Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of two legged kids and furry kids out there. Mother’s Day is always a little bittersweet for me. I come from a long line of great mothers. My mom is probably the greatest mom in the history of moms, though I try not to brag too much because I don’t want to make everybody else feel bad about their moms. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to test out my mothering abilities on human kids- I have furry children. It puts me in a little bit of a tight spot. People with furry children understand that we baby our animals and spend almost as much time caring for them as many people do with their real kids. When they were tiny, I got up every 2 or 3 hours to take them outside so that I wouldn’t wake up to a bathroom floor covered in poop. When they had any kind of illness or tummy issue, I would worry about it and take them to the vet. My dogs and cats all live inside. So I bathe the dogs regularly and trim their nails. In the winter, I put sweaters on them when we go outside (they have short hair and get cold easily). I’m constantly on the lookout for new toys that will hold their attention and let them have fun.
People who don’t have pets, or who don’t care for them like kids, don’t really understand. Some of them get downright upset at the mention of “dog moms” or “fur babies.” Do we ‘dog parents’ understand that having a dog is not the same as having a kid? Of course. Does it make us care less about our animals? Not at all. Just because we have ‘fur babies’ doesn’t mean that we don’t want kids. It doesn’t mean that we chose to never have kids either.
The problem with having kids as I see it is that there is never a right time. When I was fresh out of high school and in college, I had a long-term boyfriend, but it never turned into a marriage. Even if it had, the idea of having kids was a little scary because I knew at that point that I couldn’t care for a child financially. It’s hard to give a kid everything they need to survive when you don’t have a steady job yet.
When I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I didn’t think it was a good idea to have kids yet because I was going to grad school. Again, I didn’t have enough of an income to take care of children, and my boyfriend didn’t make enough money to support us alone much less us + a kid.
After I finished grad school and started working as an engineer, I had the money. What I didn’t have was time. I was working 9-10 hour days and spending about 3 hours each day in a car. I didn’t want to have a baby that I never got to see.
After a few years working as an engineer, I really wanted a baby. I was in a long-term relationship with someone who was trying to get me to marry him. The problem was that he was abusive. The only reason I stayed in the relationship for as long as I did was that I didn’t know how to get out of it without him killing me. I didn’t want to have kids with him because I didn’t want my son or daughter thinking it was okay for daddies to treat mommies the way he treated me.
Now here I am. I am technically still young enough to have kids- though not for much longer. I no longer work as an engineer. After the collapse of the oil and gas market I lost my job and became a high school teacher instead. I really like my job as a teacher and can’t see myself going back to the 9-5 corporate scene any time soon. I don’t make as much as I did as an engineer, but I have a lot more time. I think I would make a really good mother- it is in my blood, after all. At the moment though, I don’t want to be in a relationship- which makes it pretty hard to get pregnant the conventional way. I could adopt, but I am not convinced that any adoption agency would choose me over a two-parent household. From what I understand, the Texas legislature was talking about passing legislation making it harder for single people to adopt anyway.
I love my dogs like children because realistically, they may be the only children I ever have.
So today, on Mother’s Day, my fur-babies and I celebrated with my mother. I made her a quilt, because, well, hello. Quilts are awesome. As soon as she sat down on the couch to try it out, my puppies volunteered to help her test it.
I figure that if my puppies could pick out a Mother’s Day present for me, it would probably be a big giant puppy treat or a bone- that they would then eat. So I got myself flowers instead. I think maybe next Mother’s Day I should get myself a sailboat…