#smallstone: Parenting Fail

coplayPart of yesterday was hard. I had to crate Sam twice to keep him and Ringo apart because they want to play together so bad, but they get too rowdy, wanting to tug which Sam just can’t do anymore with his jaw and Ringo wanting to bite him in the face. I feel bad about crating Sam, until I remember that before Ringo, Sam would be in his crate for six hours until someone came home from work and now he gets to stay out when we aren’t home, and before Ringo we weren’t playing tug with him anyway, the only real play was when we would play fetch for a few minutes in the backyard. This is what is necessary to protect him, to care for him, and this need for constant play won’t last forever. Ringo will grow up so fast and be able to go for long walks, hikes with Sam, to hang out together in ways that don’t hurt Sam.

When you are a caretaker, there are days when you need a nap, a shower, and something to eat, but only two are possible and you have to chose, can’t fully care for yourself. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed, like it’s too much, like “I can’t do this, I want to give up.” Giving up yesterday was a moment in the kitchen, Ringo being a bit of a monster but not quite ready for a nap. I was worn down by his constant need. I sat on the floor with him in my lap, him trying to eat the face off a stuffed bear, doing somersaults and biting at his own tail, and five minutes felt like an hour when I knew in just half an hour he’d be ready for another nap, I could put him back in his crate and get back to work. I hate how I wish him away like that.

Then when I was making my lunch, he stole a tupperware lid out of the drawer, and I gave in and let him have it, was happy to have something entertain him for a few minutes. By the time I took it back, there was a tiny chip missing. I couldn’t find it anywhere on the floor, don’t know if it was already missing or now somewhere in Ringo’s belly but it felt like failure.

parentingfailBut other moments, when he’s playing nice, being so cute, sitting for a treat, going on a walk, asking to go outside and go potty, curled up asleep — I can’t even stand how big my love for him is going to get, know that this part that’s hard is so brief in the context of what will hopefully be a long life together.

6 thoughts on “#smallstone: Parenting Fail

  1. Christa McElroy

    Jill, if that’s the only foreign substance that goes through Ringo’s belly before adulthood you will be the Saint of All Puppy Raising. I’ve been in rescue for 25 years, and you seriously don’t want a list of the the things that I have waited in a weird state of disgusted hopefulness to see reappear……

    You can only imagine the “happy poop dances” that ensue when the missing item does in fact put in an appearance (i.e. surgery is no longer a necessity….)

    Puppies, in a bunch, keep each other occupied and entertained. Puppies, singular, are exhausting and can try the patience of anything with a remotely functioning nervous system.

    Just the fact that such a tiny thing makes you feel like ‘Bad Dog Mom’ proves that you’re an excellent dog mom. I’d adopt one of my fosters to you any day.

    Smile, take a deep breath, and enjoy the unbelieveable cuteness that goes with the chaos. They grow up in a heartbeat.

    And call me if you ever want a collie. 😀


    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Thank you so much for the reminder, for all the reminders. This one especially I am carrying with me today: ” Puppies, singular, are exhausting and can try the patience of anything with a remotely functioning nervous system.” I read that and feel immediately calmer, softer.

  2. Barbara Markway

    I really like how you said “part of the day was hard.” I so often let one difficult part of the day color my whole perception of the day. Even when you’re talking about puppy stuff, I still find it very poignant, and I imagine others do, too.

  3. eviegwatts

    Parenting fail looks more like Ringo stays in the crate all day or gets kicked or the piece of tupperware goes missing and parent shrugs shoulders or doesn’t even notice. You, on the other hand, get high marks.


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