You know what there’s not enough of on the Internet? People pissing each other off.
Uh. OK. So, I was going for a “people being dicks online” thing here, but what I got was a photo of a girl who apparently typed a bunch of crappy things to herself in a Word document. AS IF anyone could hate someone who has a soccer-toting Snoopy next to her computer. AS IF.
Anyway, as anyone who has ever come within fifty yards of Facebook knows, there is no shortage of divisiveness online, especially when it comes to PEOPLE WHO ARE FOND OF THIS ONE THING getting all weird and threatened by PEOPLE ARE FOND OF THIS OTHER THING. And because the Internet exists as a space for us to express all of our interests and behaviors while crapping all over everyone else’s, it will probably come as no surprise to you that someone has finally decided to grasp that last straw in the imaginary Parent Wars: defending the title of motherhood against pet owners.
“Don’t look at the fat-ass losers and freaks, look at MEEEEEEEE!”
(Before I begin, let me first establish that I’m preeeetty sure the author of the article I’m about to discuss probably wrote something so inflammatory just to ensure lots of page views (someone doing something on the Internet solely for attention? I KNOW, RIGHT?!), but the fact remains that she said what she said, and it pissed a lot of people off.)
The title of Susan Maushart’s article is provoking right from the start: “Pet Parents are NOT Moms,” she cries, and goes on to describe her irritation at a recent ASPCA email that was delivered with the subject line “Because Pet Parents Are Moms Too!” O RLY, says Susan, who goes on to cite the differences between “real” parents and pet parents, as if that lady down the street who owns the bull mastiff has totally forgotten that he didn’t actually arrive after 14 straight hours of back labor.
Although he is quite reminiscent of the postpartum body.
Amidst a flurry of horrible puns (“I hate to be a bitch about this — but hey, female dogs are people too, right? — but when I read that subject line on an ASPCA email this week, it really gave me hairballs.” LADY. STOP IT.), Maushart points out that the modern pampering of pets has blurred the line between pet ownership and parenthood, when in reality, the two could not be more different.
Let me tell you a little story about a woman who once adopted a terribly cute little kitten named Tootsie. Tootsie was the recipient of all this woman’s pure, unfiltered adoration, and when the woman became pregnant with her first human child, the woman wept big, fat, pregnant tears over the fact that maybe she wouldn’t love Tootsie as much after the baby arrived.
Tootsie…was not so worried.
Sure enough, after the baby arrived, there was some shift in the woman’s affections, but she still loved Tootsie and is grateful to her surly little cat self for always being there for the woman. And if there never had been a baby, the woman knows she still would have had Tootsie to care for and love, and that is a happy and wonderful thing.
(Also, the woman is me. In case that was not clear.)
So, yes, I have first-hand experience at taking care of both a cat and a small person, and while I never personally felt like my relationship with my cat was a parent-child type deal (it was more of a BFF kind of thing, where your BFF sometimes attacks your bare leg for no damn reason), I totally understand the bond people have with their pets. It’s real and it’s important, and who am I to determine and/or give a rat’s ass how people define their relationships with their pets?
In her rant, Maushart points out that animals are “stupid,” in order to prove that…I don’t know — stupid things aren’t worth loving?
Tell that to the fans of Smash.
Her point there, I suppose, was to
get a lot of comments clear up the confusion (that doesn’t exist) about how pets are different from human children, but all she really accomplishes is insulting a whole assload of people. I get that she’s trying to be funny (actual funny not included), but you can’t pull off tongue-in-cheek when you’re drowning in bad puns and condescension.
People get pets for all sorts of reasons: because they love animals, because they want companionship, because they want the many rewards pet ownership can bring. Having a pet (not unlike having a kid) is also a HUGE commitment, both in terms of finances and time, and you should know that I have placed a ban on all personal dog ownership because it’s just too much of a commitment for me. TOO MUCH COMMITMENT. AND I AM MARRIED AND HAVE A SMALL CHILD. And yet, dog ownership intimidates the hell out of me. Dog owners of the world, I salute you. Especially when you have to pick up warm poop in a baggie. No thanks.
But what Maushart seems to ignore here is that parenting pets and parenting kids isn’t about the pets or the kids or even the title of “Mom.” It’s about giving love and receiving love.
FYI: From this point forward, all of my bottom lines will sound like 5th Dimension songs.
If you want to get bent about someone who refers to themselves as the “mom” of a Boston terrier, go right ahead. Just be prepared for similar scrutiny if you insist on being called a “mom” to someone as well.
This photo brought to you courtesy of the crippling depression I now have from doing a “parenting fail” image search. You’re welcome.