Written by By Deena Miah
So as usual the caveat before i delve into this topic is that these are all my personal opinions and you may or may not agree with them but hopefully will still find it an interesting read 🙂
This is a topic which i have never actually expressed with anyone yet although it has always been there in mind nagging at me.
So it all started on my daughters induction day for reception – basically a group of mums hoping their 4/5 year old finds another child they can stick to and be content with for the rest of their life in full time education, whilst us mums can get on with life in peace without worrying about the settling in period! I was completely new to this as Jemimah is my first born hence new territory. When i got there i met some lovely parents and equally many had the same dream as i mentioned above however something changed after that day when i met another working mum…
Never judge a book by its cover!
Sitting down at ‘snack time’ i came to converse with another mum, now let me mention that i had no makeup on, i wore a pretty dull looking hijab and its safe to say that on that day i wasn’t dressed to impress (i just wanted my daughter to stick to another child remember). The lady i was speaking to however was the complete opposite, she looked good and smelled great too (#justsaying)! We got into the usual conversation about where we live etc and then she asked me:
‘ What do you do? Do you work?’
I just replied saying, i had a small business and i worked from home. When she asked what kind of business i just remember saying it was a Hamper business but on a more premium scale and not the average typical hamper. What came after this was slightly condescending and in a reassuring tone i felt:
‘…oh that’s nice, having a little business from home, you’re a mumpreneur that’s great’
I took her response with a pinch (heck…a handful) of salt and asked her the same question, her response was that she and her husband work full time and have PROFESSIONAL jobs (yes that was the exact term), lead very busy lives, her job is demanding and she works for a major retailer (let’s call them Bixons), she has a lot of responsibility as she is a concessions manager, she is very busy and her job is demanding…oh and did i say she was very busy??
So after a little more talking and once the induction was over this scenario which i had just experienced was playing on my mind. I couldn’t help but be taken back by this term Mumpreneur and how people perceived it. Now when you first come to this blog post you would probably think i will be speaking about how men devalue the mumpreneur but this situation proved to me that this isn’t just about men but women too!
This lady had no idea what kind of business i was running, whether it was successful, had employees or whether it was even global yet she instantly had this preconception that i was just a mum with a ‘little’ business on the side to keep my fingers twiddling and nothing as professional or demanding as the average full time worker.
Let’s not arm ourselves with negativity for this lady because she isn’t actually the only one who probably thinks this way and perhaps didn’t even realise how she came across but it is food for thought for sure!
A degrading term
Although the term Mumpreneur seems to be empowering mums with businesses in the media and there are many organisations which celebrate this group. I personally think it is quite degrading and pigeonholes us into a group of women who don’t fit into the same criteria as an entrepreneur! Instead we are perceived as busy mums who are probably selling handmade items on ebay on the side whilst juggling children (nothing wrong handmade items or ebay by the way) although we know different as many are actually doing more than this.
The fundamental problem with this term is that it degrades the professional status of a female business owner, in fact it doesn’t hold any professionalism at all. Rather it makes people clap for you to say ‘well done you’re a mum and you managed to do something else too’. This term also dissolves any existence of your abilities and achievements before being a mum! the lady at my daughters induction didn’t know my working history before i had children as i came from a strong Marketing background of over 10 years working with ‘professional and big’ companies as their Marketing Manager, i wonder how she would have perceived me if i told her this?
It took me and my sister a whole year to plan and execute Mubarak London and even till this day we have offsite meetings, conference calls, presentations to do, finance/budgeting and whatever else you call ‘professional’ whilst being full time mums however i would not like to be called a Mumpreneur, simply because it doesn’t hold the same values or meaning as an entrepreneur (not that i would want to be called that too as i’m not even sure if i am one!)
What about the high flying business ladies who own global high turnover businesses ,do you think they would be labelled as a Mumpreneur – i don’t think so. A Successful female businesswoman/owner should be judged by her business success not if she is working from home and a mother and certainly not labelling her a mumpreneur.
Don’t get me wrong i am all for empowering female business owners and working mums i just don’t think we should be labelling ourselves in this so called group which may seem great with all the people in it but not perceived great by those that are not familiar with it!
So there you have it, it’s off my chest and i feel much better.
What do you think? What’s your experience? Leave your comments below…