Parenting Puppies and People

Parenting is hard.


Did you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you’re just the worst, most impatient, parent on the planet?


Like you’re just absolutely failing to pass on any loving, meaningful, faith-filled legacy to them? Yeah.  Parts of last week felt like that.


They are not the problem. I am. #parenting #gentleparenting


Now, it’s not like I didn’t totally see it coming.  What with the alpha male starting his new job and all.  And his authoritative presence suddenly absent 11 hours of the waking day.  I expected the little velociraptors to test the electric fences some.


Even so, those first couple of days were rough.


There may also have been some PMS involved…


But oddly enough, help came in the form of a person who doesn’t have children at all.


She has . . .


. . . wait for it . . .


. . . dogs.


Which brings us to the subject of me not liking dogs.  Why, you ask?  Because they do nothing but make my life more difficult.  Puppies in particular.  And in case you don’t know, we own a great big puppy.  He’s a year old.  And normally outside.




But with all this freezing weather we’ve been having, we’ve been bringing him in at night.  Now, why don’t I like the dog?  Because he jumps.  And stinks.  And makes other things stink.  And gets hair on stuff.  And begs.  And knocks little people down, or trips big people up.  And chews my crap!  And poops.  And licks.  And gets hyper and throws his weight around in this itty bitty house


Now, I have a friend who is an animal lover.  At one point this year she owned 4 dogs, I don’t know how many cats, an alligator snapping turtle, a flying squirrel, a snake, and who knows what else.  Did I mentioned she actually works at a swamp park? Yeah.  She works with gators for a living.


She also comes over one evening every week to eat cheese and crackers with me while watching The Office on DVD.  That’s right.  We live a very fulfilling life.


This week we had the added pleasure of having the aforementioned giant puppy inside coveting our cheese.   And while I was complaining and fussing and swatting madly at the beast, she was giving him attention.  Affection, even.  She was scratching his ears and telling him he was a good boy.


And then she said, she never gets mad at her dogs when they completely make a puppy mess.  Because, you know.  They’re not people.  They’re dogs.


That really stuck in my head.  It seems so ridiculously obvious, I know.  But it was just the reminder I needed to calm the crap down about the Wild Things and their wild ways. Because, you know.


They’re not grown ups.  They’re wild things.


I don’t know why I keep forgetting that.  You’d think it’d be obvious from their short stature and oddly portioned little bodies.


And I realized that the reason I was frustrated with the Wild Things is the same reason I was mad at the dog.  They were making my life harder.  Inconveniencing me.  Hurting my ears.  Making more messes for me.  Not listening to me.


Because they weren’t meeting an unreasonable expectation I had unknowingly set for them to earn my love and good pleasure.


If you’d just be good, I’d love you!


If you’ll be quiet, and clean, and tidy, and thoughtful and sweet … I’ll love you. Needless to say, I adjusted my perspective, and after that we had a better than usual week.  Once I remembered that …


The Two Year Old is in fact … Two.

And the Four Year Old is, shockingly … Four.


And so on. After that, some of the very things that had been driving me crazy before, actually became kind of endearing.


Silly, shiftable paradigms. I swear, I learn this same lesson 3 or 4 times a year.  Maybe one of these days it will stick.

Parenting Wild Things Book

Because seriously, these cute cheeks aren’t going to last forever.


So, here’s to grace-based parenting.

And letting Wild Things act their age.


For more of my parenting epiphanies an to journey with me towards gentle parenting, check out my eBook – Parenting Wild things – Embracing the Rumpus.


What’s the parenting lesson that you keep having to relearn?




  1. faithlikemustard says:

    Um…pretty sure I had one of those days today. I always enjoy starting the Lord's Day off with an argument over hair (yes, hair). :(

    I'm just glad my puppies are house trained…that's one less thing to worry about!;)

  2. Every day should be the Lord's Day, right? :D

    But I so know what you mean, something dumb is always going to happen on Sunday mornings.

    Guess what ours was today? You'll NEVER guess.

    Someone passed gas in the car on the way to church. And no one would claim it, and the blame flew in blazing circles, until there was crying and name calling!


  3. In our car, their would be a knock down drag out fight, because they would all want to claim it.

    So my point is…. it could be worse. LOL.

  4. A more seasoned mom told me something similar to that a few years ago… "They're children, not mini-adults. Don't expect their behavior to be adult-like at all times. Your job as a parent is to train them up to be great adults, but if they aren't perfect at 5, it doesn't mean you've failed. You just keep working. And sometimes, what they are doing is totally appropriate for kids, even if it would be unacceptable for adults."

    I've really taken that to heart. But it took someone else telling me. ;) Look at you, figuring it out all on your own. God is good!

  5. Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies says:

    You're the Wild Thing Whisperer! (Just sayin', because we got a Dog Whisperer DVD at the library and that guy is AMAZING!)

    We all have our tough days…weeks? lol Grace is good, but it does take a reminder some days, doesn't it?

    (By the way, my secret guilty pleasure??? The Office. So bad, but soooo good!)

  6. Wild Thing Whisperer! Ha!

    I am so using that.

  7. Loved this post!!! So true, we can all take from this, as Christians, parents and puppy owners. :)