I am a stay at home Mom, but that does not mean that I do not work. I am busier throughout the day now than I was when I worked full time. I have learned that there is no such thing as a lunch break when you have a toddler in the house. When the sun goes down, I am ready for sleep!
My heart goes out to my Mom. She is as busy as I during the day. Unfortunately, circumstances prevent her from benefiting from a full night sleep at night. In reality, she probably hasn't slept a solid six hours in 38 years.
No, young children don't prevent my mom from sleeping. We are grown and out of the house, with the exception of my brother, who has recently taken residence in the basement. As soon as we were relatively self-sufficient, she made a classic mistake: she got a dog.
I am not sure how it happens, but somehow every single dog my Mom adopts ends up with issues. In addition to a plethora of health issues, from diabetes to seizure disorders, her pets always demonstrate social issues. I'm not talking normal anxieties. Her animals all develop full neurosis.
My mom installed a dog door in her house, hopeful that this would enable canine independence allowing her to sleep through the night. The problem? Her dogs are afraid of the door, especially at night. Yes, her dogs are afraid of the dark.
Every night, she is awoken by one of her "puppies." She must walk downstairs with them, turn on the outdoor light, and open the door. Sometimes the dogs can be cajoled inside through the pet door. On most occasions, she must wait for them to finish and escort them back to bed.
We installed a motion light above the dog door, hoping that would resolve the issue. Her dogs are afraid of the light and the mysterious entity that turns it on. When the light turns on, the barking begins.
Her puppies must have super sonic hearing because they bark when a neighbor up the street closes his car door. They have been known to howl at birds. And don't get me started when there are nearby fireworks...
My mom purchased special dog collars to help subside their barking. The collar emits a tone which discourages the barking. The collars don't work. Perhaps this is because they remain in the original packaging, in the garage, awaiting batteries.
Despite the dogs' health issues and neurosis, they are loved. No matter what they do or destroy, my Mom never angers. I remember when my mom got a new couch delivered. We went to pick out throw pillows, only to return home to find the sofa shredded. My mom's reaction? She simply sighed and suggested that we return the pillows.
On the rare occasion that she feels that her puppies need correction, she resorts to the dreaded newspaper roll. She never uses the newspaper, or smacks it against a chair to make a noise. She simply shows them the paper, and continues with the typical "shhhh shhhh." Most times, the dogs continue barking, and her shushing becomes louder until she gives up.
I am not saying that she doesn't try to train her dogs. Every canine companion has completed and graduated from several dog obedience courses. Her current dogs have each been through the course at least twice. They now will complete their trick for a hot dog, but for nothing else.
I love visiting my Mom, and I love her dogs. Robby loves animals and tolerates his Nana's puppies. He learned quickly that they will steal the food right out of his hand and that Tigger has no qualms about swiping his toys.
I know that my mom must be tired. I know how I felt getting up every three hours when Robby needed a bottle. I cannot imagine maintaining that schedule for years. When she does get a chance to sleep, there is barely room. She must squeeze between the two dogs, and the fit only gets tighter as the weather chills.
Her dogs are very lucky to have my mom take care of them. At her house, the "dog days of summer" equates to ice cream in bed with the air conditioner on full blast! I just wish that her puppies would appreciate her and maybe let her sleep at least one night!