It's no secret that mothers are hardworking employees — a recent Welch's study showed that, when you factor in family duties, working moms pretty much never stop unless they’re sleeping. They work the equivalent of two full-time jobs, clocking in an average of 98 hours per week. The average working mom typically begins her day at 6:23 a.m. and doesn't stop working until 8:31 p.m.
Mothers are committed workers both because they know what hard work looks like and because they've got mouths to feed. And there's more to it than that. In a study for Microsoft that surveyed 500 employers and 2000 women, researchers found both groups of participants believed that women became better employees after giving birth. Sixty-two percent of employers said moms made better team players. Almost two-thirds of moms said their multitasking skills improved after having a baby, and almost half said their time management skills got better. More than 25 percent of moms said they became more organized, too.
In 2016, Fast Company contributer Allyson Downey also wrote: "For many new moms, their work is what tethers them back to themselves — the person that they were before having a baby. They become even more appreciative of the fulfillment they derive from work, because the mundane details of their evening job (being a parent) aren’t always rewarding — and are often the opposite."
She also wrote about the adage, "If you want something to get done, ask a busy person," noting that there's no one busier than a new parent who works. "Yes, mothers of young children may have their in-office schedules constrained by the hours during which they have childcare coverage," she wrote. "But that’s a strength in disguise. It forces them to be extra efficient, and they wind up trimming from their days things that aren’t mission critical."
Plus, in the U.S. alone, mothers spend $2 trillion each year, controlling 80 percent of household spending — so companies that engage with consumers in any way benefit from having mothers on their teams. Regardless, all companies with the best financial performance have higher shares of women in their leadership, according to another survey — and 70 percent of the female workforce has young children.
So we already know that mothers make hard workers, but now new research says that the opposite is also true. A recent Vistaprint study of 500 American moms who run their own business found over half (56 percent) think running a company makes them a better parent despite the heavy workload.
While almost every business-owning mom polled (94 percent) said they believe running a business leaves a positive impression on their kids, teaching them important qualities such as work ethic, responsibility, leadership, commitment and self-confidence. Almost nine in 10 business-owning moms (89 percent) also reporting feeling like they’re inspiring their children to be future entrepreneurs themselves.
Most of them didn't start businesses for money reasons either — in fact, only 35 percent of the entrepreneurial moms polled said they started their business for money, since owning a business comes with challenges like financial pressures, the lack of a stable salary, the lack of time for personal interests and exhaustion. Rather, 62 percent of moms reported that flexible working hours was one of the top reasons for starting their own business. This was followed by being in charge of their own destiny (51 percent), financial independence (44 percent), and another 39 percent said their children actually inspired them in some way to start their own businesses.
"We often hear business owners refer to their company as their ‘baby’ — it’s something you are responsible for creating and, like any child, it requires love, nurturing, almost constant attention and a lot of hard work,” says Vistaprint CEO Trynka Shineman. "It makes sense that the skills you develop from one role complement the other. But balancing motherhood and business ownership takes remarkable strength and dedication, so we want to recognize our country’s entrepreneurial moms for the amazing work they do."
To recognize entrepreneurial moms, Vistaprint filmed some talking about the reality of being a parent and business owner. Check out the video here.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.