There are actual people in this world with four-legged children. They love their fur-babies like they’ve​ birthed them. With hot meals, fancy outfits, and pimped-out strollers, sometimes Pet Moms put my parenting skills to shame. 

And I’m a dog person. I get it. You can absolutely love an animal to the moon and back. But at some point we have to acknowledge that this whole Child/Pet comparison thing is a little bit crazy.

Pets and kids are not the same. And it’s not that I question your love for FiFi. It’s just this: If I raised my kid like a pet, I’d be in prison. And that’s a pretty huge difference.

 Kennel Training

I’m going to be honest here, I see nothing wrong with kennel training a child. A crib is basically a kennel without a lid, so you’d think it’d be totally cool to leave my kid in there all day. Just set up a hamster feeder and he’s set! The kid is safe. He isn’t starving. It’s all good, right? Nope. I’m going to jail. And probably headlining Fox News.

 Locked in the Backyard

What is wrong with a yard full of squishy grass? It’s the world’s most organic baby-proofer. And a 6-foot-tall privacy fence all but guarantees my toddler isn’t leaving the premises. There’s a bowl of water and even some squeaky toys to play with. Fun times! So, I can leave my kid in the backyard all day, right? 

Nope. Jail. 

 Annual Bath

Unless you have one of those froufy powder puff pets, I highly doubt that creature gets washed on the regular. A dog splashes in mud and rolls in fleas and licks his butt, but for some reason bath time isn’t a regular occurrence. Could I get away with an annual bath for my toddler? No. Because jail.

 Convenient Diet

Go ahead and walk into any pediatrician’s office. Tell them you are concerned about your child’s recent bout with constipation. When questioned about their eating habits, simply pull out the empty bag of Science Diet. “It says right here on the bag that it’s balanced!”


I admit, there is some acceptable crossover when parenting pets and children. For instance,  I fully intend to use a leash on my child and potty train with treats. And like most Pet Parents, I often wonder if Cesar Millan would do a better job than me. 

But then I remember: My two-legged kid is slightly more demanding than a dog/cat/chinchilla/hermit crab. And while my toddler won’t sit or stay (God, I’ve tried), at least I’ve avoided jail for two years.

And that seems commendable enough.


Mary Katherine is the founder of She resides in the Sunshine State with her husband (Ian) and son (Nugget). She’s a southern mom with strong opinions and a messy home. Her writing can be seen on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Coffee + Crumbs, Mamapedia, and more. But Mom Babble is her home.



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  1. I am made crazy by people who equate pets and children. In fact, I urge my students to write their persuasive essays on this topic–noting, as I do, that if either my dog or my kid had to run out into the street and get hit by a car, the choice would be a no-brainer.

    Most days, anyhow.

    • I’m not so sure that’s the thing making you crazy. :/

      I would, however, endorse your seeking therapy. Clearly a lot of underlying issues here.

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