What Mamas Have to Say Monday

by Guest Author on July 30, 2012

It’s What Mamas Have to Say Monday! Each Monday, our panel of mommy bloggers weighs in on wacky questions that we – or you – think up. Have a question you want our panel to answer? e-mail it to us at info@mamasagainstdrama.com. We’ll notify you if your question is selected!

Here’s what mamas are saying today!

Question: What are your thoughts on kids and pets?

Sarah Knight

I strongly feel that children should grow up with a dog if possible. There is a lot to learn from growing up with a dog — about love, friendship, responsibility, and loss.

That said, I do think that you might want to wait until your youngest is five or so before getting a dog. You have to watch babies and toddlers like a hawk even around the gentlest dogs — you should always remember that any dog could bite under certain circumstances.

I’m speaking from experience. I was bit on the face as a toddler by our Siberian Husky and still have a scar next to my mouth.

My husband and I both love dogs and we already had two dogs when our first baby was born. I had to be extremely careful to always put our dogs outside or in the kitchen with a baby gate when I was not able to supervise the dogs and child together.

So you do have to be careful with young children and dogs and they cost a ton of money and they totally mess up your house. But the joys of having a dog far outweigh the downsides.

Kind of like having kids. 😉

Shannon Hembree

I grew up with two dogs, two cats, fish, gerbils, hamsters, a newt, and various other visitors, depending on the year. I always had dreams of having a dog for my kids. Even now, when we walk into a pet store, I look longingly at the adorable puppies. But here’s the thing – I can barely take care of my own little wild animals (also known as my kids), and adding another attention-needing creature into the mix isn’t fair to anyone. Case in point, we had a fish for my daughter, and that poor thing often swam in dirty water, because I just didn’t have time to clean the fish bowl (or the rest of my house for that matter). To that little guy’s credit, he survived for a year and a half in that bowl.

Our daughter is now dying to get a hermit crab, and because we heard they are even more low maintenance than fish, we agreed that we could go get one this week. There are no plans to go bigger on the pet front in the near future, namely because A) I am now wildly allergic to cats and some dogs, and one of my boys seems to be trending in that direction, and B) My toddler boys have a fascination with pulling dogs’ tails, putting their fingers in dogs’ various orifices, and otherwise begging dogs to bite them (which has happened to several people we know). But barring any major allergies, we will likely head down that path one day. Because despite the cost and effort involved with owning a dog, it is certainly far less than caring for the eight babies that my daughter recently requested we get.

*Shannon Hembree is the co-founder of Mamas Against Drama. She is the mom of a soon-to-be First Grader and twin toddlers. You can follow her on twitter @shannon1hembree.

Sarah Deaner

Pets.  One of the most commonly discussed hypothetical topics in our house that causes disagreements.  My husband and I are definitely in split camps over this topic.  He thinks it is very important to grow up loving an animal of some sort (even if it is a CAT) while the thought of another responsibility makes my skin crawl.  Along with the thoughts of cleaning up after another un-potty trained living creature and sitting on a couch covered in animal hair.   It’s just not my “thing”.  I was never an animal lover and I can’t imagine I ever will be (even though the Germans would rather me bring a dog into a restaurant instead of my child).  Despite my obvious desire to never have a pet my son has recently become obsessed with dogs.  I realize that this is a battle I will eventually lose so I’m preparing myself for the day I finally relent.  For now, the argument that we don’t have a backyard and live in a country where we rarely see the sunshine is working.  That excuse should hold for the next 2-4 years.  In the meantime, I believe I’m starting to develop a major adult onset allergy to all things un-human.

*Sarah Deaner is ex patriot living in the land of sauerkraut and bratwurst.  She is a STHM to her two year old son.  When she is not out and about being yelled at by Germans, Sarah can be found at www.gleatieanddeaner.blogspot.com and Sarah Gleaton Deaner on Facebook

Farrah Ritter

I have grown up a dog person my entire life.

I think boys and dogs go together. Naps and dogs do not. Carpeting and dogs do not. Moms and dogs do not. Well, at least not this mom. Not anymore.

After many years with dogs, I am over the hair, ‘accidents’ and barfing in the living room. I have enough bodily secretions to deal with when it comes to my kids. I currently have 2 (almost) 100lb labs and I am doing a dance of joy on the inside to get a bit of a break from them when we move overseas. True, they’re not really going anywhere but with relatives while we’re gone (I hope they are ok with this plan) but I am SO READY for a break. The hair is slowly driving me crazy. The dogs don’t like to be outside. They don’t like to travel. They want to be on my couches all day long.

And they will easily take down a 21month old toddler for a Cheerio on the floor.

So, meh. Puppies are cute. Dogs are loyal. However I might suggest one dog at a time, and preferably one that doesn’t shed constantly.

*Farrah finds sporadic moments to jot down her adventures at The Three Under. Her 3.5 year old and 21 month old twins are all boys. Someday she will own nice furniture again. Catch up with what she’s dealing with on Twitter as @momofthreeunder and Facebook.

Wendy Bradford

Kids or pets? I’ll take pets. Was that not the question?

*Wendy writes truthfully about life in New York City with twins plus one at Mama One to Three. She includes many references to wine and coffee. Find her using bad judgment and even worse language on Twitter, @mamaonetothree, and Facebook.

Jennifer Griffin

Between cat allergies, dog phobias, and an unwillingness on my part to take on more work combined with my aversion to rodents and reptiles, our family is limited in pet options. Which is why I strongly recommend the Beta Fish. Low cost, low effort, but it’s there to help teach the kids about responsibility and the circle of life. Our then 5 year-old picked one out as a birthday gift, and promptly named it Poopy Diaper-head. “PD”, as I called him, lasted about a year. After a mourning period of a few months, we purchased Beta #2, who has been with us ever since.

*Jennifer Griffin is the mother of two very active and very adorable little boys.

Tracy Winslow

This has been a source of contention in our house for many years. I grew up surrounded by pets. Throughout my childhood I cared for cats, fish, hamsters, lizards and a couple tarantulas. I think pets are an amazing and important addition to the family. They provide unconditional love, entertainment and companionship. They teach children about responsibility and how to care for others. The kind of pet varies based upon the needs, time and likes of the individual family. My husband, on the other hand, believes that pets are an expensive waste of time that eventually die and then you have to deal with the aftermath of that. Also, pets limit your ability to take a last minute all inclusive beach getaway (which we do every other never).

After years of the girls and me begging, we have finally come to a compromise. Right now, we are the proud owners of 5 fish, a snail and Dyson (a sucker fish). We also have several “pet” lizards that enjoy our sunny backyard and a family of crazy squirrels that live in the tree over our garage. In a few years when the girls are in school we will upgrade to a small dog that they can care for because they are dying for a puppy. (Truth be told, I am more than they are!) Until then we will attempt to train our lizards and squirrels to jump through a hoop and clean our yard.

*Tracy Winslow is the mother to two curious and bright girls, 7,000 baby dolls and black widow spider that has taken over her succulents. You can see more of her writing at http://www.momaical.comor follow her on FB and Twitter @Momaical.

Laura Herakovich

Our house rivals Noah’s ark, so it’s an understatement to say we love companion animals. Right now we have 2 dogs, 2 frogs, 1 gerbil and a class fish (who goes back to school in 17 days, but who’s counting?). We brought our first son home to a house with 3 dogs, and we’ve never once had a problem. Our boys love our pets and our pets, in turn, are willing participants in a variety of activities from vet-doctor (dogs) to obstacle course (gerbil). I do think that our willingness to house so many species hails from the fact that my husband and I both were raised with pets. While Russ came from a 1-dog-at-a-time family, my family went hog wild with the critters. We had, at one time or another, goldfish, a chicken, a rescued guinea pig, a stray cat (even though my mom and I both are deathly allergic to cats), an assortment of roly-polies, caterpillars, crickets and grasshoppers, and dogs. I cannot remember one single day in my house growing up wherein we did not have a pet, and I am raising my sons in a similarly wild-and-crazy, animal-friendly house. We’re making St. Francis proud, that’s for sure.

*Laura Bedingfield Herakovich is the mother of three rambunctious, yet adorable boys. You can read her personal blog at http://www.jtandtheob.com/

That’s all the mamas have to say this week. Check back next Monday for another wacky (and yet profound and insightful…) round of answers from the mamas!

Read previous What Mamas Have to Say Monday posts!


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Caitlin July 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

We just got a puppy one month ago and have been talking about this event for two years! My kids are 5 and 7, and I think that is a good age. We do have some problems. The puppy nips at my 5-year old and jumps on her a lot because she is more the puppy’s size and does things (waving hands near the dog’s mouth) that make the puppy think she is playing a game. But, my kids LOVE this dog.

I like the dog, which is important because I am the primary caregiver for this animal. I think that is the main reason we finally caved and got a dog– I was ready for the responsibility. I am under no illusions that my kids or husband will be in charge of the care. It’s me. I think having a pet in the house is important for kids, but THE MOM needs to be ready to care for the dog.


Shannon July 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Caitlin, I love this comment — it is SO true! The mom does need to be ready, because they are the one who will likely be the primary caregiver. Thanks for reading!


Tracy Winslow July 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

Wendy – Bahahahahahahaha! Love it.


Shannon July 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I got a huge kick out of her comment as well 😉


Susanne July 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Having recently joined the “zero pet” ranks after 30+ years of Australian shepherds and Scottish terriers, I have come to a few hard learned conclusions.
1. My husband and I could have retired to the island of Capri years ago in a well staffed VILLA, for heaven’s sake, for what it cost to keep those three critters up and running.
2. $40 a yard upholstery fabric and animals do NOT mix well.
3. No matter what anyone says, MOM will always be the default animal caretaker.
4. The REALITY of owning animals never quite lives up to the IDEA of owning animals. Sort of like having children.
If you must succumb to the harsh reality of animal ownership, you may want to head to your nearest Costco and stock up on supplies.
White wine, Dove bars, red wine. OK, forget the Dove bars.


When I Blink August 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Wendy for the win. That was hilarious. -ML


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