Personally, I’m not a fan. So at this poignant time of year – I thought I’d explore exactly why the term has continued to grate on my nerves.
Over recent years, I’ve been at many a business award ceremony – where a range of awards are being given out to both women and men – but, then the ‘Mumpreneur of the Year’ award comes up – and of course, only business women who happen to be mums need apply.
I’ve often queried to myself and aloud – ‘ok, so where’s the ‘Dadpreneur’ of the year award?‘ – is there an award just for men who happen to be dads? But of course there isn’t, they simply fall into the business – or entrepreneur category?
So, why is it different for female entrepreneurs who just happen to be mums.
Don’t get me wrong – thanks to being a parent of two children myself – over the past 13 years, I have learnt some of the best negotiating, persuasion, organisation and man-management skills and tactics that could never be learned from any business book or training course. The experience of being a parent has taught me plenty, as has being a parent that has also chosen to set up and run my own small business.
So why my aversion to the term ‘Mumpreneur’?, surely I should be celebrating mothers that juggle being a mum with working or running a business. And don’t get me wrong, I heartily do.
I am continually inspired by entrepreneurs – however, there are male entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs I admire – whether they have children or not – and if they’re female and I hear they have children then yes, that admiration does increase a little further – mainly down to empathy from thinking about my own experience of juggling home and business over the years.
For most women that pursue a career either working for herself or for others – when that woman gets to work or a business meeting for 9.30 am – if she’s anything like me, she’s already been awake for 4 hours, catered for two meals already, (breakfast and packed lunch), coerced, persuaded and heavily negotiated others into brushing hair, teeth, getting dressed, finding and packing school bags and PE kits and hunted down the most recent homework that needs to be handed in.
And whilst such tasks are still largely the responsibility of the mum in a family, I do know a growing number of men that get involved with these tasks too.
Looking after and caring for children is not just a woman’s domain. Plus – and I think importantly, children are not an affliction. For those that want them and those that are fortunate to have them will know, they’re a gift.
So I guess the term ‘Mumpreneur’ gets my hackles rising – not because I disagree with women getting out there, and following their own path, being entrepreneurial and striking a work life balance that works for them and their family – but because I feel the term ‘Mumpreneur’ – is a little bit twee, and a little bit (well quite a big bit actually) – patronising. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a male that coined the term ‘Mumpreneur’ – with a neat little pat on the head!
I’ve seen there’s actually a site for Mumpreneur.co.uk – and it looks like this March they’re launching a Mumpreneur magazine. Business just for women, clearly!
However, when we talk of striking a gender balance to bring more equality to the workplace and our business environments – personally, I believe a better way to strive for equanimity is to talk on equal terms.
There’s no doubt about it – there is still masses of room for improvement in striking the gender balance within the UK and globally, as is there for making business environments work better for those with children and childcare support to manage (both female or male). But that’s a separate area to the ‘Mumpreneur’ issue. (And one I could write pages about).
My simple view is that an entrepreneur, is an entrepreneur – whether female or male – and regardless of whether they’re a parent.
So this mother’s day – let’s celebrate being mothers for being mothers – and celebrate entrepreneurs for being entrepreneurs.
Do let me know how you feel about the term ‘Mumpreneur’ – love it or hate it? Over to you…