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My Rant Regarding Family, Work and Horses-UPDATE

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    My Rant Regarding Family, Work and Horses-UPDATE

    Okay, before I start, let me be the first person to acknowledge how lucky I am in many ways. I have a home, work I love and find fulfilling and a family that I love with a fierce passion. And I am surrounded by animals. My dogs and my horses. House cats. My Toy Poodle settles in and sleeps on my chest when I read at night in bed. He is like a living, breathing weighted blanket that slows down the anxiety I often deal with as I struggle to make "everything work" in my life.

    Rant time: I have had this weekend as a home alone situation. My husband and my 19 year old son are out of town until this afternoon. I live for these weekends. They happen once or twice a year and I revel in being alone. I eat when and what I want. I stay up late reading and don't get nagged at to turn off the light. I try to mix my own cocktails. I think about how my life would be different if I hadn't become a Mom and a wife. And I am always glad to see them when they get home.

    I am kind of neat and tidy myself. My husband has ADHD and can't focus long enough to get much done. My son is cluttered, but keeps that clutter mostly in his room. The first thing I like to do when I have a home alone weekend is to pick up a little. I like to enjoy leaving home and then coming back to things still where I left them.

    This weekend I have spent most of my time cleaning. My oldest son dumped his untrained, wild Pit Bull on us six months ago. It was supposed to be for a couple of months. They can't find a rental that will take a Pit Bull, and he is still here. He has separation anxiety and can't be crated or left in a bedroom. Nor can he have the run of the house with my little dogs because he is young and like a bull in a china shop. So my little dogs are left locked up in my bedroom, while the Pit has the living room. I have had to shampoo the rugs twice in two days because he can't seem to aim his bum over the potty pads I have to leave out for him. Oh, and he pulls books off the book case and shreds them. All over the living room.

    But before I can shampoo I have to tinker with the vacuum because my 19 year old seems to think that he can suck any old thing up with it when he vacuums his room. I spent almost three hours yesterday unclogging the darn thing. I was planning on riding yesterday afternoon. By the time I made it out to the barn, I was tired, dirty and feeling sorry for myself that my "me time" turned into a "pick up sixty thousand socks my husband left scattered around the house time" and "unclog the vacuum from a week old clog that stinks like cat poop time".

    What the heck? How am I ever going to get my mare going if all my energy is being spent of picking up after people? I leave the house at 7:30 in the morning during the school year and I often don't leave school until after 7 p.m. I am not a spring chicken, either. I have a broken 55 year old body that has just much left in the tank. All I want is to have some time and energy left over to do more than fall into bed at night and hope that tomorrow someone else will wipe down the counters or clean the bathroom sinks.

    I tried the whole "Mom is on strike" thing and it was a flop. I get very anxious when things get cluttered and dirty. It is bad enough that we need to paint and replace the flooring. But my husband is able to literally walk over a pile of dirty laundry in the middle of the living floor for weeks. I don't think it really registers in his brain. He brings the mail in, drops it on the table by the front door and walks off. If it slides off, onto the floor, he never bats an eye.

    All I want is to ride my horses for a few minutes a few times a week. Why does that become so impossible? Have I missed my window of opportunity by being older and not having the energy to get everything done and still ride?

    Rant over.
    Last edited by IdahoRider; Sep. 29, 2018, 02:01 PM.

    No matter how much we love our families, I think we all dream of the bliss of being single.
    "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina


      Stop assuming the husband or the son are going to step up and do the chores. They're not, and will not. Tell them specifically what you need done, how, and in what timeframe. Specifically. The dog needs to be medicated or to go. It's not fair for your dogs to be locked up in their home because of this dog, and he's destroying everything anyway. The vet should be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medication. The oldest son needs to be there *at least* once a day, every day to take care of the dog. If he cannot, the dog needs to go.


        Give very specific chores to the people that can't seem to get them done.. The young dog has to go There is a reason people do not rent to certain breeds. Your son got him he can accept the responsibility.

        Right now my middle son and his family are at my house, brain injury, long story. The fact remains that sometimes I just walk out and go to the barn for my sanity.

        Leave school!!!!!!! As an ag teacher with extended day and year I understand. This year I had to make a change as my life had changed. DH passed in March, Middle son was in a coma in May. Oldest son is full time National Guard and gone a lot. Youngest just started high school and made the Raider team. I can not stay and work twelve hour days and get my home life taken care of. School will still be there tomorrow.


          Sorry this is going on for you.
          I wanted to add, that the dog MUST learn to be crates. That to me, when it comes to a dog (ESPECIALLY a bull in the China shop dog) is non negotiable. It's critical for his long term survival. You shouldn't be stuck having to crate train the dog, but it HAS to be done.
          Completely unfair you have to deal with dog-psychosis. Crate training isn't that hard if done appropriately, even with an animal with separation anxiety.
          You have the choices of - dealing with all this BS, laying down some rules, or letting go and doing what you want...and house and laundry and extra work be damned.
          Good luck. I don't envy your scenario. I love my "alone weekends" too.


            I give very specific chores then scream bloody murder when I can't ride. Seems to keep my other half on track.

            I would give your son 30 days or you take the dog to a shelter.


              Ride first.

              Learn to walk over the socks on the floor. Leave them there. Delegate that to someone else.
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


                That is tough. I definitely agree with make the men help out more around the house. Have a chore checklist. I'm single and live alone. Sometimes getting all the animals fed is the only thing I accomplish after work. But I prioritize riding and seeing family/friends over cleaning to a certain point. The biggest thing that helps me keep a clean house is LESS clutter. Not sure how feasible that is in your situation.

                Also, I agree your son's dog needs something different done. It's not fair to you or your dogs to live as prisoners in your own house.


                  Argh, OP. I hear you. And I hear that "solutions" may or may not be better.

                  I'm going to echo on the son's dog. I feel like you're assuming he's just going to grow out of it but I don't necessarily see that from the picture you paint. If the dog cannot be crate trained and cannot be left alone it's hard to see how he can be successful as anyone's dog. That is a huge burden for you to bear and it may be that he either needs to be rehomed to someone who feels up to taking his needs on, or maybe give the dog a few really good days and put him down.
                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                    Hire a housecleaner (or a service) to come in once a week. The night before that person comes, everyone must straighten up for 30 minutes. Everyone. No one gets to opt out. If son wants to have his own room be a mess, then let it be. All of his mess can be in his room. Only exception is that no dirty dishes and no food can be left in the room. If necessary, stand over son and watch him perform tasks, but only in that 30 minute, once a week period. Your husband must also clean up in this window. You are not a maid or a valet.

                    For the dog: hire a trainer who either comes to you or you take the dog to the trainer. Bill your older son for the training costs.
                    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


                      OK, since I'm single, then I'm the world's greatest expert on marriage, relationships and raising kids. Just kidding of course, but I grew up in a family of slobs, and some things work on the slobs. Go to Wally World, buy three of the collapsible clothes hampers, in different patterns or colors. One hamper for each adult (19 is old enough to put his junk in a hamper), and in their room, and each person does their own laundry or else it doesn't get done.

                      Anything that gets dumped in a public area, like dirty clothes, gets thrown away. When they have to buy all new underwear, they will get the message, or go without (sorry about that one). The oldest has 30 days to get his dog out of there, or else dog gets the boot. And no, I don't want a dog. I would also be very suspicious about anyone who volunteers to take an untrained pit with separation anxiety, and I would seriously PTS instead of giving to a shelter. Your own animals come first, and this dog has zero training, and never will because the owner never lived up to his responsibility. He also owes you for new carpet and floor repair in the living room too.

                      The 19 year old owes you a brand new vacuum, and can keep the old one to destroy in his own room. From now on, no cleaning except your room and the public areas, they do their own laundry. There is no reason that the others can't vacuum the public areas either.

                      For the mail, take an hour, dump all catalogs you don't want, dump all ads, and shred all of the insurance, credit card and other junk mail with personal information on it. Get a basket and put it on the table, since apparently you're the only person who can open mail, and every day take 30 seconds to go through it, and trash the junk. Doing it everyday is much easier than having it pile up into mounds. I find it easier to open the mail right over the recycling bin, or trash can, I also rip off the address labels, and shred anything with personal information on it, but doing it every day is much easier, because it takes almost no time.

                      Once you eliminate all or most of the stuff you are doing for two grown people, then you should have some time for riding, and barn time.

                      You deserve to have a life, and not be turned into everyone's maid.
                      You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                        Original Poster

                        So, I cleaned around the house and then went to ride. I think I have been waiting for my husband and 19 year old son to step up and do what needs to be done on their own...simply because it needs to be done. But especially with my husband and his 1,000,000 mile an hour brain, there needs to be very clear direction on what needs to get done and when.

                        I am at my wits end with the dog. I chose to down size my breed of choice from German Shepherd Dogs to Toy Poodles because I no longer had the desire to spend the time training and exercising a dog. I wanted to focus more on riding. This dog is the sweetest box of rocks you could ever hope to meet. But he still needs constant supervision with his housebreaking and we just don't have that lifestyle. By choice. I don't think I have it in me to take him to the shelter because I know that is basically a death sentence for a young, strong Pit Bull. The shelter is full of them. And he is such a plain brown color. BUT! I can start advocating for them to take the dog. My son comes by every couple of days and walks him and they buy his food. But he isn't here at 6 a.m. when I have to pick up mounds of dog shit in my living room. My floor is covered in potty pads. We tried leaving him loose in the spare bedroom, but he literally ate through the door.

                        I am making an effort to have a better work-life balance this year. I came to teaching late in life (didn't start until I was 50). I was kind of surprised how engrossed I became, since I figured at my age I had that balance thing figured out already. I just purchased my own car, for the express purpose that I can drive myself to and from school and not be dropped off and picked up by my husband. I can leave at 4:30 and go and ride my horse. It clears my mind and I feel better about the world.

                        I am not asking them to get down on their hands and knees and clean the floor with a toothbrush. I just want them to pick up their own crap and to share in keeping common areas tidy. It is so demoralizing to spend my precious time cleaning and picking up, to walk in an hour later and find clothes laying around and the dog has taken a throw pillow off the couch and killed it and the cat had hacked up a hair ball.

                        On the plus side, my mare was awesome today! And I have lessons planned for the next two months. And it is good to know that I am not the only one who fantasizes about living alone.


                          Can you make room in your budget for hiring someone to help you? I think that would be the best solution for instant help. If the other family members don't help now and you never got them going on helping you, you will not change them now, no matter how many of us say they should. (And they should... but this is reality... and if they have been this way for 19-20 plus years... chances are they will not change.) I think if you are stressing this much and you need quality time, it should be cost justifiable to get someone in at least a few hours once a week, if not a whole day once a week to help you clean.


                            As for the dog... do you not have a yard? Could you fence in a small area for him and a doggie door so he can do his business outside? The situation with dogs who are not trained is that you can crate them when you can't watch them for several hours in a day. Invest in a crate. Invest time in teaching him to do his business outside... since obviously your son isn't doing it... honestly, you just have to take matters into your own hands with both of these situations. You've been dealt a bad hand, you can make it better. I don't think anyone else is going to step up, but if you are making progress, perhaps the men in the household can chip in with some time with the dog. I commend you for taking him on and not throwing him in the pound. We have rescued many dogs ourselves and there are far too many throw-away dogs in the world.

                            So many people have told us to never let our little dog stay with our big ones unsupervised and we have heeded their advice. Accidents happen and sometimes a little dog wants something a big dog has and the big dog gets more rambunctious than the little dog can handle. I think it's very wise to keep them separated. It's a pain though... and I think over time you need to let them get along with one another while you are in the room. Eventually they get along and they might even play with one another softly and sweetly (we had a Rottie that played with our Chihuahua so cute, she would lie there and play with him with just her head and gentle open mouth, and he would bounce around and rear and hit her face. It was adorable to watch), but always be in the room with them, since your big dog is a young dog too, they don't realize their size and strength at first.

                            To be honest, keeping the pit bull "for your son" may be for years. The sooner you take the wheel with the dog, the better your life will get... (I hate cleaning dog poo or throw-up in the house, but it's generally a reality with young ones.) Those potty pads are a really bad habit for dogs to get into and super hard to train them away from.

                            Wow... I keep thinking of things... make sure your pit bull does not have a high prey instinct before letting the dogs socialize. Some dogs do and it's not something you can train out of them or train into them. It's like most terriers will kill mice. Some big dogs have a prey instinct that makes them a danger to cats, all small animals including small dogs, a kill instinct. It's an unfortunate reality in certain dogs (not dog breeds. We had one Rottie with a high prey instinct and 9 others that did not have it.) My second horse was attacked by two pit bulls that had a high prey instinct that wasn't limited to small animals. It happens. Not all pits are that way.
                            Last edited by Tyrus' Mom; Sep. 9, 2018, 05:47 PM.


                              Just wanted to chime in about the dog. Sounds like he NEEDS more exercise. I currently have a 6 month old pit mix. She's a love bug, but I know when she gets the zoomies and starts being destructive, it's my fault for not making sure she is properly stimulated and exercised. This is not your responsibility, this is your son's. This is going to be an issue if the dog lived with your son. Obviously the pup cannot eat doors etc when in a rental. I'm betting that much of that would go away if given more attention and training. Taking him on a 4 mile hike before he goes in the crate will make him more likely to happily take a nap in there. Your son needs to start making more time for his dog ASAP. The longer he waits, the harder it's going to be to break the bad habits this dog is developing.


                                Ask them what they are willing to go without because you will be hiring a housekeeper. If you work full-time, housework is shared between family members. If said family members are not will to help out, then they have to pay.


                                  At this point, I think the pit bull is yours.

                                  I had very good luck re: housetraining with three things. The first was to feed twice a day on a strict schedule. Do not feed snacks, especially after dinner. It really regulates their system and then you can almost set a clock by when they have to poop. If you feed an early dinner, there won't be any more 6:00am surprises. Also, use an appropriately-sized scoop to measure the food so he's getting the right amount. Too much = more poop and a fat dog. Oh, and for what it's worth: certain breeds have faster metabolisms and just poop a lot more. Pit bulls are among those breeds, so poor thing, he can't help it.

                                  Second, do not let him roam around the house. Have him sleep in your room so that when he has to go, you can take him out. During the day, if you have to, block off access to the rest of the house to keep him in the same room you are in. Get rid of the pee pads and take him out for potty breaks after sleeping, eating, and playing. Never punish him for accidents but if you catch him in the act, try to whisk him out the door. After he learns to ask to go out and seems to be dependably house trained, you can slowly increase the space in the house he has free access to. Dogs don't like to soil the area they sleep in and the problem is that at this point, he sees far away rooms or corners as the same thing as being outside. Having those pee pads doesn't help. You want him to have zero thoughts of peeing or pooping inside the house.

                                  The third thing is to bite the bullet and resign yourself to having to take him out many times, including early mornings, before bed and perhaps in the middle of the night, even though you don't want to get up. It will only take a few days to get the routine and pretty soon he will catch on, and with the new feeding pattern, his body will let him wait until later in the morning to have to poop. Convince yourself that every time you get up, it's preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis and lengthening your life.

                                  Also, use Pavlovian conditioning to help with training. As soon as he begins to pee, say the command you have selected. I say, "Be quick!" After a while, when you say the command, he will have the urge to pee, just as Pavlov's dog began to salivate when it heard the bell. When you take him outside to pee/poop, give him a short time to sniff and do his business. If he gets distracted and wants to play, take him back inside, keep him next to you to avoid accidents and try again in ten minutes. Of course have a play time, but potty time is not play time. Oh, and take him outside on a leash until he is thoroughly potty trained.

                                  You probably didn't need any of that advice, but it's there for anyone who does.
                                  "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina


                                    My advice when it comes to hiring a cleaning person:
                                    I have had a service come in and clean and I've had an individual come in and clean with my supervision. I greatly prefer the second. Cleaning services do not know where things go and will unintentionally hide or throw away stuff you want to use later. (They will throw away really important things too. One time I had a bank deposit in a sealed plastic bag for a drop box deposit sitting on a table and I came back home to find it thrown away.) I would always have to clean before they got here so I wouldn't have those misplacement issues and they inevitably happened anyway. That was a pain if I got home late from school the night before a cleaning, I'd be putting things away at damn near midnight.

                                    Having someone here that I supervise is the best. That person does the harder stuff, the heavy stuff and I do the lighter project stuff, catch up on laundry and everything is so nice at the end of a day and I'm not entirely worn out as if I did it all myself. Find a young woman who knows how to clean and it's a relatively inexpensive solution. As to my helper, I treat her respectful and take her out to lunch which sort of breaks up the day nicely and provides a little socialization. Everything gets cleaned great and I don't feel guilty about not doing it myself. (Yeah, I have that middle class value system going on there.) I even have the energy to go ride afterward too.

                                    Life is too short to run yourself down over mundane stuff. You can't do everything. So don't. I've been getting help with housework for a long time. When I worked full time while going to school nights was when I started getting help with housework. When the DH and I started businesses that we worked far too many hours at meant having someone help with housework was imperative. My DH doesn't do much around the house either and being a crabapple with him with no results wasn't worth it. Getting help around the house made life easier. As someone who is self-employed I figure my time is more productively spent on my business than on housework. Your time as a teacher is worth more than a housecleaner, right? I rest my case.


                                      I don't understand why the pit bull can't be crated. Unless he will take someone's arm off during the process, he should be put into the crate and left in it. Period. If the crate is strong enough to hold him, he can be crated. If he screams the house down while in the crate, you won't hear him because you will be outside with your horse.

                                      Do your own laundry and let your husband and son do theirs. If they don't, sooner or later they will run out of clean clothes to wear and then they will wash the dirty ones or go naked.

                                      Don't worry about the dirty bathroom sinks.

                                      IMO ADD is mostly just a lack of discipline. If the person can't discipline themselves into concentrating, there are meds they can take to help.

                                      Next time you have a weekend alone, either take the pit bull to the local shelter and leave him, or board him at the vet, and go ride your horse.

                                      No, I have never been married. Thank goodness!
                                      "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- George Bernard Shaw


                                        No one can take advantage of you without your permission. You either decide at this moment what you are going to do and do it, or you have decided that this behavior is ok and you are going to live with it. If you were me, the son and his dog would of been out the door six months ago. How he lives is his problem.