In the eyes of many, Oprah can do no wrong. But this weekend she managed to upset a lot of people on the Internet by making the grave, unforgivable offense of comparing the owners of pets to the parents of human babies, and now some angry, high-strung parents are ready to rip Oprah’s empire apart with their bare hands.
Oprah’s “sin” was extremely innocuous, because she’s an extremely intelligent, kind, and media-savvy person and never intentionally says anything to hurt anyone. But she encountered a lady pushing two dogs in a stroller on the street, and she took a picture with her. It’s always an event when you see someone pushing dogs in a stroller. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve seen, a dog riding in a baby stroller is adorable.
So Oprah jumped out of her car and ran over to take a picture with the lady and her stroller full of dogs, and posted it to her Instagram. She made that lady’s day, too! Lots of people stop Oprah for photos, but it’s a pretty special thing to have Oprah stop and ask you for a picture.
“Jill and her fur children!” Oprah wrote. “Happy Mother’s Day to Mothers of all varieties of children!”
The response was swift and furious and completely predictable to anybody who has spent any amount of time on the parenting blog corner of the Internet: Parents flew into Oprah’s comments like a swarm of bees buzzing about how “PETS ARE NOT CHILDREN!” Because a lot of parents get really bent out of shape when people refer to pets as “fur babies” or equate raising a puppy with raising a baby. Hell, the only thing that could have brought more parental rage to Oprah’s doorstep than comparing a dog owner to a parent is if that dog had been improperly buckled into a car seat.
“No I’m sorry, having a pet doesn’t compare to raising children,” one said.
“Pets don’t count!” another one asserted.
No, pets aren’t like children. Pets are wonderful and we love them deeply, but they’re different than babies. Considering how much love, care, attention, and money pets and babies take–and how much poop is involved in both situations–it’s sometimes surprising that the experience of being in charge of them is so completely different. But do we really have to freak out anytime someone says the phrase “fur baby” or “pet parents”? Nobody really thinks that dogs are like babies. It’s just a cute thing people like to say sometimes.
Imagine if you went to someone’s house for dinner and said, “My compliments to the chef!” And then someone else shouted, “You can’t call her a chef! A chef is someone in charge of a professional restaurant kitchen! It’s a completely different thing!”
The shouter might be technically correct, while still being completely wrong for choosing that moment and that issue to make a stink out of.
Just relax, enjoy whatever type of motherhood you like, and remember that if you ever find yourself yelling at Oprah, you’re probably wrong.
Is it ever OK to wish a happy Mother’s Day to people with “fur babies”? Let us know in the comments.
(Image: Instagram / @Oprah)