Deciding to raise a kid in a house full of pets is not the sanest decision I ever made. There have been countless stuffed animal casualties. Myriad meals remade after someone with two legs left them right where someone with four legs could reach them. And don’t get me started on the hair. Everywhere. From both species.
Catch me on a bad day, and I’m bound to threaten to sell them all to the zoo. Yes, all of them.
But then there are the days that make it all worth it, the days when I peek into the 9-year-old’s bedroom to see her passed out asleep, a book falling from one hand, the other nestled in a pile of fur. These are the moments that tell me my kid is getting exactly what she needs from the furballs who help her keep our house in a constant state of chaos.
Love — and plenty of it.
Companionship — even though she’s an only child
Empathy — even more important when you are an only child and don’t learn by watching siblings’ trials and tribulations
As parents, we give her all of that too. Tons of it.
But as parents, we have only so much. So much time. So much patience. So much physical ability to be “on” every time our kids need someone to pay attention to them. If you haven’t perfected the smile and nod without letting on that you’ve tuned out by the time your kid is about 4 or 5, you’re probably screwed. Sorry, but it’s true.
More From Inside Out: Why Doesn’t Anyone Tell You This BEFORE You Adopt a Puppy?
But dogs and cats don’t have to smile and nod. They’re good listeners who aren’t expected to talk back. They’re friends who ask for nothing more than a good belly scratch or back rub. They’re cuddlers up for a snuggle when Mommy and Daddy really need to get back to making dinner or no one is going to eat tonight.
Oh, and did I mention “children who live in a home with a pet during their first year of life are also more likely to be healthier, compared with kids who don’t live in a pet-owning household?”
Trust me, you might be able to parent without a pet. But you shouldn’t.
Further proof? Every kid loves a good animal flick! And Netflix has a ton your kiddos will adore!
For the little kids:
For the bigger kids:
Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?
Disclaimer: I’m a member of the Netflix Stream Team and as such receive free Netflix each month. I was not otherwise compensated for this post and all opinions are my own