I’ve been a proud parrot slave for over 4 years now, and a mom to a human child for about a year and a half of that. I’ve always been that person that couldn’t understand how anyone could give up their pets shortly after becoming a parent. Afterall, the feathered and furred children came first, right? How are they so easily replaced? I have judged those people all my life until the past few months.
My son (18 months old) with Jingo
No, I’m not rehoming my birds, but I get it. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through it, but in speaking with other moms, it’s not at all uncommon. It’s not even just about the lack of time. Something really does seem to switch in the brain shortly after that little bundle is born. Your body really, completely and wholly, shifts its priorities, and it’s hard to ignore biology. And there really is NO preparing yourself for it, no matter how much you try.
I’m going to be completely honest. Somedays I truly question if having birds is worth it. Somedays I even kind of despise them. I just get the baby down and they start screaming, forcing me to start all over again. Their cages need cleaned when I’ve spent the last 4 hours cleaning up after a toddler. I’m trying to interact and be sociable with them and I get bitten. I go to feed them and I get dive bombed. If you have a spouse that is easily irritated like mine, sometimes all of that is compounded. I’m already underappreciated by my child, but to add a couple of birds into the mix…. Somedays it’s just too much, especially when I suffer from anxiety!
It all adds up to a ton of stress.
The easy way out, of course, is to simply make one of those things go away and have it be someone else’s problem. And you can’t do that to the human, so the pet gets the boot.
I get it. It seems like the answer to everything. That once that one piece of the stress tumor in your life is gone, everything else will be easier. Everything else will fall into place. You already cater to literally everyone else, shouldn’t you do this for you? For your sanity? Why would you want unnecessary stress anyways?
My belief is that it doesn’t work that way.
Yes, for a week or two, or maybe even a few months, life will be easier. There is less work, there is less noise and responsibility, but something else will always come up and add stress back to your life. Things that you cannot control. The pet is at least a constant, something you are already familiar with. Maybe it’s my anxiety talking, but I would rather deal with a known stressor than an unknown!
Try not to give up. Try to remember that the worst day with you could be the best day your pet has with someone else. Once you let go of them, you lose the ability to influence what happens to them. Especially for long lived animals, it is very possible that their next home won’t be their last. Any problems your animal has don’t just go away – they just get transferred to someone else, and while you can hope they can deal with it, remember that you couldn’t, so how can you expect them to?
I know now that it’s not an easy decision. I do think some people are too quick to take the easy way out still, but I can’t really blame them anymore. Just…make sure it’s really the best decision not only for you, but for the pet as well. Make sure you have exhausted options for ways to correct behavior issues. That’s the least you can do for them.