The Mompreneur or Mom Entrepreneur Debate

December 7, 2019

By Mariana

Yes, debate. Let me explain.

I am a member of a Facebook group that is for female entrepreneurs. 

I was doing some research earlier this year for an offer for entrepreneurs who are moms and figured this would be a good place to start.

The goal was to find the best way to address moms who have businesses.

This was my post:

Apparently, I kinda accidentally poked a hornet’s nest.

Okay, so it wasn’t that dramatic, but I wasn’t prepared for the responses.

The core question got lost in the flood of replies focused on the term mompreneur or mumpreneur (depending on which side of the pond you’re on).

What is a mompreneur?

According to Collins Dictionary, mompreneur is defined as:

a woman who combines running a business enterprise with looking after her children.

This may seem rather straight forward, but it’s important to understand the difference between the definition versus the meaning of a word.

Let’s just make sure we’re all on the same page.

A definition, as illustrated above, serves to state with precision the essential boundaries, qualities, and properties of a word.

Meaning, on the other hand, lacks boundaries. It’s slippery.

Slippery Fish Gif

One word can mean something completely different to two people and it is often tied to the idea(s) associated with the word for that person.

This is exactly what I found with the word mompreneur.

Apparently, the meaning attached to mompreneur can be very polarizing, which I found fascinating and thought you might too. 

So here’s what came up as the good, the bad and a few lessons I took away from this debate about the title mompreneur

Note: I am not arguing for or against it, I’m just sharing what I observed and each of us has the right to accept or reject any label.

Mompreneur: The good

Let’s start with the women who felt a positive connection to the meaning of mompreneur.

I have to admit that in the group I surveyed, they were the minority by a long shot. Given the definition above, I was a little surprised by this. 

Note: Since these responses are from a closed group, I’ve redacted (always wanted to use that word) names and faces.

The general consensus on the pro-mompreneur side was that it was an empowering term that reflected their reality. 

It wouldn’t be a debate if that was how all the women felt. 

Mompreneur: The bad

I wasn’t prepared for the anti-mompreneur backlash. 

Remember, I wasn’t trying to start a debate, I was trying to find the best words to use when addressing female business owners with children. 

For some women, it appeared they would take being called a mompreneur as an insult.

No, really. Women were not happy. 

Check out Exhibit A:

Now, if you don’t feel a strong aversion to the term, you might be wondering why these women feel the term is demeaning.

I give you Exhibit B:

For the group that strongly DID NOT identify with mompreneur, it was mainly because they felt it took away from their business owner identity.

Interesting, right?

The same title that made some women feel empowered, was disempowering for others. 🤷‍♀️

The fact that these women don’t see men calling themselves dadpreneurs was often cited as a good reason to not use mompreneur.

And here’s another example:

I’m not sure if “Boss Studmuffin” is a thing or not, but that one was the most surprising of the male mompreneur versions thrown around in the thread.

As I mentioned above, I’m not arguing for or against mompreneur, I’m simply sharing this experience. 

Mompreneur versus Mom Entrepreneur: The lessons

Whenever something like this happens I like to look for the lessons. This thread taught me a lot and here are my biggest takeaways.

Honest Abe was right

A big reason for doing market research is to define who you’re trying to connect with — the match made in heaven for your service or product.

There’s no way to address all entrepreneur moms in a way that will resonate 100% with them all. 

It will attract a certain group of women or it will clearly repel others.

So, choose your audience and take the time to find out what they do and do not resonate with them. It could be the difference between good sales or zero sales. 

As always, do the research because it’s best to not assume. 

Dadpreneurs are real

News flash: Women aren’t the only demographic struggling to grow a business and raise kids.

There are men who identify with and are experiencing similar struggles to moms when it comes to trying to build a business and raise a family.

Dadpreneur at counter with young daugher.

Dadpreneusrs aren’t mythical creatures like unicorns. 🦄 << They DO exist. 

Although this wasn’t news to me, it became obvious when I asked the following question in a group for entrepreneurs with men and women.

There were a lot of moms that shared their struggles, but I was very grateful that a few dads chimed in too.

They shared that they feel a similar pull between building a business and being the best parent possible. 

This one response sums up the feeling that came across from the dads:

Here’s another one:

It also became clear that dads need support and community too.

A few resources for dadpreneurs:

Reading these responses from the men led to the biggest lesson of all.

Entrepreneurship is challenging for everybody

Entrepreneurship can be a pretty lonely road to travel to start with. 

Add to this the customary detours, potholes plus ups and downs, and it’s clearly not a journey for the faint of heart.

The graphic below has been making the rounds online and we entrepreneurs laugh but how many of us are thinking #truth?

The thing is, this is only part of the big picture since it doesn’t reflect our struggles around self-care and for those of us with children, raising families.

No matter who you are and where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, there are challenges.

Regardless of which entrepreneurial label does or doesn’t resonate with you, we would all benefit from a little empathy and compassion. 

Let’s find ways to help each other and above all be kind.

Lastly, when you’re struggling, remember that you’re not alone and keep growing.

P.S. DM me on Instagram with your thoughts or if you could use some entrepreneurial understanding or support

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Hi, I'm Mariana.

Hi, I'm Mariana.

As you've probably guessed already, I'm the heart and brains behind The Purposeful Entrepreneur.

Supporting entrepreneurs and business owners while teaching and sharing lessons learned brings me joy.

I love family time and do what I can to make the world a better place.

I'm very fond of coffee and puns. I strive to live life to its fullest, grow a little bit every single day, and inspire others along the way.

Let's explore how I can help you.

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