This post all started with a tweet from @alaceharold
Mumpreneur, why would you call yourself that? At its worst patronising and at best irrelevant.
I am sure some great writer and feminist has probably covered this before, but here is my take as a mum of two boys. Yes I am a mum and yes I am self employed, does this make me a mumpreneur, erk NO.
It smacks of belittling what woman can and do achieve on an everyday basis, not only do we often run a home, but in between it all we manage to do a little work whilst breast feeding our child on our hip or phone hooked to our ear. So for me the the term mumpreneur somewhat patronising, limiting and downright wrong. You never near of men being called Dadpreneur do you? It implies that my entrepreneurial drive is somehow indivisibly attached to my status as mum. Does it matter what inspired me to be the master of my own working destiny? No, I didn’t think so.
So why do people use it, why do people allow themselves to be called it? Does it not belittle the way people think of woman in business? Oh, she doesn’t take her business seriously, after all it is only a hobby, whist she brings up children. It is only pin money?
So lets quit with the Mumpreneur shit shall we I am a business person.
I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand, I think it’s a useful term to describe a particular type of person: someone running a business flexibly around their children, having set it up post-kids. It allows women to identify each other for networking, and allows people to market directly to them (not always a plus!).
On the other hand, I agree that it’s a patronising term, and totally agree about your Dadpreneur analogy. I describe myself as an occasional freelancer at the moment (I have one project and not really in a position to take on more until 2yo starts nursery at least). Also, I think it’s probably a bad idea for mothers in business to restrict their networking to other mothers. I try to avoid letting my clients see the affects of my being a parent.
Kirsty » I think I understand the reason you say the flexibility thing, but if we as woman are going to move forward them we have to stop doing this to each other. It has to be another woman that came up with it. I almost hate SAHM and WFHM as much
Before I came here and read your post, I thought it was one of those terms used to describe a work-at-home-mum who has set up a business just as something to do in between childcare. There you go, if I think that, I’m sure many others do, too. You’re right, it is patronising and typical of our bitch-eat-bitch society today. I wouldn’t say I was a feminist but neither am I a female doormat who’s just put on this earth to bring up kids, tend a house and “look after” her husband. I run the farm business as you know but I’m in no way an entrepreneur. I consider that term to be most used for women who are associated with the likes of Surrallan.
And let’s face it, if there was such a word as “dadpreneur” I very much doubt it would apply to the majority of men; after all, give them two things to do at once and they fall at the first hurdle!
Crystal Jigsaw » You are a fantastic business person, you have a farm that you run with your partner, as much as you call him the Farmer, I know you work just as hard in other ways. It is definatly a woman thing. I am a business person, I refuse to be defined by terms and think we should all stand up and be counted
You know I completely agree with you, and thank you for articulating this so much better than me! I get so fuming about this subject that it all spills out in a barrage of rage (on Twitter…). I’m so glad other women believe the term mumpreneur is wrong. The mumpreneur revolt has begun!
Alice » I hate being defined by terms. Your tweet just sent me off on one!
It’s all marketing isn’t it? They have to find new names so they can try to pitch something to us? (BTW – I prefer “indentured servant”. much closer to the truth!)
Expat Mum » I too am an indentured servant, but the fact that I have had children, makes no difference to me. Its all a bit little woman to me
I am with the previous commenter. It’s a bit patronising, and you are right that Dadpreneur would not exist, but I think people need some kind of search term that describes a flexible career around bringing up a family. Maybe there is a better choice of word?
I feel that way about anything gender specific. I hate the concept of a “Women in business” course. Why would I need something different from the men? I am a person. Not a woman or a mum. I am defined by my actions not a label
Well when people ask me if I work I say no, but I am a photographer and run my own business. I don’t say “I’m a mumpreneur” because I suspect they would look at me and say “you’re a what?” Seriously is this a word that is used outside of the internet?
And also I started my photography business albeit in Landscapes before I had children!
Nat » Why define yourself by the fact you have children. I would go man if my husband told everyone I was just a mother, rather than me. It is so limiting
I agree with you I hate the term, it is so patronising. I have lots of friends and myself being in that who run their own businesses and bring up the children at home. I think it is hard enough to get people to believe that you run a business when you are self employed and at home with the children anyway without names making it worse. Lots of people view my business as a ‘hobby’ ‘that thing she does’ I have heard members of both mine and Mr L’s say about it. They would never say ‘that thing Mr L does’ about his buiding work. So why about what I do, I still work just as hard. Business woman is much nicer. xx
Kerry » I hate the way people look down their noses at women. I hate the fact they think it is just pin money. I am also not keen on the business woman thing either. Business person, that is fine by me.
Thank goodness for this post! I’ve always hated the term mumpreneur too – so clumsy and wooden. Just so NOT a word. I don’t regard myself as one either and never will.
Preseli Mags » It is a marketing term and I hate the fact that people try and use it all the time. It isnt me at all. I am a business person, being a mother doesnt define me and nor should it
I can’t bear those “mumpreneur” images of woman on phone with baby on lap. My child has an uncanny ability to throw a wobbly the second I’m on an important phone call.
Sarah, Maison Cupcake » The fact that I have managed to bear a child doesnt impact on my business ability. It is such a belittling image I agree
I hate the phrase, however I do feature interviews with ‘business mums’ on my parenting site because they demonstrate that motherhood can provide you with a whole new way of working. I even wonder about the phrase ‘business mum’ as you wouldn’t have a ‘business dad’ but I think the term is unique because very few dads have to juggle their career with their children like mums do. I’ve also come across ‘mumtrepreneur’. Yuck.
Emily O » I have to say I prefer Business Person, you do not have of business dads do you. We need to stop defining ourselves, men would not allow themselves to be defined even if childcare was their responsibility. I am not keen on SAHM and WAHM either for similar reasons
This debate always reminds me of when I first left Microsoft and started my own marketing consultancy. I wasn’t a mother then but I was working from home and many people thought it was just a little dalliance for me whilst I waited for impregnation. I was advised to go to a Women in Business ‘networking’ event, and what a complete waste of time it was. The best ‘networking’ I did for my new business? Being one of only two female members of our local Toastmasters’ chapter, and running the club as President. Nothing to do with possessing a pair of functioning ovaries and limiting myself to a girly or mummy clicque. Vix xx
Vegemitevix » As part of my old job I had to evaluate people that worked from home and I remember people thinking it was the easy option. I also remember womain networking events too. I only ever went to one. I have never needed a leg up because of my sex. It is a bitch eat bitch world
I agree, mostly.
I ran a successful business before I had Rachel. In fact I started it so I could control my work around infertility treatments. The business took off (whilst the treatments didn’t), I ran it for 5 years and closed it to be a full time mum when Rachel was born. I was a business woman.
Now I’m running a number of small enterprises and don’t really care what that makes me. I’m also a minister and a volunteer and a charity trustee and a wife and very much a mother. Call me what you like, I don’t care.
If mumpreneur works to help women have confidence to try their own businesses, fab.
If you don’t need the title, fab.
However I fancy calling my first business enterprise “infertilitypreneur”
Emma » It is great that you have got past the need for a lable or to feel confined or defined by one. I sort of understand when people work the title, but still believe it is very limited and makes people imagine us as barefoot in the kitchen
Ironically the term mumpreneur suggests, as you say, a business woman who is limited with her time and availability. It is patronising but nevertheless accurate – for reasons not intended by the inventors of the term. For this reason, were I setting up a business, I would shun the term mumpreneur like the plague – unless I wanted my image to be ‘twee’.
Midlife Singlemum » But is it accurate. I give 100% to both parts of my life, why does one have to define the other. I think it is more than twee. As a woman I refuse to be put into any corner
Well the entire post vanished from my mind the moment I saw Jen had sworn on her blog!
(And I hate that word too)
Vic » Yep, it really gets my goat, so much that I swore!
I’m a Mom. I’m self-employed. I’m not a mumpreneur.
Have you ever heard of a Daddyprenuer? I didn’t think so. Patriarchy is funny like that sneaking into our linguistics and finding subtle ways to undermine our achievements as women.
Melaina25 » I have to say that this seems like something another woman would coin, rather than a man. I fear that as a mum and a woman, it is other woman who judge me most harshly rather than men. It would never cross their mind to even ask in my opinion
To me it’s one of these nonsense words that doesn’t always have a consistent meaning. Some mumpreneurs run businesses around their children and commitments while others who I have met actually have their children in childcare almost full time while running franchises and the like.
Kat @ iRant iRave » Regardless of the hows and whys, I don;t wish to be limited by the fact I have a mum. Now I am all for Ginpreneaur!
I agree its a daft label, kind of like working mum really. I mean no one has ever referred to him indoors as a working dad.
I am a mother, I am also a business woman, my husband is a dad and a business man why do only I get a special title?
Dont know if you caught my latest blog re titles and I am not trying to pimp in your space but I have renamed myself as a BOTTOM.
great blog Jen as always x
northernmum » Now I have to go and read what a BOTTOM is. It isnt only daft, it is limiting and demeaning to such great woman out there. I hate WAHM and SAHM for the same reaosns
Am going to stick my neck out here and be the only one to say I disagree and thinks it is useful . (Please no one shout at me I’m knackered last day of half term and my son ids LOUD.) If I as a mum went out to work and had chilcare I would call myself a business person. becasue I work around raising my kids ie. 5.30 am! and when they have a playdate when I watch swimming during scoobydoo. …I think I do something quite different. I think I am a mum running a business whilst still in mum mode and the 2 are intrinsically linked and I want people to know because it affects my avaibility, flexibility and priorities and thats FINE by me becuse I will end my business call if the cakes are burning or one child pokes another and call back later. Working with other mums in similar situations and being able to identify them is useful so as a term’ comes in ‘handy and I am definately a femisinst and proud of being a mum/business person whateverthingy. Because thats what s right fro me, once they are in school I’ll think again xxx ooh scary to be controversial its been a while!
I think dadpreneur would be useful for dads combining fullonchildcare whilst running a business but I wonder would Nick or Tim consider themselves dadpreneurs? They actually both call themselves stay at home dads and yet do much more tha thay hmmm?
Becky » I think I understand where you are coming from. But you can work part time as a business person an d not have to tag yourself with the “mum” term. I know you would never give less than 100% to either and would plan to accommodate these things as such. You would never get away with calling someone a part time mum. You are a business person. It makes what you do sound twee and it isn’t. You run a successful blog and bring in sufficient income to ensure that you do not need to work other hours. You plan your tweets so as not to invade on your family time. Why does this make you a mumpreneaur? Family always comes first for me and for MadDad an d when he resigned due to Maxi being ill it was accepted without question, I just want woman to have the same rights as men and in order for that top happen we need to stop with the labeling and stop limiting ourselves
I’m not keen on it. I get it – it’s a marketing term that’s useful for articles and networking, but I’ve come to find it a little cringey and I think that what’s most concerning is seeing proponents of the term actually misusing it. The more they use it, the more I start to wonder if they know how they’re reducing it to a numpty image.
My grandmother worked for herself at times and she’d have laughed me out of town if I called her a mumpreneur. I think it’s great that *women* are working for themselves and I also think that it’s great that having a baby doesn’t mean the end of life itself and a career, but I just don’t need the validation of this term plus I think it’s misleading and really only something that people who like and know the term ‘get’.
I talk to people that I find interesting – both men and women and it’s not critical for me to only network with mums. I might as well call myself a Black Blogger Mumpreneur. I’m black, I blog, I’m a mum, I’m in business but I’d sound a bit silly.
I know a number of fathers that work for themselves and I can say with 150% certainty that they wouldn’t want to be called dadpreneurs. Whatever happened to being an entrepreneur? Isn’t that enough?
Natalie » I totally understand regarding your Grandma. My Gran in law ran a successful farm (it was hers and she ran it with her husband and son) and she would have shot someone for calling her a Mumpreneaur. She managed to bring up 5 children and 10’s of grandchildren and work much harder than the men without the need for a label or something to limit her. It would be like me saying I am a Northern Blogging Mumpreneaur, by labeling ourselves we are limiting ourselves and attaching preconceived ideas to ourselves for other to use.
It is a bitch eat bitch world
I agree, its a redundant term. Why can’t you be a plain old entrepreneur? Just as I am no more a “working mother” than my husband is a “working father”. We don’t need any more silly sexist labels (and don’t get me started on ‘women in business” courses, bunch of patronizing claptrap if you ask me!
geekymummy » Dont get me starting on the whole woeking mum thing, it drives me mad. I just don’t like labels
Excellent blog post. I couldn’t agree more that it dumbs us down. Almost as if we shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Not real entrepreneurs, just sort of cute mummyentrepreneurs.
I do get the whole mentoring and support thing that tends to surround mumpreneur groups – that’s a good thing.
But you NEVER find the term ‘mumpreneur’ used outside of those circles. So, for example, Penny Power (Ecademy) doesn’t describe herself as a mumpreneur. Nor Rachel Elnaugh (original ‘dragon’ and mum of 5), nor Carol Marsh, nor the late Anita Roddick, or countless other entrepreneurial mums.
If you’re really serious about being an entrepreneur (and I mean REALLY serious about building a profitable business, your own little empire), then just do it! Surround yourself with real entrepreneurs. Don’t limit yourself with that awful label. You WON’T be taken seriously.
Mary Cummings » Why would be limit themselves by a label it really does baffle me. I just want a level playing field
Sometimes women call themselves mumpreneurs because they find it empowering, it helps them find like-minded people and access excellent support available, advice and inspiration, and in some cases funding for their businesses, even. It can also help with publicity in some circles.
I don’t choose to call myself a mumpreneur because I don’t like the term but if someone wants to call themselves that – good luck to them. I’ve spent time in business meetings with women who are turning over a lot of money and they are very happy to be known by the term ‘mumpreneur’ – because they feel it suits their business and helps further growth, because of the market and networks they are working in. I think ‘yummy mummy’ is more cringe-worthy!
Linda » I am all for empowering woman, but I think there are much better ways to go about it Linda. You know what just don’t get me started on the whole yummy mummy/slummy mummy thing. I hate the fact that woman label woman. I find it all limiting and sets unrealistic expectations
I love being a mother, I’m happy to be called a housewife and very proud 😀 I don’t care if someone said “she’s a mum” I am right now!
nat » I am proud to be a mum, but it is not all I do
I don’t know how i feel about this, I’ve never thought about it. I guess it’s used specificaly to describe women who are full time mothers but also run their own businesses from home. I’m not sure i see it as patronising, i’ve just always seen it as descriptive. But there again i’ve never heard the tern dadpreneur, perhaps the male equivalent would just be entrepreneur.
‘Mumpreneur’ comes right after ‘Dear so and so, you as a mother…’
What on earth? Why me as a mother? Am I suddenly so much more in need of help, me, the poor little lost person that has given birth to a child and (apparently) to her brain at the same time. I hate those emails. I am a woman, for crying out loud!
I’ve only heard the expression from Twitter or blogging.I tell people I’m a wahm but it describes more what I do than who I am. Again it’s an expression that’s heard off the internet perhaps I should just say I work from home 🙂
All this mum-labelling stuff is quite new to me, but the first impression of ‘mumpreneur’ is that it’s not even a proper hybrid of two words, it’s like someone’s desperately tried to come up with something that describes working women who have children and mashed this together, which I don’t like.
Leaving aside the pragmatics though; this seems to be a tricky one. ‘Business woman’ or ‘business man’ are labels too and people seem happy enough with them; in a way ‘mumpreneur’ is a double whammy in that it is asserting that women can both raise children and have businesses; both of which are full time jobs on their own. In a way it’s a recognition of the ability of women, which obviously we need more of. Perhaps I think this because of the constant barrage of negativity I receive as a young mother in Croydon; ‘mumpreneur’ sounds a lot better than many of the labels I’ve heard coming from unfounded assumptions about me (mostly chav, hence my blog name).
However if someone said to me that being a Mum is ‘all’ I do (and it isn’t; I am also a student and after that will be working) I would say ‘fine’. If all I did was to raise my daughter, and I continue to do as well as I am, I would die happy. Although money and fame or whatever are great, I can’t see anything wrong with ‘just’ being a Mum- if anything, I think people who suggest that ‘just’ being a Mum is inadequate are keeping women down further; we are creating and shaping lives, what more responsibility could there be?
Your last sentence made me laugh out loud and I can certainly see that the label would be very irritating if used condescendingly or to make your business prowess sound ‘twee’; I wonder if, in a few years time when I am working, I do a 360 on this one…
Best wishes, Hannah
Pingback: Mumpreneur: Positive or Negative? « More Than A Mum Blog