Today I’m mad… angry that is (in case you weren’t sure). It’s all because of an opinion piece on the ABC – originally from The Conversation. Camila Nelson’s piece “Friday essay: family as ‘brand’ – the rise of the digital mumpreneur” focuses on exploitative practices of some so-called mumpreneurs. In doing so, regardless of the intention, she takes an empowering term for many Mum-Entrepreneurs and pretty much drags it through the mud.
Yes I know, this is media, and yes that is often what happens in media (bad news sells right?)… but what gets me so mad is that with only one or two exceptions (you know who you are) every single mumpreneur that I work with or network with in Australia or overseas is a beacon of light. We are all only human and mess up at times, but essentially combine entrepreneurial skills with a nurturing, caring and supportive dreams. Yes, it we’d like to make enough money to support our families, but that doesn’t stop us from creating “businesses” that are about helping each other – whether that is tutoring online for remote families, creating educational packs for families to transition to formal schooling, writing books that empower and create positive change for young girls, or helping other mums establish their business.
The term Mumpreneur is empowering for so many mums who have essentially had to take a back seat when raising a family. Society as a whole expects us to “put careers on hold” and essentially to put our dreams, aspirations and gifts on hold too. We are “dumbed down” – you know, suddenly all those skills and abilities have gone out the window because we now have children; and we are “inconvenient” – because we might need greater flexibility because we are still more likely to be the one to drop everything for a sick child, or to pick up the children. Women looking to re-enter the workforce more often than not end up in lower paid roles than before, with lower confidence in themselves and their self-worth. Being able to create their own future, in their own business (not a hobby funded by a high earning partner, by the way), and to be a role model as well as an income earner is such a powerful thing. For many women the term Mumpreneur embodies this for them.
…and lets face it, being a Mum and an Entrepreneur is twice as big as either one on its own.
It’s not less than, it’s more than – so lets celebrate that and leave it out of the argument of whether some mothers are just not the type of mothers we’d like to see more of.