Oprah Winfrey raised a howl of protest Friday with an Instagram post that seemed to equate owning pets with being a mother.
The image featured Winfrey posing with a woman who had two small dogs in a baby stroller. “Jill and her fur children. Happy Mothers Day to mothers of all varieties of children!” Winfrey posted.
From Western Journalism
With more than 95,000 likes, the image was clearly a hit. Some, however, hit back at Winfrey’s comments.
“I can understand the love! But carrying a baby for 9 mos and putting your life on hold to give your kids everything is WAY different than having a dog! It is an insult to Mothers everywhere!” commented a poster named jenjadama.
“Pets are not children, Oprah. As a woman who did not raise children, please don’t make the comparison,” said marypratt73
“Sorry Oprah, humans can’t give birth to Dogs or Cats,” added platinum 2k7.
“Pls what are the varieties of children? I only recognize the one born by man- girl or boy. Happy mother’s day any who. ..” wrote bibi_jaye.
But Winfrey had many defenders, including one who seemed to say it all.
“Thanks Opra & same to you! To all the haters get over yourself!,” wrote a poster named 3xfirefly.
“I’ve been a mom to 2 humans and now a mom to 2 pets. Yes a mom to 2 pets! I tease my biological kids and say I should have started with pets & stopped. Then explain I’m still financially responsible for them and their daily needs but they don’t talk back, ask me for money, complain about my food or get embarrassed by me. They know I’m joking … But they also know I (love) my pets and so do they b/c their part of our family,” 3xfirefly added.
One expert said there is a similarity between caring for critters and kids.
“In many ways, caring for a pet and a child is similar,” said Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan-based psychotherapist. “You’re responsible for meeting the logistical and emotional needs of a living being, and both parties develop a mutual attachment.”
Not everyone agreed.
“Part of the problem here seems to be rooted in the ever more fluid definition of family,” wrote Sarah Delgado. “Love has so many shapes and I honor and value all of them, but pet owners who call themselves parents trivialize the very real, ever-changing lifetime commitment that parenting is. It’s essentially like taking a CPR class and deciding that it qualifies you as an M.D.”
“I believe if you’re gonna have a pet, you should love it unconditionally and offer it the same loyalty it offers you, but I work effin’ hard to call myself a parent and not even everyone who has kids can actually say that. That means you can’t either,” she wrote.