Single Motherhood and Priorities

I used to be super selfish.  Not in a totally bad way. But in a way that it was my world and I did what I wanted when I wanted to. If I wanted to drop $150 at Sephora, then I did it. If I wanted to get manicures and pedicures on a weekly basis, again, I just did it. I spent my money and time however I wanted.

My world is much different now! I’m more careful with my money and I rarely have time to myself. Motherhood changes your whole world, but especially your priorities. For example…

Napping:  When I was a single gal, this is how my typical Saturday went down: Get up and go the gym. Come home and nap. Get up again and do laundry. Then take a 45 minute nap. Mid-afternoon I’d haul my ass out for groceries and after I finished I’d come home and nap. In the evening I’d go out with friends for dinner or drinks or whatever else. Then I’d come home, watch TV and go to bed and sleep for ten blissful hours. But, as a single mom, napping is quite different. Naps are no longer a priority for me but are a huge priority for my daughter. She is seriously the most terrible napper.  She takes approximately three thirty minute naps a day. That’s not even enough time for the washer to run its full cycle.  The entire time she naps I try to do something productive, but usually I am so exhausted that I end up laying on the couch watching TV and surfing Pinterest and Facebook.  I would give up wine for the rest of my life to have just one more single gal Saturday!

Spending Money:  In my single days, I spent my money on whatever the hell I wanted. $175 hair appointment? Yes please! $1000 trip to New York City? Sign me up! $250 shopping trip? You know it! As a single mom, I am SO super careful with my money. I still do spend some on myself, but not like I used to. I actually budget money now. I get my hair done a lot less than I used to. I don’t go on trips of any sort, unless you consider tripping up the stairs a form of fun. When I do buy clothing, it’s for my daughter.  In fact, almost everything I buy is for my daughter. A couple of weeks ago I went to Wal-Mart and spent a little over a hundred dollars, and the only item I bought for myself was a new pen. A  pen. Yeah, I am that lame. But in all seriousness, I totally love the new Sharpie pens!

Time with Friends:  I basically never said no to hanging out with friends, pre-child. If they wanted to go for a dinner, out for drinks, to the movies or just have a girls night I pretty much always said yes.  The only time I ever said no was if I was too tired (I had no idea what tired was back then) or if my mom was visiting from out of town. But now? I rarely say yes. Saying yes is a HUGE deal for me. It means I have to arrange for a sitter (shout out to my parents!) and find the energy to actually do something. I also have to plan financially for any outings. Any type of activity sans-baby requires as much planning as I used to put into planning a weekend getaway. That being said, I do enjoy getting out from time to time, but most of the time I’m pretty content just to chill with my girl.

Time management:  Pre-child, I thought I had the BEST time management skills. I could handle anything my boss put on my plate and still manage to come home, hit up the gym and then bake cupcakes for work the next day. I realize now that my time management skills back then were actually just mediocre. Fast-forward to present day and my time management skills could win me an award. I’m not even kidding. My daughter goes to bed at 8 every night. I go between 10:30 and 11. In those three hours I can answer 3-5 emails, apply for several jobs, write a blog post, edit pictures in Photoshop, plan my daughter’s first birthday party, do three loads of laundry and catch up on favorite TV shows. If I am feeling really ambitious I can even manage to squeeze in a thirty minute workout.  BOOM. That my friends, is time management!

Dating:  I’m a single mom so dating is new territory for me, given my new status. As a single gal, I dated for fun. I would go on dates with people I met online or through mutual friends. And I really didn’t think much about it. It was just a fun way to get out and meet new people. If it worked out, awesome. If it didn’t work out, nothing gained and nothing lost. Since becoming a single mother, I am very wary about dating. First of all, I want to make sure that I am dating someone who shares the same values as me and will be comfortable dating a woman with a child. Second of all, my time is precious and I am very cautious about who I am going to spend it with. Going on a date means time away from my daughter, so he better be a really good catch if I am giving up even an hour with her.

It’s amazing how much motherhood can change you. Most of the changes happen in a super natural way. I’m more than happy to go without sleep, manicures and vacations to make sure my daughter has everything she needs. I know as she gets older my priorities will continue to change, and I am totally okay with that. Being a mom means putting someone else’s needs ahead of my own, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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What to expect when you’re expecting…the good stuff!!

Everyone loves to tell an expecting mother about the horror stories and crazy things you will experience when you are expecting, but no one tells you the good stuff. The stuff you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Getting a positive pregnancy test is magical. It’s like Christmas day wrapped up in sunshine and sparkles. It’s exciting and breathtaking and leaves you speechless, because suddenly you are so aware of this little life growing inside of you. This little life that you want to take the best possible care of and you vow to do everything right for the next nine months.  You are in love with someone you’ve never met and would go to the end of the earth for this little miracle.

The first time you hear the heartbeat, your own heart stops. Hearing something so small yet so powerful will bring you to tears, because you can actually hear life happening inside of your own body. No matter how long your doctor lets you listen, it’s never long enough. It’s the best part of every appointment you’ll have during your pregnancy and you’ll look forward to baring your belly and listening to the other heart that is inside of you.

The first ultrasound.  Seeing your baby on that screen will literally leave you speechless. All I could do was watch in awe and wipe away my tears.  I fell more in love during the first ultrasound than I ever knew possible. I felt so connected to that little twelve week old life growing inside of me. I didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl at that point, but I didn’t care. All I knew was that in that moment, seeing my baby on the screen, I believed in love at first sight.

Oh, and those tiny little kicks. They hit you when you least expect it! My first kicks happened at work one day around the sixteen week mark. I hadn’t announced my pregnancy yet so when it happened I had to keep my excitement to myself. And the wonderful thing was, it continued to happen. For almost an hour my little darling kicked and I had to go to the bathroom to quietly call my mom and share the news and wipe the tears away from my eyes. It was an amazing feeling, nothing else compares to it. Even in those last weeks when your baby is kicking you in the bladder and in the ribs, you’ll still love it, no matter how uncomfortable you are.

The pregnancy glow. I don’t care who you are or how much you love or hate being pregnant. Every woman gets the pregnancy glow. And every woman looks like a million dollars when they get to that stage. My third trimester was in the dead summer heat, and despite all of the sweat and swelling, I still got to glow. I could see it in myself. The happiness radiated through. It showed first thing in the morning and late at night.  It made me feel beautiful and radiant, even in the very end when that big pregnant belly gets in the way of even the simplest tasks.

Pregnancy definitely has its ups and downs. And for some women, the downs happen more frequently than the ups. But even on those days when your back hurts, you’ve puked 4 times and you can`t stop peeing, just stop for a moment. Stop and embrace the miracle inside of you. Whether your pregnancy is a breeze or nine months from hell, when you finally do get to hold your baby, you`ll forget almost all of it. And in that moment, it will all be worth it.

Ronald McDonald House

I don’t have a lot of experience with sick children. I was healthy growing up, my sisters were healthy and so were all of my cousins and friends. I had heard of Ronald McDonald House, but never understood its importance or significance, until a week ago. The day my world was turned upside down.

It was a normal Saturday. My baby woke up around 7:30 and wanted to play. We ate breakfast and watched some cartoons. The sun was shining so I took her outside to enjoy some fresh air. After being outside for a while I decided that it was a good idea to come inside and have some lunch. Charlotte ate and shortly after was rubbing her eyes and acting tired. ‘Nap time’ I thought, excitedly.

My daughter is not a good napper. A long nap for her would be 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, I checked on her. Still sound asleep. ‘Fresh air wore her out,’ I thought to myself. So I let her go a little longer. About 20 minutes later I checked again, and it sounded like she was snoring. I touched her lightly and said her name. Her eyes fluttered but she didn’t focus on me. I picked her up and said her name again. She half-opened her lids and her head began to bob. The only other person at home was my dad. I rushed Charlotte to him and he called her name, but she couldn’t hold her little head up. She was lethargic and groggy and breathing heavily and raspy.

We headed to the hospital in a hurry. When we got there, 16 medical professionals swarmed my daughter. My eyes filled with tears. I truly thought I was going to lose her. I leaned against the nurse’s station in the ER and asked for water. Someone brought it to me and I thought I was going to vomit.  It felt like I was leaning there for hours but in reality, it was probably less than ten minutes.

The attending physician for the ER told me that Charlotte was going to be airlifted to the IWK, which is a children’s hospital that is approximately a four hour drive away. At that point, they didn’t even know if I could go in the helicopter with her. After a few phone calls and some chats with the pilots, it was determined I could go.

I don’t remember much about the helicopter ride. But I do know it felt like it took forever. I sang songs in my head to distract myself. I tried not to look at Charlotte too much, because she was intubated and in a medically induced coma. Every time I looked at her I wanted to cry.

When we landed in Halifax there was a sense of urgency. We were rushed to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Coincidentally, my mom and sister were on the way home from a road trip and were able to meet me there.  Again, medical professionals swarmed my daughter and I was left with no answers as to what was happening.

Some more time passed and I was finally able to be by her side. She looked so tiny and was hooked up to so many machines. Tons of tests were being ordered and all of the on-call specialists were being called in. I was trying so hard to keep it together and not lose my cool, but it was becoming harder by the second. I was making deals with God and the devil and anyone else who would listen.

A social worker came by and asked where I had planned on spending the night. I said I wanted to stay by Charlotte’s side. She told me that it was important I got some sleep and that perhaps it was not a good idea to be present for all of the tests as they were very intrusive and since Charlotte was in a coma, she wouldn’t be aware of what was happening. My aunt lives only a short drive from the hospital and I told her I was going to stay there. What she offered me though, was a place to rest and peace of mind. I was given the opportunity to stay at Ronald McDonald House located inside the IWK. Sandwiched between the PICU and the NICU. A ten second walk from my daughter’s room. A place where I could get some rest, yet still be as close as possible to her. My eyes filled up with tears of gratitude when I realized how close I could be to my baby.

Ronald McDonald House is a gift to families who need to be close to their sick children. It literally is a home away from home. The rooms are clean and comfortable. There are washers and dryers, showers and every toiletry you can imagine. The kitchen is always stocked with food and their volunteers are constantly baking cookies and muffins. Supper is provided nearly every night by either volunteer donations or donations from local restaurants. There is also a huge comfy lounge area with couches and rocking chairs and toys for children. There are computers and printers and phones with free calling cards so you can make long distance phone calls. For some people, this lifts a huge financial burden. For others, it allows for peace of mind. For me, it filled my heart with gratitude and love.

I only had to spend three nights in Ronald McDonald House. Charlotte was finally transferred to the Pediatric Medical Unit where I was allowed to sleep on a cot in her room. She underwent more tests than most people will experience in a lifetime and saw more specialists than I knew existed. We walked away without a diagnosis and were told it was likely a one-time isolated incident.

Ronald McDonald house is run by volunteers and depends on the generous donations of the public to keep going. The next time you are at McDonalds and you find yourself with a little bit of change in your pocket, please please please throw it in the donation box next to the cash register. My eyes were opened during this past week to just how important this facility is. I will never have enough words to express my gratitude for this amazing place. All I can say is thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Things I swore I would never do

When I was pregnant, I thought I knew everything. I really believed that I had a solution to every parenting problem and that my daughter and my parenting style would be perfect. People would want me to give them advice and show them all the tips and tricks and techniques. Then I had my daughter, and reality settled in!

I swore when I was pregnant that I would not co-sleep. It’s not safe, it causes a dependency and blah blah blah. For Charlotte’s first ten weeks, the only place she would sleep was in her car seat or curled up on my chest. So every night, I would take her to bed and hold her for hours on end. I’d drift in and out of a light sleep. I would try to put her in her crib but she would wake up screaming and no matter how hard I tried, she would not go back to sleep. So finally, I tried laying her down next to me and still allowed some skin-on-skin contact. And you know what? It worked. And I was so tired that I would have slept in the driveway if it meant I could get some sleep. So we co-slept, for nearly six months. And she was SUCH a bed-hog. I was terrified at first that I would accidentally roll on her or something. Well that was impossible because she took up 80% of a queen sized bed and I had the leftovers. And she would kick, and punch, and lay on the blankets. And fart, and burp and spit up on the sheets. But despite all of this, I did get used to it and the both of us would have the most wonderful sleeps. At six months old I was finally able to get her in the crib, and she adjusted beautifully to it and sleeps there every night now. Co-sleeping worked for us.But society thinks it’s wrong and people were less than kind with their comments. “You’ll ruin her!!” Umm..what?? Ruin her? How? “She will still want to sleep with you when she’s 6.” So what. Is that really THAT bad? I kind of like snuggling up next to her and at times I really miss it. And you know what? I’ve never met an 18 year old that still needed to snuggle up next to their mom to fall asleep every night.

I also thought that I would be a breastfeeding champ. It’s the most natural thing in the world, right? I told myself that I’d be great at it and would be able to feed her while I simultaneously read books and surfed Pinterest for new recipes. It did come easy at first. In the hospital it was a breeze. Between the nurses and the lactation consultant they made me feel like a breastfeeding goddess. But after that, it got really hard. She was at me constantly and I was super exhausted. And overwhelmed. And ashamed that it wasn’t working as well as I wanted it to. I was supplementing with formula and felt a bit guilty about it. I remember laying in the bathtub one evening and sobbing because I felt like such a failure. But my older (and much wiser) sister put it all into perspective for me. “As long as your baby is being fed then who cares what the source is? Just make sure her belly is full and she is loved and she will thrive.” And she was right.

I also swore that all of Charlotte’s food would be organic. I wanted her to eat only the very best. I do try to feed Charlotte healthy and nutritious food MOST of the time, but sometimes I feed her a grilled cheese, or toast and jam, or (gasp) a piece of cake. Whatever. She gets to try a variety of different foods. More often than not, she eats what I eat. Turkey dinner, Sheppard’s Pie, Mac and Cheese, Spaghetti, or whatever else is on the go. But it’s definitely not always organic and I really don’t care because she is gaining weight at a great rate and growing like a weed (a good weed!)

And TV. Yeah, I thought she would never watch it or only watch it on a rare occasion. Honestly, if the TV shows have even a bit of an educational theme, then I am game. Sometimes she wanders away from the TV and starts to play with a toy, but I am still glued to it, curious as to where Dora is going and what obstacles she is going to face along the way! I watched tons of TV as a kid and I think I turned out pretty decent. I’m not saying that TV is the only way I will keep Charlotte entertained, but sometimes mommy needs 30 minutes to creep around on facebook!

It’s so easy to be a great mom when you aren’t actually a mom! In a way I was very naïve because my idea of parenting just wasn’t realistic. I’m sure as Charlotte grows older I will continue to get more reality checks and they will surprise me and make me question if I am doing things right. But, like the name of this blog says, she didn’t come with instructions! Most of the time I am just winging it and hoping for the best!  Oh, and to all of you mommy’s out there who managed to stay true to your pre-child parenting skills: we need to talk! You are clearly a genius and I need some advice!

Dear friends without children

Dear friends without children,

I used to be one of you.  Carefree and not on the schedule of a baby. With the ability to do what I wanted when I wanted to. I miss those days sometimes. And sometimes I am jealous of you because you still have those days. I know our relationship has changed since I became a mom, but there are some things I want you to know.

I promise I won’t always be this busy. Eventually, my baby won’t be a baby anymore and at some point, I can socialize on a regular basis again. Maybe not as much as I used to, but I will try my best to see you as often as I can.

And I won’t always be this tired. Sometimes you tell me stuff and I forget. And I am embarrassed that I forget. You are important and so is the stuff you are telling me. I just am not very good at remembering a lot of things these days. I called my eyelids eye covers. That’s how tired I am. I haven’t had more than 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep in over ten months. I promise that one day when I am finally caught up on my sleep, I will remember everything you tell me and I’ll have witty remarks and great advice to give.

I really do want to see you. I’m sorry that I can’t be there for wing night every Thursday, and I’m sorry that I say no way more often than I say yes.  I really wish I could go to the mall or the movies every time you ask but I just can’t. And please know that every time I say yes it truly is a big deal for me, because being a single mom means that I do all of the parenting and leaving my baby with my parents too often makes me feel guilty.

But please don’t stop asking. I want to be wanted. I want you to ask me to go places and do stuff. Because then it reminds me that you still love me and want my company, even though I rarely say yes. And every now and then I will surprise the both of us and say yes so that we can share some laughs and catch up on what’s happening in our lives.

I miss you, a lot. I miss going for drives and going to the gym and drinking ridiculous amounts of wine and taking random road trips and making those awesome cookies. I miss seeing you as often as I used to and I miss your smiling face.

You were there for me when I was pregnant, and I will never forget that. You tolerated my mood swings, took me on ice cream dates and came with me to pick out baby stuff.  You listened to me complain about gaining weight and told me I was beautiful in the dead summer heat when I was sweating and my feet were swollen. Thank you. I love you for that.

And on the bad days, the days when I felt overwhelmed, you stayed by my side. You heard my worries and my fears. You might have not always had an answer or a solution, but you had an open mind and an open heart and were there for me when I was most vulnerable.

So, my beautiful friends; please know that I value you, respect you and will always love you. I know things have changed and that life is more complicated these days, but I still think of you often and consider you my best friends.  And to my girlfriends who had children before me: I love you too, more than words can say.  Thank you for getting me ready for this amazing adventure I am on. I couldn’t have done it without any of you. You were there for me in every way possible.

I love you all and miss you more than words can say. One day, when I’m not covered in spit-up, running on three hours of sleep, or dealing with a teething baby, I promise I am treating you all to several rounds of wine.

Xoxo

Love,

Katie

Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

I never realized how much you’ve actually done for me. It took me having a child of my own to fully understand and appreciate everything you have done and continue to do.

Thank you for staying up so many nights to rock me to sleep, to comfort me when I was sick and for making the scary monsters go away. I can’t imagine how tired you must have been with three children under the age of 5. Yet, you were always full of energy and love despite the fact that you hadn’t had a full night of sleep in over 6 years.

Thank you for building me up, even when others were trying to bring me down. Last year, when I wanted to quit work because of the constant bullying, you talked to me and helped me get through it. But I never would have found that strength if you hadn’t taught me in my younger years how to rise above small people. Even as a child you always taught me to stand up for myself and not to let people walk all over me. It’s hard sometimes, because I know I’m really soft, but you always remind me that I deserve to be loved and appreciated.

Thank you for always supporting me. Emotionally, you are always there. Whether I have good news or bad news, awesome days or terrible days, smiles to tears, you are always there. You’ve also supported me financially more times than I can count. I promise one day I am sending you and dad on an awesome vacation to finally repay you!!

Thank you for teaching me how to be a good person. You taught me to swallow my pride and say sorry when I am wrong, to help others whenever I can, and to treat everyone with love and consideration. It is because of this that I am surrounded with friends who give me the exact same.

Thank you for always knowing what to say. I’m sure that sometimes I came to you with problems or fears or questions that were difficult, yet you always gave me the best advice. The best advice you ever gave me was so simple and true, “you teach people how to treat you.” I have been using this line for a long time and fall back on that advice on a very regular basis.

Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother. You love Charlotte and when I see the two of you together, my heart melts. Watching you love her make me want to cry because it’s like I am watching you with me as a baby. It’s the most beautiful and humbling thing.

And most of all, thank you for teaching me how to be a mom. I was so scared and overwhelmed when we took Charlotte home. I didn’t know anything about taking care of a baby, but you swooped in and showed me everything. I am so grateful to you for that. I don’t know how I would have made it through those first few weeks without you by my side.

Thank you for everything Mom. I love you more than words can say. I’m blessed to have you in my life and on my side. You gave me a wonderful childhood filled with love and happiness. And as an adult, you’ve become my best friend and the one person I can count on for absolutely anything. I love you so very much and am wishing you the best mothers day ever.

xoxoxo

Love,

Katie

Retired Bar Star

I stopped going to bars a few years ago. I just felt like I wasn’t in the same mindset as most of the people who were there. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a bar and I chose to stay sober. Now, some of you might be wondering why I chose to stay sober? For a lot of reasons, actually. But mainly because having to care for a baby while dealing with a hangover could be considered a form of torture.  So because I was sober, I really got to observe a lot while I was out. And I realized I am so over the bar scene and would honestly rather stay home, and here’s why:

  • I can drink at home and it costs nothing. Ok, well maybe not nothing. But all it costs is $15 for a bottle of wine. If I drank the equivalent of a bottle of wine at the bar, it would cost me $60 or maybe even more depending on how generous I am tipping. Also, when I am home and drinking, I don’t need to try to walk in 3 inch stilettos. And that is not an easy task when you’re sober! Doing it drunk just seems like a quick way to end up with a sprained ankle!
  • It’s damn loud! I know I sound like a grandmother saying that, but holy shit, I could hardly hear anything anyone said to me. I did a lot of smiling and nodding for a good part of the evening. It seemed to work because people would laugh at me and then take a selfie. If I want to be in a loud place, I can do it for free at home (notice the trend here?) Between the baby babbling or crying, the kids TV shows and the endless music making toys, the last thing I want on a night out is more noise. A fun night out for me involves early dinner and a movie. And I don’t even care what the movie is; I just want to sleep during it.
  • The clothing. So, when I was hitting up the bars in my younger years, most girls wore jeans and tank tops at the bar. The odd girl wore a skirt or a dress. And they were short but not THAT short. But now? Wow. I am all about wearing whatever you are comfortable in. If you want to be all Lady Gaga-like and dress in a really funky fashion, go for it. Rock on sister friend. And if you want to show your assets, power to you! As long as you are comfortable. But how can someone be comfortable when their hoo-ha is one light breeze away from being exposed? I watched one girl pull at her dress about 27 times in a 5 minute span. She was clearly uncomfortable and kept trying to cover herself, but the problem was, she wasn’t wearing enough to be covered! Eventually she got drunk and stopped caring. And I am pretty sure I saw things that only her boyfriend or gynecologist should see.
  • Sometimes, it really is just a girl’s night and I don’t want anyone buying me drinks. I think that unless I am interested in the person, it is wrong to accept. So, this guy who was easily fifteen years my senior wanted to buy me a drink. I said no thank you. He insisted. I said I wasn’t drinking. He asked why. The quickest thing I could come up with was “because I’m pregnant.” Nothing sends a man running any faster haha. He backed off after that. This is why all of my future girl’s nights are going to be at home with tons of chocolate, wine and Netflix.
  • The music…most of it I have never heard before. I must be getting old as dirt because I knew less than 10% of the music that was being played. And the hilarious part is, almost every time a song would come on, a bunch of girls would be all like ‘this is my jam!!! AHHHH!!!’ and run to the dance floor. Meanwhile I’m left scratching my head like I have a bad case of lice trying to figure out what song it is, who sings it and why I don’t know it.
  • Oh, the bathroom antics. First of all, women are fucking disgusting. The bathrooms are always repulsive at bars. Toilet paper everywhere. Tampon wrappers on the floor. Dripping wets rolls of paper towel on the sink that I don’t want to touch. I think it’s a prerequisite that you need to be drunk to use the bathroom so that you’re oblivious to its nastiness. And there are always two types of people who can be found in every bar bathroom. A puker and a crier. The puker is heaving her guts up in a stall. She comes out with her eyes bloodshot and her make-up smeared. She quickly checks her hair and splashes some water on her face/in her mouth…and then goes right back to the dance floor like nothing happened. Ummmm…. wtf!? After I puke, I brush my teeth for ten minutes, take a shower and then curl up on the couch and wallow in self-pity. But nope, not at the bar. Those girls are determined that they aren’t going home till the lights come on. And the crier. Yes, we know. We’ve all been there. No one bought you a drink, your boyfriend is mad that you’re out for the 4th time this week. Your hair doesn’t look right. You look fat in all of your selfies. Your friends are mad at you because you got too drunk too fast. Suck it up, princess. The lights will be on soon and then you will be passed out in a cab with all of your bathroom woes long forgotten.

So it seems my bar days are truly over. I really can’t think of one single reason as to why I would even want to go. Maybe I’m getting old? Maybe motherhood has changed me more than I realized? Maybe I’m a total stick in the mud? I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care! I am just not feeling it any more. I was a bar star when I was 19, 20, 21…but now, the only kind of bar I am into is a chocolate bar. Preferably KitKat or Twix!

Pets and children are not the same thing

I love animals. Honestly, I really do. Dogs are awesome! I had one growing up and he was a part of our family. And I really don’t mind when someone refers to their pet as their ‘fur baby’, no big deal. But last week I overheard a conversation that went something like this.

Person 1: “I am so tired! Between the baby being up all night and the getting the kids ready for school this morning, I am beat. Parenting is exhausting.” Person 2 “I know what you mean, I have 2 dogs and a cat and it’s so much work. Pets are as much work as children.”

No, crazy lady, pets cannot be compared to raising children. Yes, they are a part of your family and yes, they are work. But your pet is NOTHING like a child, and here’s why:

Your pet does not need you every minute of every day. A newborn needs you in a way that consumes every move you make. You can’t go to the washroom without either taking them or making sure someone else is watching them. You can’t take a shower without arranging to do it. Also, newborns are pretty helpless. They can’t feed themselves. They need help going to sleep. They need to be held and cuddled pretty much all day. But your pet, well your pet is an animal. Animals eat when they are hungry and sleep when they are tired.  And you can leave them alone for five minutes without having to wonder if something terrible happened.

Your pet does not need clothing. You may choose to put clothes on your pet, but they don’t need to wear clothing. And before anyone starts arguing that their pet needs clothing, let’s take a look through history. Did dogs (or other pets) wear clothing 30 years ago? No, they did not. Did babies need clothing 30 years ago? Yup, they sure did.  They also did 100 years ago and 1000 years ago. And that aside, baby clothing can be expensive, especially when they change sizes every two months.

Your pet does not need daycare. Again, you might make the choice to put your pet in daycare, and I’m not criticizing you for it. If you want to spend your money on doggy/kitty daycare then that’s your prerogative. But children need some form of care when their parents are absent. It’s actually illegal to leave them without proper supervised care. It is not illegal to leave your dog/cat/hamster at home all day while you work.

Your pet does not need an RESP. I don’t care how brilliant your pet is; it’s not going to college or university. You aren’t setting aside money every month to ensure that they have a way to pay for their future diploma/degree. However, most parents like to think that their child has a bright future and would like to see them achieve a post-secondary education. And that shit costs a lot. Basically if you start saving while they are still in the womb, you might have enough by the time they are 18.

Your pet doesn’t ask hard questions. “Hey Mom, where do babies come from?” …“Mom, why did the dinosaurs die?”… “Mom, why is the sky up instead of down?” …“Mom, why is your name Mom and not Lom?”… “Mom, why can’t humans fly?” Meanwhile your pet is just sitting there playing with a ball of yarn or eating a treat.

Your pet does not have emotional needs. Yes people, I know your pet needs nurturing and love. But your pet does not have the emotional needs that children have. Children need an environment that encourages learning. Children need to be shown unconditional love, even when they are being little shits.  Children will grow and experience bullying and heartbreak and raging teenage hormones. Your pet will not.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with loving your pets and spending all of your money on them. I’m cool with you calling yourself a fur mommy and referring to your pets as your fur babies.  But taking care of a pet and taking care of a child is not even close to equivalent. The level of responsibility is about ten million times greater for a child.  So please stop saying that your pet is as much work as a child, because it’s just not true.

And to anyone I offended by writing this, I’m sorry…but not really.