Parenthood is a unique journey, and as all parents say, nothing fully prepares you for it. However, you learn lessons from different experiences that will help you in raising children.
Many say that having a pet is the closest experience — and responsibility — to having a child. Your fur babies depend on you for everything and need your protection. They become your biggest responsibility and give you joy you never thought you’ll have.
Here are four reasons your fur baby helps you become a better parent-to-be.
You Learn the Value of Time Management
Pets would never let you forget feeding time — especially cats. The most temperamental cats will wake you in the wee hours to inform you that they are hungry. Puppies, meanwhile, will keep running around and only stop if they are tired, even if it’s already half past midnight.
You will lose sleep, and you will do everything to finish your tasks so you can catch up on sleep. Time management is a valuable skill when you’re taking care of a dog or cat. There are suddenly so many tasks to be done to keep them happy, safe, and well-fed.
Time Management with Children
Children will require even more time and attention from you. A survey by Sleep Junkie shows that new parents lose 109 minutes or about two hours of sleep during the first year of having a baby. Additionally, new parents spend 5 hours a day trying to get the baby to sleep.
They barely have time for themselves. The survey revealed that new parents only spend 5% of their day on self-care.
Dogs and cats may not demand as much time and effort, but they will give you a taste of what it’s like to spend much of your day caring for someone else. But despite the grueling temporal demands, having a pet or a baby is worth the lost sleep.
You Learn to Become a Provider
A pet will let you experience the realities of being a provider. Pets, like children, will depend on you for everything.
For, instance, the cost of owning a dog, according to The Spruce, falls between $1400 and $4300. A large portion of this goes to food. And it’s not enough to earn — you will also have to prepare the food, buy the pet supplies, clean the toys, drive them to the grooming salon, schedule appointments at the vet, and so on.
Providing for Children
These responsibilities give you a glimpse of parental duties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that in 2015, a two-child, middle-income family spent about $12,980 per child per year.
The expenses also change as the child grows. Compared to the average expense, a toddler will cost you $300 less. However, a teenager will cost you $900 more.
It goes without saying, however, that no amount of money can match the joy that your pet or child brings.
You Learn to Accept that Things Don’t Go as Planned
Parents could have everything figured out. Their finances, mortgage loans, and travel funds are in order. They have a clear career path. They will invest in so and so at a certain time. But no matter how carefully they plan things, a pet — and to a greater extent, a child — could compel them to change their plans.
Housecleaning alone becomes a challenge. You have to clean pet dander regularly and look out for messy paw prints on the floor. When you have puppies, expect chewed objects scattered around the house. It is, after all, a way to relieve pain when they have incoming teeth. But because you love your pets, you will learn to embrace the chaos.
Plans Involving Children
The same goes for having children. If you have a toddler, your house may never be as immaculate as it was before the little ones arrived. Just like the way they dominate your schedule, they will lord over your space, as well.
You’ll learn to put their needs first. Even if you prefer a beige wall, you will put up posters and baby murals to keep them entertained. Although you want ceramic décor, you might put them away to keep the babies safe.
Some parents had to put their careers on pause to take care of their children or reallocate savings to fund a child’s immediate need. Although things don’t go as planned, parents have the peace of mind that they did it to better their children’s lives.
You Learn More about Your Partner
If you have a pet with your partner, you will get a taste of sharing responsibilities. Additionally, no matter how much you adore your partner, you won’t always agree on everything. And having a pet will let you experience how to settle disagreements to achieve what’s best for your pet.
A harmonious relationship is even more crucial when you have children. A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology reveals that the way parents argue affects how their children process emotions. Kids who grew up in a high-conflict household are more likely to struggle in social situations, compared to children who were raised in a low-conflict home.
While pets and children entail drastically different obligations, a fur baby will help you prepare for a human baby. You get a taste of the sleeplessness, the mess, the joy, and more importantly, the unconditional love.