Most MiM's probably consider themselves mothers to human babies, toddlers, teens, or to grown children. But a MiM might also be "mother" to a companion animal, i.e. to a pet.
Which did you (you alone or you and your partner/spouse) have first?
The pet as practice for a kid?
The kid as practice for a pet?
Some upsides and downsides either way. Can't learn to breastfeed (or pump) with your pet, but can learn to be responsible, to love a helpless being, to nurture, to teach/train/grow up another living lovable animal.
Toilet training <-----> litter box
Diaper changing <-----> pooper scooper
Taking for a walk <------> taking for a stroll, and then alas those first steps!
Doggy day care <-----> child care
The challenges and triumphs. The shared responsibilities with spouse. The work-family balance. The feeding, sleep training, getting up early, staying up late, clipping their nails, bathing. Not sure if anyone reads to their pet, like they would to a child, but could certainly sing to either!
Taking them to the vet/pediatrician (the two are periodically confused, for that matter). Does a MiM do some of the medical care for their own pet like they might for their own child?
We had our children first, and then (at the daily, no make that TID urging of daughter) brought a bunny rabbit from the local humane society into our house. Was not even a difficult transition (the more the merrier) and quite a learning, loving, sharing experience for us all. The bunny eats better than the daughter (way more kale, greens, carrots). We don't attempt to provide vet/medical care for our bunny (not qualified!) and are recognizing the importance of primary care. Son and daughter aren't quite sure (it changes day to day) if they are "mother and father" to our bunny, or big siblings to the little guy.
Which did you have first, and why?