What it means to be a mompreneur
I have a love/hate relationship with this word. I am fiercely tied to language. I come from a long line of literary and English mavens and lovers. I relate to words as if my being depends on the interweaving of their definition and manifestation into life. I want to define mompreneur. But, the definition has already been designated.
I want to discuss what it means to be one, in real life. I want to map out the intricacies of the minute-to-minute that is this life.
To begin with, the broadest scope of this word is a mom who creates and maintains a business venture, large or small. There are some things that do not exist in small. Motherhood and business being two of them. Both of these journeys are full time expeditions. They have no time boundaries. They have no cost boundaries. They have no boundaries on one’s mental, emotional and physical capacities. They both hold this sort of infinite realm of growth, possibility, scope and depth. No two days are alike. Imagine a combination of both in one life. There is a part of me that dislikes this word because it somehow feels as if it demotes the mom or the entrepreneur aspect. Similar to the term, boss babe. In my opinion,a boss need not be sexy, cute or babelicious in any form. A boss need not carry a special term that highlights her femininity and her distinction from her male counterpart; particularly a distinction related to sex and beauty. Babe is defined as an innocent or inexperienced person by dictionary.com. So with all due respect to those who use the term bossbabe, because many of them perform truly phenomenal work. I cannot understand the notion to choose this particular label and the coining of this phrase strikes a chord in me.
And what about mompreneur?
Do we need to drop the entire definition and replace it with just mom and business owner?
In relation to that desire to promote all things equally I would say, no. However, I must say on this one. YES, yes and Hell fucking YES! And here is why mompreneurs are an ENTIRELY different breed than entrepreneurs.
Let me tell you a story.
Once Upon a Time a mompreneur wakes up and creeps around in her house to get early morning work done because if she wakes a child her work time is squashed. Done. Finite. Morning work not done. Or she wakes to the sound of babies crying, older children making breakfast, or toddler climbing over her face.
An entrepreneur (according to most of the awesome and successful ones who blog and dole out life advice) awaken to a blissful morning routine specifically designed to enhance her chi, karma, productivity, stamina and flow of abundance. She stretches leisurely to yogic chanting and sound bells and basks in the morning sun. She pours organic coffee that raises her vibration because its fair trade and spiked with ghee and love. She carefully crafts a daily to-do list over a green smoothie and power bowl breakfast.
10 am: Baby wakes up from nap crying nice and loud and toddler crashing into the room alerting mompreneur that her hour (now reduced to fifteen minutes) of productive time is now screeching to a painful halt. Forget that she carefully intended mantras and planned out nappy time and snacky time to ensure she could get her work done. Plans mean very little when little ones are around.
10am in entrepreneur land, she gleefully sends out marketing posts to all her loyal followers, fresh from her shower, dressed to the nines, after a meeting with one influencer and before her next meeting with the next. She makes her own schedule. She is empowered and in charge of her own time. Soon, she will do a little yoga.
Lunchtime is literally a juggling act; trying to feed baby with the ‘thank-god-there-is-a-clean-one-in-the- drawer’ spoon; mom munches on crackers and almond cheese. It is vegan so she is raising her vibration and there are a few flax seeds sprinkled on there so she is staying on top of her nutrition. Forget about a meeting, she is covered in spit up and baby food. She might smell because she hasn’t had a minute to shower in days. She has work to think about, but her mind is slowly filling up way past the brim. The preschooler needs a nap. And there are those flyers she spots in the corner of her eye that need to be returned to the big kids’ school. She is having the first of a dozen mini breakdowns that ensue throughout her day. This is definitely not good for vibration raising. She says a prayer.
3pm and Entrepreneur’s energy drops. She schedules a massage as she takes a walk in the fresh air to clear her thoughts. They drift to some painful times in her childhood and some struggles she has about trying to change the world. She schedules an extra hour with her therapist to go over this in detail at their next session and decides she needs an extra shot of wheatgrass today to take the edge off.
In mom land the vacuum is on and toddler is carefully hidden under perfectly constructed safety fort so the noise doesn’t bother her. Baby in left arm, while the right balances cord and pushes around the edges of the couch. She sees blankets that need folding. Her husband texts her that he loves her which is a band aid to her wound for the time being. She decides to let the little one ride her tricycle and she pushes the baby in the stroller while sipping hot tea (and trying not to spill it) as a deserved break. T minus 30 minutes til big kids get home. Dinner defrosting on counter. Emails getting ignored. Chocolate being shoved in face. It’s 3pm in mompreneur land.
While entrepreneur schmoozes and connects over happy hour drinks and appetizers, mom desperately pleas with older children not to argue over the last waffle. And also, “we are eating in 30 minutes why are you cooking waffles,” and, oh my gosh the baby has the broom and the toddler never napped and is now crying that she cannot feed real food to her doll, on the carpet, in the living room. As cracker crumbs spill all over that rug that looked vacuumed for two seconds and the folded blankets are now a tent.
Entrepreneur winds down with a good book. Husband texts mompreneur that his train is delayed and will be an hour late and asks to please lay out clean clothes for him. E sips her wine and responds to a bunch of emails. M tries to get all kids showered, in PJs and in bed. M tries to quiet down children who increase exponentially in energy as her own energy drains at rapid pace. E orders takeout and laughs with partner about how life is so grand.
9pm. M is passed out with a baby latched on and nursing. Older kids are in bed but not asleep but she has nothing left to give. She may wake up around 10pm and sneak in two hours of work before passing out again, losing sleep and making her day harder tomorrow. But, we wanted this as women. We wanted to have it all. Motherhood, career, clean house, happy family. We are grateful right? This is the modern happily ever after.
This is a satire, and it’s dramatic and it might seem a bit unfair. Disclaimer to the hard working entrepreneurs out there that are not moms, you rock! I am one of your loyal followers too. You are creating awesome companies, jewelry, books, artwork and opportunities that enhance the lives of others!
But, to the MOMpreneurs out there. I’m in that gutter with you mamma! I salute you! I see you. I bow down and say, keep up the good work and give yourself a break.
I see you taking phone calls on the sidelines of soccer practice and feeling a little neither here nor there.
I see you checking emails on the playground and trying not to feel guilty.
I know you are nursing on mute on conference calls.
I know you aren't eating or sleeping enough.
I know you dream about naps and sometimes eat junk.
It’s okay and it’s going to be okay.
I know your type: you’re doing more than average yet you’re harder on yourself than those who make half the effort you do. You’re shooting for the moon, dancing with the stars and trying to rewrite history. You care so much about doing it right that no matter how much you squeeze into a minute of time, you regret not doing one more thing.
One day, when you miss your kids after they are all grown up, you can chant with the yogis and sip chai in the coffee shops all you want.
But on that day, keep calling yourself a mompreneur. You own that term, you rock that term. Wear it with pride.
Carry on brave ones.
Olivia Treubig ©