By Sarah Pierce
One of the most annoying things that a childless friend can do is compare your child to their pet. I’m not sure if its intention is just to add something to the conversation or to try and gain an understanding of what you’re going through, but it doesn’t accomplish either of those things. And just so I’m clear, I’m not talking about people who call themselves “pet parents” because that I get. I’ve been so close to a pet before that she was my “baby.”
But I still didn’t compare her to my child.
Here are 5 reasons why you can’t compare your animal to my human being.
1. I carried my child inside my body. She grew, kicked, and hiccuped inside of me. Her DNA is half of me and half of her father. You didn’t grow your dog inside of you, nor do you share any DNA with your animal (questionable in some cases for sure, but highly unlikely).
2. When you leave the house for a few hours, the most you have to do is kennel your dog up or make sure your cat has a full bowl of food and water. Before I leave my house, I need to make sure I have diapers, wipes, plenty to drink, snacks, a spare outfit, plenty of layers for adjusting weather, and the list goes on. This list stands true whether I’m bringing my daughter with me for whatever adventure I have planned or dropping her off to spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa. Unless my husband is home, there’s no such thing as quickly running to the store when you have kids.
3. You may have to “potty train” your pet and teach it a few other tricks, but when you have a human baby, you need to do so much more. That baby needs to be taught to eat solid food, to sleep through the night, the alphabet, numbers, counting, singing, math, manners, to use the toilet, to wipe themselves, to bathe themselves, and so many things that I haven’t even encountered yet or thought of in my two-and-a-half years as a mom. To think that the amount of time it takes for you to “train” your pet to use the litter box or hold it until they go outside and lay down on command is even relatively close to how much time and teaching I invest in my daughter every day is downright insulting.
4. When I tell you about the newest awesome milestone my daughter hit (rolling over, taking her first steps, saying her first words, and so many more), all I’m really expecting you to do is listen or tune me out until I’m done and make the required “awwww” remarks. The last thing I want to hear out of your mouth after the human I birthed does something for the first time is how your kitten finally didn’t run around the house all night for the first time since you brought her home. My child and your pet are vastly different. We’re not in a pissing contest, and I don’t need you to relate to my story with your own. Just acknowledge it.
5. You have to pay for pet toys, doggy daycare, food, vet bills, and probably a handful of other things that become trendy over the span of fifteen years, give or take, but what I must provide isn’t even on the same plane. I pay for food, clothing (an entire new wardrobe every 3-6 months, in fact), child care, entertainment, toys, diapers, wipes, insurance, car seats, birthday parties, another airplane seat, and in the future, education, a first car, a wedding, and college tuition (if she’d like).
The phrase “comparing apples to oranges” comes to mind with this one – because that’s exactly what it is. The commitment is longer, the love is deeper, the bond is stronger, and the consequences for screwing my daughter up far overshadow those you’ll face if you’re a shitty pet parent.
Just remember that I would never disrespect you by comparing my dog to your mother, so don’t do the same by trying to tell me a story about your pet to relate to my family. Please. A little recognition of the vast differences are all I ask.
About the Author
Sarah Pierce is a Midwest mom with one crazy toddler, an awesome husband, and a ridiculous chocolate lab, surviving on caffeine, love, and as little sleep as humanly possible. She’s new to the blogging world (with a handful of articles under her belt between Sammiches & Psych Meds and Scary Mommy) with a full time job. Follow her on Twitter (@TriSarahTops04).