May 11, 2023

Pet Owners Are Not Parents

Pets are great companions that can bring great memories for people, even families, but they are not a substitute for children.

Parenthood is full of changing seasons and joyful and tough moments. A mother goes through nine months of pregnancy during which her physical body and brain change as her baby grows and develops in her womb. A father gains new perspectives and becomes the protector of that baby growing in his wife’s womb.

It is common to see women of childbearing age pushing a stroller with her dog or cat inside as she calls herself a dog mom or a cat mom. The pet accessory industry is booming due to “pet parents” spending their money on the latest and greatest food puzzle or sweater for their pet. Pet owners spend hundreds on finding the most nutritious, organic food for their pets. We have got to wonder why so many are choosing to “parent” animals over human children.

Parenting requires putting a child before the wishes and desires of the parent. In our current culture, putting a child over the needs and wishes of the adult is considered a loss of “me time” or a loss of “self-care.” Our current culture values instant gratification over delayed gratification.

Many young adults now value careers, social media, and fancy vacations over getting married and starting a family. For this reason, pets are more convenient than children. When the “pet parents” want to take a vacation, all they must do is find a boarding facility and they are free to enjoy their vacation without the distraction and responsibility of their pet.

Raising a child is a great responsibility that comes with real consequences if not done intentionally. As a child grows, the parents must make important decisions such as what values their child will grow up with and where he or she will receive an education. Most parents want their children to have a purpose and become productive members of our society, and that requires parents who are present and committed to a lifelong journey of parenting.

Pets are great companions that can bring great memories for people, even families, but they are not a substitute for children. Often self-proclaimed pet parents compare their puppies to infants and sleepless nights. In both scenarios, the adult loses sleep, but it is not equivalent to losing sleep to care for a human baby that needs direct care and nourishment from her mother. Pets and their owners can form a tight bond, but that does not compare to the lifelong bond and relationship parents will have with their child.

Pet owners are not parents. There is no greater joy than watching an infant become an independent toddler. There is no greater joy than watching a son learn how to do yard work alongside his father. There is no greater joy than watching a daughter learn how to prepare a meal alongside her mother. Pets are great companions, but the lifelong relationships parents form with their children are eternal and worth the delayed gratification.

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