My kids are driving me crazy.
If you've been to church or Walmart, you know having kids involves a lot of snot, screaming, sippy cups, and cereal (the latter of which always inevitably ends up on the floor). Having kids is not always/ever necessarily glamorous, relaxing, or sexy, and we all know that “Mother of the Year” thing is just a joke that we refer to sarcastically when someone's kids says the F word or when a mother grabs her kid by the hair to keep him from jumping out of a shopping cart. No one gets Grammy for sleep training a baby or potty training a toddler.
I don't think I've heard too many people say “I'm pulling my hair out!” in reference to things other than the frustrations of everyday child rearing. It sucks. It is hard, tedious, frustrating, exhausting work. It's confining, but thankfully also refining (cheese emoticon, anyone?).
So my kids were driving me insane for various reasons. They’re kids. So since that wasn’t enough crazy for us, we got a puppy.
I don't want to get into the debate on whether raising kids or dogs is more difficult, but, well, um. I wanted to sell my kids to the zoo last week, and now I realize how much I love them and really how easy they are to deal with! For some reason, I just really, really hate the dog. I hate chasing keeping it from jumping on my kids and biting their ears, I hate the 16 dumps it takes on my lawn every day and the 487 flies that came to see what's cooking. I hate its claws, I hate the way its food smells, and I hate that I can never again go on vacation without having to find someone to watch her.
I haven't exactly had great experiences with animals. First, my Dad got me a guinea pig when I was in elementary school. I had to make the bus on time, practice my violin, not drop my violin, brush my teeth, and other things like that for like two weeks, and then I got to bring home Whiskers. He was kind of wiggly and strange and he bit me a couple times, but once I blow-dried his fur and that was cool. Then he just died. So that sucked.
Then we got a cat, and he was basically a murderous vomiting zombie cat, so we canned him, and then someone's dog jumped on me and knocked me over and that was traumatizing, and then we got a couple rabbits and they made the most adorable bunnies and then some nasty animal massacred them all in the night and we were left with lots of blood and one surviving three-legged albino rabbit. Now my parents have a goat and a Shi-Tzu-Poodle with an underbite who yaps every time the doorbell rings.
So I'm not super big on pets. They're inconvenient, smelly, and usually leave you with PTSD for one reason or another.
That doesn’t make pets much different than kids, though. They poop, they break things, they beg for things, they keep you up at night, they cost you money, etc. People expect your kids AND your pets to behave civilly.
Only you don't have to give dogs “the talk” to prevent unwanted pregnancies; that only requires a vet visit and couple of days in the Cone of Shame. So there's that, and not having to worry about getting your dog into an Ivy League school.
Ultimately, anything we have to deal with can help us learn to be a little more grateful, patient, and faithful. Kindly dealing with the everyday crap (sometimes literal crap) is what makes us good people, rather than trying to avoid it, and I think we're wise to realize that we need that crap to help us be better people than we used to be.
Still, there might be a really cute dog for sale tomorrow, and I won't lose too much sleep over it if she goes to a home of people that are better at dealing with life than I am at the moment.
Jessica Walters graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She lives in Utah with her husband and two children. Jess blogs at geekyeyes.com.