How many dogs are you walking?
I’m not asking how many pets you have or if you exercise them. But how many responsibilities and emotional burdens have you taken on that aren’t yours; aren’t necessary; may be harmful to you and your health; or, over which you have no control? If you can’t do anything about it, don’t own it.
It’s not your dog to walk.
Several years ago I attended a professional conference. The speaker, an adoptive dad, veered wildly off track and shared a personal story about something that happened that morning; he was clearly still processing it – wrong venue, but…I identified with his confusion and frustration. I’m not sure what he spoke about that day, but I do remember how he resolved his personal dilemma, the solution occurring as an “aha moment” while he stood before us. Throwing his hands in the air, as if shedding the weight of it, he announced - “it’s not my dog to walk!”
I loved it - a solution that resonated with my busy, over-committed, chaotic, drama filled life. He gave me new language and a healthy coping skill. I’m learning to analyze a situation before jumping in, speaking, or choosing to accept an emotional burden that isn’t mine to carry - like the bad choices other people make, conflicts that don’t involve me, or whether or not my child turns in their home work on time.
As conscientious moms we’re steeped in countless aspects of our family’s lives: school and homework, activities, hubby’s work-related issues and the family calendar. We’re dialed in to family and friends. Many are cultivating careers, caring for aging family members, volunteering with church, politics, community events, and children’s schools. We’re walking a lot of dogs!
It’s important to stay connected; to be gracious and compassionate friends and family members. But make sure the dogs you’re walking are yours to walk - and that all the others go home where they belong.