Monday, April 1, 2013

Dear Condescending Mommy Blogger. . .

PREFACE: This post was written in response to this letter--which I've just recently come across. Though I'm aware she's not railing against people with pets, her condescension is so aggravating that I had to respond. Why should she care if people love their pets and treat them like they're family? So, the following certainly doesn't apply to all parents, just to this one woman who seems so set on hating people with "furbabies," that she decided to engage in the exact behavior she's railing against. I don't find her post "tongue-in-cheek," I find it insulting and so did a whole lot of others.

Dear condescending mommy blogger,

We were never friends in the first place. After all, who really wants to be friends with women who think the world revolves around their womb and brood? But don't worry, you won't have to "flick me in the eye" because I'm about to agree with you. First, a small correction because if you're going to be nasty, at least know what you're talking about. The term "childless" refers to someone who cannot have children. I'm pretty sure "childfree" is what you're looking for here, we're the ones have chosen not to have children. This distinction is important because if you're demeaning childless people who are filling a huge void--one you couldn't possibly understand while you flaunt your ability to procreate--with an animal, then you're just a bitch.

Okay, so onto the part where I agree with you. Dogs, furbabies, whatever, are most certainly not children. Trust me, we understand that. We understand it on a whole other level, because that's the entire point: If dogs, or cats, or hamsters, or birds, or potbelly pigs, or whatever, were equivalent to children, we wouldn't want to raise them either. Do you get it now? We don't want anything even remotely resembling a baby, even when it's furry and cuddly and way cuter than a scary, wrinkly newborn. So unless your friend or commenter, is childless and feels horrible about that, or is completely mentally unstable, then they understand that kids and pets aren't the same thing, too. But how does it hurt you if they want to treat their pets like their children? Um, it doesn't.

There are, however, some comparisons and you would be obtuse to overlook them simply because you don't want them to be true. Like babies, puppies have to go to the vet every other month or so to have shots and check ups. So your assertion that you take your baby to the pediatrician more than I take my puppy to the vet in the first year is bull. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests, that at a minimum, babies are seen at birth, a few days after birth, then at two months, four months, and six months, nine months, and at one year. Puppies go to the vet for a series of shots shortly after they're born, then every few months for vaccinations, deworming, and heartworm checks. And just like a good parent, good dog owners make sure to keep their animals on preventative care medications their entire lives.

Just like your babies, my dogs get sick. They throw-up. My 8 1/2 year old shih-tzu just threw-up all over the sofa this morning. I have to clean that up, just like you have to clean up after your babies when they get sick. I have to give them medication and call the vet when they're ill, just like you call your pediatrician when your babies are sick. When my dogs have an accident in the house, I have to clean it up, just like you have to clean up after your baby--though thankfully not nearly as often. My dogs have bad dreams, bad moods, and are afraid of things like thunderstorms and the dark. Your babies have bad dreams, bad moods, and are afraid of things like the dark, too. I have to give one of my dog anti-anxiety meds when it storms because he's petrified.

Like your children, my pets have separation anxiety. They're sad when we leave them home, they miss us while we're gone, and they're happy to see us return. Which is actually smarter than your newborn baby, who thinks you don't exist when they can't see you, thanks to his lack of object permanence--which they won't develop until their 4-6 months old. Now granted, my puppy probably has the same problem, but it doesn't matter. I didn't spend 20+ hours in grueling pain to bring him into the world, so it's fair. I don't sink my entire identity as a caretaker into how smart my dog is.

Oh and on your point about bathing your baby, I do have to bathe my dogs. Otherwise, like your babies, they start to smell bad. But, because I have shih-tzus, who have human-like hair instead of fur, I have to have them groomed, which costs me about $35 each (there are two of them) every 6-8 weeks--so, about $70 dollars every month and a half. How much does it cost you to wash your baby? Oh, about the cost of a bottle of Johnson's and Johnson's? Yeah, I think we might be even. It costs me more money and you more time. But to make one more point, most babies I've been around don't mind, and even enjoy, having a bath. My dogs hate it, it causes them anxiety. It's not playtime for my dogs when it's time to take a bath or get groomed. It's an hour of washing, shaving, clipping, ear plucking, gland cleaning, nail trimming. It's not a walk in the park, it's a necessary evil. Thankfully, I've found a groomer who loves animals and takes good care of them.

One more thing before I move on. You do put your babies in a cage, but I don't. I don't crate my dogs. You have playpens, cribs (which actually have bars), baby gates, play gates for the yard, and swings and bouncers that contain your baby. You put your baby in way more cages than I do. The only time I've put my dog in containment is when he was a puppy and I didn't want him to hurt himself. And that was only for a few months, and he wasn't in there all the time. So don't give me that crap about how you don't cage your infants. That's total BS.

But to your other points. You're completely right. I'll never have a dog breastfeeding from me "all night" though I'm pretty sure babies don't feed all night, either. Maybe I'm wrong, but that would be one hungry kid. Yes, my dog sleeps through the night sometimes, other times he barks all night and keeps me awake--and since there are two of them it's a chorus of barking. And they bark every time they hear something outside. Pretty sure your baby doesn't cry when they hear noises outside. And yes, my dogs do generally eat what I give them, but they don't always like it. Fortunately, unlike your baby, my dogs don't spit food all over me and make a huge mess. They don't throw tantrums or throw their food on the floor. It's bliss.

Blessedly, my dogs can be left at home alone without having to pay $15 an hour for some teenage babysitter to neglect them while I'm out--though when I take trips I have to kennel them, which costs a fortune. Tell me, when was the last time you paid for a plane ticket for your baby? Or an extra hotel fee? Or even had to pay for them in a restaurant? Oh, never? Then you have no idea what it actually costs me to try to take a trip. It's exorbitant, but it's also the choice I knowingly made when I chose to bring them into my life. Just like the expense, tantrums, no sleep, up half the night, chaos that is your life is something you likely chose by choosing to bring a life into this world.

So, why don't you step off your high horse for just a minute and assess the situation. You say the letter was to "a pet owner that thought it was appropriate to judge parents, talk smack, and compare having a kid to having a dog" but you've just done the exact same thing, the other way around. And even though you may think so, your choice to have a baby is not superior to our choice not to. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but you've engaged in the same behavior you're railing against by judging dog owners, talking smack, and comparing having a kid to having a dog. You're doing it too, so do you really have the right to he so condescending? Yeah, probably not.

Your (non)Friend with Pets

PS. If you're not wise enough to see that your humor is damaging and hateful, and you're so petty that you have to discourage dissent by insulting the intelligence of those who wouldn't agree with you, then maybe  you're the one who should "suck it."