Ahh, the dog mom. Meme makers everywhere describe it as the quintessential lifestyle. The perfect balance of freedom and responsibility. I wanted to be a dog mom so badly I somehow ended up with five. From youngest to oldest we have Sophie (big fluffy), Mike and Lulu (the twins), Chuck Norris (the bitch), and Old Man Reo. They are all large breed dogs.

It all happened after I lost my first puppy love, Venice. Luckily my fiancé and I were just getting serious at the time and it allowed me to take some time off to grieve and pull my shit together. I had just finished two graduate degrees, was teaching part time and just burned out like a firecracker in a rainstorm. In my time of grieving, we went out and adopted boy/girl twins from the SPCA. We’d be moving soon anyway; they’d grow with the space…

We were in a three bedroom condo in the Bay Area. Mike & Lulu are black lab/blue heeler mixes with contrasting personalities. Mike has that typical crazy boy energy and Lu is a perfect princess. Chuck, our bluenose pit, was raised on a farm. Mike went with her shortly after he became a dick. Bae always says we should’ve named him Richard. He was happier on land.  

Once the farm was sold, we needed somewhere else to go. Walking one or two dogs four times a day was ok. Trips to the dog park multiple times a week was doable. But now I had all four dogs in the house at the same time. The condo had to go.

The first few months in “the big house” were great. All the dogs were house trained and got along with one another. It was still a lot, but it was working. Then one day the love of my life decided to bring home a new surprise. 

Her name is Sophie. She’s a Newfie, a gentle giant. Accidents with Sophie are borderline catastrophic, so between potty training and Little Richard getting indignant because of her size, the time I pictured kicked back reading and tanning became hours of cleaning up accidents. Now I can forget the backyard altogether. It’s completely destroyed. Luckily we’re moving to our forever home with land very soon, and all will be set right with the world.

Sophie brought a whole new energy to the pack. There was more wrestling, more messes, more feeding, more vet bills. And more noise. So much more noise. 

A quiet day or night at home is almost non existent. One of them always needs

 something. Whether it’s food, water, to go outside, or attention, the proverbial “Mommy Mommy Mommy!” is always there. First thing in the morning one of them wakes me up whining. I’m constantly interrupted when I’m home— I can’t pee in peace, can’t work in peace, can’t sleep in peace. If I clean the floor, it’s dirty again in 20 minutes. Then I have to worry about them when I travel.

When we go out, we have a dog sitter. In fact, we have a daily dog walker come to the house since Bae is off building an empire and I decided to work full time this year. Without the attention everyday these dogs would destroy the house. I mean, they kind of already have, but between a daily dog walker, a weekly maid service, and me constantly picking up after them, our place stays nice. We also invested in an industrial strength carpet cleaner. 

Pet food costs an average of $300 a month. The pet sitting service is another $500 a month. Add $300 a month for a cleaning crew. 

Vet bills can costs you well into the thousands, or buy pet insurance for an average of $50 a month per dog. The cost of toys and bones accumulate. The loss of furniture, carpets, shoes, etc.— it all adds up. If your not financially stable, watch that bank account.  And if you’re not home a lot, the dog(s) will become unhappy and act out. Sounds a lot like I have kids.  

But I don’t. I’m just dog mom af. 

What’s your pet parent life like? Post below!

When Hell is a Holiday

When Hell is a Holiday

When you think about the holiday season, what comes to mind? For me and many others it’s loneliness. I know, how depressing. But the unfortunate truth is that too many people suffer during the holidays and now with social media, we’re privy to watching everyone else give and receive love while we sulk around wishing for the family we never had. 

This tradition is foreign for many people. Everyone just assumes their friends have a loving home to escape to for the holidays, or that the person is excited to go home. Lots of people flew the coop and moved far, far away for a reason. Not every mother is loving, not every father is around. Sometimes staying with family causes unnecessary anxiety that a person must shut down to maintain some semblance of sanity. In some families, it’s you or them. And since we have no control of other people, I choose me.

If year after year you find yourself burned by the same behaviors of your family, then why go back for more? Break the pattern. Find a new tradition for the holiday. You’d be surprised how many of your friends’ families will invite you to dinner when they find out you’ll be alone—gasp!  Or maybe you have a s/o and you two can celebrate together. I’ve heard so much of my framily complain about “only having five” people over to celebrate. I’m like, smh. Ya’ll just don’t even know. 

The point is, your crappy family is never going to change. Whatever the issue is, no matter how they treat you, it’s engrained in their brains. That’s not to say it’s not worth trying. There are varying degrees of family dysfunction. Some people would welcome Frank Gallagher to their Thanksgiving dinner, and others would only accept St. Francis of the South Side. Your time is your own to use as you please. 

Science says we’ll never get people back once they die. Nor will we get the time back that we could’ve been happy but allowed someone else to make us feel like driving our cars off a bridge. Now there’s the holiday spirit, don’t ya think?

Just like you are in charge of you, your family and friends are responsible for themselves as well. Especially in the way they treat others, including you. Unfortunately most people only self reflect when the person they are hurting no longer allows it anymore. Notice how jerks always act so remorseful in a family feud or breakup? You’re responsible for creating your own boundaries and communicating what is an acceptable way to treat you. If you find yourself crying on Christmas, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what those are. 

For those of us who’ve learned the hard way and have made the decision to enjoy the holiday season, I hope you continue to spend your time being happy. I hope your relationships grow and mend. Not all will. 

To everyone reading I hope you had a great holiday weekend. Continue spending time with people who make you feel good. They say blood is thicker than water, but water is the source of life and is 60% of our bodies. Think about it.