Monday, 18 February 2013

Boot Camp

A month ago Hez and I did our first full boot camp!

In the preceding months we had run through a couple of one day 'condensed format' (eight hour)  mini camps, mostly because it was impossible to get a three consecutive days to ourselves and, being new to ttwd we needed to establish our roles.

For me, they were an opportunity to get a handle on some of the different aspects of being a HoH but were also a good lead in to boot camp - to get a feel of what it would be like. It allowed us both to explore and try to start to properly fill our roles (the aim of boot camp) and for me it provided a forewarning of areas where I was not strong.

Boot camp, for me at least, was not going to be an easy time.

Issue 1. - Organisation.
As HoH you are responsible for every aspect of boot camp! While I try to be organised, I have to acknowledge that I am not the most organised person. I tend to write lists and if it's not on a list I nearly always forget.
In our mini camps I had worked out tasks and we worked off a time table but I came unstuck when Hez completed tasks faster that expected. So what do you delegate as quick 10 minute filler while you complete your current activity? Yes, I know it can be easy - 'just sit there quietly for ten minutes dear' but in boot camp you actually  have to tell her to do it!  There are no 'self initiated filler tasks' permitted for your spouse. Everything is at your  direction. [Makes you wonder how much of our daily lives are filled with trivial tasks that we choose to do just to fill in the available hours of the day].

In the days leading up to D-Day, Hez made up a notebook documenting our house rules and for my benefit, lists of possible tasks and activities (both recreational and fillers-in).
We discussed these and then added the extra rules for boot camp, the privileges that were going to be restricted, the punishments -what and where and how they were to be carried out, the menu, the most common tasks and the Assignments.
A very detailed summary covering three days but what if I needed longer? I made the menu up for four (just in case) and created a timetable spreadsheet (saved to dropbox so it was visible from my laptop, phone and tablet). This included details that were missing from our notebook, such as the assignments.
So far so good. I have a fair idea of what we are doing in 15 minute blocks!

Issue 2. Distractions. Call them squirrel moments.
You are in the middle of a conversation or activity and you suddenly remember something (should have been on the list) and off we go on a different track. Yep, now where was I???
This can also a problem with offences. I found that we might be in the middle of a conversation and you recognise that something is said, perhaps disrespectfully, but 15 seconds later the subject has change you cannot recall what was actually said; you just remember that there was an offence.
Actually sometimes I get McSquizzy's clan all throwing nuts and I get totally side tracked to the that point I forget that I have awarded a punishment at all.

Issue 3 Filling the Boots?
Families are interesting organisms. The female personalities on both sides of our families are strong and growing up, I never saw a male figure in a dominant leadership role of their families, let alone HoH type role. So for me having a vision of what a HoH should look like and how they act in real life is somewhat of a mystery. Maybe the closest role models might be either John Walton or Charles Ingalls off the '70s TV series, but certainly no examples in this modern life. But hey, isn't that why we do boot camp? To learn.

Issue 4  Catch 22
Hez was able to research areas and read blogs, where as my 'available time' was somewhat limited. Being the better informed, she was better able to determine the appropriate actions for a situation. Being unsure if I was filling the HoH role appropriately, I tended to lean on her as an 'instructor'. (Oh for a DD coach/referee or even a DD book that you could reference)
This caused a  bit of a problem. You cannot exactly ask in the middle of a spanking if you are doing it properly! And she is not going to say I did this wrong and you have to spank me!
Being unsure and second guessing if I was doing it correctly was probably my biggest issue.

The assignments
For some of these assignments this was the third time through, so I decided to do them differently using mind maps to show the relationships between the elements. We covered commonly used topics such as: our rule list, pros and cons of DD and its benefits, what we needed to work on in our relationship and of course communication. Financial goals were in there plus a couple of extras that were solo efforts for Hez like "why do I find it so hard to submit to my husband"

So how did we go?
Well in a way it was just like hiking. We started off fresh and things went well. Second day the fatigue started to slip in (it had been a stressful time leading up) and I failed to notice things -letting them slide.
This was frustrating for Hez as she was not able to properly able to fulfill her submissive role. Using the hiking scenario... we got blisters. We seemed to be two steps forward one step back, and at times it seemed that we were going round the mountain back to where we were rather than climbing.
By the end of the third day Hez was at the point of not wanting to do it any more. Tension time, so we followed the good British tradition of having a cuppa and a talk and we decided that we would carry on for another few days, with an adjusted time table. I would step up and things would go swimmingly...
Well it did for a short time but by evening we had progressed to mutual silence. (a natural state for me but in this case - not good). Hez was abandoning the boot camp boat.

Time for some deep analysis which came up a bit like this
Essentially most of our marriage I had been nice to her; trying to please her and make her happy. Sounds good, but sometimes the well intended is not what is actually required.

My not being firm
Try to please Hez  ---opportunity--> Hez takes control
           |                                                      |
   Silent Frustration                          Frustration for Hez

Comes back to those old family issues of being nice to gain acceptance and approval.
So a change was needed

         Being firm
Wife feeling loved and secure -->Willing to submit
      Happy Hez ---->Happy Silence

Change of method
You cannot change a habit but you can redefine the triggers and actions, so I identified the triggers ("No" "I don't want to") and worked out appropriate actions which led to the reward of a happy wife.
    trigger ---> action -----> reward
Actually I had to write them on my hand (mobile list) and also changed some of the "nice" phrases such as 'shall we do this?' to the affirmative 'we will' or 'you will'

Boot camp Extended
Day four and beyond went, well swimmingly. The blisters healed, and the path got easier. I found the new insight made it easier to apply my authority and we both got the reward that comes when we operate in our correct roles.

Easing out
Officially our boot camp was six days but we carried some aspects on for another few weeks.
We dropped the four compulsory spankings and the assignments but retained a hard reminder spanking at night time to reinforce my HoH role.

As part of the closure we also went through the notebook and reviewed the rules we had set up. Some of these we decided to retain permanently, such as the bed hours (to encourage Hez to get a good quantity of sleep) Eating breakfast (previously a non event for Hez), and lunch together when I am home (to ensure good eating habits).

So there we have it. We are boot camp graduates. Did I really need it? Definitely. It is hard, stressful and frustrating but it worth the pain.
We stand on the peak  and enjoy the view. Our hike isn't over. We now have to climb down the mountain back into the valley of every day. However this journey like every completed hike we have gained experience, strength and endurance that we take with us on the next leg of our journey together.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Start of Our Journey

Silence was never written down.  ~Italian Proverb

Contrary to the proverb; after some musing and encouragement I have decided to start this blog to provide some encouragement to other 'reluctant’ Heads of Household considering starting on "the journey."

We started our Domestic Discipline journey in October 2012 after my wife accidentally came across a bunch of blogs about ‘the discipline’ of an ordered house hold while surfing the net for ways to improve our marriage.

As a couple we are total opposites, which isn’t all that unusual. I am the quiet type technically orientated who prefers machines to meetings and she is well… the vocal one, a gifted wordsmith who could argue down a lawyer.

Marriages are sometimes referred to as sandpaper ministry where your partner smooths off your rough edges. We have now been together for some 23 years and have defied the statistics and the people who thought that we would not stay together because we were so different, but we have endured.

In our own ways, we are both stubborn which proved good for when the going was tough but it did not always lead for a joyous and happy household.

At times it seemed that we were more like stones in a rock tumbler rather than pieces of wood being sanded. The process is longer, the results might take longer but at the end you have polished gems.

So what was this DD thing? And how did it fit into our lives? To be honest I think it was a bit of a shock. My wife came up and presented the idea - of yielding her will to me and getting spanked if she slips up. We would discuss things but the final decision would be mine.

My reaction: Are you serious? OK. Who are you and what have you done with my wife?

But as the information flowed (edited somewhat) from various blogs that she was avidly reading it started to gel that this might actually work. in our lives. We outlined the basics: it was by mutual agreement that we would try this, we would focus on the four Ds of disrespect, disobedience, dishonesty and dangerous. She would also blog to help her record her journey (and give her an avenue vent her frustrations). 

At the time I considered doing my own blog but realising the learning curve and still going to work I chose not to at that time due to time constraints. In hindsight I should have kept a journal of the first months to refer to when issues resurfaced and decisions were made.

And so we were off. First days were complex and busy. I soon realised that this thing we do takes time. A lot of time but time well invested in our marriage. I had to balance work, reading up on the blog extracts that M3had found that were relevant to our journey (I’m a slow reader), house hold duties (taxi driver to a teen) and scheduling times to correct ‘issues’.

Above all being vigilant. I had to be sensitive to the language and attitudes from Hez (M3); instead of ignoring snide comments I was now responsible for recognising them and addressing the matter. What a paradigm shift. Over the years I think I had developed a Teflon coat to these- that I ignored them so they wouldn’t affect me (probably not true in reality but often we do this as a crude defence mechanism).

Corner times. Though short in time can be disruptive – much like people popping in to your office for a ‘chat’ at work. But living in a small house with a teen you cannot exactly send your spouse to the nearest corner I can imagine the conversation.

   ”Mum what are doing?”
      “Checking for holes in the wall”
      “Shhh go away I’m not allowed to speak”
   [in teen language] “WTF Are you serious?”

Fortunately this didn’t occur, as we scheduled both maintenance and discussion times around her dance classes or when she was out with friends, but this needed many more’ taxi trips’ to get her out of the house or return trips from the studio during lessons. I think she has also seen all the latest movie releases too.

And then there were spankings. I found spankings can be (initially) quite stressful. So many questions…When should you spank rather than do quite time? What do they mean that it is normal for your wife to cry and it gives her a ‘release’? Hez (M3) ever cries! When do you stop, or rather when should you stop? Should I really be doing this? Is this really abuse? What would our friends think? Isn’t this a bit on the kinky side? Are we normal?????

Here we are three months on. It has been a roller coaster ride. We have had the pendulum swing from one side to the opposite. I have swung from vigilant to slack, Hez (M3) from submissive to sassy. There have been a lot of changes – internally. We have had to deal with attitudes, insecurities and old issues long buried but brought bubbling up to the surface and of course roles in the household.

Stepping up into the Head of Household role after so many years of mutual home management (or rather mismanagement) is not easy but we have seen the benefits. We are able to discuss problems when we used to avoid them. 
Our love has been rekindled and our marriage is stronger for it. We are both more relaxed (go figure) and bizarrely our friends are noticing the change in our relationship and our appearance “you just look different, more relaxed – better”.

So a quick rap up of the journey so far.  Has it been a struggle, difficult and changed us? – Oh yes on many levels. Has it been worth it? –Definitely!