This post goes out to the expectant momma who was at one time only a dog momma.
Let’s face it, you probably knew you were going to be a crazy dog mom (or perhaps a crazy cat lady) WAY before you knew you were going to have a child; at least that was true for me. I mean, who doesn’t want a full-time selfie-partner, “thunder buddy,” and someone who will always listen to you without judging or talking back?! Owning a pet is truly an everlasting friendship – one where you celebrate each other’s birthdays with your favorite treats and even get matching ugly sweaters when the holidays come around. Not to mention that every Mother’s Day, you treat yourself and your dog to a couple of pedicures because, well, you’re a dog momma, right?! (Raise your hand if you’re with me!)
So, what happens when you’ve only ever been a dog momma and now you’re realizing that you’re going to be a mom to a little human? If you’re anything like me, you’ll have nearly 937 different thoughts and questions rolling through your brain. Not about the baby. But about your first baby, your precious pup!
What will my dog think of this new tiny human? How will my dog treat him/her? Will there be enough room in my bed for all of us? Will my dog resent me and become destructive because he won’t be the center of my universe anymore?!
Here’s what I’ve learned: DON’T. FREAK. OUT. Through talking with my friends and reading countless articles on, “How to deal with your pet before baby comes,” I quickly learned that the transition from being a dog-mom to a baby-mom IS possible and everyone can #coexist.
Here are a few tips I used in my household to make the transition with my fur baby into parenthood a smooth one:
My husband and I initiated Project Nursery early on. We put together the crib, swing and bouncy chair months in advance of our daughter’s birth, and let our dog become familiar with the revised layout of his palace. (Because as you know, it’s a dog’s world, and we’re just living in it.
- When our daughter was born, my husband brought a piece of her clothing home (that she’d already worn) to introduce the new scent to our dog before she entered, “His territory.”
- We created a Safety Zone for our dog. This allowed for him to have a safe space that was HIS; away from all the commotion when new movements and sounds presented themselves through our daughter’s early crying and crawling stages.
- In relation to tip #3, I would be remiss if I didn’t share my greatest lesson of all through this transitional process. This one isn’t for the dog, or the baby; but it will indirectly impact both of them… It’s for YOU, the mom.
Do you remember where you were and who was by your side before you became a crazy dog-mom or a mom to your kid(s)?
For me, I was with my now husband creating countless memories that were just the two of us. MY HUSBAND was the center of my universe and the spontaneity in our relationship and activities were endless. I almost didn’t recognize it because he coped so well, but it was as if a light went on and I realized that when I became a dog-mom, he became a dog-dad… and when I became a mother to our baby girl… he became a father too.
What this means is that he went from being my one and only, to quickly taking the backseat to our dog and then to our baby. Our carefree behavior and fun activities quickly turned into robotic scheduling and our conversations about what our next road trip would be turned into how much money we were going to have to set aside for daycare expenses. For the dog and the baby. What I’m trying to say is that LIFE. GOT. REAL. and my husband is my hero for making this transition with me.
I can’t stress how important it is to create a Safety Zone not just for your beloved fur baby, and for your precious human baby, but also for yourself and your spouse. Don’t let your spouse take the backseat all the time. Let them drive or ride shotgun every now and then – whatever that may mean for you. Trust me, the only regret you’ll have is not putting you and your spouse first more often.
(You can also find more helpful transitional tips for introducing babies and dogs by visiting AKC.org)