As a self-employed person who also happens to be a Mother, I have been labelled with this term a few times and I’m trying to decide how I feel about it…
It’s an accurate description to be fair:
Mumpreneur is a neologism defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mum and the role of entrepreneur.
So I’m not entirely sure why I found myself grimacing at the sight of the word when it first appeared in a very well-intentioned LinkedIn message full of genuine encouragement and praise for what I’d achieved so far.
I didn’t feel belittled in any way because (as we all know) Mum’s are absolute heroes. It’s clearly (hopefully?) a compliment by intention, as being able to run a business alongside bringing up a family is a fantastic feat that takes perseverance and some serious mental and physical stamina. The writer, I think, is simply trying to acknowledge that achievement.
But as a relatively new Mum, I think my slightly negative reaction boils down to the loss of personal identity that a lot of women experience when they have their first child. You suddenly become ‘someone’s Mum’ and your entire being is put aside in order to keep this tiny human you produced alive, clothed and loved; leaving little room for much else.
Don’t get me wrong- we know what we signed up for, but nothing can truly prepare you for that overwhelming first few months and it’s easy to feel like an utterly lost soul. I became so focussed on my little girl that, after 10 years of gigging in a band, I haven’t picked up my microphone for nearly 2 years- something I hope to rectify very soon before I lose my mind (and my hard-earned upper range)!
By replacing ‘entrepreneur’ with ‘mumpreneur’, the feeling of your entire identity being lost to Motherhood is further cemented. Your motherly status must also, apparently, be declared to the world as if it’s relevant to the business you’re running which, in most cases, it’s absolutely not. It reminds me of women having to confirm their marital status for every form we complete: ‘Miss, Ms or Mrs… please delete as appropriate’ – how about we ‘appropriately’ delete all of the options and just give you our name seeing as our relationship status has no bearing on the job we’re applying for or which doctors surgery we’d like to join?!
In conclusion, I wish I could simply take the compliment and run with it, but the word just feels a little weighty- whether or not it should.
I’m so proud of being a Mum and of my daughter, so part of me agrees that it should be sung from the rooftops, but I also want to hold on to the only slither of my life that’s mine. All mine.
Anyway…thoughts on a postcard please folks!
I would love to hear if other entrepreneurial Mothers out there have felt their skin crawl when hearing this word or if the majority feel it’s a badge of honour that acknowledges their choices in a positive, empowering way?
I’d also love to hear from the Dads- would you like to hear the term ‘Dadpreneur’ banded about, or would you find it condescending or just plain unnecessary?
Thanks for reading and, if you’re in need of VA services, please do get in touch.