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Team Mumpreneur or Team Businesswoman?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 | By Polly McGee

UK business coach Rebecca Jones recently wrote a post on her blog about the term “mumpreneur” being enshrined into language via the Oxford English Dictionary.


She was somewhat scathing of the term, and suggested that it, amongst other things, did a disservice to both mothering and running a business as a woman.


It’s an interesting reaction to what I would describe as the evolution of being and doing for many mums, to the validation of language through recognition in the Oxford (aside from the obvious benefits of another sanctioned word to use in Scrabble).


Mumpreneur to me describes a situation that is inherently different from being a woman in business, although there are obvious crossovers. All business people are not entrepreneurs, much as all women in business aren’t mums or mumpreneurs.


Mumpreneur as a portmanteau of mum and entrepreneur suggest that neither activity is privileged, and therefore have equal status and value.


This is very much the mindset of the mumpreneurs I meet. They have chosen motherhood as an opportunity to create a work lifestyle that allows family to be at the center of their business and vice versa.


In many cases motherhood itself is the inspiration for creating a product or service in a traditionally entrepreneurial way – grabbing the intersection of innovation, inspiration and market need and forging ahead to bring the concept to life.


With regard to the dis-service that being a mumpreneur may or may not bring to women in business at large, I think that one of the great advances for women has been the increased choices for how and when we enter, leave and participate in the workforce.


People have been arguing for years about the issues of being called a “housewife” or a “stay-at-home mum” in terms of what it doesn’t clearly identify about workload and unpaid productivity.


Mumpreneur is a positive and affirming term for a defined group of mothers finding interesting and innovative ways to harmonies their many hats, while at the same time creating income for their families.


More importantly women have the choice to be a mumpreneur, a businesswoman, a woman in business, an entrepreneur, a WAHM, or whatever they choose to be called, which reflects their life and role. And having choice surely is a great thing?


What name do you use to define your family/work balance?


Is the term mumpreneur a strong reflection of your identity or something that sits uncomfortably – it would be great to see comments from readers on your views about the term mumpreneur.