I have to get something off my chest, and this won’t sit well with quite a few of my acquaintances and even some friends. However, it’s something I’ve thought long and hard about, and I think some of you will agree.
I am not a mom. Having pets does not make me a mom.
I admit, I refer to myself as “mommy” and J as “daddy” when talking to my pets. I am willing to call myself a pet-parent, but I cannot equate that to being a mom of human children.
So often these days, especially around Mother’s Day, you see everyone sending special well-wishes to pet-moms and saying, “You’re a mom, too, just with four-legged, furry kids!” They try to say that I’m just as much a mom as all those who’ve grown and birthed a human child, that I deserve to celebrate motherhood as well.
Well, I disagree. I am not a mom. I did not go through pregnancy (the thought of which scares the shit out of me, honestly), I did not give birth. Yes, I adopted my pets from a shelter, but let’s be honest here, adopting a pet is 100 times easier than adopting a kid.
I had my pets sterilized so they can never reproduce. Ok, so the shelters took care of it, but I would have fixed them both if it hadn’t been taken care of already. This is something we find inhumane and abhorrent when done to human children. Guess what? I don’t have kids. I am not a mom.
I leave my pets home alone all day, and have since they were very young. The dog was even left in a small cage until he learned to behave and not chew everything. People go to jail for doing this to human kids. I don’t have kids. I am not a mom.
My pets use a litter box and the yard to use the bathroom. They get in trouble if they go in the house. When I house-trained the dog, he learned to ring bells to let me know he wanted to go outside. I would again be put in jail if I did this to a human child. No kids. Not a mom.
I feed my pets the same food twice a day, from a big bag. It’s healthy food, but it’s dry kibble. No cooking, no 3 square meals. Yes, healthy is a concern, as is weight and activity. The dog gets put on a leash. The cat, well, he’s a cat. He does what he wants. Not kids. Not a mom.
When I go out of town, I leave the dog at a kennel. The cat gets left at home with someone to check on him. Do that to a kid? More jail time. No kids. Not a mom.
Sure, you can find some similarities. I get them annual check-ups, I care about their health, I even brush the dog’s teeth sometimes (Duke won’t let me). But Remy is never going to grow up and move out of the house. I don’t have to teach him much more than to not be a spaz, and he will most definitely not take care of me in my old age. The cat? Again, he’s a cat. He does what he wants.
So yes, I appreciate that you see me as a caretaker of animals and notice the work I put into spoiling these critters rotten, but please, don’t compare me to a mother. I raise these animals and even call them my babies, but I do so knowing that I will outlive them. I am here to give them a better life while they are here. Parents of children have much greater responsibilities. The whole future is in their hands. I feel that calling me a mom belittles all the work and responsibility that goes into raising another human being.
I don’t wake up in the night to feed and change diapers. I don’t worry about getting my kids the best education. Moms (and dads) make many sacrifices for their children that I haven’t even considered. I have the utmost respect for parents and all they do for their kids. I am grateful that they let me be a part of their childrens’ lives.
But after all that, I just don’t want to be a mom. I have chosen to not have children. I chose pets because I feel called to raise pets, not humans. It’s easier, cheaper, and I can choose what kind I get. As much as I love kids, I enjoy going back to the simplicity of my pets.
I try to be a good pet-parent and a good Auntie, but I am not, and do not want to be, a Mom.