Busyness as a Badge of Honor aka Who Made You Sheriff?

Busyness as a Badge of Honor aka Who Made You Sheriff?


http://www.flickr.com/photos/ymbiont/257672880/There are some fantastic lines in this article by Christine Arylo who says her primary objective is to get women and girls to fall madly in love with themselves.

In the article she says, “Forget Generation X or Y, how about calling us Generation E, for Exhausted!”

So true. I was born on the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation or the start of Generation X depending on what article you’re reading. The generation I hail from doesn’t really matter, I’m too tired to care.

Yes, I thought I could do it all, I was fortunate to have the opportunity.

Women know they have to work harder than their male counterparts, in order to move forward, we’ve accepted it and taken on everything they chose not to. At the same time as working harder for the same credit, often in an office AND at home, we’re trying to grab life by the kahunas and experience as much as we possibly can, while looking absolutely fabulous doing it.

Not sure about you, but finding the time to spend polishing nails and styling hair is a challenge, in and of, itself. It’s a challenge for me personally because having perfect nails and hair is not on my high priority list. Keeping a roof over my children’s head and food on their table is.

“Our patterns, habits and beliefs as 21st century women have been formed based on valuing ourselves by what we can do instead of by who we are, regardless of what we accomplish. If we ever hope to have lives that sustain us versus drain us, we must rewire our thought patterns and change what we value,” says Arylo.

Agree. Appearances are way too important. Unfortunately, as women we perpetuate that notion.

I remember being alone with two small children trying to manage for weeks at a time without any support and no breaks. I was “doing it all.” Looking for some support from the women around me, I asked how they managed to care for their children physically, emotionally & developmentally, while taking care of the house and themselves. I was having trouble getting a shower by myself. Rather than walking away feeling supported, I walked away feeling inferior. These women could do it all, and they could do it before noon.

What I learned later, and what they’d neglected to share, was they had a strong support system. Someone who covered for them while they accomplished their tasks. A person who gave them a break. It was more important for them to share how fabulous they were than to emotionally support a fellow struggling mother. They needed to look like they were doing it all. By themselves.

The only part of Arylo’s article in which I disagree is her recommendations for 2 of her 3 acts of self-love.
She says, “Stop looking for sympathy and acknowledgment for your busyness.”

Certainly, I know there are women out there who, like the mothers I mentioned above, are saying one thing and doing another. There are women (and men) who talk and perform tasks for the simple pleasure of the attention they will receive for having done them. I am not one such person, so that statement is insulting.

I have prioritized my life in the way I see as the best choice for my family. Sometimes those priorities have to be a “yes” for survival. Sometimes saying no is ridiculous. “Excuse me Mr. Bear but you can’t maul me today as this is my “self-love” time and I have chosen to skip through this beautiful forest. We’ll just have to schedule that for another day.”

The reality of our current economy is that some of us have to work as hard as we are for a reason other than impressing our friends. Some of us are trying to right previous wrongs, fix mistakes and move forward. If you’ve ever paddled a boat, you need to paddle harder when you first change direction. Unfortunately, lives take a little longer than a kayak to turn around.

Her second piece of advice was to “Stop acknowledging other women for their super human feats of multi-tasking.”

Wow. Tough love. Don’t you think women have been doing that to each other already for generations?

Arylo goes on to say, “instead of congratulating or commiserating with her, either ignore the invitation to collude, or invite her to put less pressure on herself by sharing your personal experience of transforming your own overwhelm into self-love.”

May I respectfully suggest instead of potentially adding to her negative self-feelings, you might perhaps question her a little to HELP her determine if she is truly overwhelmed or just prioritizing inefficiently? How about offering her some assistance as part of your self-love? “Many hands make light work.” The above approach only serves to divide us.

The best advice in the article was, “…close your eyes and ask yourself what you really need that day to take care of yourself.”

Although it may sound like I take issue with Christine Arylo’s article, I don’t truly. Her message is an important one. Women should love themselves more, but we increase our chances of loving ourselves when we stop judging others and appreciate them instead.

Arylo wrote an excellent piece overall, her 2 bits of advice were two small items in an issue that has been gaining momentum in my irritation department. It’s a little used room in my brain, I typically don’t go there often, but every once in a while all hallways seem to lead me to it’s door. Probably because I haven’t had a day off in 2+ months. I kept trying to take time for myself but possible income overrules a day off – every time – at least until I have a financial security blanket to crawl under.

One of the precursors to my irritation was a Facebook status update by one of my favorite people in Michigan. This particular man is known for his kindness, consideration and extreme efforts to help others, so I was taken aback by his post. He was essentially admonishing people for using the excuse of being busy to not get something done. He said it was lame.

By whose standards?

When people say they’re too busy to do something what they’re really saying is, “Your project/event is not high enough on my priority list for me to participate in/attend.” That should be good enough. It’s not our place to judge another person’s priorities.

As each of us rushes to make our mark on this world, in this economy, it seems that harsh judgements are becoming prevalent. Do your fellow humans a favor, whether male or female; give them the benefit of the doubt. Some of us are doing our best, with what we have, and your judgements sting.

I am happy your lives are comfortable enough to afford you some choices, or some flexibility in your prioritization department, but please don’t judge my life by the same standards. Our lives and experiences are different!

Instead, use that extra time to ask questions and develop an understanding. We need to start loving each other more freely, if we ever hope to truly love ourselves.

Thank you to @VAnetowrking for bringing the article No Matter How Much I Do, It’s Never Enough… How To Be Happy Regardless Of How Much You Accomplish to my attention via Facebook.

Photo Credit



  1. It takes a lot of courage to say no to requests, to put ourselves first and to be okay with not “measuring up” to the standards of others. One of my own life lessons it to be okay with others “negative” opinion of me. Oh well, can’t please them all!!!

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