There really is no way to prepare for parenthood. But you can get pretty close by owning a pet.
For example, if you’ve had cats in the house for any length of time, then you know that:
1. You are already prepared for the unrelenting noises that mean it’s time to eat.
2. You’ll already be fully prepared for when your kid doesn’t know or care that you’re supposed to be in charge.
3. You already know to keep every cardboard box for at least a month before you toss it. There’s no better toy for cats or toddlers.
4. You’re probably already a pro at stepping in yucky things or finding them in your shoe or on your pillow. In retrospect, you probably owe an apology to your cat for not vomiting directly on you.
5. You are already fully aware that a closed bathroom door means absolutely jack.
6. You are prepared to take millions of photos that never come out right. Because motion streaks. “Stay” or “sit still” while you try to snap a picture only works on dogs and grown people.
7. Have you ever tried to bathe a cat? That’s like boot camp for bathing a cranky toddler who doesn’t want her hair washed. Complete with the hissing, spitting, and scratching.
8. Pissed off cats who strew and deliberately kick kitty litter all over the place are a mild preview of what a 3-year-old will do with a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.
9. You will already be used to trying to walk with both arms full while some small-ish creature tries to assassinate you by walking under your feet.
10. You will already be used to waking up with another living creature staring you right in the face or laying on your head.
Similarly, if you’ve ever had dogs in the house for any length of time, then you know that:
1. You’re already familiar with having to either take them everywhere or make arrangements for their care. You can’t leave a 6-month-old puppy alone for more than three minutes before all hell breaks loose.
2. You’ll have plenty of experience with randomly located poop.
3. You will be well prepared for the impending damage to your clothes, furniture, house, and schedule.
4. You will have plenty of practice at feeling smug when your kid is cuter or more well-behaved than everyone else at the puppy park.
5. You will also have plenty of practice at being embarrassed and horrified when your kid shows their appalling lack of manners in public. Usually about 2.5 seconds after you’ve bragged about them.
6. You are already fortified against begging and whining for treats.
7. There will be treats and bribery involved in the training process.
8. You will be prepared for 3 a.m. wake-up calls for potty time.
9. Planning a solo or adults-only vacation will involve the same amount of Olympian effort for scheduling, budgeting, and finding a sitter.
10. You will be a pro at finding clever ways to give them medicine. Like hiding it in a piece of cheese.
Image via iStock.com/AleksandarNakic