Back when we were first married we were able to sleep in until whatever time we wanted. Even after we added Viking to the mix he never woke us up early to go potty (thanks to litter box training) or to eat (must not have been a hungry fellow). Adding more animals to the family didn't seem to change things much, until we added Lily. Lily's issues with IBD lead us to puppy proof our house. Not from her chewing things up, but from making unexpected messes she could control. In order to let her sleep by us we purchased a Pack and Play. We'd wake up in the middle of the night to clean up any messes for our sake and hers. I even went through a year of making her own homemade food. Cooking, measuring, packing, and freezing. As everyone knows, she has gotten 99.9% better. She'll sleep with us here and there, but tends to stay downstairs now.
After adding Spencer to the mix, our lifestyle once again changed. He has a set time for meds, eating, and going outside to go potty. And trust me, if you are off of his schedule, he'll let you know. Needless to say, his schedule is an early one. He'll let you know by pacing in the bedroom and sticking his wet cold nose in your face. In addition, Lily has taken to his schedule and oftentimes takes it upon herself to let us know what time it is if Spencer decides to slack off. Her method of wake up? Standing at the bottom of the steps barking until you wake up. Most times the cats join in too....meowing outside the bedroom door. It makes almost no difference if you go to bed early or later, they'll wake up between 6 or 7 am (if you're lucky).
For instance, we stayed up until midnight last night. Sure enough, 6am rolls around and they are wound up and ready to go. Time for potty and to eat! I'm thankful that most nights we can make it through the night without a wake up from them now. I'm also thankful that we've figured out some sort of schedule for the weekends. David and I flip back and forth as to who gets up, feeds them, lets Spencer go outside, and then head back to bed.
Add onto the early morning wake ups and schedules, the constant cleaning (putting toys away, vacuuming hair, washing bedding, washing bowls.......), having 2 crib mattresses in our house (Spencer's beds), and their afternoon naps (as we speak)......who says we don't have kids?
Disclaimer: We know full well that animals aren't' kids and understand that people see their pets/animals different than we see ours. However, in our eyes, we see our pets as our kids. We know that many people cannot identify with the bond that we have with our pets. In addition, in no way am I complaining about the lifestyle we've made for ourselves by adding our pets. We wouldn't change it for the world.