A brief and good-natured Twitter spat between me and Marketing Donut about their “Mumpreneurs Week” made me think again about women and business. And I’m still baffled.
I am a mother. I have a business. Without me even having noticed, this makes me a mumpreneur, eligible to attend special conferences and receive my own awards. I have no idea why.
I won’t repeat the questions I raised in the “Is business really harder for women?” post except to say that on none of the mumpreneur supporter sites I’ve speed-read this morning have I found any advice that applies exclusively to self-employed mothers or answers a problem that’s only faced by mothers. The advice – and it’s generally very good advice – is about time and resource management, about planning and budgeting, about choosing between working at home or finding premises, about marketing. All of that stuff is relevant to start-up businesses whoever they’re run by.
The one issue that’s raised consistently on these sites that doesn’t featured much on the CBI‘s is, of course, childcare. There’s an awful lot of “how heroic it is to juggle children and your own businesses” when actually the focus should be – “how heroic working parents are to juggle childcare and working life in the absence of available, affordable childcare“.
A lot of us mumpreneurs (I’m trying to get used to using the word – there may be a grant in it eventually) have opted out of regular working life and into self-employment precisely because it offers an easier way of managing the work/ life thing.
Personally when I was in full-time work I got tired of being tired: of running everywhere and always being late anyway; of worrying that I wasn’t a good enough employee nor a good enough mother; of having to negotiate flexible working hours but still not being able to attend school plays; of worrying about work when I was at home and about children when I was at work. And I say this despite the fact that my husband has always done more than his share of childcare – not because he’s helping me out with something that’s really my responsibility, but because it’s a shared responsibility.
Being a parent and running a business is tough. But in my experience it’s no tougher – and in some ways it’s a lot simpler – than being a parent and having a job. Oh, and while I’m at it. Why are there no support services for Dadpreneurs?