This is *my* experience. If this wasn't or isn't yours- I'm genuinely thrilled for you. After talking to a few moms, I felt compelled to put some thoughts out there.
You couldn't wait to introduce your baby to your fur babies. You've seen plenty of reels and tictoks of adorable first introductions. Maybe you envisioned raising babies and pets together and having an automatic best friend and protector for your baby.
But. It doesn't take long before exhaustion and overwhelm sets in.
Things that your dog used to do that were entertaining are now grating your nerves.
Tip tap toes, hogging the bed, water sloshes, shedding, and barking are now the bane of your existence.
There are only so many hours in the day to exercise and run your dogs energy out.
The cat's nightly escapades threaten baby's nighttime sleep and set your heart racing at the thought of them waking everyone up when "going back to sleep" doesn't happen easily anymore.
Noises and quirks you used to think were endearing are now like nails on a chalkboard.
The paws that were easy to wipe and maintain are another chore you need to do but while holding a baby and juggling too many other things.
Life as a pet owner is just not as simple anymore when a baby comes along.
Story time. I got a dog.
When Gemma was barely four months old Daniel told me to "go look at dogs". It had been 14 months since Maddie died and we thought we were ready. So of course- I adopted a dog. DUH.
(Side note: to this day, we still have no idea what the hell he was thinking telling ME of all people to go look at dogs).
People. If you know anything about me, you know I love animals. I have a degree in animal science for heavens sakes. As a young adult I planned on making an entire career out of working with them. Bring a dog home after an amazing experience with Maddie (my first dog) would be a walk in the park (pun, intended)- especially since we now had a fenced in back yard. What could go wrong?
Cue bringing home Gigi.
The sweet dog with one blue, one brown eye that implored me to rescue her from the shelter. A big black dog that may otherwise get passed over because of her size and coloring. At just a year old, I thought she'd be the perfect fit.
I brought her home while Dan was at work, put her in the backyard and went back to get my baby out of the car. Gigi met me at the truck after jumping the fence... and never stopped jumping. She would spend day and night wandering if we'd let her. I can't tell you the number of times people would knock on our door to let us know she had jumped again. So many times there was nothing I could even do- I was home alone and the baby was sleeping. Even with living in a small town, I wasn't about to leave my baby to go find the dog- and I sure as h*ll wasn't waking up a sleeping baby to do so.
That was the beginning of a long, difficult seven years with her.
Wise words from momma Halm...
My mom used to say "I like animals, I just don't like sharing their address" (I was forever bringing animals home throughout college). I never felt that more than when I realized I couldn't be everything both my dog and baby needed. Gigi jumped fences, refused dog beds, stole food from babies, and got into the garbage when under stimulated (which happened ALL the time).
Don't get me wrong- we got stupid lucky with how good of a dog I actually brought home on that whim. She let every baby that came through our doors crawl all over her. When we hung outside with our neighbors, she never wandered off, always staying close (ironic since the backyard fence couldn't contain her). Mostly though, she made me feel safe. While it's unlikely she'd truly attack someone, I felt secure on the nights Dan worked (which was frequent during his factory years).
But when you're sleep deprived amongst a myriad of other factors, you get resentful at what resources your pet may take up. There's only so much of you to go around.
It took seven years before I reconciled my relationship with her. SEVEN YEARS. Two babies of my own, probably a thousand hours of driving through the neighborhood looking for her when she jumped, and hundreds of shouts at her for her high pitched whine when she's mad or stressed about something. Now, I can't imagine a life without her. Unfortunately, time isn't on our side as our girl is 11 years old.
Why it's ok your feelings changed towards your pets after a baby.
Mama, if you're in the thick of raising babies and your pets aren't the apple of your eye like they used to- I see you. All I can say is that this isn't forever- it will get better one day, and give yourself grace. Your pets will age and settle into the routine. Babies get older, allowing more time to dedicate some attention to your four legged friends. One you start getting a little more sleep, not everything they do will drive you as nuts. Once your toddler understands boundaries with your pets, another step of easement is gained.
Hang in there, mama. Your pets will always love you, your baby will alway love you. You're doing an amazing job. Unconditional love is a pretty cool thing- whether from our babies or four legged friends.