank goodness for that!

And, all during those traveling times, he relaxed more.  To the point that he was never around me much during the day. Before having C, he would wait ALL day by the window or the door for D to get home.  ALL day!!  The only time he was around me was breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The first year C was born, he was pretty much the same way, but once C started to become more mobile, things began to change.

He's now constantly under my feet.  He follows me EVERYWHERE!!  He follows C everywhere when she has food. The only time he leaves my side is when C goes down for her nap and when we start getting her ready for bed. And, he chooses NOT to listen to me.

This mama is NOT used to it.  I'm SO busy taking care of C that I forget about him.  So it's like he has to be under my feet so I pay attention to him.

I take him and C on walks and he just wants to do his own thing and pulls me and stops every minute to leave his mark. Drives.me.nuts!!

When I cook, I'm constantly tripping over him.  When he has to go outside to do his thing, he goes super fast and then BARKS to come back in not even 5 minutes later.  He's grabbed C's breakfast waffle and left her in tears.  And when he REALLY wants my attention, he goes back to his puppy days and grabs one of C's toys and wants me to chase him for it.

Talk about trying to be a CALM MAMA!  Oh man!

I have many days where I'm so stressed with him and I go to bed at night full of guilt and tears because I'm upset with the way I feel about him.

I have many days that I just want to give him to my parents for a few months (or years) because my parents adore him and spoil him like no other and he LOVES playing with their Golden Retriever, Roxy, in their fenced-in backyard.

I have many days that I start with saying to myself, "Today I'll have patience with Rusty" and then a few minutes later, I'm already stressed with him.

My heart aches because I can't give him the attention that he deserves right now.  I have SO much going on with my toddler that I completely forget about him.  And, deep down, I know he'd love the attention at my parents house.

BUT, I just can't seem to do it.

C LOVES him!!  We go outside and they're play buddies.  She talks about him non-stop - even on our drives home to the house.  As soon as we get off the highway, she says, "We're gonna see Rusty!" over and over and over.

I also LOVE having him for protection, too.

But I know lowering my stress level is more important than anything else right now.  So now, I keep him in the back room when I feel like I'm about to lose my mind with him.  As soon as I do,  I immediately get a spa like, aaaahhhhh, feeling (which makes me feel bad at times) throughout my body.

The hardest time is when I'm cooking dinner during the week.  D isn't home yet when I start. I never know if C is going to be content or SCREAM for something.  I'm starting to get VERY tired. And my neighbors dogs are CONSTANTLY barking!

(My neighbors homes are super close to us.  One one side, 3 dogs BARK.ALL.DAY.LONG, literally from 7 am until 10 pm, because they want to go inside - they're not outside dogs. It sounds like they're right in my kitchen.  Once their inside, which is at 10 pm, an hour later, our other neighbor's dog begins to bark, at 11 pm, which is right outside my bedroom window...so...I feel like I live in a kennel sometimes...and...sometimes...this has me in tears walking to the guest bedroom to sleep because I just want peace and quiet to recharge. I remember when I taught elementary school and when I'd leave for the day, I'd drive without the radio on to savor the quiet (and that's SO not like me...I LOVE to blast my music!).  Well, these days, I can't go anywhere in my home to not hear the barks. The only time is when I'm in the shower, running water for a bath or blow drying my hair.  Oh man...OK!  I'll stop complaining now, because I'm really trying to see this in a different light. :) )

Some days are better than others and I realized that these dogs are helping to be grateful for Rusty because he may be under my feet all day long, but he doesn't bark all day long. When he goes out back and he's getting barked at from both sides, he could care less.  So, yes, VERY grateful for that.

When I look at the entire picture - I can handle tot trantrums (for the most part) pretty well...yes, they get to me and the screams make me feel so uncomfortable and completely drain me, but I don't lose my head as often as I think I do.  Teaching 3-year-olds all the way up to 12th grade helped me with this.

But when it comes to taking care of a tot with a dog CONSTANTLY under my feet...different story. If I had taught 24 kids and a few dogs running around, I would have been prepared for this...but, right now, I'm not.

So in the end, I see that Rusty is currently my #1 teacher.  He's here to show me to be even more patient and take even more care of myself so I can handle him better.

He could also be teaching me what it's like (well, somewhat) IF I have baby #2.  Because he's literally like, "No, that's MY toy" and grabs it away from C when she's playing with it.

I also keep telling myself that once C is a little older, it'll get better with him, too...right?

I LOVE this furry guy SO much!!  And, I never, ever thought I'd be this frustrated with him after having my kiddo.

So who knows...I may have my parents take him for a few months, or I may just keep embracing patience. For now, that's the route I'm on - patience, patience, patience!

But what I know for sure, being a mama to a tot and a dog is definitely one of the hardest jobs I've ever had.  I'm doing the best I can and I do get through those stressful days.

I just have to remember to give him some LOVE everyday (much easier said than done when my hands are full of toddler to-do's and when he's all up on me when I'm cooking and on the floor playing with C) because he still makes me laugh and smile even when I'm SUPER frustrated with him.

Rusty, I love you SO SO much and you're keeping me on my toes, but most of all, you're teaching me to be patient, kind, understanding and grateful.

I'll be a better Mommy!  I promise!

:: Did you have dog (s) before having kids?  If so, how do you stay calm and patient with them and how do you remind yourself to give them the attention they deserve everyday?  I'd love to hear because I think us mama's need all the support we can get in this area! :)  ::

{life IS love}

{BE Calm Mama!} Breathe and Let Go...

{BE Calm Mama!} Breathe and Let Go...

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