Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

What kind of mother would I have been? August 11, 2011

I read this article recently by Dr. Ellen Walker about how a new puppy made her realize how much time and energy goes into parenting. Dr. Walker is childfree-by-choice and considers her new puppy the “closest thing to being a mom I’ll ever come.”

One of her commenters added, “If you can’t care for a pet, never have kids.”

I think there’s something to that.

I am an utterly besotted cat-mom. Felicity, my calico rescue, has nudged her mischievous way into my heart and I’m not afraid to admit here that I love her. Would the love I feel for her compare to what I would have felt for a child? I couldn’t say, but I’m guessing not. I’ll never know. What I do know though, is that I might not have been the kind of parent I’d hoped to be.

It’s the whole discipline thing. On paper I’m adamant about well-behaved children, good manners, and not being pushed around by a two-foot-tall tyrant. And yet I’m completely at the mercy of a ten-pound furry tyrant. She misbehaves, does things I know she knows she’s not supposed to do, looks at me out of the corner of her eye while she scratches my couch, climbs onto the dining room table to eat my flowers, sleeps on my clothes, shreds my notes, the list goes on and on. And do I discipline her? No, not really.

Maybe it’s because I know she’s just a cat and not a child who is trying to push the boundaries of independence by pushing my buttons, but it does make me wonder what kind of mother I really would have been.

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4 Responses to “What kind of mother would I have been?”

  1. Kate B Says:

    I was thinking something similar this morning. I was feeding my dog, looking at his little face and I thought about how much I love him. I though – man if this is how much I love my dog, I would have been over the moon with a child. It also made me think that a kid might have gotten awfully spoiled in my house despite my best intentions.

  2. Mali Says:

    I dunno. I know plenty of people with polite, well-disciplined children, but have never seen a cat that would do what it wad told! But yes, catsare part of the family, and we love them anyway.

  3. Julie Says:

    I am the exact same way with my cats. They are so spoiled, it is ridiculous. I let the one cat drink from the faucet whenever she asks. My husband would never do that. I think if we had had kids, he would have been the disciplinarian. My excuse is always “she’s only a cat, she doesn’t know any better!” I’m sure “she’s only two, she doesn’t know any better” would not be far away from that. 🙂

    • Julie Says:

      I forgot to say that my husband and I always joke that we can say how we would have done things as parents when seeing others’ badly-behaved children, and know that our way would have been perfect, especially since there is no proof otherwise!


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