I have a pet dog who is sleeping at my feet right now, and she is one of my favorite beings on this planet. She is 15 years old and she sleeps 21 hours a day. The other three hours she likes to spend alternately eating and staring lovingly at me, what's not to adore? Yet I also have human children. And it's not the same thing, despite some pretty insistent arguments to the contrary. Especially when this mom compared having kids vs. pets in a viral video on Facebook, and got everyone all riled up. The dog "moms" don't like to be dismissed as somehow lesser than people moms.
Tiffany Jenkins, the writer and mom behind the hilarious Juggling The Jenkins blog, shared a video recently about the difference between parenting a human child and a dog child (or puppy, as some might call them). In the video Jenkins posted on Monday, she is sitting in her car griping about how her kids always act up when the weather gets nasty. This is when her "friend" (also played by her) starts to commiserate. Because she has dogs, and the dogs don't like the bad weather either.
Which is when Jenkins decides to parent her toddler the same way someone could parent their dog.
In the video, Jenkins needs to take a quick run out to the store. So what does she do with her toddler? Puts her in her crate, of course. The same way you would with your dog, so it's obviously totally the same, right?
And what to do about that pesky toilet-training? Why, just put your toddler outside and let them figure it out (side note: probably my favorite thing about this video is Jenkins' daughter's confused expression. She keeps staring at her mother like she's lost her ever-loving mind).
Snack time looks a little different when you're parenting a human. For instance, you can't just put some kibble in a bowl on the ground and walk away from your kid, right?
Wait a minute. Can you? Probably not.
By the end of the video, the dog "mom" sees Jenkins' point. As did most of her more than 291,000 viewers. The "fur moms" and "skin moms," as one person sort of grotesquely put it, had a good-natured laugh at the accurate video and went about their days. Unfortunately, some other dog owners out there took to her video to heartily disagree with Jenkins.
"But dogs are better and cuter than kids. I chose to not have children and got my tubes tied 3 years ago," one viewer wrote. "My dogs are more spoiled than most people’s human children and my husband and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Another disgruntled viewer commented, "Uh no. I hate posts like this. Do people actually realize the work it takes to raise a well behaved dog? They destroy things, they poop on things, they pee on things, they vomit on things and their food is down right expensive."
In fact, Jenkins ended up with so much backlash from both sides of the fence that she included a disclaimer on the video:
Jenkins opened up to Romper about the backlash as well, explaining:
I made the video, because I noticed many women who weren't yet mothers — giving other mother's advice in the comment sections of my videos about how they should raise their children. Their experience of course based on having dogs. I found it humorous and wanted to make a light-hearted skit about the difference between having a pet and a child.
She added that a lot of pet owners "misunderstood the message" of the video and she feels they are "pretty mad" at her. She went to explain that her "intention was never to make them feel like they are unjustified in loving their dogs like children, it was to show that having a dog is DIFFERENT than having a child."
So here's the thing: you can love your kids and you can love your dogs. You can have kids and no dogs, dogs and no kids, and feel fulfilled and happy with whatever situation you might be enjoying. I know I love having a dog and I love having my kids.
But I'm sorry to tell you that I agree with Jenkins. As she pointed out so perfectly in her video, having a dog is not the same as having a baby. There, I said it. But don't tell my dog I said that.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.