Raising pets can pretty much determine you and your partner's unique parenting styles.
Get a dog. Yes, it's that simple. I could stop here.
Before I begin, let me preface this piece by saying that I take dog parenting very seriously. I don't just wake up, take the dogs out, make sure they're fed, leave for 10 hours and come back to do it all over again. I actually "parent" my pooches.
I have the wonderful luxury of working from home. So I spend my days plugging away on my laptop while also tending to their every need: walks, belly rubs, backyard playtime, snacks, the works. My puppy Lucy even joins me on my yoga mat each morning. In short, it's pretty good to be my dogs.
I'm not bragging. I love JJ and Lucy dearly, but I know what a mess I've made. With a baby on the way, they are—or rather, we are—in for more than a few dramatic changes around here.
Though I don't regret the way I've raised them thus far. Parenting these two furballs has been wonderful practice for us. I believe that, through them, my husband and I have established our roles as a parenting duo.
I'm the big bad Momma, the disciplinarian and the gentle, soothing parent they come to when they need some loving. My husband is the fun guy, the dealer of not-approved-by-mommy "bacon" treats and the extra-protective worrier.
Our roles are probably not typical. It's safe to assume that it's usually the father who has to come in, get loud and shut down 11 p.m. playtime sessions. In our house, that's my job. Generally, moms are the ones freaking out about a strange mark on their bellies. In my family, it's my husband who calls me cold-hearted for not immediately calling the vet at the first sign of some runny poop.
When our daughter arrives, I know these roles are pretty much set in stone. Within a few years, my husband will be sneaking her pieces of candy when I'm not looking. Give us a few more years and she's bound to be crying to him, "Why can't Mommy be cool like you? I hate her!"
When you're the mother, the nurturer and the disciplinarian, you walk a fine line. It takes a moment to stop and think, wait, who am I supposed to be right now? But at the end of the day, no matter how many times I've shouted, my dogs rely on me to begin our bedtime routine. Then come the snuggles.
As far as being the fun daddy, I guess I'll never know what that's like. But I sure am glad that my little pups and my sweet baby girl are lucky enough to have one.
Most of all, I'm thankful for the experiences that puppy parenting have provided. I know, I know. Children are not dogs. But I'd like to think that, since we already have our roles hashed out, we're on our way to figuring it all out.