SAHM: We Got a Puppy and I Have Some Thoughts
I have woken up with the sun for the past month. I have picked up poop, cleaned up pee, and been bitten, scratched, and licked. I have been more frustrated than I think I ever have in my life. I have spent a lot of time at the vet, spent a lot of money on bacon-flavored treats, and am becoming accustomed to the sound of squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak... And the words, "good boy" come out of my mouth without me even thinking about it.
We got a puppy. His name is Cal.
We got a puppy, and I have some thoughts.
He seems to never run out of it, and mine seems to always be low. I am currently surviving on a diet of slim fast shakes and canned coke, because I have no time or energy for anything more complicated, and I would rather sit down and close my eyes for a minute.
I am a SAHM with two toddlers at home, and it takes a certain level of insanity to decide to add another layer of crazy to our home. We have been talking about getting a dog for a long time-- my husband especially has been on the hunt for the perfect pup for our fam, and to be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting it to ever really happen. Then he sent me the picture of a sweet little thing down in San Diego, the rehoming fee was good for us, and we made the trip, and within 24 hours, we had Cal.
Since that day, I have been absolutely drained. Having Cal has been, by far, one of the most taxing things I have ever done--emotionally, physically, and mentally. I would add spiritually, but that feels dramatic, and that just isn't in my nature. *snorts*
If you think you want to have a puppy with two little kids at home, then just think about where you're at in your life. Are you getting plenty of sleep? Eating a more or less balanced diet? Keeping your cool with your kids? Okay, cool. Well throw all that out the window with a puppy because you are going to be at the end of your rope in every sense once that little black ball of claws and soft ears comes into your home. So... just think about it.
People who see you with your little kids and your little pup out in public will tell you that you're crazy or that you're so brave or that you really look like you needed to add another things to your plate... and they're not wrong, mama. They're not wrong.
Even though I was aware that dogs cost money, I wasn't really prepared for the fact that when you first get a pup, you are pretty much just handing over your wallet for emptying. There are so many costs that you'll need to factor in, and I will admit that we brought him home and were so unprepared for the first couple of days.
These are the things that we bought within the first 6 hours after bringing him home:
- Bowls for water and food
- Puppy potty training pads
- Chew toys
- Flea and tick spray for house
- Dog shampoo
To top off that list of things you never needed until this moment, and are now looking to more or less continue to purchase throughout the entirety of the pup's life, we made an appointment with a vet, and were gearing up for all kinds of costs to get his vaccines up to date, make sure he was healthy, and get him on track to be a happy healthy addition to our little fam. Think about how often you take your newborn to the doctor for shots and check-ups in the first several months, and apply that to your new pup. Because you're going to be in there a lot... paying for things.
Even after getting the "essentials" for Cal, we still ended up spending more money on things that we needed to make his life (and our life, actually) better. Pro mama tip: A lot of old baby teething toys will make good puppy teething toys. Who knew? We needed to buy wipes that were safe for dogs, we needed to buy those little bag things for picking up poop, we needed to buy a different kind of dog bowl because the ones we originally bought were horrible, we needed to buy a brush to make sure he's not shedding all over the place (and to check for ticks over the first few days).
So much money. For such a small sweet little thing. And even though everyone tells you that you need to expect to spend a lot, it kind of kicks you in the gut when you're actually doing it all of a sudden. Puppies. Are. Expensive.
Along with the complete and utter surrender of your sleep, the massive amounts of money that you're shelling out for all kinds of things, and you're overall change of lifestyle, you are going to need to prepare yourself for the fact that you will be dedicating a ton of time to your pup.
We couldn't leave Cal alone for more than 3 hours when we first brought him home, and that changes the way that you plan to do things with your kids. Especially when your pup is young, and before it's safe for them to go places (before their vaccines are complete), you are limited in where you can take them, so sometimes you're stuck to the house and the yard.
For our fam, that means that we've needed to change things up with how we run errands and when we leave the house. Everything takes more time, because Cal needs to go outside to the bathroom (hopefully) before we leave and we put him in his kennel. Combine that with the time it takes your littles to get their act together to get down the stairs and into the car, and you're adding on about 15-20 minutes on any departure time you've set for yourself.
When you actually are at home, a lot of your time (and I mean A LOT) is going to be spent interacting with your pup. And that's how it should be, but that becomes a little bit (and I mean A LOT) hard to do when you also have toddlers that are begging for attention all day long. You are going to be playing with the pup, taking the pup out for walks, taking him out to the bathroom, cleaning up his accidents in the house, keeping him from chewing on your brand new kitchen chairs... a lot of your time is going to be spent on the pup.
Like I said before, this is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Ever. And even if you are mentally and physically and emotionally prepared for bringing home a pup, you're going to get frustrated. A lot.
Puppies, like little kids, don't do what they're supposed to all the time, and that makes living with them really frustrating. You'll spend 20 minutes with them outside trying to get them to go to the bathroom, and then they'll pee on your rug as soon as they get inside. You'll put out the food in the morning, and then when you put it up until lunch time, he'll whine by the bowls until you pull them down. He'll nibble on your kids when he gets excited and make them cry and it's no one's fault, but it is frustrating.
You will feel totally out of patience a lot of the time, and sometimes that will be directed at your husband. The fact of being a SAHM is that you are dealing with the home and the family all day long. All. Day. Long. When you add a pup to the mix, that gets added to your lot. That means that 99% of the care of Cal lands on my shoulders, and for any mama thinking about getting a pup, that means that you'll be doing pretty much all of the dirty work.
It will be frustrating when you have cleaned up accident after accident on the carpet during the day, have kept fights from breaking out when your 2yo tried to pull the pup by the tail, somehow managed to get the kids in bed without anyone dying, and the pup is still alive, and your husband will still turn to you to take the pup out one more time before going to bed.
It will be frustrating to have a puppy. It has been frustrating with Cal. But at the end of the day, you need to decide if the hard days/nights for the next few months are worth adding a loving, sweet, kind, loyal addition to your family.
For our family, we decided it is worth it. So even though I get to complain and whine and cry about how hard it is, I'm doing it. And I chose to do it. And amid all the clean up and the clawing and the crying, you realize how much you love this sweet little pup, and how in a really short amount of time he's become a total part of your heart and a part of your family.
Your littles will wake up in the morning and giggle when that pup jumps up on their bed and licks their faces. They'll demand to go outside with you to give him treats whenever he goes to the bathroom, and they'll cheer whenever he sits on command.
Your husband will get home from work, and your sweet pup will cry and wag his tail and give him kisses, and you'll realize how absolutely adorable it is to see a sweet small pup love people so much.
And before I put him in his kennel for bed at night I know he's going to want me to rub his ears, and that he'll turn over onto his back for me to rub his tummy, and I'll realize there isn't much that is sweeter in this whole world than a loving pup who falls asleep to tummy rubs.