Why I'm Giving The Word Hustle the Middle Finger

At the end of a week from hell and hormonal spiral I came to the conclusion that I am not, in fact, doing very well at practicing what I preach. It surfaced a couple of months ago that I did much better at putting others before myself, and for some reason the research surrounding the notion that being an “obliger” is a thing, made me think: “other people do this too, so it must be ok.”

It is not OK. And you know what else is not acceptable? Telling myself that if I keep hustling, I will have it “all”. What does “all of it” even look like? The more I research finding balance, particularly for mothers and/or working women, the more I realize that balance is a myth.

Your balance does not look like my balance: your child weight might be more than mine (perhaps you have 3 children instead of 1), my work weight might be heavier than yours (I am a teacher so I do much of my work at home instead of shutting down at the office), etc. I was one-size fits all balance searching; and that just isn’t out there. So, while “tips and tricks for a more balanced life” is still a headline that has me click faster than I can think; I am practicing tweaking said tips and tricks to suit my own life and values.

I love teaching, and I have taught 4, even 5 college courses per quarter before. And I was busy, but nothing a Sunday at my favorite Seattle coffee shop power grading couldn’t fix. I am still adjusting to motherhood in some sense. And because my son is 2 ½, I don’t give myself that grace, I often feel as if I should have it all down and know our routine.

Reflecting on that through some journaling exercises helped me to understand just how silly that is. Each season is a new phase, for him developmentally, for us as a family, and of course, for our schedules. What works for us this week might look very different for the next. 

His naps are getting shorter, and potty training is a full-time gig some days. I said yes to 4 classes this quarter, and a schedule that keeps me away for more hours than I’m used to. And it just dawned on me that my month long lingering cold, the restless sleep, the “am I doing ___ good enough” mental loop are all symptoms. And I decided it was time to pay attention.

In her book, Present over Perfect Shauna Niequist writes, “You can’t have yes without no. Another way to say it: if you’re not careful with your yeses, you start to say no to some very important things without realizing it. In my rampant yes-yes-yes-ing, I said no, without intending to, to rest, to peace, to groundedness, to listening, to deep and slow connection, built over years instead of moments.”

Can I get an Amen?

I got caught up on the hustle loop. And you know what, that word, hustle, is really starting to piss me off. How about we all chill out, stop hustling, maybe even avoid it at all costs? What would it feel like to be on a path to being present in each of our daily tasks instead of trying to set a multitasking record? Our US American culture pushes the value of hustling down our throats so often that we are socialized to believe that if we have any down time we must be lazy.

I am so excited to be a new life coach, creating content and doing workshops, so in addition to momming and wifing and teaching; I started going too fast. Like when you look up a sprint workout on Pinterest and blindly set the speed to 10 before you even know if you’re capable of running that fast?  I thought that because other people could be running at that pace; I should try it too. (I cannot run at a 10. I blame it on my 5” 1’ 1/2 ness, but maybe my body isn’t meant to go that fast.) Either way, it’s cool.

In all of my doing, I started leaving out the elements of life that I was using to reset myself: the meditation, mindfulness reading and meal prepping. The moments of quietly reading a book and being totally aware of what I was reading. The opportunity to spend an entire day on the weekend chasing my son around the house and staying in pajamas.

These elements also happened to be the ones that I worked with clients to illuminate in their own lives, funny isn’t it, it’s like I slipped into thinking that because I talked about these things they would just make their way into my daily life. Nope. You actually have to do them. Mindfully and with intention.

Here’s to shaking off the hustle. What do you need to take off your plate to feel more grounded?