Families fall into one of 4 categories: You either have more than one child and only 1 dog, only 1 child and multiple dogs, children and no dogs, or dogs and no children. I fall into the category of having only 1 child and more than 1 dog. Regardless of what category you fall in, being a mom is like nothing else in the entire world.
My daughter, Abby, turned 16 this year. When people first learn this, their eyes widen and they lean in to ask,” How is that going- you know, having a teenager in the house. Is it as bad as everyone says?” I smile and reply, “Despite my worst nightmares about living with a teen, it has been pretty darn great. I actually have an awesome teenager living in my house”. I thought about why and analyzed my approach to motherhood and parenting. I discovered that raising my daughter and raising my dogs were surprisingly almost identical. I simply raised Abby like a dog.
Before you call child welfare services, I promise I did not crate train her for potty training. However, much like I trained my dogs, I chose to build a relationship with my child based on trust and mutual respect. “Treating her like a dog” to me meant I gave her clear expectations, rewarded good behavior, ignored unwanted behaviors (like whining, etc…), and was consistent just about 100% of the time. I chose not to be a “helicopter parent” (a mom that hovers and does everything for her child). Rather, I allowed Abby opportunities to make her own decisions, develop responsibilities, and to be accountable 100% of the time. The rewards I have reaped as Abby’s mom are immeasurable. I enjoy our open communication, and the great pride I experience as I watch her mature into an independent and self-sufficient young lady.
As a Dog Mom, the rewards are also immeasurable. My life was forever changed (literally) the moment my first puppy entered my life. Initially, I was their teacher- helping them adapt to my world by combining positive training with clear and consistent expectations.
However, it was the dogs who became the real teachers- forcing me at times to reflect on how I am living my life. Living with them inspires me. They inspire me to love more, play more, focus more, and to live in the moment without regret.
“Love is a Four Legged Word, Caring for You is a Privilege, and I Get to Watch my Heart Run Around In Front of Me…”, are sentiments felt by Dog Mom’s everyday. This May, Dog is Good, will be focused on honoring the often-overlooked segment of motherhood, Dog Moms!
We are hosting the first annual #DOGMOM of the Year Award, presented by Petplan Insurance. Starting May 1st, you can enter yourself or another woman that you think exemplifies the BEST of Dog Momhood. Everyone that enters will receive great gifts and offers from the many partners supporting #DOGMOM with us this month. Click here for details.