I know, you love your dogs and cats. I do too. I stress and worry and get paranoid over the littlest things. I buy expensive dog food. The dog eats cat poop and sticks from the yard. Which I guess is alright because I also buy expensive cat food so I suppose she at least gets gourmet cat poop.
I get it, really. They are lumps of love that pull at your heartstrings and ask for so very little in return. They give you their whole lives. I even refer to myself as “Mama” in reference to my critters. My mother refers to herself as Heidi’s “gramma”.
And that’s fine. Cute even.
But understand that having pets is not the same as having kids.
The expectations are completely different. I expect my cat to want to cuddle up in my lap for his entire life. He will spend the rest of his days completely dependent on me. He will never become more than he is today. He doesn’t have to learn the hard lessons so he can make it on his own. The repercussions of his bad decisions consist of getting yelled at. I don’t need to instill a work ethic or worry about a college education for the cat.
Also, if I locked my kid in a box while I was away at work, I’d get arrested. Rightfully so.
It’s been a long time since my son wanted to cuddle with his mom. And that’s good thing. You see, as a parent, my goal is to work myself out of a job. One day, my son will be an autonomous adult. That is, if I’m doing my job correctly.
As parents, sometimes we have to make gut-wrenching decisions. We have to take away the one big thing that is our child’s whole world. It really does hurt us more than it hurts them even though they won’t realize it until years later. It would hurt our children far more in the long run if we didn’t teach them those lessons now.
The dog? She’ll keep chasing toads no matter how often I scold her. She’ll roll in the nastiest thing in the yard and continue to be so very proud of it.
Be a pet parent. Be proud of it. Just don’t try to tell me it’s just like having kids.