This weekend, as I lazily browsed through the aisles of the Greatest Place on Earth (Target), I found myself grimacing more often than I usually do when passing by the dollar section. There in the spot where I usually find half-chewed candy bars and hastily-plastic-wrapped painting kits was a cacophony of condescension. A plethora of patronization. Dare I say...a bunch of baloney.
Amidst the pencil boxes and novelty confetti was the Pollack-esque pink-and-yellow mishmash that is only reserved for the most divisive holiday of the year: Mother’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my mom. Goodness knows she had to put up with a lot as I was growing up. I wasn’t an ordinary baby, either; legend has it I repeatedly tried to throw myself off the changing table in an unapologetic display of hubris and sheer curiosity. I couldn’t keep food down for the first three months of my life. My father’s entire wardrobe is forever stained by repeated bleaching and spot-cleaners. I could never claim that moms have it easy or that motherhood isn’t something to be proud of.
I’m just saying we’re doing a massive disservice to the real heroes. You know...dog moms. Cat moms. Lizard moms. Cockatiel moms. Everything-under-the-sun-except-real-human-baby moms.
Mother’s Day is meant to be a celebration of the love and sacrifice that mothers routinely provide for their children. But what about the love and sacrifice Fur Moms provide? What about the first six months of house-training a new puppy, or racking up hundreds in vet bills when the cat won’t touch his liver paté? What about the time Bubblebutt, my dearly departed beta fish, developed fin rot and I had to run to Walmart in the middle of the night to pick up some pH drops and a water testing kit? Human babies don’t develop fin rot. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Human moms get oooh-ed and ahhh-ed over. They get seats offered to them and they get to ask for any ice cream-and-pickle flavor combination they want, whenever they want, when they’re pregnant. But when I carry my 6-month-old bearded dragon in my shirt I’m suddenly “acting inappropriately” and “no longer welcome in this birthing class”. What kind of hypocrisy is that? And don’t even get me started on the breastfeeding issue (thanks for NOTHING, Petco!).
Giving birth or adopting a baby is only going to cost money in the long run. Fur babies save you money - have you ever heard of someone robbing a house protected by two 90-lb German shepherds? Human babies can’t protect a house. They can’t even hold their own heads up for the first year of their lives, let alone bite hard enough to deter a burglar.
I propose a movement to celebrate Fur Moms just as much as we celebrate Human Moms. This Mother’s Day, take a gander around the disembodied stuffing of a fallen chew toy. Look at the vacuum, filled to the brim with stray litter and birdseed. Listen for the unmistakable sound of someone sprinting down the hall to catch an escaped cricket as a hungry pet toad excitedly croaks its encouragement. Look around you at the chaos, the joy, and the true sacrifice of being a Fur Mom, and know that you will never understand the meaning of motherhood until you’ve mothered an animal.
Give a well-deserved thanks to the Fur Mom in your life with a set of smooth, cool sheets.