I treat my dog Finn like he’s my toddler. I’ve always wanted to have kids, but since taking care of Finn and our cat Charlie, I’ve definitely started to feel like this is enough for me and that there’s no way I could handle raising a child. I haven’t totally written off the idea of having human babies, but I’m certainly doubting my earlier desire to do so.
It’s a 24/7 job. When you have your own dog and you’re not just playing with your bestie’s new pup, you realize that there isn’t an “off” switch. When you become a dog mom, you’re a dog mom morning, noon, and night. There will be instances when you silently wish for a moment alone, like when your alarm goes off and your fur baby shimmies out from under the covers and attacks your half-awake face. I can’t even begin to imagine having to wake up every hour to a crying baby.
I’m on constant watch. When we’re at the beach walking along the water’s edge, we’re constantly having to keep one eye on the water and one eye on our little fur baby running like crazy in the sand. Or, when we’re at a friend’s house for a BBQ, we’re always having to call Finn over to make sure he isn’t getting into anything. It’s a great introduction to parenthood, but having to constantly look after a living being who’s running around causing chaos (but is oh-so-cute at the same time) is exhausting.
They’re so damn expensive. Vet bills, good food, monthly flea control, grooming services, toys and treats take up a good amount of my paycheck. They say having kids is the most expensive thing you’ll do in your lifetime, but I’m pretty sure having pets might be a close second.
They need your full attention all the time. Spending uninterrupted time with your pet is a must. Trust me, they know when you’re half-assing it. After a long day at work, I still make the time to hang with my babies. It’s hard, but so worth it. The unconditional love I receive from them in return makes sure of it.
Dog-proofing is real. I’m pretty sure Finn chewed up five pairs of slippers before we made up the term “dog-proofing.” We’ve had to get into the habit of putting everything back in its place and out of reach so he doesn’t get into something he’s not supposed to—and so we don’t have to keep buying new slippers. With babies, it’s even more important that your home environment is safe and clean for them at all times. I don’t know how I could ever ensure that was the case, especially since even the dog manages to get in trouble.
I worry about everything all the time. You know when you Google your symptoms and think you have three days to live? Same goes for when you Google anything for your dog. Hacking cough? Heart disease. Runny poop? Kidney disease. Thankfully, Finn has never been diagnosed with anything that extreme, but having those thoughts run through my mind is scary. I can only imagine how much more extreme it would be with an actual baby.
They’re their own unique selves and I have no control over that. Just like little kids, pets get into fights, get scared, or struggle with certain behavioral issues. Having to handle those instances as the parent can be intense and eye-opening. It sucks knowing I can’t fix every issue my pets have, and since I wouldn’t be able to do so for my children either, I think that might really upset me.
They make me feel vulnerable. Loving another being so much that if anything were to happen to them, you’d lose part of your heart is scary. Even leaving the house for 20 minutes is hard for me. As I’m driving off, I’m going through my dog-proofing checklist to make sure I remembered everything to ensure Finn will be healthy and comfortable while I’m not around. And he’s just a dog!
I always need a dog sitter. Gone are the days of packing up for a spontaneous road trip. Now, for any sort of occasion, even if it’s just for the day, I need to find someone to check in on my kiddos. While it’s not the biggest dilemma, the whimsical feeling of just getting in your car and going has vanished.
They change your world. Your life becomes filled with so much more laughter, love, adventure, and meaning when you bring a pet into your world. Though they’re a lot of work, you get so much out of that bond you have created. They forever change your life in all the right ways. I imagine with children, that feeling is even greater, so maybe I won’t count out motherhood just yet after all.