I know, I know. I can already feel you rolling your eyes at the title of this post but just hear me out. Having been a dog mom first, I can honestly say there are distinct similarities between having a dog and having a child.
While my husband and I were still dating I worked at a daycare and almost daily I would see behaviors in my classroom (babies aged 12 months to 18 months) and his dog. Once the three of us were living together I learned just how difficult it is to navigate what used to seem like simple things, i.e. going to a wedding that requires an overnight stay or spending an entire day out of the house running errands. Who would watch the dog? How long could we really leave him inside without being let out to go to the bathroom?
Now that we have an almost 1 year old (queue the sobs) I can still say with absolute certainty that having a dog prepares you for having a child. Some may find the comparisons offensive, but I know how much I love my dog and I would never complain if someone felt like they slightly understood something I was going through with my child because they had been there before with their dog because I HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE WITH MY DOG.
5 Ways Having a Dog Prepares You for Kids
You Can't Always Take Them With You
While baby will be able to tag along almost everywhere you go, there are some places that they can't go and you will have to consider either not going or getting a sitter. Dogs are a little easier in this respect because you can leave them home alone for a few hours but this is not a recommended practice for a baby. Plus, if the outing requires an overnight stay, you can't leave Fido home alone the whole time because he will need to eat and go to the bathroom.
They Want To Be Wherever You Are
Sometimes I forget to lock the bathroom door, sometimes it is done on purpose. 100% of the time the dog will push his way into the bathroom and either look around and leave or curl up on the bathmat. My baby girl isn't old enough to do this, yet. But I've heard plenty of stories of moms not being able to pee in peace. When you have a dog, you get used to that.
They Want To Eat Whatever You Are Eating
I haven't had an uninterrupted snack-attack in years. At the sound of the pantry door the dog is right there peering up at me wanting to share whatever it is I am eating. Now that we have transitioned to table foods, baby girl is the same way. If you're eating a french fry, she wants to eat a french fry. She's not pulling anything new. Been there, done that.
They Can Be Terrible At Sharing
My dog has grown up an only child. There are times when I wonder if he thinks he is a person but I know that sounds crazy so I'll move on. He has his toys and his treats and he doesn't necessarily like to share them with any other dog. When I worked at the daycare, there were plenty of occasions where one child was playing with a toy and didn't feel like giving it up and another child would bite them to try and get it.
Yes, babies bite each other. They can bite each other because they don't want to give something up, because they want the other child to give something up or because they want attention from someone. Ya know what? Dogs have been know to bite each other too.
They Force You to Think of Someone Other Than Yourself
Dogs (and babies) rely on you for EVERYTHING. They go to the bathroom or need to go to the bathroom, they need you. They are hungry, they need you. They are scared, they need you. They are hurt or sick, they need you. Taking on the responsibility of a dog is a big job. They require vet bills, insurance, food, time, energy and having a baby requires all of those things as well (okay, maybe not the vet bills, but they do go to a TON of doctor appointments). Either way, a dog or a baby, you can no longer make decisions for yourself by just thinking about yourself. You have another being that is depending on you and their well being is in your hands.
There you have it. If you think you might want to have kids, get yourself a dog first and see how you do.