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"AITA for telling my friend that being a 'dog mom' isn't the same as being a real mom?" UPDATED

"AITA for telling my friend that being a 'dog mom' isn't the same as being a real mom?" UPDATED


"AITA telling our friend only 'real moms' got invitations to our group's yearly Mother's Day outting?"

Here's the original post:

Leila and I are friends with 5 other women and have been since middle school. Everyone but us has kids, we have furbabies instead.

Once our group had kids, we tried to do a mother's day lunch with all of us. It didn't really go over that well because those without kids couldn’t really participate. Like what do I know about late night feedings and diapers and first steps or going through the adoption process.

So those of us without kids were just left out and everyone was ok with that. It's been like this for the last 11 years, and now it's turned to their kids and husbands/partners make them brunch together, serve it up. Exchange gifts, stories and spend the day together on one big family outing.

Leila got her pup last year. She is 100% the 'dog mom'. Stickers, shirts, will gift you presents from her dog, sign cards from her dog. I don't think there's anything wrong with that and its cute. She can go overboard, like the birthday party she threw for her pup last month and invited our group and her friends from her doggy daycare.

Some of our friends left because a couple of the kids have dog allergies and she had dogs EVERYWHERE and didn't include that info. She was sad they left so we had to explain to her that she knows some of our friends' kids have these allergies and she didn't give a heads up she invited people to bring her dog's 'friends' from doggy daycare. Eventually she let it go.

Mother's Day rolls around, she came over and was pretty upset, said she needed to vent. She said she was hurt she was left out of the Mother's Day outting because she's a 'dog mom' and that counts too. I listened to her for a bit but when she started to actually get angry with our other friends, I told her they had a point not inviting us.

We could deal with not being invited to one of two celebrations out of the year that's for families. She asked if that means I don't think of my cats and dog as family. I told her I do but its not the same. I told her that the outing is for 'real moms' and their kids. Our friends are actually making sacrifices, giving up time, energy, and resources that we don't.

I gave the example that for her pup, she got her at 11 weeks when she was already born and weaned, she had help training her at a doggy academy, free and easy adoption, she has her in doggy daycare five days a week and anytime she wants to take off, and a groomer does all the bathing and trimming.

I told her I'm not trying to take away from the joy being a dog mom brings her, but just trying to highlight how we aren't the same kind of moms. Leila left after that and none of us have heard from her.

The only one who has talked to her, works with her, and says Leila has been making some comments about how she was intentionally left out and her friends don't take her serious because she doesn't have a 'crotch goblin'. I'm starting to think I may have messed up and should've just been quiet and let her be mad for a bit. AITA?

Edit: Our 'mom' friends do not just randomly exclude us. The first two years of others having kids we did celebrate together. Those of us without kids, it was more than just she and I at first, could not talk at lenght about parenting and families. Going someplace after lunch had to be kid friendly because the parents wanted to have their kids with them, we wanted to go to a bar or a day trip.

Our friends with kids have always made sure to not gush about their kids all the time so as a group, we all decided, Leila included, that the Mother's Day lunch would just be for the moms and their kids so they can do all the kid friendly activities and gush about their kids all they wanted.

Back then, Leila would get bored with them talking about their kids too much or spending too much time and attention on kid pics and not other topics. She still has that same attitude today.

Edit 2: Unless she is keeping the info to herself, Leila chooses to be childfree and its not an issue of being childless. Her marriage did end because her ex eventually changed his mind to wanting kids. She took it pretty hard when she found out he remarried and has kids now, and got Lemon not too long after that.

What do you think? Is she the a-hole for what she said? Dog moms, "real moms," and others weighed in:

Obvious-Result6853 said:

NTA. I joke a lot that I’m a dog mom because my dog acts like a toddler but in reality it’s not the same as having a kid. I can leave my dog at home but couldn’t leave a 2 year old at home. It’s not the same. It sounds like she’s pretty self centered anyways so I wouldn’t take her comments too personally.

[deleted] said:

NTA. Leila needs to get over herself. If you’re child free, fantastic— but you don’t get to be included in a holiday for Moms. Dogs are not children. It’s fine to call yourself a ‘dog mom’ if you get that it’s not the same, but people who don’t get that are cringe as hell.

Dovahpuff said:

NTA. Having a dog and having a kid are not the same thing. The last Sunday in April is Pet Parent Day. If she wants to celebrate her bond with her dog, there is a time to do it.

Snoo_68114 said:

Yikes... NTA This is coming from someone who is child free. I recognize the difficulty in raising "crotch goblins" as your friend said so callously. It's not easy and not for everyone. Your friend is not a mom or maternal figure, let alone a mentor to a human child, which is what mother's day celebrates.

Being a dog mom, cat mom, or plant mom is very different. You have a passion to provide for a being outside of your species, but it's not the same as raising kids, because kids can literally grow up to make the world better or worse, there is more liability in having children and raising them. It's probably for the best you cut this person off so she can find the right niche.

Verdict: NTA/not a mom!

After Mother's Day, OP shared this update on the situation:

Thank you everyone for your input and insight. Some of the gals and I met with Leila this past weekend to talk with her and see if we could make a compromise and just see how she’s doing.

I apologized to her for my wording of ‘real moms’ instead of saying ‘moms with human kids’ or something similar. I also apologized for the examples I used and explained I felt that if I just said ‘Remember we agreed to this because we didn’t like hearing about kids all day and doing kid friendly things’ would’ve been invalidating.

We all told her she's an amazing dog mom to Lemon and don’t think less of her. Just that like we originally agreed, Mother’s Day would be the one day they can talk about their kids without restraint, do kid friendly things without worry of infringing on childfree friends.

After that, I brought up the Pet Parents’ Day and Dog Mom Day users mentioned in my original post and we proposed doing a celebration for her on one of those days. We said we’d even do a belated Pet Parents’/Dog Mom Day celebration since we hadn’t heard of them prior.

Leila asked if everyone and their kids would be there, and they said if she wants it like the get together for Lemon with multiple dogs, then no because of the dog allergies.

She said no to this because she feels a separate celebration isn’t acknowledging her as a mom and they don’t skip the kids’ parties/games so it shouldn’t be any different when Lemon has her doggy friends around. I gently reminded her that she often leaves the kids’ bday parties early or skips them entirely because she doesn’t like being around kids for long, she said its different.

So we asked her how she would like to do future Mother’s Day events. She wants them to go out to eat at dog friendly places instead and do dog friendly activities after so she can have Lemon and Lemon can have ‘friends’ to play with at the same time like the kids do.

We explained to her that that wouldn’t be feasible due to the kids with allergies. Her suggestion was to just let the kids that are allergic stay home and their moms can do something with them in the evening.

Our friends said leaving kids out of Mother’s Day wasn’t possible and that we already do monthly things together, Leila included, that the kids are left out and Leila gets to bring Lemon to most of those things. Leila said no, either Lemon gets accepted everywhere, all the time, Mother’s Day included, or its nothing.

I then asked her if she was really doing okay and if any of this had to do with her ex remarrying; she got really mad at that and left, so I’m going to guess yes. We’re going to give her space for now but some of the others aren’t willing to hang out with her anymore after she suggested leaving the kids out and comparing the kids and Lemon.

I’ll try to still give her support and have asked her family to keep an eye on her, see if they can talk to her.

During our conversation with her she did say things that made it clear a lot of this new attitude was coming from her new friends from the doggy daycare. Those friends have family and other friends that will treat the dogs just like, watching them, clothing, cards, taking them on trips, calling them niece/nephew/goddogs... and that's what she wants and expects from us as well.

So I don't think a united front would work either- she's around others who get this kind of acceptance and encouragement so when we say no, she's taking it as us not supporting her. Prior she was a really good friend. Used to be the kind of person you could talk to and she'd offer an outside the box, bigger picture perspective.

Really kind, she didn't used to be so dismissive of our friends with kids and their kids, good humor, smart, helpful, charitable, did a lot of volunteer work, try to cheer you up, compassionate and open minded, appreciated their effort to minimize talking about their kids and was happy with it. How she's acting now is not at all how she was when we were growing up and up until all of this.

One commenter, Tzuyu4Eva, offered this potential insight:

It’s like she’s having a midlife crisis of sorts. She sees everyone else hitting typical life milestones and even if she never wanted to hit those milestones (kids), she feels like she’s falling behind, especially after a divorce and that ex having kids

An empathetic take on a bizarre situation!

Sources: Reddit
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