To not want you to compare having pets to raising children

(160 Posts)
Imsosorryalan Wed 03-Oct-12 14:21:39

Ok, I know some people love their pets enormously but why do some insist that their dog/cat/hamster is JUST like having a small child? It's not, never will be.. End of

Example " little alan wouldn't sit still for a minute, I've barely eaten, cleaned (mnet) all day"
friend " oh yes, i hate it when hairy smelly rover doesn't let me get on either"

cat Wed 03-Oct-12 14:22:55


My dogs are so much more demanding than my DCs


juneau Wed 03-Oct-12 14:23:33

No YANBU. My sister constantly compares me having two kids with her having a cat. I put up with it for a bit, but eventually said 'FFS, having a cat is NOT like having two DC'!

notanaxemurderer Wed 03-Oct-12 14:24:42

My MIL was like this after we had DD. I remember telling her how I'd been up half the night feeding and MIL just kept nodding and saying "oh yes it's been like that with my puppy, it's exhausting isn't it?"

Actually YABU

Some people invest as much time and effort in their pets as others do in their kids. Not all but def some people.

PosieParker Wed 03-Oct-12 14:25:49


CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 03-Oct-12 14:26:06

YANBU but I tell you what, it's a complete bastard trying to potty-train a hamster....

Hayleyh34 Wed 03-Oct-12 14:26:36

Drives me mad. I'm the only mum in my office, everyone else has pets and if there's something wrong with the pet, they compare it to when my daughter was ill and say "you know what it's like..."

Don't get me wrong, I love animals and have a cat but it's bloody frustrating!

hiddenhome Wed 03-Oct-12 14:27:07

I used to have chickens. They were a heck of a lot more trouble than either of my dcs grin

dreamingofsun Wed 03-Oct-12 14:27:29

i have found bringing up 3 children to be very similar to having a dog. both need regular meals, love, attention and lots of exercise. they also need firm handling or they run amock. the dog will adore me forever, though, whereas children grow up and become teenagers.

stopcallingmefrank Wed 03-Oct-12 14:27:33


I have a child and a dog. I can tell the difference between them.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 03-Oct-12 14:27:58

My completely self absorbed Dsister constantly tells us how demanding her dog is and how much of her time he takes up. We all laugh because the dog spends about 12 hours a day, 5 days a week with my DP, sometimes longer and he does sleep all night. In fact my DS is out about 5 nights a week herself.

When I was discussing getting a dog with her she said "its a big committment", me "erm I've got a DH and 2 DC, I think I can do committment" DS "no its so much harder than having a baby" shockgrin.

She has no fucking idea.

IKilledIgglePiggle Wed 03-Oct-12 14:29:57

YANBU. It's quite sad actually, no matter how much you love your pet, it is not a child...... My SIL broke down in the supermarket with me after her dog died and said it was like loosing one of her children, she has four children, I was sympathetic up until that point......not to mention the fact that it's a very insulting thing to say when people actually have lost children.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 03-Oct-12 14:30:10

[gring] at draamingofsun. Good point, perhaps I should get a dog afterall.....

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 03-Oct-12 14:30:31

and god knows what a gring is grin.

eurochick Wed 03-Oct-12 14:36:12

YABU. Pets require much of the same attention as children. I think they are great to practise on. We can't even keep a plant alive, so should not be allowed to progress to pets yet.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 03-Oct-12 14:40:57

Yes *euro" totally agree. When DS was born and wouldn't be put down at all, only slept in my arms and fed for hours DH and I often commented on how looking after 2 goldfish was almost exactly the same, and what good training it had been.

GothAnneGeddes Wed 03-Oct-12 14:41:18


I'm especially hmm at childfree types who are always bemoaning parents but have pets they treat as surrogate children.

Pandemoniaa Wed 03-Oct-12 14:41:20

YANBU. Pets and children are different. I particularly cringe when people refer to their dogs as "my baby". I'm not saying that having pets isn't hard work - puppies don't train themselves or learn to socialise by being neglected - but I really wouldn't compare this to bringing up children.

shittingit Wed 03-Oct-12 14:42:37

YANBU. One of my boss's had a dog that she said was the son she never had (had 2 DD's) I couldn't get my head around it but just nodded and smiled politely. I know as a nation we are dog crazy/pet crazy but I don't get the comparison to having/raising children.

Quadrangle Wed 03-Oct-12 14:45:32

I would imagine that being sleep deprived because a puppy has kept you up all night howling is similar to being kept awake by a baby!

HazleNutt Wed 03-Oct-12 14:46:48

YABU actually, if you are talking about the Rover example and not the "dog is the son I never had" guy.

If you complain about DC waking up and you being tired and I reply that "oh yes, me too, I have a puppy", then I'm not saying having kids is the same as having a dog. I'm just saying that as I was up at 2, 3, 4 and 5.30 because of a whining puppy, I'm therefore also quite tired.

Pandemoniaa Wed 03-Oct-12 14:46:57

I would imagine that being sleep deprived because a puppy has kept you up all night howling is similar to being kept awake by a baby!

Yes. But without the awful guilt that comes with it!

Secondsop Wed 03-Oct-12 14:51:37

I get it when people make the comparison. Of course pets are not THE SAME AS children, but especially for those who live alone or are elderly I can see why having a loving pet as companionship, another living creature who depends on you and who gives you joy and makes you smile and laugh is not a million miles away by any means of having a child. I can see why the OP has her view but let's not forget the huge difference a pet can make in abating loneliness and making people happy, rather than getting cross that the pet owner doesn't see it the same way. Of course they don't see it the same way but we all can only have our own frame of reference within which to develop our feelings. If I lost a beloved pet I'd find it even more upsetting if people didnt respect my sadness and belittled it.

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 03-Oct-12 14:52:41

I have three dogs, two kids. Dealing with either is pretty much the same. They all need constant guidance, clear boundaries, lots of praise and regular exercise and interaction and if left to get bored or hungry expect trouble.

The only difference is the times you would panic, i.e when the kids go quiet = not good. When the dogs start making racket = not good.

Secondsop Wed 03-Oct-12 14:54:38

I don't think the OP is unreasonable for having a different view from a pet owner as to the child/pet comparison. I DO think OP is unreasonable for, as stated in the heading, not wanting others to see the comparison differently.

Proudnscary Wed 03-Oct-12 14:56:04

I didn't realise it was a competition.

Maybe having a pet is not the same as having a child - but people who go on and on to people who don't have children about hard it is are usually insensitive bores.

Vice versa though hey proud - I remember as a childfree young woman there was nothing more boring than my colleague banging on about her kids!

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 14:58:21

A friend of mine who would dearly like to have children but can't for various reasons (none medical, she will have them in the future, all going well) recently got a puppy. To say she is madly in love with him is a massive understatement. To be fair, he is ridiculously cute. But it does get my goat a little when she compares looking after him to me looking after my DS. I don't say anything, I just nod and smile because I know she is longing for children and her puppy is her substitute, but I do wonder if I'm doing her a disservice by making her think that by successfully looking after a dog that parenting will be easy. I did say at one point that they are similar but of course parenting is far more demanding and she did accept that, but she still tries to talk about her dog as though he's her son. I find it difficult to deal with because I just can't take her seriously at all and I do worry about her getting a very big land when she eventually does have an actual child.

Oh and FWIW anyone who has kids and claims to love their dog in exactly the same way as the kids is mental. End of.

cory Wed 03-Oct-12 15:01:44

I always assumed having puppies was harder work. When did your dog last bring you coffee in bed?

Secondsop Wed 03-Oct-12 15:08:23

cailin your friend doesn't have kids though, so the puppy is where she lavishes her love and care. The puppy is her big caring responsibility. Doesn't mean that she regards parenting as being the same as dog-raising, and tbh if I were in her position I'd hate it if someone with kids pointed out that it would be much harder than having a dog because I'm sure that she knows that anyway but just doesn't have a comparator at present, and pointing it out would just bring home to her how she doesnt have kids in a "you may think that you're having a lovely fulfilled time doting on this dog but don't forget you don't have kids yet! That's when it gets really interesting!" way.

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 15:19:26

True Seconds - I can understand her feelings, given her desire for children, and I don't usually say anything to her about it. Most of the time I think it's sweet and cute the way she adores him so much.

The comment about loving children and dogs equally was reserved for far bigger loonies than her.

KRITIQ Wed 03-Oct-12 15:19:34

No, it's not the same, but I do wish alot of folks would take the responsibikities of BOTH alot more seriously than they do.

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Wed 03-Oct-12 15:22:02

yabu, it isn't a competition. I know many people who spend more times and effort on their animals than other spend on their kids.

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Wed 03-Oct-12 15:22:33

Actually try and find Pinos thread on raising the kittens she found.

Secondsop Wed 03-Oct-12 15:24:31

Cailin, yes, re your last sentence I'm expecting a baby and I already feel differently about my cat, although i must say the change of feelings since i got pregnant has been entirely mutual. I think the dude can sense he will be supplanted in my affections.

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 15:25:03

A small but significant difference between parenting and pet owning - you would happily leave a small puppy in the house on his own (ensuring he can't rip the place apart or get into danger) but you would never ever do that with a small child. Equally you would leave a dog in the care of a neighbour/kennels to go on holiday but you wouldn't leave a child with just anyone.

Hullygully Wed 03-Oct-12 15:25:21

It isn't remotely the same, but I wouldn't say so to a doting pet owner.

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 15:27:02

Aww the same happened to our beloved cats Seconds. They were our babies, then DS came along and bam! shoved to second place. They're still spoiled rotten of course, but now they have to contend with a very ahem loving toddler who "only" wants to accidentally stamp on kiss them.

HazleNutt Wed 03-Oct-12 15:29:47

You can leave older children home alone for a couple of days though and hope they manage to use the toilet and feed themselves. Could happen. Not so with dogs.
I would not leave my dogs with just anyone. shock Sure some people do, but some do the same with kids.

It's certainly easier to go to restaurants with my dogs (pic on my profile) than toddlers though, that's true.

Jelly15 Wed 03-Oct-12 15:31:43

My SIL kept taking her dog out in the car and it always got car sick. She was moaning about it to nmy DH and he said well don't take the dog out in the car then (she lives in the countryside and has a large field behind her house). She snapped at my DH and said "would you leave your DC home if they got car sick". My DH was not happy and told her don't you dare compare your dog to my DC.

issimma Wed 03-Oct-12 15:33:20

Sil does this with her cats. Drives me potty, especially with competitive non-sleeping. It's a cat - put him out of your room FFS!

tethersend Wed 03-Oct-12 15:33:30

Some would say pets are harder.

Siegfried and Roy, for example.

hippermiddleton Wed 03-Oct-12 15:34:19

YANBU to think whatever you want to think, but whenever I've heard this argument it's usually been in the context of people without children wanting to empathise/sympathise with those who do have them, and are using the frame of reference they know themselves - that of caring for a living creature which depends on their commitment and love. To remind them that their experience could in no way compare with your much better/harder/more rewarding experience smacks of that 'oh dear, you can't properly understand what life means until you have kids' attitude which gets so many childless people's backs up.

BettyandDon Wed 03-Oct-12 15:35:36

I don't know. My kitten from 0-6 months was far more work than my DD was at that age. Kitten cried all night, got up at 5am scratching at the door, couldn't use the litter tray (was abandoned so very hard work). I didn't have an evening out / stay at DPs for 5 months. Yes, I went to work, but I was so paranoid about leaving her that I worked flexitime and only left her for 2 hours at one go several times a day. She did calm down though once she matured and started going out.

I think the kitten was excellent training for a newborn!

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 15:39:28

I suppose the thing with dogs is that they don't grow up - once they reach about a year and are over the mad puppy stage they will always require the same level of care, unlike children. But then, there is so much more to worry about with children.

Hipper, I don't get annoyed with my dog-mad friend as she has acknowledged that looking after a dog, while difficult, isn't on the same scale as looking after a baby. I think what gets people's backs up is when childless pet owners claim to know exactly what parents are going through. That's annoying because it belittles the experience of being a parent. Worrying about a child and worrying about a dog are in now way comparable IMO.

SuoceraBlues Wed 03-Oct-12 15:39:36

Well, yes except....

Having just recovered from taking on a two week old orphan kitty (now ten weeks, thank god) it does rather depend on the circs. Three hour feeds round the clock for a screamy kitty who wouldn't settle post feed were not that much less draining than the first few weeks with DS. Who would at least feed while I was fast asleep. The times I wished I could just whip put a boob and make furry little Lilly happy while I snoozed on. At least with a cat that bit only lasts a month or so.

Well before I had a child I had a Persian. I fussed over him so much, arranged babysitters for when I was at work blush, running to the vets every ten seconds, hand cooking (for hours) his food. Getting up at all hours if he so much as squeaked. By the time cat two moved in I scaled all that back and my fur babies went back to "normal cat demands" and consequently were a lot lot lot less work than a kid. But back at the begining with Jasper the Puffball...dear god that was hard hard work. That I created for myself.

So no, not like having a child unless your pet has specific needs that really mean you have to go to considerable lengths and/or you don't turn their normal demands into high needs becuase you sort of react to them like they were a helpless needy baby.

FerrisBueller1972 Wed 03-Oct-12 15:40:38


At all.

Proudnscary Wed 03-Oct-12 15:40:50

Betty - that's what I meant I just didn't word it very well!!

stinkyfluffycat Wed 03-Oct-12 15:41:35

YABU, according to the crazycatlady at the CPL who refused to let me have a kitten when we lived in a (large, ground floor, with garden) one bed flat because 'It's just like having a baby you know'.

Er, no, cat lady, it's not... admittedly both child and cats have been know to poo in inappropriate places, leave toys everywhere and demand food at 5am but I have never spent weeks on end with a newborn cat attached to my boob, changed a cat's nappy or dealt with a feline tantrum in Sainsbury's...

evilgiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 15:43:25

Hippier - spot on. I don't have children, but wish to god I did. My cats are the only thing I have that comes even close - obviously I know they're nothing like children, but what am I supposed to use as reference otherwise?

Narked Wed 03-Oct-12 15:43:40

I adore my dogs and there are definite similarities, but if they're doing your head in you can shut them away and go out for an hour. Big difference.

Hullygully Wed 03-Oct-12 15:46:39

snort at siefried and roy

QueefLatina Wed 03-Oct-12 15:46:51

Gorgeous dogs hazle!

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 15:48:37

Evil, why do need a point of reference? You look after cats, other people look after children, they're two different things. I would never claim to know what it's like to want children and not have them, because I've never been in that situation. I might ask you about it, and listen to what you have to say about it, but I don't have a point of reference because I've never experienced it. I would never presume to compare not having children to, say, not having a much wanted job, because I know enough to know it's not the same. I've just never experienced what you're going through, so while I can commiserate I wouldn't ever claim to really understand.

QueefLatina Wed 03-Oct-12 15:52:05

So pets are easier to look after, less of a worry and are cute their whole lives?

<remembers why I stopped at 1 DC but want another dog!> grin

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 15:52:43

Some cats get evil as they get older. I think dogs maintain cuteness, but get more smelly.

iwantalittleone Wed 03-Oct-12 15:55:22


My sis and bro often look at me and my dp like this hmm when we say we have to go home to deal with the dogs. Erm, at least they can get gps to look after my dneices and dnephew no-one offers to dog-sit for us!!

QueefLatina Wed 03-Oct-12 15:57:04


My DS is 15. Not only has he got more evil as he has got older, he has got more smelly!

<this is a joke of course!>

evilgiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 15:57:17

Cailin, the example in the OP was a friend sympathising with another friend. One was complaining about her child, the other about her dog. Had the childless friend shrugged and said "oh well" it would have been more of a conversation-killer, and much less friendly to boot.

People use their own experiences and references to enable them to form an idea of what other people feel - if you don't have something directly comparable, you go for the next best thing. At no point is the pet-owning friend suggesting the situations are exactly the same, but the point is to express sympathy for the friend with a child.

mommybunny Wed 03-Oct-12 15:57:36

Why do we need a point of reference? Because that's how most people have conversations - they try to relate what someone is telling them to something vaguely similar in their own situation to demonstrate their empathy. The comparison may be imperfect, but you know what, I think they know that. And if they don't have even a vaguely similar experience then all they can do is imagine how they would empathise.

OP, I think YAB slightly U. What's the big deal? I remember wishing I had had a maternity leave when we brought our Alsatian puppy home and DH (who wanted the damned beautiful thing in the first place) took off for a weeklong business trip to Russia!

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 03-Oct-12 15:57:49

Well my dog was harder to train than my ds.
Ds never chewed through my phone chargers or ate my sofa.
Ds is 17 and very behaved but my dog can still be a very naughty boy smile

Narked Wed 03-Oct-12 15:57:50

But you can leave them alone without anyone caling SS. Swings and roundabouts grin

Proudnscary Wed 03-Oct-12 15:59:09

I see what you are saying evilgiraffe (and I bloody love your nickname!)

evilgiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 16:00:06

As I said earlier, hippermiddleton put it beautifully.

monsterchild Wed 03-Oct-12 16:00:28

YANBU to hate the comparison, but YABU to tell me I can't have my own opinions about it and that anyone who disagrees with you is completely and utterly wrong.

evilgiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 16:00:54

Heh, thanks, Proud, grin

Ephiny Wed 03-Oct-12 16:00:58

In some ways it's a bigger responsibility, because if you get into financial difficulties there's no welfare safety-net to make sure your dogs are housed and fed, it's all down to you.

Also it's true that dogs don't 'grow up' after the first year or two, but they do get old and you will find yourself caring for them when they're elderly (perhaps with mobility problems, continence issues, senility etc) and making end of life decisions for them.

It's meaningless to compare really, as obviously the two things are very different in all kinds of ways. There do seem to be some parallels though!

evilgiraffe Wed 03-Oct-12 16:02:23

Good cross-post, mommybunny - exactly!

Ephiny Wed 03-Oct-12 16:03:59

Also it happens the other way round - I'll mention something about my dogs and people say 'oh that sounds like my kids'!

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Wed 03-Oct-12 16:16:17

True ephiny and there is no NHS for pets

LST Wed 03-Oct-12 16:17:40

YANBU. Having a puppy is a lot more hard work IMO.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 03-Oct-12 16:21:05

Yes the 'baby' stage is shorter, unfortunately they never grow up and become independent.
Sadly for most bereavement comes sooner, but is no less profound.
I am a vet, but I lost my precious first born cat four weeks ago she had seen through some very difficult times and had watched over DD every night for 8 years. It was like someone torn a part of me out as she died and I can not as yet bear to put her ashes in the ground. Having had my husband walk out on me for OW earlier this year I can tell you for me the level of pain is not dissimilar.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 03-Oct-12 16:27:14

I'm so sorry Lonecat sad

InvisibleHotPinkWeasel Wed 03-Oct-12 16:30:47

YABU to get involved in any conversation that involves competitive caring of living beings. Those sort of conversations are only for those that need to assert misguided superiority of others.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 03-Oct-12 16:31:35

Good point, Weasel.

MrsRajeshKoothrappali Wed 03-Oct-12 16:35:00

I can see both sides.

My friend can't work because her dog can't be left for more than 4/5 hours.

At least a child can go to school/playgroup.

GrendelsMum Wed 03-Oct-12 17:04:46

Just follow my example.

Friend says "Little alan wouldn't sit still for a minute, I've barely eaten, cleaned (mnet) all day."

I say, "I've had a wonderful day with my delightful cat who never causes me any extra chores whatsoever. More gin, anyone?"

Latara Wed 03-Oct-12 17:12:34

I would love to TTC & have children, but it's just not possible right now; hopefully one day it will be, although i'm 36 so it's a worry that i won't ever be a mum due to serious health problems.

I currently have a cat i adopted from a rescue centre; i know she's a cat but she's important to me, i love her personality & she makes me laugh; she calms me down & has saved my life by just racing round & being there when the depression gets too much.

I can't join in the endless baby / children / marriage conversations at work except for asking ''how are your children''.
I am interested in my colleagues' families but they prefer to talk to others with similar experiences.
I don't feel i can be friendly to neighbours with children as it would seem odd maybe; & i have no close relatives with children.
The 2 close friends who have children both live over 3 hours' drive away.

I really want children & i pretend to be happy for friends with engagement rings; marriage plans & scan photos; but i do feel empty inside because i've stopped believing it will ever happen to me; it's selfish but there you go.

So please allow me to talk about my cat occasionally.

GrendelsMum Wed 03-Oct-12 17:17:21

Your cat sounds really lovely, Latara - I think that animals can really sense when you're having a bad day and do their best to help.

Mind you, mine is a grumpy so and so who has learnt to open doors but never closes them behind her.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 03-Oct-12 17:23:09

I think that when some women become mothers they seem to think that having children makes them superior beings in some way, Latara.
I'd happily talk to you about your cat, I have two and a dog.
I also don't get the whole 'how hard it is' comments. I had one, he's 17 now.
TBH it wasn't thathard and still isn't, in fact he's a joy, unlike my stupid dog and my kill all wildlife cats.
Oh, and I was 39 when ds was born, there's still hope for you.

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Wed 03-Oct-12 17:27:03

I can't join in the endless baby / children / marriage conversations at work except for asking ''how are your children'

In fairness Latara those conversations are dul to be people who have children well maybe not to dull people who have children. It's filler conversation and if anyone is not willing to you chat about your cat you're better off not wasting you energy on conversing with them. Oh and best wishes that you get what you want when the time is right

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Wed 03-Oct-12 17:27:51

I think that when some women become mothers they seem to think that having children makes them superior beings in some way,

yes, to that too. Like you should be up for sainthood because you chose to have kids.

GothAnneGeddes Wed 03-Oct-12 17:28:31

I love cats and dogs, but especially cats and I'm currently a cat-less cat person.

I would happily listen to cat and dog stories and oh and ahh over photos of them.

It's the comparison in terms of responsibility I don't like.

I don't think I deserve sainthood for having my children - though I have come close to it on many occasions for not killing the little buggers!

I've had cats, dogs and children - and it is definitely harder having children. For one thing, when I was training the dogs, I had a cage I could leave them in, for reasonably short periods of time, so I could go out on my own, but people would look at me very strangely if I tried that with the boys. Plus the dogs are never going to cost dh and I thousands in maintenance at university. And they don't complain at having the same dry dog food every day for breakfast and supper. And they are tidier than the boys.

The moral of this seems to be that I need to put the boys in kennels permanently, and just keep the dogs!! grin

InvisibleHotPinkWeasel Wed 03-Oct-12 17:33:02

YY to the superiority hormone that is released during childbirth for some.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 03-Oct-12 17:33:43

I'd be quite happy to chat about your cats too. In fact my mate at work has cats (I used to) and most times I'd much rather talk to her about her cats than talk to some of the others about their DC.

pongysticks Wed 03-Oct-12 17:43:41

CogitoErgoSometimes made me spit coffee Thanks!! visions of a tiny weenie hamster potty.

SoleSource Wed 03-Oct-12 18:02:42

YABU my goldfish is my life.

Hullygully Wed 03-Oct-12 18:53:47

Actually your goldfish is leaving you for me


SoleSource Wed 03-Oct-12 19:08:36


I knew something fishy was going on. That Bob is a cheating bastard sad

Quadrangle Wed 03-Oct-12 19:14:07

I guess you don't have to worry about schools with pets.

IceBergJam Wed 03-Oct-12 19:21:20

Some people are not lucky enough to have children and put all their love in to a pet. It probably irrates or worse, hurts them when they hear people moaning about being kept up all night by a child!

YouMayLogOut Wed 03-Oct-12 19:31:22

And how about "you're infertile? well you could always get a pet!" as if there's any comparison confused

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 03-Oct-12 19:32:55

Quad, my Dog starts school a week today in preparation for him going off to college in December.

I am far more worried about that than I was the dc starting school. When your children get over excited and misbehave you get sympathetic nods from people. When your dog does it people judge.

Hopefully when he gets finishes college he will be ready for joining extra curricular activities.

Canidae Wed 03-Oct-12 19:34:22

Quadrangle - I'm guessing you have never had to pick an obediance school! :D

YABU. Of course they are very different but what is wrong with having a converation that admits the hardships of both?

NameChangeGalore Wed 03-Oct-12 19:34:57

Yanbu. Like to see them breast feed a dog every 20 mins whilst trying to eat their only meal of the day.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 03-Oct-12 19:41:33

Yep. you're a bloody hero NameChange.hmm

InvisibleHotPinkWeasel Wed 03-Oct-12 19:44:04

Tell me about it. I've opted out and gone for home schooling. Much judging when people ask which school Hully attends. grin

lovebunny Wed 03-Oct-12 19:45:02

all four of my bunnies, whom i love dearly, do not, together, mean as much to me as one hair on the head of my daughter, grandaughter, son-in-law or even of other family members.

WithoutCaution Wed 03-Oct-12 19:47:56

Having a dog:
- Set feeding times ect dogs thrive on routine
- Make sure they always have access to clean water
- Make sure they get their jabs ect
- Spend time training (per day if possible)
- Go to classes or fun activities - agility, flyball, obedience, tracking, sponsored walks etc
- Socialise them regularly
- Have some quality time per day
- Take them out on walks/for fresh air/to let off steam/play
- Make sure they have stimulating toys (mine has a toy basket - can get any toy he wants out but has yet to master putting them away)
- Make sure they have a comfy bed
- Make sure they are safe and happy
- Make sure the house is safe for dogs

Having a child:
- Make sure the house is child proof
- Make sure they are safe and happy
- Socialise your child
- Spend time training your child - Good manners/ how to behave in public ect
-Take them to the park/out on walks to let off steam and play
- Spend quality time with them
- Make sure they have stimulating toys - children are also very good at getting toys out and not putting them away wink
- Make sure they have a comfy bed
- Children thrive on routine - set meal times/bed times/bath times ect
- Make sure they are offered enough to drink
- Take them to activities - swimming, football, tennis, gymnastics ect
- Take them to training classes - AKA school

Have to say I'm one of those people who thinks that looking after a dog is very similar to looking after a child smile

thebody Wed 03-Oct-12 19:50:13

Well to some especially lonely, old or ill people, their pets are as important as a child to them.

Why would someone comparing the love of their pet to the love tou have fir your child annoy you.

I have 4 kids and 2 cats, I adore my cats but my kids of course are the earth to me..

Each to their own though.

nellie02 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:50:39

I after with hipper and latara.

It's not a competition. Sometimes it's shit not having children. Parents competing on tiredness etc is just nasty, as it is downgrading how the other person feels. And more importantly, it is often read as other interests being less important or valuable than their own dc.

As a childless person I have full sympathy for someone who is knackered. but I also have sympathy for those who are tired because an illness or noisy neighbour has kept them up.

LaQueen Wed 03-Oct-12 19:53:41

A friend of mine lavishes excessive amounts of love/attention on her dogs - and says she simply couldn't choose between them, or her DCs...

To me that's just wrong. Wrong. But...the big elephant in the room, is that quite clearly some parents just don't actually love their children all that much...instead feeling for them, sort of a detached fondness.

LookBehindYou Wed 03-Oct-12 20:08:43

When my baby died a huge amount of people said dog must be a great comfort. They started referring to the dog whenever they saw me. It was really upsetting.

My SIL adores her dog. She lavishes the love that she'd rather be giving her children that she can't have on them.

Some of you are seriously lacking humanity.

thebody Wed 03-Oct-12 20:15:23

LookBehindYou .. So very sorry for your loss.

Labradorwhisperer Wed 03-Oct-12 20:29:21

It's a really tricky one.

I love children, but I don't see myself having any of my own. I try very hard to be considerate and engage in discussions with my friends who are parents. My dogs are NOT my children. They are dogs. But when I want to show I empathise with, say, friends who are having a hard time with a crying baby, and I can relate because my first dog just would not sleep for the first two weeks, it's hard not to refer to my own experience because that is all I have.

topknob Wed 03-Oct-12 20:34:40

Kids come before pets, thats just how it is, but I do love my pets, however I have to say I have never been kept awake by a crying puppy.....all of mine have been fine at night !

mayorquimby Wed 03-Oct-12 20:36:18

in fairness if you're going to bore them with talk about your kids they're going to bore you with their pet chatter.
They care more about their pets than your kids so they obviously think they're just as/more important

InvisibleHotPinkWeasel Wed 03-Oct-12 21:19:34

I find it distasteful to belittle any one for loving. I miss my late dog every day. Because my dog was my friend. I am allowed to love my friends.

I find it odd when people are determined to compartmentalise others feelings, or place a hierarchy on emotions and experience.

InvisibleHotPinkWeasel Wed 03-Oct-12 21:29:48

Actually raising dogs and children are similar.

I didn't love my dog instantly and overwhelmingly like I did my children. But you care for and protect pups and children while they are young and vunerable. Then you teach them and guide them through society so they can be welcomed into it and live alongside others. Some times they fuck up and you are ashamed, but you forgive and move on.

Once they are fully grown and understand the way of the world. If you are really lucky they are your friends and equals and spend time with you out of love and want. Because of what you have invested.

The only difference is the dog remains with you, unswervingly loyally by your side until they die.

Whereas you get to watch your children soar and fly.

Either way, it's all good if you like that sort of thing. Doesn't harm anyone.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 03-Oct-12 22:49:53

I do know what you mean but I also think there are alot of similarities between the two! There is the sense of responsibility, the worry, the enjoyment in their achievements, the pride when they are complimented and the embarrassment when they have a moment in public! Less intense with my dog but similar, I think so anyway!

featherbag Wed 03-Oct-12 23:44:15

I hate the term 'furbabies'. A friend of mine who has decided not to have DC has cats and refers to them as such, and honestly seems to think taking in rescue cats is on a par with adopting and raising DC. She calls them her 'furbabies' as she's chosen to have them instead of real babies.

CailinDana Wed 03-Oct-12 23:49:27

Comparing the loss of a dog to the loss of a child is twisted IMO. And suggesting a dog will be a comfort, in the sense of being a replacement, is utterly bizarre. People do love their pets, a lot, and feel a sense of loss when they die, but that is absolutely miniscule in comparison to losing a child.

FairPhyllis Wed 03-Oct-12 23:56:19

OP, YANBU. I particularly object to people calling themselves their pet's 'mom' or 'dad'. I thought it was just an American thing but I have seen people on here do it. Apart from anything else, it's just terribly confusing because I assume they are talking about a DC.

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 04-Oct-12 08:05:58

I'm my dog's and cats' mummy.
Adoptive mummy though.

stookiesackhouse Thu 04-Oct-12 08:46:18

I don't have DCs. Not through choice.

I have a kitten and I love her to bits. However I don't compare having her to having a child in conversations.

One thing I will say is that there is a definite lack of humanity and sensitivity on this thread.

Why be irritated by someone who is probably just trying to engage in a conversational exchange and relate to you using their own frame of reference?

It seems particularly mean-spirited that the dig is targeted at people without children by people with children.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Thu 04-Oct-12 09:06:50

Do people really talk about their pets in conversations about children? Sorry, but I think you'd have to be fairly lacking in social awareness to do that. Pre dc I worked in an office with lots of people with kids and I had cats. I love my cats, but it would never occur to me to bring them up when colleagues were talking about their children. I would think someone who did was pretty odd tbh.

I also try to avoid talking about children too much to child free friends, but that's another thread!

plantsitter Thu 04-Oct-12 09:11:30

When DD1 was small I met a woman on a train who had 2 chinchillas in a cage with her. She was very kind and let DD feed them raisins and stroke them. Then she asked me to watch them while she went to the loo because she didn't like having them out of her sight and said 'you must feel the same about your daughter'. Er, yes. Sorry if you're on mumsnet, lady, but you were a teeny bit mad.

curiousgeorgie Thu 04-Oct-12 09:22:30

Puppies are so much harder than babies.

My DD slept through within a few weeks, my dog still howls at night grin

LookBehindYou Thu 04-Oct-12 09:31:56

plantsitter so don't you feel the same way about your children? She was absolutely right and you have no idea how she felt. Maybe she felt exactly the same as you.

My SIL infers that she never wanted children. I know the truth. She worked hard at overcoming her grief and I don't blame her in the slightest for pouring all her love into her dogs. It makes me furious that people are belittling her.

I can't believe what witches some of you are. Do you seriously have no awareness?

Quadrangle Thu 04-Oct-12 09:33:51

It wouldn't annoy me at all if i was talking about my children to someone who didn't have them and they then recounted their experience with their pet. They would just be joining in with the conversation. The alternative would be that they had to listen but not contribute, other than to ask questions, which would be a bit one sided and boring for them. I try not to witter on about kids to people who don't have kids anyway as i don't want to bore them to death!

Trills Thu 04-Oct-12 09:36:56


When you compare something you don't say they are the same, you say they have features that can be compared.

"Having a baby is harder than having a dog". That is a comparison.

"Dogs can be house-trained quicker than babies can be potty-trained". That is also a comparison.

"Having a baby is like having a dog that slowly learns to talk" That is from Scrubs, and is also a comparison.

LookBehindYou Thu 04-Oct-12 09:43:07

And my SIL talks about her dogs of course. Would you all prefer she stayed silent while you wax lyrical about your children? FFS.

Ephiny Thu 04-Oct-12 09:51:59

I think with some parents it's not OK to mention anything or anyone else in the same conversation as their precious children, or their mystical 'parenting experience' that exists on a level far above anything we childfree drones can ever understand.

"It seems particularly mean-spirited that the dig is targeted at people without children by people with children."
Get used to it. This happens a lot on MN.

Morloth Thu 04-Oct-12 09:54:42

I love my kitty, and I loved my old kitty (she died about 18months ago).

Heres the thing though, she died and I got over it and got a new cat eventually.

Whatever floats your boat though, who knows maybe people do love their pets as much as I love my kids.

evilgiraffe Thu 04-Oct-12 10:09:46

Indeed, LookBehindYou

When childless people talk about their pets, it's unlikely to be because they think they're of equal standing as a child. For instance, I love my cats dearly. However, if I had friends with children visiting and there was a house fire, I would not think twice about getting the child out first.

Yes, my pets are not as important as anyone's child. This is, however, largely irrelevant during a conversation about nothing in particular, such as that described in the OP.

stookiesackhouse Thu 04-Oct-12 10:13:53

""It seems particularly mean-spirited that the dig is targeted at people without children by people with children.""

"Get used to it. This happens a lot on MN."

It's a shame isn't it? I like lots of things about MN. This isn't one of them.

BrittaPerry Thu 04-Oct-12 10:20:44

Ooh I have friends who do this. One refers to 'the kids' when talking about her baby and her dog. Another actually joins in with conversations about kids with stuff about her kids - 'Dd is having trouble learning to read' 'oh, I know, I find it hard to motivate Tiddles to scratch in the right places'. WTAF

unless you leave you children in the house while you work, get them neutered and get them euthanised if they get very ill, pets are NOT children.

BrittaPerry Thu 04-Oct-12 10:21:19

Stuff about her per, I mean

BrittaPerry Thu 04-Oct-12 10:21:29


KitCat26 Thu 04-Oct-12 10:22:50

DH was just comparing having children to having dogs. DD2 just left a nice big poo on the carpet for me to clean up. Just thought I'd share grin.

BrittaPerry Thu 04-Oct-12 10:25:54

When I had PND, I remember loving dd like a cute little kitten. i thought she was lovely, I did all the practical stuff and I would have been devastated if anything had happened to her.

I still remember the moment that lifted. It was like someone tearing my heart out - suddenly that cute little kitten felt like she was physically part of me.

Totally different.

OrangeandGoldMrsDeVere Thu 04-Oct-12 11:09:42

I love my pets.
They are not like children
I just happily waved off the cat to go and live with DS1 in his flat.
I don't miss her. She was a nice cat but she has gone.
My little dog died a few years back. She is buried in the garden.
Had her for years but I barely think about her.

I had DD for 14 years. My heart is shattered. I am mentally and physically damaged by her loss. I only appear to function normally. I do not and never will again.
Her loss has driven my eldest son away from home and left her younger brother traumatised beyond my reach. Her little brothers live in the shadow of the loss of a sister they never met.

Let's not fuck about.
Pets ate not the same as children

hippermiddleton Thu 04-Oct-12 11:20:52

I don't think anyone here is suggesting that pets are on the same level as children. That would be ridiculous. But the experience of loving and caring for an animal is the closest many people will get to the parent-child bond that is clearly such an enormous and life-changing gift, and to denigrate that, and suggest that it's - hee hee! - a 'teeny bit weird' is rather sad and ungracious. It's probably fair to assume that anyone who talks about their pet in exactly the same way as they would a child has issues that aren't going to be helped by a parent reminding them that they have no idea what it feels like to have a real baby.

I see the OP hasn't been back.

OrangeandGoldMrsDeVere Thu 04-Oct-12 11:34:35

Really? I thought that is exactly what the op was about.
And there have been several threads like this recently.
And they are crap.

stookiesackhouse Thu 04-Oct-12 11:37:15

No, the essence of the thread is people contributing to conversations about DCs and drawing parallels re looking after their pets. It's not about people who value animals' lives above or equal to human life.

Soditall Thu 04-Oct-12 12:31:41

We have 10 pets and 5 children and the pets are so much easier than the children.

First of the pets cant talk,secondly they don't constantly grow out of clothes and shoes.Thirdly the pets don't presume I'm rich.

LookBehindYou Thu 04-Oct-12 12:33:23

brilliantly put hippermiddleton

InvisibleHotPinkWeasel Thu 04-Oct-12 12:52:05

Well tbh I thought the op was simply about competitive whinging.

LookBehindYou Thu 04-Oct-12 12:52:43

haha! True Invisible.
In which case it's even more reasonable.

Imsosorryalan Thu 04-Oct-12 13:17:01

I'm still here, reading with interest. No way am I suggesting loving and caring for a pet should be taken less seriously ESP. If childless couples see them as a child substitute.
Only, an acknowledgment that a dog and child have different values within a family.
(Ps friend in question does see herself as a fur baby mummy complete with clothes and jewellery for said dog).

Imsosorryalan Thu 04-Oct-12 13:17:57

Oh and if you think the post is crap ..... Don't post

plantsitter Thu 04-Oct-12 14:59:14

I guess Hippermiddleton is right and of course I would never tell anyone they were weird for comparing their pet to a baby even if I thought it.

I think someone's wrong for equating their chinchilla with a baby not because I think I am superior as a mother to a childless pet-owner (and this woman may have had kids for all I know), but because I actually believe that humans are more important than chinchillas. I say this as a vegetarian and a loving pet owner. I think it's quite offensive to equate a pet with a human child, actually. Though not as offensive as being called a witch thanks LookBehindYou.

stookiesackhouse Thu 04-Oct-12 15:23:51

Plantsitter, I don't think who/what is the most important was in dispute. I certainly don't recall any posts on this thread where a pet was 'equated' with a human child or where there was an implication that animals are more important than humans?

I believe the implication was that for some people who can't have kids, their pet is the closest substitute. And sometimes those people try to relate to those who do have children by drawing parallels with their own experience - rightly or wrongly.

I for one certainly don't think it's wrong, and can see why someone might do it. Maybe they really wish they could join in those conversations but be actually talking about DCs (if they had them).

A little kindness goes a long way...

OrangeandGoldMrsDeVere Thu 04-Oct-12 15:42:45

If that is directed at me - fuck off. I will post where the fuck I fucking like.
If it isn't - smile

Imsosorryalan Thu 04-Oct-12 18:46:10


LookBehindYou Thu 04-Oct-12 18:52:14

Unlike you OP. Think you might be a little confused about what an internet chat thread is all about.
Your friend is having fun with her dog. She's nice enough to be your friend even when you think she should give her undivided attention to you without offering any opinion or having a life herself. I very much doubt she thinks it's the same as a child, she's just joining in the conversation and showing that she understands. Did she really insist her dog is the same as your child? You had a knock down row but she still stuck to her guns? I don't think so. You're a pretty crap friend to mock her online

Imsosorryalan Thu 04-Oct-12 19:05:28

Not sure where you think we rowedhmm also it didn't involve me. So thank you for your input and advice about an Internet chat forum. you do not need to speculate what sort of friend you presume me to be..

LookBehindYou Thu 04-Oct-12 19:14:08

You said 'insist that their dog/hamster....'. I was asking if it was really true that people insisted it.

You're welcome.

ChocolateIsAFoodGroup Thu 04-Oct-12 19:17:37

Nice to see this interesting thread is disintegrating into a bunfight..... but to throw my bun into the ring:

Some people do actually equate having a pet to having a child. NOT competitive whingeing (which we all indulge in, let's be honest wink) NOT trying-to-relate (ditto, but nicer of us as a species) but actual 'I-know-what-you're-talking-about-cos-I-have-a-pet'.

Our neighbors were like this. Used to drive us barmy. And they would make direct comparisons that went: 'Oh, exactly the same for us too!' which it patently was not (colicky DS1 is not the same as a bloody dog, FFS.)

They are not very nice, however (sample quote - on meeting DS1 and us gushing over him: 'Looks like generic white baby to me')

I genuinely think only weird or misguided people actually equate having a pet with having a child. It's mostly 1) competitive whingeing or 2) trying to relate (which is, obviously, nice of people).

On the other hand, some people are just prats (viz; old neighbors grin)

LookBehindYou Thu 04-Oct-12 19:22:00

But to them they really believed it chocolate. You can only use what you have to relate.
The 'generic white baby' comment confused is very strange. Trying to imagine how that conversation went down.

ChocolateIsAFoodGroup Thu 04-Oct-12 19:24:28

LBY I know! Weirdness.....

They've since had a baby, but we've moved, and we don't really like them, so (though I would love to!) I can't ask them if they still feel their DS is 'on a par' with their dog.....

hedgehogpatronus Sun 07-Oct-12 12:08:05

<avoids buns>

My sister does this about her cat and dog. To be fair, I think she really is just 'trying to relate', but on some level I still find it offensive that she seemingly believes I would lock my children out of the house if they were whining too much, or would have them rehomed if I moved to a rental property which didn't allow them.

It's not so much the competitve whinging that annoys me, it's the lack of acknowledgement of the seriousness of the task of ensuring the lasting psychological wellbeing of another human being that just doesn't compute.

My sister, with her lovely, well-trained pets simply does not understand that the way I feel about my children is absolutely not the same as the way she feels about her pets. I assume if she does end up having children of her own she will realise the difference <although given her level of self-absorption I doubt it>

GrendelsMum Mon 08-Oct-12 09:09:28

Mmm, but don't you think that the underlying problem might be that you're essentially saying that your life is more important than hers, because you have children and she doesn't? I can see that that might lead to some friction between you.

Latara Mon 08-Oct-12 11:03:56

I had a weird day yesterday; my cat got in a fight with another cat (ok, she attacked him) & his owner came rushing out to comfort her ''poor baby''. I then felt i had to apologise for my cat behaving like... a cat.

(In her defence there have been tom cats coming into the garden to bother her for ages & it's scary for her as she's neutered... she was just getting her own back IMO).

I do love my cat (feel yucky for admitting it but it is true).

Do i sound like i'm talking about my cat like she's a child? I hope not... because she's a cat & i've read about cat behaviours - they are so different from humans & that's why i like them!

'YABU to get involved in any conversation that involves competitive caring of living beings. Those sort of conversations are only for those that need to assert misguided superiority of others'

THIS. I couldn't have put it better myself.

I love my cat. I don't have children. My friends with children always ask how my cat is, just like I ask how their children are. I'm obv lucky to have such nice friends. People might just be trying to relate to you. It can be hard for people without children to have to constantly listen to moaning parents about how hard it is to parent. Being a 'mother' (said in the style of bill bailey) doesn't make you more Superior, or your problems more important. Why is everyone so competitive these days? Don't you all get exhausted?

Spuddybean Mon 08-Oct-12 11:40:08

I am an animal lover. I have had rescue puppies, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. I have been kept up all night by crying dogs and cats, have done regular feeds, toilet training, walks etc. And yes they are a commitment. But this stage does not last for long - unlike with children.

I now have a 4 week old and it does not compare to the physical effects - stitches, bleeding, sore boobs etc on top of the time taken for constant feeding, rocking, changing, washing and 2 hours max of sleep at a time etc.

I understand that to my dad his dogs do take up exactly the same amount of effort as he had with me. However, that's because he did very little!

My parents call their animals their babies and have only visited my sister and their dgc twice a year as the dogs can't be taken. They have also only visited me twice in a year because of the same reason. We are emigrating and they have said they wont visit much because of their 'babies' (they would be retired and could come for months at a time if they wanted). And that is their choice and their priorities (my sister and i have never challenged this because we understand to them how important they are, and it has been this way all our lives). What i do resent is they constantly bitch about how unreasonable we are tho, to not let their totally untrained dogs loose in our house (despite the fact that DP also has allergies and is ill when they come) and that we should all visit them so the dogs can stay at home.

Spuddybean Mon 08-Oct-12 11:41:51

Oh and they did seriously suggest on more than one occasion that i leave DP because he was allergic to their dogs and it wasn't very fair on them, apparently.

aamia Mon 08-Oct-12 11:49:20

Pets give you a little idea of what children will be like. Children are so much more hard work though! And more stressful, both mentally and physically!

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