Sometime ago, I opened my email and saw this subject line in my inbox: “Mompreneur. Worst word ever.” At first it made me kind of irritated, and I almost moved that email to the trash without reading it. Then I actually read it. I wanted to see who and why would say that a word that describes a business woman who wears way more hats than anybody else, should be so shameful for using that word. At that point in my life I was very proud of using this word to describe myself, and I was curious, because maybe, just maybe, I was missing something.
First of all, I think I can come up with about a page long list of words that are way worse then “mompreneur”. Lets start with just a few:
- closed mindedness (well, that’s two words, but I couldn’t help myself)
- #unpaidmaternityleave” (according to Twitter it’s one word, so…)
The statement about mompreneur being the worst word ever was nowhere to be found in the email. It turns out it was used only by the company as the email subject to draw attention. (Which I consider pretty tasteless.) The link in the email took me to this article.
There, the author says if someone asks you this particular question: “Do you work outside the home?”, then he or she comes from a land of assumptions about you. But then I asked myself, how does the author know that? Is she a mind reader? Does she have any research to back up her statement? Because whenever I ask this question I simply come from a land of wanting to know more about the person with whom I talk.
I’m trying to find a common ground with her. Maybe we just met, and I’d like to know if she runs a business, so I can connect with her on a business level (I always have ideas for that), or maybe she is a stay-at-home mom, and in this case I know she will be available for play dates. I’ve never met anybody asking me “Do you work outside the home?”, without asking me first about what I do in general. The fact is that people who ask questions tend to know more. Not all questions have other overtones than to simply know more about something or someone.
The author states, the question presumes that because she is a mom, she has a choice (to work or not to work, I assume). Reality check: we all have choices. Our lives are based on making choices. Even planning our dinner tonight is full of choices. People that don’t have kids have choices. We can make good choices, or we can make poor choices regardless our our future.
If you chose to be upset about someone calling you a mom first, and then whatever position you hold in the workforce (or the business world), instead the other way around, then it’s your choice. In this case, you indeed have a choice. You can choose to be upset about something so trivial and go out and cry about it, or you can decide you own this name and you can prove to whomever you talk to, that this word means nothing but the best!
She also says that, “what we read isn’t necessarily our choice”, and that our “learning is limited” as women who run businesses. Which I think, is the biggest lie of all in this article. I honestly don’t know where she got that from. My library list is filled with business related books, and my Facebook feed constantly shows Barbara Corcoran and Seth Godin articles. What I read is my choice, and only my choice. Sorry, but my inbox is also filled with business related articles, not with clothing for kids and spas offers. (She must know that we get email offers based on stuff that we previously signed up for, right? Of course there is spam here and there… I get that.)
According to her article there is almost nothing about how mompreneurs should run business. (Well, I highly recommend starting from Brilliant Business Moms). She says the online content talks mostly about balancing careers with family life. In her words: “Creating a special category of content for entrepreneurs who happen to also be moms creates a perception that these women don’t run their businesses the same way other entrepreneurs do. And this is completely false.” – with this I do not agree.
In this sentence she, all of the sudden combines all working women into a one category. And that’s misleading. There are moms who go to work everyday, with no kids attached to their legs, with no house work and no responsibility to provide freshly cooked meal on her family’s table. And there are the other kind of working moms. The Mompreneurs. The working-from-home moms, if you prefer. I think that “creating a special category of content for entrepreneurs who happen to also be moms” allows them to connect with each other in the business world filled with advice on how to win the rate race, how to make millions in week, how to focus on making more and more money, with no regards on how it will influence your family.
I think, such content gives many of those women an opportunity to get their problems answered in areas of life where the problem didn’t exist prior to starting a business. She might rock the marketing, the bookkeeping, the customer service part, but all of the sudden she’s no longer able to organize her family life. The delicious dinners that took her 2 hours to make are no longer an option, and she wants to find something equally tasty but with way less time to prepare. Please explain me, WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT? Because I don’t get it.
There are moms who can lean on grandparents, aunts, and cousins to help them with their kids while they run their businesses. There are moms who have to do it all by themselves. Each of them stumble upon different challenges while running their businesses, and creating a “special category” for them allows them to connect with moms just like them, who have experienced the same problems, and could have valuable advice on how to overcome a similar obstacle.
In a world where feminism is so popular, we get oversensitive about political correctness of words toward women. Women want to be equal to men but they don’t act as equal. If a man was told he doesn’t deserve the job just because he is a stay-at-home working dad (dadpreneur), he would get to work and show that he can do the job better than anybody else (instead of running to the Internet and crying about being called names that he doesn’t agree with…which actually he really wasn’t called that name, he just assumed he was in the other person’s head).
We as women often like to create drama where there isn’t any, and I’m guilty of this myself. Don’t get me wrong. Are mompreneurs different then any other business running people? In my opinion, Yes!
The author of the article says there isn’t such content for men who run businesses. IT IS TRUE. The “position” dadpreneur is newer phenomenon than mompreneur, therefore there is less content about this topic out there. Lets give it few years. In addition, moms who run their own businesses run them differently then women who do not have kids, or have a tremendous amount of help from their family while doing so. They also run their business differently from their husbands, who are, more likely than not, dismissed from other household chores if they are working dads. In many cases it doesn’t matter if dads work from home or outside, most of the time society doesn’t expect them to clean, cook, and take the kids to the park in between sending invoices and being on business calls. It’s a WOW thing when they do. And it shouldn’t be. Or it should, for both, men and women.
I think the article “Don’t Call me a Mompreneur” is about the meaning that this word should not have (but it does). Yes, I agree with that. The word “mompreneur” shouldn’t be derogatory. End of story. We should be able to wear this word as a badge we have earned with sweat, blood, and carrot & pea puree stains all over our best dresses.
What is your opinion about this word “mompreneur”?