Do you like being depended upon?

We are an animal-loving family. Five cats: Stachey, Sasha, Emmy, Jax, and Nina, and two guinea pigs: Nibbles and Nugget. I love taking care of our pets. I seem to be the one in charge of the guinea pigs. They chirp and chitter when I walk past their cage and give an insistent “wheek! wheek! wheek!” every time they hear me open the door to the fridge. I just think it’s the sweetest thing. I even like cleaning their cage and filling their hay feeder. I just love caring for them. So technically they’re my daughter’s guinea pigs but I still feel like I’m their person.

Our kitties get the run of the house and are truly a part of the family. They get dry food during the day and every night they gather in the kitchen and my husband gives each one a special plate of wet food and treats. My husband is definitely their favorite.

Pets are completely dependent on their humans and I really enjoy that responsibility. In this certain way, I really like being depended upon.

Another way I like being depended upon is that our house is filled with plants. One of my favorite things is to buy sad-looking plants at the grocery store or Costco and nurse them back to health. I’ve even bought half-dead plants at garage sales before. It’s really exciting to me to watch them grow.

You might think this is a weird post because I am a mother. I have the ultimate dependent – a child. I was filled with anxiety when I became a mother thinking I was not nurturing enough for the job. Being a parent is such a heavy responsibility and in the back of my mind, I always think I’m going to fuck it up. Can I trust myself to do it right? So much anxiety…

I love my daughter and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I don’t always like the thought of having a whole other person depending on me. I think a lot of parents actually like that feeling – to know that they are absolutely needed – but for me, it’s kind of scary.

My husband is the most dependable person I know. Not only are we raising our daughter together, but he became more of a caregiver during my health struggles. In this house, we all depend on him. I’ve never actually asked him if he enjoys that role, but maybe I should. He’s always so loving, calm, and patient. 

I hope he can depend on me as well.

How do you feel when you know people/pets/things depend on you? Does it make you anxious? Do you enjoy the responsibility? Do you take pride in it? Is there ever a time when you would rather not be depended upon?


  1. John Morales says

    There’s being a provider, and there’s being a provider.
    Obviously, that imposes a duty, and therefore should be something one chooses to do, not something that is forced upon one.

    So, it depends on the dependents, and the onerousness of the duty it entails.

    Put it this way: both my wife and I worked hard to avoid her getting pregnant.
    Too, too much responsibility to willingly choose.
    And she is Catholic and all, an abortion was never in the cards.
    We succeeded, and could not be happier about that.

    On the other hand, we do have a dog and a cat and chickens and goldfish and outdoor fishies.
    Nice to have pets around, and they are functionally family.

    (On the third paw, cats aren’t too shabby about looking after themselves, so there’s that 🙂 )

  2. chigau (違う) says

    The only beings that depend on me are plants.
    I wouldn’t take on an animal because they could well outlive me.
    The last cat I had lasted 22 years. Her death was hard on me.

  3. Katydid says

    I had children (now grown) at the same time I had dependent and demented elderly parents (now deceased). I also fostered any number of dogs and cats, and have my own. Dependents are so much better when they’re dependents you willingly chose to take on.

    I would say being a parent was most stressful because there are so many busybodies telling you You’re Doing It Wrong. Doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, someone will have an opinion on it. Maybe it’s calmed down a bit since I parented, but when my kids were little, the cultural zeitgeist was that Mommy was an unpaid slave whose entire life would only matter by how she never let her children out of her sight and waited on them like they were royalty. Nobody could live up to that standard, but a lot of women drove themselves crazy trying.

    Also: dry food is really, really bad for cats. They are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to live. Dry food is too carb-y and can lead to health problems later.

  4. StevoR says

    I love being both a pet owner and pack member – my dog – and owned by and servant to my cat!

    Pet therapy really helps – for me anyhow.

    Also trying to grow a bush garden with local native plants if that counts too – certainly need to work to keep them alive over our Summers and satisfying to see them grow afetr planting them.

    @3. Katydid : My cat refuses to eat anything except dry food, the occassional bit of cheese aside. 😦

  5. brightmoon says

    @#2 I still have a Dieffenbachia that I know is at least 60 years old and a snake plant that’s older than I am because it was my parents wedding present . I’m near 70

  6. brightmoon says

    I miss my dogs. Including that smart ass Jack Russell I had as a teenager. He’d tell us to shut up when we yelled at him for barking. He actually would say “ shut up!” or “No!” Ive never doubted animal intelligence since! I miss the cats ,my goldfish ,the hamsters and the 2 snakes. I hated that parakeet and the mice because they’d bite! Well, nip in the case of the mice . They test things with their teeth and the males smell horrible. . I avoided the bird unless I had to clean the cage


    My dad loved dependents – five kids, wanted eight, dogs, cats, endless run of small animals. Whatever we kids brought home, he built cages for. He bought a de-sented skunk once – not a great pet because it’s nocturnal. So I think of the animals not as dependents but as fellow travelers, for whom I have the privilege of providing in exchange for their company. When a dog dies, there is a brief period of mourning, then one morning I find myself singing “I need a doggie, I need a doggie,” and we go looking at the shelters. So I look at it not as having dependents, but as being embedded in a web of life, privileged to provide what they need in exchange for their company.
    p.s. I did not find mice to be interactive, unlike rats.

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