We have two cats that we’ve adopted in the last four years. At the insistence of our sons, we gradually added pets to our family. First we had fish, then a turtle, then one cat, and now we have two cats. This post is how my cat reminds me to be a better mom.
Becoming a Cat Mama
Annabelle, our first cat, was adopted from a local cat rescue in our city. She was in a foster home and I remember being quite amazed at the process we needed to go through to adopt a cat. We needed references and a home visit required!
Annabelle doesn’t really meow. She vocalizes sounds and makes the occasional raspy meow, but most of the time she communicates by body language and purring very loudly. Visitors are always surprised at how loudly she purrs.
She’s not an extremely affectionate cat. She’ll come to you for interaction when she wants it, but will also go off and do her own thing – napping, running frantically through the house in short spurts, and happily playing with any plastic bags lying around.
Our Morning Routine
Annabelle and I have fallen into a happy routine in the mornings. I get my cup of coffee and bring it to my chair in the bedroom where I sit and read, reflect, and pray. She comes and snuggles in my lap. It’s one of the only times she lays happily in my lap, and I love that she comes to be with me.
As I was lazily stroking Annabelle this morning, it struck me that I needed to parent my children more like I “parent” Annabelle.
How My Cat Reminds Me to be a better mom
In my relationship with Annabelle:
- I observe her and her preferences curiously.
- I don’t force her do things that she isn’t choosing to do on her own (like sit on my lap)
- I respect her personality and don’t expect her to be different from how she is.
Frequently in my relationship with my children, and one child in particular:
- I observe, but not objectively.
- I want to “make” them do things they aren’t excited about doing.
- I expect them to be “more like me” rather than accepting them as they are, right now.
I realize that parenting a child is different from being a pet owner. I often want to expose my children to opportunities in sports or activities that they wouldn’t necessarily choose to do at first. I often think I know better than them – that they need to be pushed. Sometimes I do push them and they end up thanking me later. It’s a delicate balance – one that I’m still figuring out and will probably never figure out completely.
This moment with Annabelle, however, reminded me that good parenting can also be observing, accepting, and just being available – with a warm lap or a cup of hot cocoa.
Do you have pets? What have you learned from them lately?
I’ll be sharing this post at these lovely link parties.