I’ve been wondering whether to even touch this subject for a while, but for some reason I think now it is time…
A while back someone (who doesn’t follow me, and who I’ve never followed either) posted a Tweet to me (EntrepreneurMom) the following,
“Calling women who own a business & have kids a “mompreneur” instead of entrepreneur robs them of credibility.”
“it minimizes their efforts & doesn’t command them the respect they deserve. Equal language, equal treatment
“Men who own a business & have kids are entrepreneurs, so are women who own a business & have kids…”
I wasn’t the only one included in the Tweet, there was also a really popular moms magazine (who has published my articles in the past) as well. Neither of us responded at the time. I had just landed in the US and driven the three days drive from Virginia to Maine, with my five year old and dog who had both spent more than 24 hours on a plane) when I received the Tweet. I wasn’t in the mood to be messed with.
It isn’t that I had no response, I did, but it wasn’t happening in 140 characters, I can tell you that much!
So now time has passed, and whether the original writer ever sees this Is of no consequence, but I do want to share my thoughts on using the word mompreneur, because I’ve seen the argument before. I’m not one to get contentious, but this might rile a feather or two, but so be it.
First of all, when I say mompreneur, I say “we”, “I”, “us”, “me”, and “my” (as in, “my mompreneur business” or “I am a proud mompreneur”). Not “them”, “their” and “they” (the author of the Tweet was male. Well, I assume he is still male, but I digress…)
As for equal treatment, oh heavens but I may trod on toes but here it goes: I am not seeking equal treatment. I don’t want to work 19 hours a day, and every single weekend, No thank you. I don’t want to be treated equal if it means I’m going to be BBMed, texted, SMSedm WhatsApp and Skyped by customers over supper time or expected to attend late meetings. No, thanks. Not anymore.
As a PR exec I have worked on big name clients over the years and in the past that work defined me, my title gave me an identity. But that is not what I am now seeking. There was a time when I jumped through hoops and meetings and all sorts of things, but not today. Right now, family comes first (I am the sole bread winner, BTW, so if you want to know if I take being a “mompreneur” seriously, you bet).
Have I just lost credibility?
Calling me a mompreneur does not change my academic background, my experience, my talent or skills. Maybe what it does reflect is my willingness (or lack thereof) to work for a client that I can’t be flexible with.
Does that mean saying no to clients that I don’t find suitable. Absolutely. But that’s my choice.
Is there a difference between a mompreneur and a business woman? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.
Is it not possible, that being a mompreneur is actually a clever marketing concept that helps to define a very specific segment of entrepreneurs/business women (whatever the word of the week is) and not demeaning at all? Does it not speak VOLUMES to a slice of the marketing pie, to a precisely targeted AUDIENCE that we are trying to reach (and if by that way of thinking, if you don’t get it, are you perhaps not actually part of that target audience/market – nothing wrong there, I don’t understand the inner workings of men’s razors and why one is better than the next: but I’m not being targeted).
Yes: all mompreneurs are business women but not all business women are mompreneurs…In fact, even if you ARE a mom, I would go so far as to say that you may prefer to be called a business woman and rightly so. Perhaps for that woman, the word mompreneur conjures up images of frilly aprons, baking cookies and selling them to the local homemade good stores. Perhaps that image makes her shiver as she dusts imaginary lint off her jacket and makes a call to an international client on her new IPhone 6 (or whatever the latest model would be).
You see, I’m qualified to put my two cents in here, as I worked in a global consultancy firm, and had been in PR from before the time my son was even dreamed of – and prior to that I worked in the US military for five and a half years, so when it comes to commanding respect, I think I have that covered too, thank you.
Before my son was born I literally left home at 5 am (and even earlier) to get to the gym (I was training for the half Iron Man at the time) then to work until late, to miss traffic. I got EXCITED to receive calls in the evening, take work home, and work over the weekend. I was IMPORTANT. I was NEEDED. My title and my work did actually define me.
Then along came my little man K. And BOOM. My world changed. My circumstances changed. My priorities chanced. And I CHANGED too.
And I went with those changes, not pretending to be and do something I no longer was.
I did go back to work at one stage and it was so hard; I just didn’t have that drive. I’ve spoken in the past about a woman who I was working with at the time, but will share here again. She had only just had a baby and she was hired in a very senior position. She lived in another town so she would leave her baby on Sunday night or very early on Monday morning and drive six hours to the city, and would stay until after work on Thursday. We had a client crisis and one day she came to me and said that she woke up at 1am mulling the challenge over in her mind, she couldn’t sleep.
All I could think, was…I’d be thinking of my baby.
Now I see I might get backlash for that, but I am NOT saying she is bad, or wrong, or anything but what I AM saying, is that she might be offended by being called a mompreneur. And frankly – to be absolutely honest – I’d be embarrassed to be put into the same category as well.
So maybe, there are moms who are donning their favourite aprons, stirring up pots of hearty stew to deliver to clients across the city for supper later that day. Or baking cupcakes for a client’s party. Or designing websites for international clients, while nursing their baby.
Or waking up at 3am to write an opinion piece on the importance of stock exchanges on a developing continent so that she can spend the rest of the afternoon with her child. Those moms will not be sending their children to aftercare that day.
Is there a difference between a business woman and mompreneur? Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Is it an offensive term? Have I undermined my ability to write, to grab an opportunity to work with a big client that requires extensive travel and long days? I am a businesswoman, but I am also a mompreneur, and yes, that makes a little bit different. Not worse, not better, just different. If the term is offensive to you, Mr Twitter Man, or anyone else, you are free to call yourself what suits you best. Live and let live. But as for me, I’ll stick with mompreneur.
Now excuse me while I go bake. Or something 😉