Work Life Balance

A ‘Mompreneur’ Is Not An Entrepreneur

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One of my fellow editors brought this article to my attention this morning detailing the business ventures of “mompreneurs” — entrepreneurs who are also mothers. Amy Ballon and Danielle Botterell have penned a new business manual for women hoping to start businesses with a family in mind: Mom Inc.: How to Raise Your Family and Your Business Without Losing Your Mind or Your Shirt. Women in the business world with children are a growing demographic, as the internet alone has given part-time work opportunities to even stay-at-home mothers. As much as I advocate women in the workplace, including women who have who families, I find the term “mompreneur” dismissive of their skills as businesswomen.

Families obviously have a different criteria for starting and running business than single childless folk. Families have a bottom line that not only must meet the needs of investors, but also food for their babies as well as a college fund. Women who are the primary caretakers for the children also face different requirements on their time than say a childless man with less responsibilities.

Prioritizing family, the writers point out, is what distinguishes a businesswoman with children from a mompreneur:

We distinguish in Mom Inc. between a mompreneur and a prototypical big-E entrepreneur who is primarily motivated by their business.

Yet, the suggestion that a woman who is embarking on a business venture is anything else than an entrepreneur simply because she has kids is quite dangerous. To ask her to modify that title removes her from the business space and in a way, almost dilutes her skills by placing her in a  different cohort. Many women with children would like their motherhood professionally recognized. After all, someone who can crunch numbers, handle proposals, all while tackling potty training and morning sickness is most likely someone you’d want to do business with — they can handle anything.

But working women with families should be acknowledged in other ways like longer maternity leave and flexible schedules, not with terminology. Calling a mother by a “mompreneur” sets her apart from her colleagues despite putting in the same efforts to get a business off the ground as everyone else. Those efforts should earn her the title that every other businessperson receives upon getting their company up and running — entrepreneur — come family or not.