Hustle Culture: it’s a term that has been thrown around a lot over the last decade. Its followers deemed “working 9-5” as old school and worshipped the belief that more hours equalled more productivity and a better worker. Skip lunch, use your commute, open the laptop after dinner – all rituals of the hustle culture. But this belief system has caused widespread stress and mental burnout amongst Millennials. And during the era of COVID-19, this has only been exacerbated by tearing down the few boundaries we had left between work and home life. It’s no wonder the hot rise of the wellness awakening has ascended.
Contrary to what the principles of Hustle Culture would have you believe, more often the result has adversely impacted people’s ability to produce valuable work and have a meaningful life. According to Psychology Today, “if you’re a hustle culture member, studies show that you’re cutting your career short, slowly destroying your mental and physical health, and harming your relationships.” At Mint we understand this, which is why programs like wellness days are in place over and above allotted vacation and sick days – to ensure our team takes the time needed to mentally recover. Because frankly, if you don’t take time to restore your mental energy, you will never be able to fully succeed in your career.
That being said, Hustle Culture is not a new phenomenon. We all know that women’s roles in the workplace have grown exponentially. However, the division of domestic family life responsibilities hasn’t kept up with this shift, specifically during this shitshow of a global pandemic all parents are facing. According to a Canadian survey conducted by Plan International Canada, 81% of women polled still feel pressured to shoulder the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. Meaning working moms pioneered the hustle decades ago, and have been hustling ever since.
To be a mom in the workforce, is to carry an enormous load to make it all work. This isn’t to say that there hasn’t been improvements. There have been. We know that the traditional family norms of the Leave it to Beaver era are long gone. That today, many Millennial dads are with it enough to realize they need to pull their weight in the family dynamic – now more than ever. And I myself, am fortunate enough to have a dedicated partner that supports our family wholeheartedly.
But mother’s naturally carry more than fathers.
Mother’s intuition is a scientific fact; the notion of making decisions without analytical reasoning, and instead listing to your gut. According to Sarah Blaaffer Hrdy, Ph.D and author of Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape Human Species, “mothers are likely to have different priorities or biases that cause them to notice or focus on different things.”
From pregnancy to early stages of motherhood, our bodies and minds morph into what I can only describe as superpower status. And while anxiety can get in the way, a mom’s sixth sense primes us for responsiveness in the real world. I believe this intuitive level of responsiveness is what makes women phenomenal workers and entrepreneurs.
Even though women have made great strides, there is still a perception, specifically among Millennial women, that having a family will have a negative impact on their careers. In fact, a recent study conducted in partnership with SoFi and Modern Fertility found that 3 out of 5 respondents were willing to delay starting a family until they reached a certain job title or level within their career. Why is that the case? Well, the majority of respondents claimed the delay was a financial decision. Kids are expensive, sure. But, the reality is the gender wage gap is still a huge problem in North America. In fact, according to a Princeton study, the gender wage gap is largely due to childbirth. After a woman has her first child, their earning potential drops 20% less than their male counterparts over the course of their careers. For each child a mother has, their earning power drops 4%, while the opposite appears to be true for men, who actually see an income rise by 6%.
This burning sentiment that women still have to choose I have found in my own experience to be, quite frankly, complete bullshit. I believe mothers can not only “have it all,” but in fact, are better workers because we are mothers.
We are the OG hustlers.
When women tackle work life with the same gusto, organization and ambition as home life, you have a recipe for success. I’ve broken it down to five key traits:
We are Efficient Hustlers
Nobody gets shit done like a mom. We are focused and task-oriented to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. I love when I get to collaborate with another mother because we are always on the same wavelength – get in and get out – because we know, we got other shit to do.
We are the Queens of Multitasking
I’ve always described my brain as having one hundred computer tabs open at any given time. Balancing work, home and personal tasks all in one foul swoop. A recent study conducted by HSE University found that women are able to juggle more with ease than our male counterparts. Now this isn’t necessarily because we were born this way. There is a lot of conflicting data to support whether it’s nature vs, nurture. But my take is that we have no other choice. We have to quickly adapt, learn and perfect this skill once our little nuggets enter the world. Whether it was how to feed the baby while folding the laundry or in my case, how to run a business while changing a diaper. And with time, multitasking became a second language. And the ability to multitask in today’s work environment is an extremely valuable skill.
We Think Before We Do
Ever observed a mom with a pen and notebook? Of course, you have. Lists are our currency. We write everything down so we can remember all of the things on our ever growing do-to lists. Pack lunches, get skates sharpened, book dentist appointments, finalize the presentation, etc.. And it’s because of this ritual that we are more methodical to our approach to life in general. We tackle work the same way we tackle home –organization, scheduling, and methodical thinking. We can’t help ourselves, it’s what we do best. And it’s this level of thoughtfulness that makes us amazing worker bees.
We are Resilient AF
Adapt. Adapt. Adapt. That’s what us moms have to do on a daily basis. Even the most organized, OCD moms get curve balls thrown at them on the regular and we need to think quickly on our feet to figure out solutions to our daily problems. Sometimes we struggle, for sure. But it’s our trained ability to be flexible, resourceful and innovative that allows us to move through challenges and roadblocks at work with ease and grace.
We are Emotionally Intelligent Nurturers
As a mother, being intuitive and empathetic is kind of a non-negotiable trait. We have to manage irrational emotions from our little ones on a daily basis. So, when moms get to work, they bring that nurturing mentality to the workforce, which results in optimal connection, loyalty and trust with our work family—whether they be colleagues, bosses or clients. We have the ability to understand where people are coming from on a deeper level, and the patience to find out. And for someone like me, who has to manage many personalities on a daily basis, this skill comes in handy.
Now most working moms know life isn’t always easy. The days can feel long and draining. Especially in 2021 when we have to be workers, parents and teachers all in one foul swoop. But for me, I love getting to fill my cup by doing work that challenges me and allows me to bring my natural mom traits to the table. And I believe I’ve become a better worker and entrepreneur since becoming a mom.
But I acknowledge, context matters. What surrounds you, supports you. So the most important thing for working moms is this: make sure to surround yourself with positive people that can work with you to achieve your goals. That includes a work environment that celebrates us moms, compensates us based on our contribution and has realistic expectations around the fact that we have a shit ton on our plate and need to prioritize family life.
Have faith, you can do it all. So, keep on hustling mamas.