Way before I got pregnant, when motherhood was just a distant fantasy, I assumed learning how to care for a plant and owning a pet were mature predecessors to being a mom. In fact, I was one of those people that looked down my nose at new parents who gave up their pets.  I mean, really, your pet is like your child, am I right? Well the answer to that is, they’re close but no, actually your pets are not like your children. I love my dog Fenway (yes, I’m a Red Sox fan) but there’s just no comparison, despite how obsessed I am with him.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!  I haven’t given my dog to my mom or anything, but I don’t know what it is. My dog could do (within reason) no wrong before the baby came along. Now, my dog could nonchalantly fart from across the living room, and I would go ballistic. That’s right. I’m admitting what so many won’t – that becoming a parent soaks up all of your patience so that you have none left for pets, traffic or customer service operators.

Now this doesn’t mean that if I lose my temper at the dog I don’t cry in the shower about it later (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration), but truthfully, as parents we are under a ton of pressure when baby comes along. No matter how perfect we want to be, somewhere, somehow, the steam will let out. And often, it is let out at our dogs, cats, birds and, well, even our fish.

I don’t have a solution for this problem, but I will say, if you’re a new parent do NOT get a puppy. I wouldn’t even opt to adopt an adult dog until your child is old enough to be conscious of the welfare of other beings and boundaries. And besides, you’ll be busy teaching a new little human being how to eat, sleep, poop and a host of other functions. Trying to do that, and house train a pet might just send you over the edge. So wait.

If you already have a pet, well… you’re kind of screwed.  I’m just here to acknowledge it, like people acknowledge their alcoholism at an AA meeting. “I’m Blu, and I get inordinately bitchy at my dog instead of my baby.” This may be you once baby arrives, but it doesn’t have to be you forever.  So don’t give your pet away. Just prepare to fall down… and then prepare to get back up. With parenthood we’re learning a whole new level of patience we never thought possible. You just have to learn how to take a breather and walk away.

Remember, Fido was there for you when most people didn’t want to give you the time of day. You owe him, but more importantly, he’s a part of your family too. And despite those bumps in the road to parenthood, he has more to offer you and your child by sticking around for the ride. Just make sure you eventually have something to offer him back for being bottom man on the totem pole! Do any of you have a favorite story about your pet and parenthood? Share it in our comments section below!