‘Mumpreneur’: Love It Or Loathe It?

At first, I was happy to call myself a mumpreneur. After all, it is a combination of 'mum' and 'entrepreneur' and I'd be proud to call myself either. It meant I was stepping off the career treadmill and doing my own thing.

Then I discovered that other mums in business didn't like the word. When they think of a mumpreneur, many people have an image of a woman running a little hobby business to keep her busy while she's a stay-at-home-mum.

The reality for most mums in business is very different. Ask around and you hear stories of mums looking after children all day and then working into the small hours to keep their businesses going. Of having little alternative but to work for themselves because they can't afford childcare. Of refusing to miss out on their children's early years, yet still wanting (and often needing) to earn a living.

In her post What sort of mumpreneur are you? Antonia Chitty asks 'Do you see ‘mumpreneur’ as something that helps mums who own businesses, or something that is holding us back?'. Probably a bit of both, I think.

But what interests me is how come we have a label that is meant to bring us together, yet divides us.

In my pre-baby days I never had to prove I was equal to the men I worked with. True, some women are still grappling with a glass ceiling and fighting to get equal pay, but generally most women are now seen as being as competent and motivated as men.

That's until you have children. Bam, you're back in the land that time forgot. A land of stereotypes and assumptions. A world where the only way to prove your brain hasn't turned to mush is to work full-time and put your baby in a nursery five days a week. Which of course makes you a bad mother. The alternative is to risk becoming a nobody by being a stay-at-home-mum or to apply for a badly-paid part time job.

All stereotypes (except for the badly-paid part time job, sadly). Is this what has contaminated the word 'mumpreneur'?

There are no easy answers. Sometimes I feel like I'm the latest generation in an experiment that started over a century ago, where we still have a long way to go before we learn how to be truly equal.

I'd love to see people respecting the working choices made by mothers. (And the choice to not work.) To support and encourage, rather than to divide and judge.To ditch the stereotypes.  And for the challenges of being a working parent to be shared equally between women and men.

Then maybe we'd all be proud to call ourselves mumpreneurs?

What do you think? Leave me a comment below.

Photo: egor.gribanov

13 Replies to “‘Mumpreneur’: Love It Or Loathe It?”

  1. Good one Helen. “And for the challenges of being a working parent to be shared equally between women and men” … I suspect that a lot of the issues come down to apparently simple things, like who takes responsibility for cooking and cleaning round the home. Because of cultural limitations on men working flexibly, taking longer paternity leave etc., I would estimate that more than 95% of households see the woman take the lead … which puts us back a step when it comes to work equality. Off to go and see if dh would like to embrace Equally Shared Parenting http://www.equallysharedparenting.com !

  2. I agree, I still find it hard to believe how much time it takes to cook for, clean up after and care for small children. If we could share this more equally, it would free up loads of time. The website looks really good, I’ll have a longer read when I have a bit more time :0)

    1. Thanks Alison! You’re welcome. I did intend to do a post for the blog hop today but had a baby that wouldn’t sleep so haven’t had a chance to do it this week.

  3. I must admit i dislike the word mumpreneur as it sounds to me like something cosy and mothers unionish. I have raised my three boys alone and regard myself as a working parent i have often felt like both father and mother to them. I still count it a privilege to be able to live with my children in our own house and be able to support them too..

    1. I completely understand – a (big) part of me does wonder why we can’t just be business owners like any other. And I take my hat off to you for what you’ve achieved.

  4. I don’t really like it, I think its an unnecessary label. I am a mum but I don’t think people need to think of that first when looking at my business. It kind of downgrades what your trying to achieve.

  5. Coming late to this discussion, but thought I would throw my tuppence worth in as well. I find it a fairly irrritating word to be honest, and it puts me in mind of a business, which as a consumer, I wouldn’t take seriously. I’m a mother (and a home educating one), and I’m a business woman. I take both roles seriously, and obviously in my own mind (and in reality), I juggle both roles, and at times do neither well! However, I don’t think my customers need to have that pushed in their faces by me using the term mumpreneur.Love your blog – now I’ve found it, will visit again. I was interested to read your e-book as well, as I’ve also been writing a piece (too big for an article, too small for a book), called Mixing Baby and Business.

  6. Joyce, you’re very welcome in the discussion and you’re not late at all. You’ve made a very good point about customers – do they really need to know that you’re a mother as well as a business woman? Why should they care as long as you provide the level of service they expect?

    I’d be very interested in your article/book, when you publish it, please do send me the link.

    And thank you for your very kind feedback, it’s much appreciated.

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