Juggling an entrepreneur’s and a mother's responsibilities confers upon them a dual role that expects superior attainment on both fronts. The path they tread is not merely about achieving business success; it's about harmonising the pursuit of entrepreneurial endeavours with the profound responsibilities of nurturing and raising a family. This elaborate balancing act calls for a level of resilience and resourcefulness that extends beyond the conventional challenges faced by entrepreneurs.
Emerging in the United States during the late 2000s, the mompreneur movement embodies women who embark on business ventures upon the arrival of their babies, forsaking traditional employment in pursuit of autonomy believed to guarantee improved equilibrium between work and family life. The term "mompreneur" refers to a mother who is an entrepreneur, balancing the responsibilities of running a business with raising a family.
In recent times, the idea of mompreneurs has garnered considerable recognition, driven by the increasing trend of women aiming to attain personal and professional fulfilment concurrently. These women frequently endeavour to establish a seamless fusion of motherhood and entrepreneurship, challenging conventional ideas of balancing work and life and shaping a trajectory that aligns with their distinct requirements. Mompreneurs often grapple with the challenge of effectively managing the intricate demands of running a business while fulfilling their roles as mothers.
If Jen Lemcke did it, you can do it too!
In 2018, when Jen Lemcke and her father's holding company acquired the complete Weed Man company, the Canadian franchises of the company were experiencing a decline, with sales totalling $43.6 million in US dollars. However, by the subsequent year, Canadian franchisee sales had surged to $66.2 million, and the valuation of the US business had reached $259 million.
In an interview, when asked how it was achieved, Jen Lemcke responded, that we are often spoken to about work-life balance "Honestly, it doesn't really exist at times." Instead, she suggested that by immersing oneself in significant opportunities and embracing the unknown, solutions can be worked out.
In the initial phases, there is significant engagement in parenting while simultaneously managing a business. Once the children depart for college, a distinct form of busyness emerges, accompanied by concerns such as, "Perhaps my presence was insufficient. Maybe alternative actions should have been taken." This leads to a life phase characterised by the question, "Will everything eventually be fine?"
Subsequently, as time passes, a transition occurs to a different perspective, revealing that indeed, everything falls into place. The best possible effort was exerted, resulting in their development into outstanding individuals. Lemcke says that thankfully, circumstances aligned favourably – the company thrived, the children are faring well, and overall, the outcome has been positive.
She ensured her constant availability, day and night. Her mobile phone was accessible to everyone; however, on a specific day, she communicated to them, "I don't have all the answers; please be patient with me and have confidence that I will strive to find the best possible solutions."
Challenges Faced By Mompreneurs
In the context of mompreneurship, success becomes a multidimensional achievement, reflective of business triumphs and the ability to foster a nurturing home environment. These women are pioneers, not solely in the entrepreneurial realm, but also in reshaping societal perceptions of work-life integration. Their journey encapsulates the essence of determination, innovation, and the unwavering spirit required to excel in dual roles that are as enriching as they are challenging.
In a research examining the challenges faced by mompreneurs, several key challenges emerged from the experiences of women who are running their businesses while also being mothers:
Despite the pursuit of work-life balance being a primary motivation for starting their ventures, many mompreneurs found it challenging to maintain. The demands of their professional lives often encroached on their personal time and family commitments.
Balancing the responsibilities of a new business with childcare responsibilities presented significant time management challenges. Although many tried to establish rules for better time allocation, effectively managing both areas remained a struggle.
The need for business-related travel posed a particular challenge, especially for those with young children. While some sought assistance from family members, the dilemma of leaving their kids behind while travelling persisted for many.
Juggling their roles as mothers and entrepreneurs took an emotional toll on mompreneurs. Caring for their children alongside business demands became emotionally taxing. Additionally, they often grappled with feelings of guilt for prioritising professional engagements over family moments.
Starting a new business came with its own set of challenges. Many mompreneurs were navigating their first entrepreneurial venture, handling tasks such as finding suitable employees, managing vendors, and handling financial and marketing aspects. Customer acquisition, awareness, and interface also posed hurdles for some.
After diving deep into the wealth of existing literature on mompreneurship, it's evident that there's still plenty left to explore, especially when it comes to understanding how women's identities unfold within groups and specific cultural contexts.
Malta vs Finland
In a recent study that compared the experiences of women who are mompreneurs in both Maltese and Finnish cultures, intriguing findings emerged. The study unearthed a series of shared themes that mirror previous research on mompreneurs. These themes encompass ideas like having the autonomy to shape their decisions, deriving pride from their achievements, striving to strike a balance between work and family commitments, navigating sentiments of guilt, and crafting their individual roles within this dual identity.
Yet, the study also brought forth captivating differences. In Finland, one of the mompreneurs, Sanna, spoke of her pride intertwined with a touch of self-doubt – a humility that resonates with the Finnish cultural norm. Remarkably, two other Finnish mompreneurs, both married to Canadians, expressed a distinct sense of pride and confidence, which deviates from the conventional perception of Finnish cultural tendencies.
In contrast, the Maltese mompreneurs displayed their pride more subtly, primarily through their actions that underscore their support for families and communities. Although they acknowledged their accomplishments, these achievements weren't the central defining aspect of their identities. Their pride emanated from the meaningful impact of their creations on their closely-knit communities. Interestingly, a comparable sense of community and familial significance resonates with studies focusing on Mexican Americans. This parallel isn't surprising, given that both Malta and Mexico are Catholic countries known for their strong family bonds.
In essence, this study sheds light on the intriguing commonalities and distinct variations in how mompreneurs from Malta and Finland express their pride and shape their roles within their unique cultural contexts.
The Middle East
In this section, we delve into investigating the roles of mothers-turned-entrepreneurs in the Middle East and how they grapple with the complexities of gender differentiation? As we've come to understand, cultural norms wield a profound influence on gender roles and behaviours, an influence that extends far beyond the binary of male and female.
Take, for instance, the legal tenets governing Middle Eastern families. These legal frameworks often cast women as "legal minors," a reflection of the prevailing belief that men bear the familial burden. Within this framework, motherhood is cast as the quintessential role for women, inextricably linked to the bedrock of the family unit. It's a view that traditionally confines mothers to the domestic sphere, relegating them to caretakers rather than economic agents.
In a research on mompreneurs in the Middle-East, five out of the seven women self-identify as " Mompreneurs," each embracing this title without internal dissonance. Remarkably, the societal confinement that might otherwise stymie entrepreneurial aspirations doesn't appear to have a foothold here. Instead, these women are reshaping the narrative, reshuffling the deck on what constitutes entrepreneurial femininity or masculinity.
They have cast aside the conventional linkage of gender norms with entrepreneurial roles. Instead, they have adroitly paired entrepreneurship with attributes like independence, confidence, expertise, and liberation. These women remain resolutely unshackled by social mores or cultural edicts of the Middle East.
In a compelling twist, these individuals deftly blend their maternal roles with their entrepreneurial ambitions. Their dual identities are not just harmonious; they are synergistic. Remarkably, motherhood serves as an unexpected catalyst, propelling some into entrepreneurial waters. In defying conventional expectations, these narratives unveil a profound truth: the path of a mompreneur transcends societal confines and cultural expectations.
These mompreneurs stand as a living testament to the potential for women to navigate the intricate intersection of societal roles and personal ambitions. Through their stories, they challenge convention and defy limits, offering a glimpse into a future where a woman's identity isn't bound by traditional norms but enriched by her multifaceted roles.
Evidence that for both men and women, receiving personal and professional support during business startup stages is strongly linked to their overall confidence and the success of their ventures. A consistent theme emerges the intrinsic link between personal and professional support during the initial stages of a business venture. Confidence and the flourishing of business endeavours appear to be the outcomes of this symbiotic relationship.
Before launching a business, attend informative sessions, workshops, or webinars to gain insights into various aspects of entrepreneurship, such as marketing, financial management, and customer acquisition.
If you’re a mompreneur interested in starting an online boutique could attend webinars on e-commerce strategies, social media marketing, and inventory management. This knowledge will help her navigate the challenges of running a successful online business.
Boost Your Confidence
Engage in personal development activities that boost self-confidence and reduce emotional strain. This might include practicing positive affirmations, seeking support from mentors, and participating in confidence-building workshops. If you’re a mompreneur who struggles with self-doubt while managing both her business and family responsibilities could attend a self-confidence workshop. Learning techniques to overcome imposter syndrome can help her feel more empowered and capable.
Build Your Mompreneurs Network
Join a network of fellow mompreneurs to share experiences, advice, and support. This network can provide insights into how others manage their work-life balance effectively. If you’re a mompreneur dealing with work-life balance challenges could join a local mompreneurs group. By connecting with other mothers in similar situations, you can gather tips on time management, childcare solutions, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Practice self-compassion by acknowledging that it's okay to have moments of struggle. Engage in self-care activities, such as meditation, journaling, or spending quality time with loved ones, to alleviate emotional stress. A mompreneur feeling overwhelmed with guilt for missing out on family moments due to work commitments could practice self-compassion. By allowing herself moments of self-care and acknowledging her efforts, she can find emotional relief.
Recharge When You Can!
Take breaks and recharge to prevent burnout. Allocate time for activities that bring joy and relaxation, even if they're short. This can improve overall productivity and well-being. Handling both business and family responsibilities can schedule short breaks during the day to engage in activities like reading a book, taking a walk, or practicing mindfulness. These brief moments of recharge can boost your energy levels and enhance focus.
Take Online Courses for Flexibility
Opt for online courses that offer flexible schedules . These courses allow mompreneurs to learn at their own pace and fit education into their busy routines. If you’re looking to enhance your financial management skills can enroll in an online course about small business finance. You can learn from online lessons during your child's naptime or when her schedule permits.
Implement effective time management strategies, such as creating a daily schedule, setting priorities, and using tools like productivity apps or time-tracking software. Instance, if you’re a mompreneur who struggles to allocate time between business tasks and childcare responsibilities, you can create a detailed daily schedule. By allocating specific time blocks for focused work and family time, you can better manage your commitments. If you’re interested in more detailed information about time-management, try out a time-management course.
Internal vs External Forces
Acknowledging the persistent influence of a patriarchal world, it's crucial to address a significant reality: the need to differentiate between elements we can influence and those beyond our grasp. For mompreneurs, navigating entrepreneurship is not only impacted by personal choices, but also constrained by external forces, implicit and explicit social rules, laws and regulations.
Juggling parenting, caregiving, and household tasks strains their time and energy for mompreneurs. Societal norms hinder their self-perception and opportunities, impeding their progress. Childcare availability affects their ability to allocate time effectively, while work-life integration blurs boundaries between personal and professional realms. Limited financial resources restrict business growth and investment, while strong support networks and access to funding prove pivotal for success. Regulations, such as parental leave policies, deeply impact their business-family balance. Technological infrastructure, market trends, and time constraints further contribute to the complex landscape in which mompreneurs operate, necessitating adaptive strategies to flourish.
In this context, advocating for change involves recognising the role of governments in shaping the landscape. Implementing targeted social policies can significantly support mompreneurs in overcoming the external factors that affect their businesses.
The Need for Social Change
Implementing a range of social changes can significantly enhance the environment for mompreneurs, facilitating their success in both business and motherhood.
Equal Share of Parental Responsibilities
Encouraging an equal sharing of parental responsibilities is paramount, urging fathers to actively engage in parenting and caregiving duties. This not only fosters a more balanced family dynamic but also grants mompreneurs the valuable time they need to concentrate on their businesses.
By Reducing Stigma surrounding women in business and dispelling the misconception that motherhood and entrepreneurship are incompatible, we can foster a more accepting atmosphere that empowers mompreneurs to thrive.
Addressing these perceptions paves the way for a more supportive environment where mompreneurs can flourish without facing undue biases.
1. Tax incentives
Tax incentives aim to encourage and support mompreneurs by reducing their tax burden and providing additional financial resources to invest in their businesses. We can take Canada as an example, Canada offers tax incentives and deductions for business expenses, including home office expenses and childcare costs. The Canada Child Benefit provides financial assistance to families, which can benefit mompreneurs balancing business and family responsibilities. Another example is Australia which introduced the Women Entrepreneurs' Tax Offset to provide eligible women with a tax offset of 10% of their business income. This initiative aimed to promote women's participation in business ownership and entrepreneurship.
2. Paid Family Leave
Establishing paid family leave policies can provide mompreneurs with the necessary time off to care for their newborns or manage family emergencies without jeopardising their businesses.
For example, parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of parental leave per child. These days can be used flexibly until the child turns 8 years old. A portion of the leave is "use-it-or-lose-it," specifically allocated to each parent. This encourages fathers to take an active role in childcare and helps promote a more equal distribution of caregiving responsibilities.
3. Paternity Leave
A powerful step towards fostering a more equitable environment for mompreneurs includes the expansion of paternity leave. By enabling fathers to take extended leave to care for their children, it helps to break down traditional gender roles and responsibilities. This shift not only supports mothers in balancing their entrepreneurial pursuits with parenting but also recognises that caregiving is a shared responsibility between both parents. This balance leads to increased productivity and decreased stress levels for mothers, allowing them to fully engage in their entrepreneurial endeavors while knowing that their partners are actively participating in childcare.
4. Menstrual Leave
Implementing menstrual leave for mompreneurs is a significant step toward creating a more equitable and inclusive environment. This approach recognises the health and well-being of women, addressing the physical discomfort and emotional changes associated with menstruation. By offering this leave, governments demonstrate a commitment to equality, breaking down societal stigma and fostering open conversations about menstruation. This practice not only supports women's productivity and performance by allowing them to manage their health effectively but also acknowledges the mental health aspects of menstrual cycles.
The journey of a mompreneur is marked by the pursuit of work-life equilibrium, the strategic management of time, and the navigation of emotional complexities. Challenges such as work-life balance, time management, and emotional strain underscore the unique pressures faced by these remarkable women. Nevertheless, these challenges are met head-on with a toolkit of solutions designed to empower and uplift. To learn more about entrepreneurship at your convenience check this out.