I’ve had several friends recently give birth to their first children. And like me, they were dog moms before they had human babies. And yes, dog moms are a real thing. I was one.
Well, I still am but I have to share my time, money, and attention with my human offspring. We’ve settled into a nice little family of three.
HA! People think my son is an only child and we have a nice, quiet, calm household. Little do they know that with two dogs and two cats, we actually have a chaotic household of seven.
But before all the chaos, I felt prepared for motherhood. You know those people that are expecting their first child but feel totally prepared because they have dogs?
Yeah. That was me. That was us.
It wasn’t just me that went into parenting with blinders on. My husband was right there alongside me. In fact, I even remember having the conversation with someone at work:
“So, do you think you’re ready?”
“Oh yeah. We have two old dogs. They need lots of medication. They wake us up in the middle of the night. It’s pretty much the same thing.”
Now I laugh at people like me and I tell them all the ways in which children are nothing like dogs.
1. Dogs can be crated. Children can’t.
While we never really crated our dogs (mainly because I couldn’t stand the incessant barking it produced), the option was always there. Children can’t be crated. Let me repeat that. CHILDREN CAN’T BE CRATED.
2. Potty training eventually comes to an end. For children.
I don’t care how long it takes but I can almost guarantee you that your kid will not be wearing a pullup to college. Dogs might get the right idea about housebreaking but there’s no guarantee they’ll act on that idea.
3. Kids are picky eaters. Dogs, not so much.
No matter how organic you claim your kid’s diet will be, you’ll reach a point where you just want them to eat something you serve, even if it’s french fries soaked in trans fats. Dogs, on the other hand, will eat pretty much anything you give them, even if it’s not edible.
4. Children are way more expensive than dogs.
Oh, at first you’ll be fooled into thinking you only have to buy a few jars of baby food and some onesies. But soon enough, you’ll be shelling out hundreds of dollars on sports equipment and wondering when they got big enough to require their own paying seat on an airplane. While dogs aren’t cheap, your spending is way more limited. After all, they have a much shorter lifespan.
5. Dogs make noise but children eventually learn to speak.
It’s wonderful listening to your baby’s first coos. It’s great having real conversations with your adult children. It’s all the years in between that can drive you insane: whining, crying, yelling, complaining, sassing. Dogs can certainly be noisy but at least you can put them in the laundry room until they quiet down (not that I would ever do that).
6. Dogs and children are both dependents but only one gives you a tax break.
As much as I think dogs should be counted as dependents, the IRS doesn’t seem to agree with me. Children, on the other hand, actually give you reason to smile when you’re doing your taxes (thank you, tax deduction!)
7. Weekend getaways are easier with dogs.
If you’re lucky, you live close enough to your sister and can convince her to watch your dogs a couple of times a year in exchange for a hug and maybe some pizza. And if you’re really in a bind, you can always kennel them. Your children, however, will probably go with you and your dreams of a B&B getaway turn into a mermaid-themed room with free continental breakfast.
8. Dogs are independent at eight weeks. Children take a bit longer.
Some experts will say that dogs can be taken away from their mother at eight weeks while others say ten. With children, we hope desperately for weaning after eighteen years but independence may not come for another decade. Or two.
9. Children will hopefully go to college.
The hope is that your children goes on to an institution of higher learning and becomes a successful fill-in-blank providing the cushion you need to ease your way into retirement. Dogs just take and take, with no regard for their education. However, not having to pay college tuition could do a lot more for your retirement fund.
10. Dogs and children both provide hours of entertainment.
Whether it’s listening to your child mispronounce the word refrigerator or watching your dog chase his own tail, both provide hours of entertainment. However, when you are finished with said entertainment, you can tell the dog to go lay down. Good luck with telling your children the same thing.
And there you have it. Regardless of the pros and cons you read above, children are awesome. And dogs are awesome. But in totally different ways and don’t let any childless person tell you otherwise.