Girl, You are Doing Enough:: Rachel Hollis and Toxic Hustle Culture

This weekend, the internet blew up with outrage in reaction to a video posted by wildy popular public figure Rachel Hollis, who was responding to a fan calling her “Privileged AF” because she has a housekeeper who cleans her home twice a week. And, unsurprisingly, Hollis reacted in defensiveness because I worked my ass off to have the money to have someone come twice a week to clean my toilets. She then went on to say, Most people won’t work this hard. Most people won’t get up at 4 am.

Girl, You are Doing Enough:: Rachel Hollis and Toxic Hustle Culture
Live feed of all moms of young kids who were indeed up at 4 am

The video was about a minute long and was packed with a laundry list of problematic elements that left followers and lurkers justifiably upset and they let Hollis know in the comment section. Sunday morning, Hollis issued an “apology” on Instagram that honestly was a masterclass on how not to apologize as well as how to completely miss the point and shift blame to others. This is not the first time she’s thrown her team under the bus in reaction to criticism, by the way. {Rachel Hollis has since removed the video AND the apology as of Monday, 4/5/2021}

Listen to Black Women

There were many toxic elements of Rachel Hollis’ rant; arguably the worst was her reducing a woman who she employs to provide a service to her as a “woman who cleans my toilets”- this is dismissive, gross and dehumanizing. There was also the use of the term “Sis” by a white woman, appropriating Black vernacular. And in the caption of the video on Instagram, Hollis compared herself to women like Harriet Tubman, Oprah Winfrey, and Malala Yousafzai, among others. Cringe. For expert, wise commentary on these topics, please take a few minutes and visit the Instagram pages of Austin Channing Brown, Osheta Moore, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and Jam Gamble. Black women are doing the work, educating us for free, and we owe them. 

What is Toxic Hustle Culture?

The part of Rachel Hollis’ latest rant that I want to address here, however, is her belief in and marketing of toxic hustle culture. This is the idea that hard work= financial success, and if you aren’t financially successful, it simply means you aren’t working hard enough. 

Hollis’ book, Girl, Wash Your Face is a runaway bestseller because it sucks women in to the false belief that they aren’t achieving their dreams or aren’t rich because they aren’t hustling enough. And while this is sometimes true, it is far from a complete picture of what defines success and how people actually become rich in this country. What this idea ignores for the most part is socioeconomic and racial privilege {the point Hollis completely missed}, income disparity, and frankly, luck. 

You are Doing Enough

I don’t know any moms who don’t work incredibly hard. Raising children is work, no matter your employment status. Countless words have been written about the SAHM vs. working mom aspect of the mommy wars, and frankly, we all know the arguments and don’t need a refresher. 

But what some of you may not know is whatever your choices regarding work and child raising, YOU ARE DOING ENOUGH. Yes, you. 

You, who stays at home and isn’t contributing financially to your family. You are doing enough. You do not have to sign up for that MLM to have a “side hustle” and be a #bossbabe to be worthy or justify your choice to stay home with your kids. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a side hustle- sell that skincare line if you want to and it adds to your life, but don’t equate your worthiness or success as a mother or woman to number on a tax return. 

You, who works full time outside the home but still can’t afford a housecleaner. Maybe you are a housecleaner. You are doing enough. You are working just as hard as Rachel Hollis. Do not let her, or anyone else, tell you that you and your life isn’t good enough because your salary isn’t what you wish it was. Trying to keep up with the Joneses is always a game you’ll lose, and it’s not worth your mental health.  

You, who makes a lot of money and who can afford luxuries like a housecleaner. You are doing enough. Yes, you are privileged and you should acknowledge that along with your hard work you’ve had advantages along the way that a lot of people have not. But you don’t need to apologize for or be ashamed of your financial success. 

Your paycheck stub, bank account balance, square footage of your home, vacation itinerary, etc does not add to or take away from your worthiness. You are worthy because you are a human being. Full stop. 

Sleep is Not a Luxury

One of the most harmful parts of toxic hustle culture is the idea that working late into the night or waking up absurdly early makes you a better worker. SLEEP IS NOT A LUXURY. Our bodies are designed to work, yes, but also to rest. You are not required to stay up until midnight or wake up at 4 am to be a successful human, employee, or mother. In fact, I would argue the opposite. Countless studies show that our bodies are far more productive when they get an adequate amount of sleep. 

Of course, there are exceptions and seasons in life- moms of newborns know this better than anyone, probably. And there are women who work jobs where sleep sometimes does feel like a luxury and they don’t have a choice to go without. But for the majority of us, creating boundaries around the amount of time we spend hustling in our jobs in order to protect our sleep would serve us well. 

This also goes for leisure time. Do not apologize for spending time doing things you enjoy that do not make money. The monetization of hobbies is another problematic part of toxic hustle culture that needs to go. Normalize doing things just for fun or relaxation:: read book, bake a batch of cookies, go for a hike, or for god’s sake, take a nap if you’re tired. 

Moms, toxic hustle culture is an ever growing problem in our society, especially among women. And this isn’t just about Rachel Hollis and her misguided beliefs about privilege, it’s about all of us. We all need to take a hard look at what we believe about ourselves and each other and what we’ve internalized about work and worth. 

You are doing enough.


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Elizabeth was raised in Houston and met her husband Ryan shortly after graduating from Texas A&M with a journalism degree. A few years later, Grayson {Sept 2010}, turned Elizabeth’s world upside down, not only with his sparkling blue eyes and killer smile, but with his profound disabilities and diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease. After two years of navigating the world of special needs parenting, Elizabeth and Ryan were blessed with Charlotte {Jan 2013} and Nolan {Sept 2015}, perfectly completing their party of five. Elizabeth and her crew live in Katy, and when she can steal a few moments for herself, she can be found out for Mexican food and margaritas with girlfriends, binge-listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or trying once again {unsuccessfully} to organize her closet. In addition to her role as Managing Editor of HMB, Elizabeth writes about faith, politics and special needs parenting for publications like Scary Mommy and HuffPost.You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, or ElizabethKBaker.com

7 COMMENTS

  1. Ugh. Can y’all stop appropriating words and terms as collectively belonging to a race? “Sis” is not a black woman’s word. Where I live it is used by all the women and I guarantee you, they didn’t get it from black vernacular.

  2. Thanks for the reminder to not apologize for sleeping & resting. My kids are 11 & 15 and sometimes I feel like we’re still recovering from the sleepless stage that ended years ago! Lol

  3. I’ve never liked her and honestly I think when my old church started pushing her books and stuff is when I really starting questioning a lot of other stuff they did.

  4. Thank you! Such an important message, especially as we start to get back to a more “normal” normal. Don’t fall back into that trap.
    I have not paid much attention to Hollis.Sounds line u haven’t been missing out on much. I did, in fact, read her 1st book. Not by choice, a book club pick. I did not love it. I have been confused by her success and follow-up books ever since.

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