Not a mompreneur either.
Not a blondepreneur, or femmepreneur, or even a bedpreneur.
In fact, I’m not even an entrepreneur,
in the pure sense of the term. But I am a business owner. A creative in business. And a mother.
(And a wife, a Musical Theatre nut, a Caesar Salad connoisseur, and a shiz-hot tap dancer.)
So, why do the media seem to love this term? This bundle of a label that perhaps takes the shine off what women in business who are also mothers do? Every time I’m in the paper I get a ‘mumpreneur’ thrown in for free. Does it belittle what I do? Does it mean I am a mother first and foremost and my purpose in life is raising children and my secondary objective is building a business?
When we live in a world where words matter so much, isn’t it time we took stock of the labels we allow?
Now, I fully respect the parents in business who embrace the term. Like taking your husband’s name, like joint bank accounts – I believe it’s a personal choice. Be an anythingyoulikepreneur if it tickles your fancy. And I think it’s been created with the best of intentions – like #girlboss – it means to shine a light on the brilliance of women who are managing two very distinct and important roles at one time.
But, I wonder if it does us a disservice.
(OK, and yes, when I read it it makes me throw up in my own mouth a bit.)
A little like ‘female author’
why are we not just ‘authors’ or ‘business owners’ or even plain old hot-as-heck entrepreneurs?
Does it put a less-than symbol in front of our enterprise? I think maybe it does.
The term-defenders question; “Don’t I think the experience of being a parent might make me a better business-woman?”
I think so. Do I know for sure? No, because I’ve been a Mum for 18 years and a small business owner for three and I’ve never performed the two roles separately.
In addition, all the experiences I’ve had in my life have also contributed to running a successful business; from years of Musical Theatre study to travelling the world and managing an illness. Maybe I should be a ‘disabilpreneur’?
If I am a young woman without children am I a ‘girlpreneur’? If I do the writing well and the businessing acceptably should I be a ‘writerpreneur’? ‘Penpreneur’? ‘Storypreneur’?
As one of the women in my Crisp Copy Club asked; “Should I be a nannapreneur?”
Why the distinction?
I have authority and experience and expertise. It has a bit to do with raising (dragging up, some days) children. But, it probably has more to do with being a life-long writer with an excessive supply of empathy. It also has to do with being a wife, and a daughter of a very smart woman, and a friend of other clever women, and a student, and a traveller, and a thinker, and a doer, and a lover, and and and…
I am an awesome mother and a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants business owner and a wicked copywriter.
But all that adds up to ‘Writer with a Business’ to me.
I might rethink it when Richard Branson starts getting called a ‘dudepreneur’, or Channing Tatum gets labelled a ‘dadctor’, and people stop bleeding asking the Prime Minister of New Zealand if she feels guilty about taking maternity leave.
I don’t mind being labelled it in the media. I mean – positive PR – what’s not to love, lovers? I’ll admit; in every single release, it’s been mentioned in a positive way – a celebration of women and mothers and kicking butt in business. But I’m also willing to have a conversation about it. Not in a way that belittles mothers and every damn good thing they do. But in a way that equates the success of women in business with their own, personal accomplishments – beyond their ability to purposefully use their reproductive systems and then take care of their youngens.
Sometimes I worry it sets me apart from my divinely talented female business owning friends. The ones without babies. Does it make those of us who have made use of our wombs a bit insular? Does it make our enterprising women friends feel excluded? The women I’ve asked seem to intimate yes.
And that makes me like it even less.
If you want to be a mumpreneur, I will support you. One thousand, gazbillion percent. If you want me to call you Mrs Twiddle Pants of the Twenty First Century over emails, look, I’ll do that too.
And while I continue to choose to be unemployable and utilise my skills in branding and business and writing to create a life that imperfectly blends (not balances – because I believe that’s all a bit of BS) all the good stuff I have going on,
I know that you’ll be OK with me not being one.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name