Why Having a Dog Prepares You For a Baby
I remember the day each came into my life. The joy, the fear, and the major learning curve for each. My first often tempted my patience. My second had many health issues in her first months of life. Each taught me that life is precious. To enjoy each and every minute because they grow up so fast.
I’m talking about my dogs.
How a Dog Prepares You for Having Kids
For those of you that have pets, you most likely can empathize with the fact that your pet has been your ‘baby’. However, I don’t just mean the center of your world. I mean that they have been your ‘child’.
You take them to doctor’s appointments, worry about the infected eye, fret that they are not getting enough exercise. Then feel guilty when you have to work and cannot spend as much time with them as you would like. Also then worry trying to make sure they eat enough (or don’t each too much), take them to grandmas, the petsitter or the dreaded doctor’s visit for a shot.
For those of us that have pets, they often, in many and unknown ways, prepare us for the real ‘babies’ that may join our lives.
The Ways Having a Dog Can Prepare You For Kids
When my husband and I set up the pack-and-play, made room for the baby bottles and baby toys for our real babies, I am cognizant of the fact that everything the dogs do is similar to kids. I have had to clean up vomit, diarrhea, rush to the hospital in the middle of the night, pick toys off the floor, worry about what they put in their mouth, and call into work and feel guilty about it. Alternatively, I felt guilty when I had to work late nights for a week in a row and only can only say hello before running out the door. I have even had to deal with doggy “bullies” at the local dog park.
These are similar events for a baby. Phrases such as “Wait till you get spit up all over your suit while running to work”, or “Wait till that first Diaper blowout”, or “Wait till they get sick and you wonder if you should take them to day-care or miss a meeting” – you already had to do it with a dog
While it will be different with actual children, having my two dogs made me aware and ready for these parenting challenges when they came along – and how your partner ‘co-parents’ with you. (Dog diarrhea is no walk in the park you know).
How A Dog Prepares You For a Baby
One scene in the video of my dogs is when the youngest went up a flight of stairs all by herself. You can hear the excitement of my voice in the background and my cheering when she accomplished this first in her life. I look later got to see kids accomplish their firsts.
All in all, before having children (or giving birth to one) speak to your partner about any issues that arose when managing your pets. Did you always feed them and take a walk? It may be a sign that they will expect the same ‘parenting’ style with a baby. So if there are any issues – now is the time to set parenting expectations and clarify responsibilities. Even if it means your partner starts feeding and walking the dog so you can focus on the baby!