What's Up with the Superiority Complex Some Human Parents Have over Pet Parents?
I do plan on having kids, and pretty soon. While no one likes to talk about it, a lot of parents have a bit of a superiority complex about being parents. I don't really understand why, and I hope I never do, because I don't want to be that way myself. People become parents and sometimes morph into these really rude monsters who think they're super unique and special for having a child, and they seem to save that extra vitriol for those of us with pets. Especially if we mother our pets, or god forbid, call them our fur children.
Here are 10 examples of what I'm talking about. All are things parents have said to me, or I have witnessed being said.
1. "Is that some kind of pet website?"
When I first announced I'd be writing articles for Mommyish, the first comment I received was, "Is that like an animal care site? Wow, that's awesome!" It is not an animal-care site. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry or both. To be totally fair, the person saying this is not a parent, but it still made me feel bad to be reminded of how firmly my "crazy cat lady" status is cemented in the minds of all who know me.
2. "No offense, but until you have kids, just stick to giving cat advice."
This happens to me a lot. Anyone who knows me well enough is well aware I spent a lot of time with my cats AND with kids, like my niece Surina, who is featured nearly as often as my cats.
They also know I'm looking forward to having my first baby sometime in the not too distant future, thanks to aforementioned articles on Mommyish. As mentioned in my previous point, parents have this bizarre idea that you have to have kids to have any sort of knowledge about childrearing or opinions of parenting issues. It insults the intelligence and life experience of every non-parent who doesn't have children. Apparently we are not allowed to have any opinions, thoughts, or advice for parents. Can I remind everyone that Supernanny doesn't have any kids?
3. "I think it's time you just had a baby already."
First of all, do you always make a habit of telling other people when they should have a baby?! This is so incredibly rude. It also presumes everyone CAN have a baby, which isn't always the case. While researching this article, I found a thread on Reddit that sums it up perfectly. It was a link to a picture that said, "What if I told you that having a dog isn't the same as having a child." It was titled, "To all my friends that have pets instead of kids." The highest voted response is as follows:
"I had a friend who was so proud of their pet. I told them something very similar. Turns out she had been trying for a years, and it had become a point of contention in their marriage. She left crying immediately. tl;dr: don't tell people this s***. You have no idea what their story is."
4. "Are you really throwing your cat a birthday party? It's not like it's a child or something."
Why, yes I am. And you're not invited. And if you show up, my cat is going to leave YOU a present. In your shoes.
5. "You don't know the meaning of tired until you have a baby."
You know, one day, I'll know if this is really true. It's not like I'm ignorant of the fact newborns totally exhaust you and turn you into one of the walking dead. I find this little jab is often assuming, once again, that people without kids are the ignorant ones with zero life experience of anything, ever. I've battled depression since I hit puberty. That's well over a decade. And that's just one of many things I struggle with that can keep me bedridden -- and perpetually exhausted. I've also had insomnia since the day I was born. I pretty much have caffeine running through my veins instead of blood.
6. "Don't have kids, just stick to having cats."
I'm never sure how to respond to this one. It just makes me uncomfortable. Am I meant to argue and demand you listen to all the reasons I want children and how I'm gonna be a great parent? Am I meant to laugh this off and not be insulted? Are you implying I shouldn't have children? That I am not able to have children? Is it okay for me to laugh with you about how awful having kids is when I don't know from personal experience? Because from everything else parents say to me, I have the impression that I'm not supposed to talk about kids, ever.
7. "I hope you're going to get rid of your cats when you get pregnant."
What?! What century is this? Do people still really believe this? Do people think this is an acceptable thing to say to a cat person? Or anyone with a pet? Especially a crazy cat lady who mothers her cats?! As if I would ever get rid of my cats! Especially over something as selfish as having a baby. Obviously, I won't be cleaning the litter boxes for nine months (hooray!) but there is NO reason to get rid of my cats. That whole "cats smothering babies" thing is an old wives' tale. I do like to respond to this with, "Well, if the cats don't like the baby, we can always rehome the baby." The reactions are priceless.
8. "The hardest job in the world is being a parent!"
I know a lot of people who would disagree with you. I totally get this sentiment. I get it. Parenting is an important job, and it's a hard job. I think there are some jobs that are by definition a lot harder though. Like manual labor, being a firefighter, being a brain surgeon ... I could go on. I hope you're not saying this to anyone who has a really difficult job.
9. "Having a cat is not the same thing as having a child!!!"
I know this is sort of on here twice, but I have a different point to make. What is this exactly in response to? Who ever says this? A lot of us say our cats are LIKE our children or ARE our children. When did that ever imply it's totally exactly 100 percent the same thing as having a human child? I will tell you. Never. No one has ever said that, in the history of ever.
There is a reason pets are called "replacement children." The BOND is extremely similar, and there are obvious similarities. Things can be similar and not be the same. Everyone just calm down about this!
10. "You'll never understand real/true love until you have a child."
What an ignorant thing to say! I understand that the bond and the love between parent and child is unique. However, it is not the end all be all to what defines love. There are a lot of parents out there who utterly fail at parenting and even abuse their children, and they have a better concept of love than me, because I only have cats? What? I wonder if the people who say this really hear themselves!
What crazy things have people said to you about your furbabies? Tell us in the comments.
Read more about cats and parenting on Catster:
- Pregnant Woman: Don't Get Rid of Your Cats!
- My 5 Proudest Moments as a Kiddie -- and Kitty -- Mom
- I'm Raising My Son to Love Cats, No Matter What Society Thinks
Laugh with us:
- 5 Ways I Irritate My Cats -- and I Can't Help Myself
- 5 Ways My Cats Have Taught Me to Stay Warm
- Texts from Mittens the Cat: Holiday Misfortunes Edition
About the author: Hana lives in Belfast after moving from the U.S. of A. with her two spoiled kittens, two chubby rats, and one cheeky husband. Hana works in admin but occasionally goes on tour working for an Austrian death metal band. When she's not putting up road-weary punk rockers and metallers, you can find her taking the cats around town in their stroller, whipping up new recipes, or playing way too many video games. She writes at Mommyish and Catster. Follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.