Thinking back about the things that have been most helpful in my 18-months as a human mom, it dawned on me that what helped me the most, what truly made my life easiest as a mom learning to breastfeed a newborn, navigate sleep regressions and developmental leaps, and everything else that comes with a new bundle of joy, while continuing to run The Wag Pack, was having someone I could count on to care for our pets while I focused on my new role as Noah's everything.
When Noah came home, Titan was confused, Sox was intrigued, Radar was indifferent, and Caera was low-key excited. They didn't seem to be too affected by the new baby but it was inevitable that our priorities had to change as we learned how to parent a newborn and, now, a toddler. Unfortunately, we've spent less time snuggling the dogs on the couch, had to shorten walks and yard time, and even had to (gasp!) adjust mealtimes since becoming parents.
I remember when Noah was exactly two weeks old. My dad had come to visit and I was still breastfeeding on demand, which meant that I spent a lot of time with Noah in my bedroom while my dad kept the dogs company. I recall coming down the stairs at one point with Noah in my arms, hoping to quickly grab a snack and head back up, only to catch my dad sitting out in the yard with the dogs. He was checking his phone and the four dogs were lounging and getting some sun. It gave me such peace knowing that the dogs were enjoying their favorite pastime and I could go back upstairs without feeling guilty.
Fast forward to a week or so later, my mother-in-law came to spend a month with us. She had cared for our dogs in the past therefore my husband set her up to feed the dogs and let them out so that I could focus on baby care and start resuming my responsibilities at TWP. He worked long hours at the time and would let the dogs out and feed them first thing, then leave the rest of the day's pet care responsibilities to his mom. Again, I was relieved that the dogs had a dedicated care provider that loved them and met their needs, including snuggling on the couch.
Today, I still count on my family to care for the dogs. Two of them are currently staying with my in-laws while my husband is deployed. And, the two that are with me are getting lots of love and attention from my mom who lets them out for what she calls "first call" and "last call" daily.
I've learned over the past 18-months that it takes a village but that village doesn't always look after the newest addition. Sometimes providing a hand to a new parent looks more like walking the dog and/or scooping the litter box. If a new parent is lucky to have family or friends nearby, they can count on those close to them to lend a helping hand in the pet department, an area that can more easily be delegated than most baby care.
If new parents do not have family nearby, however, which is pretty common in a highly transient area like Northern Virginia, they would greatly benefit from establishing a relationship with a company like The Wag Pack. Many of our clients are first time parents and we've seen it time and time again - life is busy and spouses work long hours or travel for business, leaving the baby's primary caregiver at home with little support. Many times, family leave ends and time is even more limited when both parents head back to work.
For this reason, delegating pet care to a trusted provider can provide new parents with peace of mind and balance while at the same time helping pets adjust to the new normal, one in which they are still an integral part of the family. For more information on how to sign up a loved one for The Wag Pack's pet care services, including the purchase of gift certificates, please contact us. As relatively new parents ourselves, we'd be happy to help!