Suburban Snapshots

Dog Shaming and the
Reason You're So Damn Busy

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Last week I was emailing a potential dog sitter to plan our upcoming family road trip. In the middle of outlining each of our 3 animals' quirks — one takes medication in the morning, snores loudly, and doesn't like kids; one can't be let outdoors unsupervised, is cuckoo bananas on a leash, and jumps chest-high; one steals food, barks, and prefers to poop indoors — it occurred to me that this is how we become so busy without ever realizing it's happening, how much we absorb even in the smallest tasks.

Handsome Hank here appeared on last month.

To Steve and me, the dogs are kind of a pain but not a hardship. When we go away we know we need to plan for their care, when we feed them we have to spread out their bowls and watch the one who steals from the others, most nights we gate them in the guest room so we can have the bed to ourselves, in the morning one of them can be counted on to shit just inside the back door, then hide under the dining room table. It's just how it goes.

If you break down your daily routines into their discrete parts — getting a preschooler dressed, drop-offs before work, coordinating grocery store trips, play dates — it's amazing we keep everything functioning without having Siri call a meth dealer. And I'd argue that it's a good thing we do so much of this on auto-pilot, because leaving notes for the dogsitter and actually seeing all we tolerate had me feeling like a pretty shitty pet owner; Why haven't I gotten these tiny assholes better trained by now? How can I ask someone else to do all this? Why am I not a cat person?

So when you're feeling inadequate — wondering if you're doing enough, feeling as we all can that you're half-assing everything, struggling with guilt every time you open Facebook to tune out for a while — look at one part of your routine in all its mollecules, then pat yourself on the back and have a bloody mary for breakfast while posting a status update. You totally earned it.

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