Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why having a pet does not prepare you for having kids

If I hear one more time from newly weds that they need to get a dog or a cat before thinking about having kids I'm gonna scream walk away completely annoyed and probably not say anything at all, because I hate confrontation.

When we were newly weds and newly parents in the same calendar year we used to joke that we felt getting a dog was too big of a commitment, so we thought we'd try a baby first.

Turns out, I think having a baby first probably saved us from accidentally approaching our parenting like we would've trained our dog.     

Four years later, once we proved we were capable of keeping 3 kids fed, watered and alive, we finally decided we were responsible enough to try a dog.  

We found a dog, "rescued" him and made him part of our family.  And I've gotta say we lucked out. Our playful pooch is so good with kids and came pretty darn well trained especially for a rescue dog.  He's a gentle giant who thinks all 70 lbs of him were meant to be a lap dog.  He thinks and acts like he's one of the kids and the kids act like he's a moving jungle gym meets dress up mannequin meets a poke toy.

This is Max A. Moose 

We're pretty keen on the four legged friend.  

But did you noticed I didn't say we love him?  As in the people who buy strollers and wardrobes for their animals love their animals.   

Those people... well, those people must be very bored, have too much money or just slightly crazy.   When your dog is dressed nicer than you are there are some priority issues going on. 

So for everyone except maybe the people who treat their pets better than their children, I will use a few simple scenarios to explain how having a pet and raising a child are comparing apples to oranges.

Let us consider:

1)  An expensive or cherished possession of yours gets broken, chewed or destroyed. (Yes, kids chew things too). 
       I would love to see what happens if you try shaming your toddler into a corner by harshly   whispering "You bad boy... What did you do?   No!  This is not a toy, darn it!  Get outside!"

2)  You want to go on a date night or vacation. 
       Please make sure your neighbors are sitting on their patios when you leave your children in your backyard with a bowl of water, a collection of squeaky toys and pay someone $20 a day to come take them for a walk and drop food in the bowl in the morning and night all while you head out for dinner and a movie or that expensive ski resort you can still afford after only paying $20 a day to take care of your responsibilities at home.

3)  Your furry child gets sick or needs to have an outpatient surgery. 
      Let me know how it works out for you dropping your child off at the hospital "boarding facility" so you can still make it to work on time and then schedule a pick up for the next day.  All the while saving your vacation and sick time off for when YOU actually need it.

4)  Guests come to your house who are not comfortable or used to being around kids. 
     Would grandma approve of you locking your children in the laundry room until the company leaves?

5) Pooping. 
     I wonder what would happen if you tried to let poop pile up in your babies' diaper for the same length of time you'd let dog crap pile in your yard??  

6)  Eating. 
     While I'm sure my kids would love to eat cheese or yogurt for absolutely every single meal, now they're not old enough for clinical trials on this hypothesis, but I'm pretty sure there would be some significant  complications if we fed them the same exact food twice a day every day for their entire lives.  They do enjoy eating off the floor though...

7)  Playing with others. 
     When your kids get in a fight with a playmate, do you plan on simply yanking away on their back leashes to put an end to it?   I'm sure your dog/cat responds swimmingly to an reverse psychology lecture on sharing and taking turns with their favorite chew toys.

8)  Making noise constantly. 
     As tempting as it is, I've never heard of it being legal to remove the voice box on a child who doesn't stop yapping all day and all night.... but if it is, lemmno, because I might look into it.

9)  You come home in a bad mood, snap at every breathing thing that comes your way and just want to take a nap. 
     I PROMISE your kids will never look at you with the same sympathetic and unconditionally loving eyes that your dog will if you are being a jerk to them.  And I'm definitely sure they don't just lay down and nap with you even if they're hungry, feeling playful or you had previously said you'd take them to the park when you got home.

10)  Staring at you naked. 
      Ok, you got me.  Pets are actually pretty accurate training of what your small children will do when you are naked.  Especially after giving birth.

So get that dog.  Or cat.  Try it out and get ready to be completely shocked into reality when you actually bring a real human being into this world.   At least you will get to see how fun it is for a beloved pet to adjust to you bringing home a new baby...

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