Work Life Balance

‘Mompreneur’ ‘Mommy Blogger’ And Other Mommy Monikers Are Ruining Mothers’ Accomplishments

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It is rare to see fathers portrayed this way, even if they are stay-at-home dads. There is a distinct “these women had no purpose before volunteering, they were just moms” tone to this article, even if it’s not stated directly. It’s just another example of the trend of labeling everything that a woman who happens to have kids does as a “mommy” thing – mommy blogger, mompreneurs, mommy CEOs, etc. No one would have referred to Steve Jobs as a “dadpreneur.”

This is a subject that Mommyish has covered numerous times. Many women have no problem using the “mompreneur” moniker; they see their motherhood as a badge of honour, which it is. The problem for me is that prefacing every title held by a woman who has children with “mommy” can be dismissive. The idea that it’s so much more impressive or unusual to succeed in business (or volunteer work) when you’re a mom leads many in business to take us less seriously. Successful mothers shouldn’t be treated as rare creatures. Why would anyone give us a chance to excel when they think the odds are stacked against us? I’m not telling businesswomen or volunteer mothers to not take pride in the fact that they can have it all: motherhood and work. I’m just saying I think it’s important to be seen as equal to a non-parent entrepreneur.

As a business owner I feel that any label that sets mother entrepreneurs apart from the rest is detrimental. The term “mompreneur” and others like it makes success as a business owner and mother sound rare. This will not make it easier for us, and our work, to be taken seriously and I believe it causes something akin to professional gender apartheid. As Lindsay Cross said in a 2011 piece for The Grindstone about the word:

It treats them like they aren’t “real” companies. In a world where business-owners are expected to prove total dedication to their product, their possible-stockholders and their bottom line, it makes sure that everyone knows that these women have other priorities.

What it boils down to is that women, especially ones with children, have a hard enough time being taken seriously in business. Data from the Center for Women’s Business Research shows that while 41% of U.S. owned businesses are owned by women (though only 20 percent of businesses that have more than $1 million in revenue) only about five percent receive venture capital. Women in general are eight times less likely to get funding, kids or no kids, but as Cross mentions in the piece above and in others, having kids or wanting a family is a factor. We simply cannot afford to do anything that causes us to be taken less seriously, and that is exactly what embracing the whole “mompreneur” label will do.

This is a reader submission.

(photo: jackiesorkin.blogspot.com)

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