Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

Remember the moment you laid eyes on your dog? This was likely before the thought of having children. You went to the breeder or pound in hopes of finding the next member of your family, you were eagerly awaiting that effortless connection between human and animal. And then it happened. The dopey eyes gazed up at you, the tongue licked you from chin to forehead and your heart all but leapt out of your chest at the love for this animal. Congratulations, you are now a mommy.

You walk through the door of your home, and you’re a bit nervous. “Will he like it here? I’ll do whatever it takes to make him comfortable.” Your puppy sniffs around, his ears flopping over his eyes and causing him to trip. He has a hard time walking on the hardwood floors and pees a little due to excitement. You chuckle at the sight of him. “Welcome home puppy. I love you.”

That first night is rough. Your puppy yelps, heck, he’s waking you up every 2 hours to go potty. By 3:00am, he’s in bed with you (I know, I know, you vowed to NOT let your dog sleep with you). Have you ever loved something so much? He goes everywhere with you. To the park, long walks, Home Depot, your office. You two are attached at the hip. You rush home from happy hour to spend time with him and tend to his needs, because you’re a good mommy.

Let’s fast forward two years. You are rushing to the hospital to welcome your first, real, human baby. Your baby’s sleepy eyes gaze up at you. She yawns and your heart shatters with the ultimate love for this little person. Congratulations, you are now a mommy.

You walk through the door of your home and sigh with relief. We are finally here. Hey, Mommy, no not mommy to baby, but mommy to dog. Go pet your dog. Love on him. Kiss him. He missed you while you were gone. Introduce him to the baby, let them smell each other, look at each other, get used to one another. Invite him to be a part of this fascinating experience.

That first night at home with baby is rough, really rough. She’s waking every hour, needing to be changed, needing to be fed. You settle down to feed her and glance at the foot of your bed. There he is, your loyal dog. Wanting nothing more than to be there for you, to offer you company. Petting him and loving on him is so much better than scrolling on Facebook. Thank God for dogs and their inherent ability to know when we need them.

Are you ready to fast forward again two years? Now you have a toddler. Toddlers can be jerks. They hit, push, yell, scream, pitch fits and if you’re in the line of fire, it ain’t pretty.

In our home, hitting the dog is not allowed. Pushing the dog is not allowed. If you are running and playing, you need to step around the sleeping dog, not on top of him. Just because you, tiny toddler, are occupying this space, doesn’t mean the dog gets kicked outside. It doesn’t mean the dog takes a back seat. You two need to learn how to live together.

Our dogs do everything with us. The playgrounds we visit have trails for the dogs and the vacations we enjoy have to be dog friendly. If we are outside on our scooters and bikes, guess who’s with us? Our dogs.

What’s happened is a mutual respect between dog and child. When my two-year-old daughter wakes up in the morning, it’s not us she’s calling for, it’s her dog. It’s not us she hugs first, it’s her dog. Her love for animals is bigger than herself. We often joke that we are saving up to send her to Vet School. Would this have happened if we kicked our dogs to the curb the minute we brought Baby home? And who would have thought our dog would have a stronger connection with the two-year-old than with us? I’m so happy we gave them the opportunity to bond.

In return, our dogs are so wonderful with all children. We’ve taught them how to interact with kids. We’ve taught them how to have patience. They get super annoyed with toddlers, but instead of snapping, they just walk away. Would they know to do this if we wouldn’t have given them the opportunity to exist around our family?

I get it, meeting the needs of the dogs and kids is hard, and yes, sometimes the dogs take a backseat. But all too often, I hear of families loathing their dogs after having kids. Their overly loved, indoor dogs, have become outside animals with little attention and care from their owners. How incredibly sad.

I’m here to ask you, to encourage you to please care for your animals. Lead by example and show your children what it means to wholeheartedly love an animal. Show your animal what it means to wholeheartedly love all humans. My 4-year-old has one chore right now. That chore is to feed the dogs breakfast and dinner. He does it joyfully. I love my family and I truly believe that all 6 of us are incredibly happy to be a part of this club.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
– Josh Billings
So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Jackie Boeheim

Jacqueline Leigh holds a BA in Journalism from Valdosta State University. She’s successfully published articles in multiple lifestyle magazines and online publications. She is passionate about entertaining both parents and children through her writing. Jacqueline's first picture book, Time For Bed With Ford And Red, is set to release in June 2017. She makes her home in North Carolina with her husband and two spirited children. You can follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/authorjacquelineleigh/?ref=bookmarks

Yes, We Wanted a Big Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Big family silhouette

Baby number WHAT?!?! Okay, okay, I know having FIVE children in the modern world is a bit of an anomaly, but the responses we have gotten from sharing our joyful (to us!) news has been a bit over-the-top. You see, my husband and I always dreamt of a big family, verbally expressing four to five children as our ultimate number. After having three, I must say I had to do some convincing to keep going, as my husband felt our hands were pretty full. I do agree our hands were pretty full, but I still felt our hearts could handle...

Keep Reading

How Much Longer Will I Watch Them Play?

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Two boys at indoor playground, color photo

As I sit here watching my two boys running around on the bright-colored foam mats, sliding down the bright red and green slides that end up in a ball pit full of giggles, I can’t help but wonder how much longer I will enjoy this sight. They’re both growing up so fast—T-shirts with their favorite characters have been replaced by plain colors.  Curtains with Paw Patrol now invite an “Eww, cringe!” reaction. Slowly their boy bedroom decor has been updated to reflect the cool gamers they so want to be. RELATED: He’s a Boy For Just a Little While Longer No...

Keep Reading

God Gave Him Bigger Feelings

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground, color photo

He came home from school last week and asked, “Why do I get so angry but my friends never do? Why am I not the same?” And it broke me. Because he is passionate and intelligent and kind and intuitive and beautiful. He didn’t always seem different. We never paid attention to how he would line everything up in play. And we would laugh it off as a quirk when he would organize everything dependent upon shape, size, and color. He was stubborn, sure, but so am I. And then COVID happened, and we attributed the lack of social skills...

Keep Reading

We Have a Big Family and Wouldn’t Change a Thing

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four children in front of Christmas tree, color photo

I have just had my fourth baby. A baby who wasn’t expected but very much wanted and very much loved from the moment we found out. When we told people we were expecting, the response was underwhelming. The stream of intrusive questions would then ensue:  You already have your hands full, how will you cope with four? You’ll need a bigger car! Where will they all sleep? Don’t you own a TV? You know how babies are made right? People seemed to have such a strong opinion about me having a fourth child. RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids...

Keep Reading

As a Mom I’m Far From Perfect, But I Hope You Remember the Joy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Happy mother and daughter on the beach

Sometimes, I think about the future when you are grown and I am gone. When all that’s left of me are photographs and memories. I know what the photographs will show. I took most of them, after all. But the memories I’m less sure of. I wonder what will stick with you after all that time. How will you remember me? One day, your grandkids will ask you about me. What will you say? Will you tell them I was always distracted? Will you remember that I looked at my phone too much? Will you tell them I didn’t play...

Keep Reading

Being a Daycare Mom Can Be So Hard

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Woman holding boy on couch, black-and-white photo

Dear daycare mom,  I know it’s hard.  To get yourself up before them, to make lunches, to pack the bags, to get yourself ready.  To go into their rooms, where they are peacefully sleeping, and turn the lights on.  To struggle to get them breakfast, get them dressed, and get them out the door.  I know it’s hard.  To have a morning rush when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch and ease into your day.  RELATED: When a Mom is Late To Work To feel like you are missing out on their childhood at times...

Keep Reading

The PB&J that Saved the Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Table with three plates of PB&J sandwiches, color photo

It was one of those days.  One of those days when your pants are too tight, you wake up with a headache, and the kids’ rooms are disasters at 8 a.m. It was one of those days when I had to physically go into Target for our groceries since I didn’t have time to wait for pickup—I think that alone should sum up exactly the kind of day it was.  The kids were hangry. The toddler was, well, toddler-y. RELATED: Toddlers Are Human Too—And Sometimes They Just Need Grace Two minutes into our shopping trip, she had kicked her light-up rain...

Keep Reading

One Day He’ll Love Another Woman More than He Loves Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

To Benjamin, my 16-month-old son, I am everything. I am the first person that boy looks for when he wakes up in the morning and the last person he wants before he goes to bed. If he is in a room full of people he loves and I am not there, he will search for me.  If he has a problem, mommy is the solution. I am the answer to his cries. I feel confident in saying that I am the most important person in that little boy’s little world. I love it. It is an honor and a privilege...

Keep Reading

To My Sister, Thank You For Being the Best Aunt To My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Aunt with three young kids

“Do you have the kids’ basketball schedule yet?” you texted the other day. I sent back a screenshot of the calendar, and within an hour you responded telling me which game you’d be coming to. It was a simple exchange, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for your love for my kids in that moment. It’s something I think often but don’t say nearly enough: thank you for being such an amazing aunt. Truly.  I know it’s not always convenient. You live three hours away and have a busy, full life of your own—but still, you show up for your niece and nephews...

Keep Reading

In Defense of the Stubborn Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy hanging over dock, color photo

“Lamp. Lamp. Laaaaamp,” my 2-year-old son screamed while stomping his feet. Tears were running down his face and snot was dripping dangerously close to his mouth. I put on what I hoped would be a soothing, motherly tone, “Okay, just calm down.” While trying to maintain eye contact, I slowly reached toward the tissue box. This must be what the greats like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin, or the Kratt brothers feel like when facing a volatile animal in the wild. The sound of a tissue being pulled from the box caused the crying to stop abruptly. His eyes flitted toward...

Keep Reading