Sunday, February 28, 2016

Answers to questions: schedule, consistency, and PMS

Hello there, readers! We made it to our vacation destination and are having a truly lovely time. Since my body is still wired to get up several hours before the rest of my family, I'm still working on writing and blogging and other “work-related” endeavors (though I can hardly call it work because I enjoy it so much!) when everyone is sleeping.

In the past few weeks, I've had several questions come my way that I've answered in turn, but since these particular questions have been asked by so many of you over time, I thought it might be beneficial for me to answer at length in a post that may reach more of you. I was going to do separate posts but thought it might be easier to answer in one post.

Thanks to those who took time to write to me and ask these questions. Not only does it help others who are learning to grow into their dynamic realize they're not alone, it helps me process through when I respond. So, thank you. 

Without further adieu, here goes. 

When my husband tells me he's going to punish me, then he doesn't follow through, I'm left feeling disappointed. I don't understand why I'm disappointed, and I don't know what to do about this situation. 

This is an extremely common problem, especially early on when couples are still learning how this whole dynamic works for them, and those within the community usually categorize this issue as one of “consistency.” I wrote a little bit about this in a post above that you may find helpful: “Why do I want to be punished?” and I'll explain my own opinion in more detail here. 

Most of us who desire a D/s dynamic find we are erotically attracted to either the dominance, discipline, control, or all of the above. Not everyone is, but in my observation, the vast majority find the exchange of power and discipline to be deeply erotic. It's a turn-on to know our man is strong and capable. The fact that Jason won't put up with my nonsense is actually very erotic to me. He is stern, and as Jason said in his recent post, I like knowing my man is strong. Intuitively, those of us who crave this dynamic find that we feel safer and protected when we are in the presence of a man who is loving and kind, but no-nonsense. It's hot. He's the alpha male, leader of the pack, willing and able to defend our honor and slay our dragons. 


But it can be confusing at first, because punishment isn't really something most people desire. Punishment is meant to be avoided. It wouldn't make sense for me to drive down the street at a breakneck speed in the hopes of getting a speeding ticket (and the spanking of my life lol). We don't really want to be punished. If we did, then this dynamic wouldn't work. We'd be constantly disobeying and acting up to incur punishment. 

That said, it doesn't mean that we don't desire the expectation of obedience and the comfort of knowing if we disobey, he will follow through. Take my speeding analogy. How would it feel if tomorrow, your city lifted the speed limit, and you could drive as fast as you wanted to with no fear of punishment? I think it would feel unsettling and scary to not have those boundaries we've come to appreciate and respect. Desiring discipline isn't the same as wanting to be punished. I love knowing that Jason is stern and uncompromising, even if at times I want to rail against him and fight back against my restrictions (and even if, at times, I do). I love that he cares enough about me to guide me, lead me, and discipline me when I need it. It makes me respect him. And because I'm erotically attracted to his dominance, it makes me more attracted to him. 

How, then, do we deal with this? Well, it's not uncommon when a submissive is told she will be punished and then isn't, for her to throw an absolute fit (Been there, done that, don't recommend it). We feel we've worked so hard at submitting, and all we ask is for consistency. Why don't they give us what we need? Well, there are many reasons. In some cases, the dominant partner feels mercy is needed. He may think he reacted too harshly at first. Maybe he's tired and not up for following through with discipline. Maybe he still hasn't reconciled his own questions with how this dynamic works. In any event, I'll address both the submissive and the dominant here. 

Submissives: if your dominant partner doesn't follow through with discipline, take heart. All is not lost. Try not to act out on this because you feel hurt or let down. It's normal to feel let down after you've experienced the excitement building up to what you've worked at – the elusive D/s dynamic – only to find out he wasn't going to follow through. We feel intuitively that if he doesn't follow through, we aren't important to him, and that he doesn't really mean what he says. We may feel less respect for him, because we want him to be that strong, stern leader that makes us feel safe and protected. Simply re-focus yourself on submitting. Obey what he says. Apologize for what you've done wrong, and accept his not disciplining you as an extension of mercy. Do communicate how you feel in a submissive manner, and by this I mean don't try to manipulate him or act passive aggressively. Simply tell him, “I feel off when I expected to be punished and wasn't,” or “I feel unsettled about what happened. Can you help me?” Your job in this is to both communicate effectively and accept his decision. His lack of follow through is not an excuse to be disrespectful or disobedient in turn. Re-commit yourself to obeying and acting respectfully. That's a choice you make, not contingent on his actions. And don't be discouraged. This is a very common growing pain nearly every couple must experience. 

Dominants: She needs this from you. Maybe you are tired, or don't understand what she wants from you, but I urge you to take some time to understand her (maybe this will help). She wants you to desire her obedience and submission. If she's broken a rule, far better to be firm and unyielding than grant her mercy. She usually doesn't need mercy when you're just beginning. Better to be stern than lenient, because it's when you discipline her that she feels she's important to you. 



Question two: When I'm hormonal (have PMS) we struggle. I get irritable and that makes him angry. He withdraws. Everything sets me off. I think we've come to the end of all of this, and that he no longer wants to be my Dominant. I get in more trouble. It seems cyclical; every single month we go through these challenges. Do you struggle with this? How do you and Jason deal with it? 


Oh, boy, do I struggle with this. Yes. In the D/s community, it's very common that couples begin this when they are older, empty-nesters and the like, and it's not uncommon that the hormone issues are no longer pressing. But for the rest of us? Oh yeah, this is a seriously big issue. 

I remember chatting with a very good friend of mine, a long-term submissive, and I said to her, “I don't know why but I feel so off.” She simply replied, “Are you hormonal?” I told her yes, and she said, “Say no more.” Bingo. In thirty seconds, she diagnosed my issue. 

I cannot even tell you how many submissives have written to me about this struggle. Things are going well. We've made headway! Things are going the way they're supposed to, all is right with the world and then bam! We're off kilter again. I'm crying over everything, he's angry, I haven't been spanked in ages, and this is a wash! 

Nah. Not really. We've all been there. 

A few years ago, Jason refused maintenance for me, because he didn't see it as necessary. This was before our morning check-in's. I really wished he would give me maintenance or stress relief but he didn't think so. Then, enter my raging hormones. Finally, and I remember this vividly, we were circling the parking lot in a shopping plaza and he said, “You know, there's a doctor who found a cure for the PMS blues. His name is Dr. Ben Dover.” (Get it? Very punny). He went into the store and bought our (atrocious, awful, don't ever buy this damn thing) bamboo back scratcher and announced he had the cure for pms. And thus began the institution of what Jason called “Pms Maintenance.” For many months, that was the only maintenance I would get, a good, hard spanking a few days before my cycle started. 

Now, things are different and I get daily maintenance (check in spanking, we call it) but when my hormones start raging, instead of withdrawing as he used to, Jason does the opposite. He takes full control. 

I'm sent to bed earlier. He insists I watch my water and food intake (especially refined carbs) and spanks me hard if I don't. I've learned. I do what I'm supposed to. He makes me get regular cardio exercise in. He's very strict with me when I'm hormonal. Interactions with the “crazy makers” (people who make me crazy) is extremely limited. I'm much more apt to be silly and take things personally, so I'm restricted from social media. He gives me hard maintenance at least once a day (often twice, before he leaves for work and before I get to bed). He doesn't give an inch. In short, when I'm hormonal he keeps me on a very short leash, and you know what? It works. It really does. 


Question three: I don't know how you have time to do everything that you do, with raising kids and writing books, blogging and your time with Jason. What does your schedule look like? Can you share it with us? 


I've had so many people write to me lately and ask for my schedule, that I've promised I would share it. Before I do, a bit of a disclaimer. 

Jason and I have a large family. I write professionally, and I am also home with my children during the day. I  have a strict exercise regimen. In order for me to achieve everything I want and need to do on a regular basis, from writing and getting my books published, to blogging regularly, to spending ample time with my children, to making sure my house is tidy, and also spending time with Jason, it became almost essential for me to have a schedule. 

This will not work for everyone.

Jason asked me to sit down and write down every single thing I wanted to do on a weekly basis. Then, he asked me to write down how much time I would need for each goal or activity. I was asked to come up with my schedule because it made more sense than Jason coming up with one, not knowing how much time I would need for things like, writing, or doing laundry, etc. After I drafted my schedule, he went over it with me and we trialed it, then tweaked it, and now he holds me accountable to it. 

He is not a drill sergeant with it but he does hold me accountable. For example, recently my very best friend suffered the loss of a family member. She is Jason's good friend, too. I was available for her at times I'm normally not allowed to chat or talk, because she needed me. Jason understood that and I knew he would. I did not get in trouble for changing up my schedule. We call this “making an executive decision.” If I need to make a decision in the moment to veer from my plan, then I simply tell him why. He completely understood and agreed that I did the right thing. 

So what would not be allowed? Taking an impromptu trip to do errands when I'm supposed to be doing chores. Chatting with a friend during my scheduled writing time. Deciding to skip my morning run in favor of surfing the web. Going to bed late because I was writing a blog post. All of those things would get me in trouble and have. I've been removed from online activity, grounded from my phone, sent to bed early, or spanked. This is how he holds me to my schedule, and this is how I'm able to fit in everything that's important to me. 

Now, I'm a type-A kinda girl. I like structure, and routine. I crave it. So this works well for me. A strict schedule like mine would not work for everyone, nor would everyone need it. But there are many who would do well with structure and routine, and this is why I'll share with you a snippet of my typical schedule.

Typical Monday schedule: 

5 a.m. Wake. Coffee. Writing time. 
6:30-7:30 Running (clothes laid out the night before)
7:30 Bring Jason his coffee. 
8:00 Check in (required to have my food plan and to-do list ready for the day)
9:00 Jason goes to work. 

Now here my daily routine varies, based on the day of the week but it's scheduled. During the day I have slots for: work, ample time with my kiddos, assigned chores he expects me to manage on certain days of the week, slotted breaks for me (when kids get their media time), work time for me (when I do social media, editing, and correspondence) and activities we do with the kids. I'm only allowed on my phone or computer during scheduled times. No veering from my daily schedule without permission. 

5:00 Jason home. Check in. He goes over my day with me while the kids have some independent time. This works for us because we have older kids who watch the younger ones, and they know this is our private time to check in. 

6:00 Jason likes dinner ready by six. 
7:00 clean up, prepare for the next day, read to kids, etc. I'm usually toast by now and Jason takes over. 
8:00 sit with younger kids as they go to sleep and I'm allowed to chat or read and I often spend time with Jason.
10:00 bedtime, unless I'm exhausted and he tells me early bed. Lights out, phone and book down for the night.

This varies on other days. On Thursdays my kids have extracurriculars so I get several hours of writing time in the morning and hit the gym in the afternoon. Thursday evenings I'm sometimes (but not always) allowed to stay up later for work-related chats. On Saturdays after my gym class, Jason takes the kids for several hours so I can have dedicated writing time. Saturday nights are almost always date nights (either in house or we go out). Sundays we have family brunch. 

We also have a few systems in place that really work. I only have so much mental energy, so we have routines that help. I have schedule gym activities (weight lifting on certain days, cardio on others) a monthly meal plan (soup on Thursday, pizza on Friday, etc., and I get two nights off per week from cooking (take out or Jason cooks). I have a monthly cleaning plan we all follow, and that way we all stay on top of the house being cleaned, laundry, etc. 

We are committed to raising our family and spending ample time with each other, so as highly introverted people, we do not commit to a lot outside our home. My interaction socially is limited. I don't run around doing errands but plan and streamline them. The kids do have their activities, and we are blessed with very good friends. But I only go out in the evenings with friends about once a month, and I don't commit to other activities. Our commitment to raising a family and a D/s dynamic takes ample time and so does my writing, so this is the type of schedule that works for us. Jason likes knowing I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing, and he loves seeing me achieve my goals. I am so much more productive now that we have this schedule and he helps me with it. I feel well rested, in good health, and I feel I have time in my life for all that's important to me. 



I hope my answers to these questions you've all asked have been helpful. Please let me know if I can elaborate on any of the answers above and I'll be happy to (when my schedule says I can lol). 

8 comments:

  1. I wonder what my husband will think of this post :-).

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    1. I wonder, too. lol!

      I hope it's helpful, in whatever way you need.

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  2. I'm not sure I could deal with that much supervision (water, food, etc) or hard spankings once or twice a day when hormonal as I have very heavy periods to begin with. But I do know that some sternness helps me with attitude control at that time of the month. I think I would be hiding in my room to stay out of trouble!

    Everyone I know says social media and even just watching news or phone calls wastes so much of their time(guys too), that I can see how you have freed up more time. One question pops out at me looking at your schedule up til 8 or 8:30: where are all your kids? Do your older ones have to be responsible for the younger ones getting up, dressed, fed, etc.?
    I hope you have a little flexibility on this vacation for everyone!

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    1. I'm sure a lot of people would find this type of schedule and routine too restrictive. I don't, but I do understand that many wouldn't like it. To each his own, I guess. It's also not something that may work for all seasons of life. It's totally possible that I will need less (or more) from Jason over time. But, it works for now.

      As far as the social media, it's true. I limit it (and I don't watch tv). I would just prefer doing other things with my time.

      To answer your question, all my kids are old enough to dress themselves and most are capable of getting their own breakfast (though I do occasionally make eggs, oatmeal, etc). They are downstairs when I check in with Jason. Sometimes the older kids feed the younger ones and sometimes I feed them. Though we have our morning check-in every day, it's not a long time and I'm available when we're done.

      Oh, and yes, definitely there's more flexibility on vacation! That's sort of the beauty of vacatoin. But because I enjoy the structure, I find I'm always eager to return to normal when it's over. :)

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  3. Even your bottom? I can't help but ask teasingly,of course, to your last statement on returning to normal.

    In all seriousness, thank you for answering our burning questions and offering your experience and insight.
    Regarding pms, it sounds like spanking is used more for stress relief and perhaps increasing focus? Besides attitude that lots of us struggle with at this time, did you notice other things like forgetfulness increasing during this time which added more potential for risky behavior and/or an increase in other infractures? Is so, has discipline been effective with something related directly to hormones?

    Thank you for sharing your schedule. This is the area we are focused on currently. I am curiousas to where in the progression of your relationship did you develop this? Was it early on? Before or after daily check ins were established? Was this something you asked for? How long did it take to get up and running? How are things different before having a schedule and now having one?

    Thanks again for the continued dialogue.

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    1. LOL. My bottom is actually totally normal. We're talking about Sir Spanksalot here. I've been spanked daily! We have a rental house with lots of privacy, so it's all good! ;)

      Yes, during PMS "maintenance" it is both stress relief and helps me focus. J and I never have done "bootcamp" but I think that the time before PMS is closest to that. It does help with things like forgetfulness, and before he got very strict with me I used to constantly get in trouble during this time. Discipline was sort of effective for a time, but really what's mostly helpful is that he takes control the way he does. It removes the mental energy component for me. No need to question things, just do what he says. I should've maybe mentioned that he does the very same during other stressful times when I find focus difficult, like the holidays. Gives me strict guidelines and frequently checks in on my progress and emotional state. It helps a great deal.

      As to the schedule, both the schedule and bedtime came a few years in with me and Jason. Check-in's were far earlier on. Before he did the schedule and bedtime, he did help in other ways, by restricting media time and only allowing things like texting when my jobs were done, and if I were tired he would tell me when he wanted me in bed. But the stricter focus came much later.

      I'm happy to answer questions if it will help anyone. I just want to be clear that because this is such a highly personal dynamic, what works for one will not work for another, and even the needs of the couple changes over time. I know you get this, Jo, but it's important enough to bear repeating with the larger readership. Thanks!

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    2. Yes, for sure. Your dynamic with J is yours alone, beautiful and sacred and I hope any of us reading your work understands the inspiration you offer;not an exact blueprint on how this is done. Thank you for answering my questions. You response points to the incremental development of the DD and D/s dynamic not something that is decided and implemented in one big swoop. This is also a good reminder. Thanks again.

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    3. Thanks, Jo. That's exactly it. Each couple has to find what works for them, and the way that all works takes time, experience, and trial and error. It's my hope that in sharing what Jason and I have experienced, we can help othes see that it isn't always easy, but very much worth the effort.

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