ARE YOU DROPPING THE BALL?
What we didn’t anticipate was the deep, personal, intimate and vulnerable conversation that took place as we shared experiences around life’s curve balls.
The women who attended shared that curveballs feel more like brick walls, potholes, being shot at from behind. They shared that they produced fear, anxiety, dread, disappointment, intense resentment and bitterness towards the people they loved most.
As we debriefed later that evening, Billy and I unpacked what was shared and asked, "Why? Why does it hurt SO much? Why are these balls so hard to catch? Why does it always feel like we are failing while we’re being pounded by curveballs?"
Here is what we realized:
On a normal day, most solo-mompreneurs are already drowning. We live in a state of perpetual dread because one curveball and push us under.
And WHY are so many of us drowning to begin with?
1. We are overloaded with “priorities”
The truth is that the burden of solo-mompreneurship is probably very inhumane.
We are setting ourselves up for failure because we are starving ourselves of the raw ingredients needed for that kind of capacity and flourishing. We are starved of support and connection.
If you can resonate with ANY of this, know that no matter how lonely you feel, you are not actually alone in your struggle. In that way we are actually all in this together and we can start by doing a better job of talking about it.
If you could do with some cathartic conversation, and if you think you need some of those pivot plan tools I mentioned earlier - click here to download the replay of that webinar. You’ll be so glad you did.
...And boy am I glad we did. Aside from the really great (NOT perfect - more on that later) day we had as a family, doing something completely new for us created a really great opportunity for us to see things about ourselves, our children and parenthood that I had never seen before.
We don't really care if our kids think we're fun police (although we do like having fun together as a family), but we did like the idea of giving our kids some responsibility (I think that this is what most of us misunderstand about a yes-day - its actually giving children MORE responsibility than usual, not less), and we were very curious about what they would choose for us to do together if they had (mostly) zero restrictions placed on how we do family time.
...but here are some things that I learnt about motherhood, myself & my children that really made the whole experience worth it:
I don't think that they derailed our day much, I was just surprised at how much anxiety the experience generated. I am not in a crazy shame spiral about it or anything - I choose to make it ok - in that I see it as something to see, know & learn from, not something to judge and heap shame on myself over. Like everything in life, we can't change or address what we can't see and I am grateful for the opportunity that this day gave me to see something that I am hopeful for change over :)
2. I set my own bar for "supermom" waaaaaaay too high
One of our greatest fears around a yes-day was that our kids were going to want something from us that we weren't capable of... that they were going to ask for something we couldn't give them... and so we just avoided ever making room for them to ask.
Meanwhile, our children's requests were simple and easy. Our children's wishlist wasn't insane, it wasn't even that indulgent (accrording to our standards anyway)... it was thoughtful, fun and revolved around simply being together. Swimming, water games, walks in the park, unlimited swinging, splash pads, more swimming, a visit to our old farm, more swimming, movies with slushies & more swimming & some Starwars.
It made me realize that I have been holding back from really embracing the simple joys I am able to give to my children, because I focus so much on the more extravagant and elaborate 'joy' that I can't.
3. A great day does not equal a perfect day.
Life doesn't need to be perfect to be good.
There is magic, but it doesn't look like the movies. It's much more special than that. We just need to be willing to see it without them (the movies that is).
When I am following Christ and learning how to live from him, the exact opposite of my lived experience would be true. That Christ would lead me away from and teach me how to live free of hustle, burnout & overwhelm! (gasp!)
Additionally, when they're too long - it becomes a "can't see the wood for the trees situation".
Some people like to just start at the top and work their way down - thats a great strategy if you just want to do SOMETHING but, its not an efficient strategy and it does not guarantee that you will get to the end of your day feeling any less stressed or satisfied about how you spent your time if all you have done is distract or exhaust yourself doing things that aren't really important.
or asked differently:
Additionally, wasting it on priorities that aren't really ours or spending energy dealing with bitterness and resentment because we have allowed other people to dictate to us how we use it isn't worth it.
There was a time when I probably would have been extremely proud at my propensity to hustle.
I am by nature pretty driven and hardworking and when the goal is worthy, I can be extremely disciplined and focused. Basically, I am full-on Type A, and hustle was me in my element.
My hustle does have a darkside though. Discipline and focus becomes ruthless elimination of any distraction - even if that distraction happens to be another human who I love and who loves me back. Hard work turns into self-harm as I feel my body groan under the weight of its workload. Early mornings, late nights, all work, no play or rest - all in the name of strong work ethic and whatever it is I start to believe is worth the cost of my health and my peace.
I think the worst part about all of this is that it actually works (at least for a while) - goals are accomplished, a system flooded with adrenaline feels amazing and even better is the value that an achievement, no matter how arbitrary, can bestow upon a small self-esteem pretending to be confident and secure in who she is, and not what she does.
It works… until it doesn’t. It works until bodies start to give in after years of abuse. It works until marriages and friendships are eroded until there’s nothing left, and it works until your appetite for achievement or value becomes so insatiable that nothing satisfies for long or how it used to.
Here is the real problem with hustle though. The issue undergirding all of that self-destruction is that the energy driving most of our hustle is scarcity and shame.
Hustle is not about hard work or productivity.
Hustle is a posture and an energy.
It’s an expression of scarcity and an experience of danger or threat to who we are.
It’s fight or flight in action.
If you know anything about fight or flight you know that it is a physiological and emotional state that is only supposed to be short term and for extreme, dangerous situations.
Rest doesn't happen there.
Peace doesn’t happen there.
Reproduction and fruitfulness doesn’t happen there.
Real growth gets stunted there.
Healthy energy can’t be sustained there.
Hustle is fear of loss or losing, it is shame and fear responding on your behalf, its self-protection - and it’s also isolation when you need connection more.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that a lot of us structure our lives around avoiding pain.
What if we chose to structure it around pursuing love?
What if the energy we need to succeed in life isnt hustle, what if it is courage infused with love and it's rooted in deep peace and a confidence that we are safe, that we are valuable and that life is good?
What if there is always more than enough time?
What if it were fun and easy?
The commitment I am making to myself, and the one I am inviting you to make for yourself is to consistently examine my foundation and the energy propelling me. Am I prepared to work hard? YES! Do I want to live my life having left nothing on the table? HECK YES! Do I believe it's worth sacrificing my health, love and peace for? Never again.
I can choose to do all of that from a place of already, right-now, in-the-present deep satisfaction and peace.
What about you? Are you ready to let go of the fear and the shame and shine in your love?
If you are reading this and are concerned that your hustle might be starting to take its toll on your health and wellbeing, you might be interested in a free quiz I put together for you. Click here to access the “what is your survival mode score?” quiz!