Barely a week passes without a new buzzword being bandied around (normally I haven’t heard of any of them), but one that I’ve been unable to miss over recent months is ‘Mumtrepeneur’.
Whilst many new mums are unable to even remember their own name during the first few months of parenthood (myself included), there is now a wave of wonder women who are bringing up their babies and setting up successful businesses AT THE SAME TIME. These women juggles sales, accounts and marketing alongside school runs, play dates and bum wiping. Working late into the night only to clock onto the early shift (aka the 5am Peppa Pig marathon) the next morning. These women appear to have multitasked the mayhem out of motherhood and got the whole gig down pat, but not without good reason.
As the workforce remains frustratingly inflexible for many mothers, more women are striving to manage their own schedules, kids included, by becoming boss. A tempting thought, right? So much so that, after stepping out of the wonderful world of PR, I too am joining the legions of motivated mums working hard to find a new, flexible way of working which will bring in a few bob and allow me to be on hand for the kids when they need me. But as magic as this may be, I’ve begun to realise that it’s not without its down side.
Starting a new business, much like parenthood, is bloody hard work. Whilst my blog is not a traditional business, it plays a significant role in my long-term goal of becoming a professional writer. I make diddly squat money wise right now, but the aim is to eventually be in a position where I can attract a publisher and write a novel (thus achieving a life-long ambition). In the meantime, I am trying (and failing) to secure paid feature gigs. This not only takes up a significant amount of time, but also a large portion of my already defunct, sleep deprived, headspace. It affects my mood and often leaves me questioning why the bejeezus I put myself through it? And why, for now, isn’t being mum enough?
When attending a friend’s baby shower a few month’s back, I remember discussing the event in anticipation with my husband the night before. Knowing many of the women attending were in my friend’s line of work (in TV) I found myself practicing a pre-rehearsed line of what I did “for a living”. Muttering something about writing and ice cream cakes, oh and being a mum, I felt a prize prat practicing what should be a straight and simple line, “I’m a stay-at-home mum, how about you?”
And it appears I’m not alone. Whilst flicking through my Instagram account I found a weekly ‘Wednesday Woman’ article from fashion brand Tease + Totes, featuring founder of London Hypnobirthing and creator of the brilliant YESMUM affirmation cards, Hollie de Cruz (link to interview here). Reading the interview I was surprised and relieved to see this quote from Hollie…
“There’s a real movement of women starting their own businesses at the moment and it’s ridiculously exciting to see all of these incredible ideas, products and voices coming from a historically unrepresented sector of society. I think we risk falling into a place where we glorify the idea of being busy at all times though, and I worry that women who chose to be at-home mothers feel like being a mother isn’t enough. It is enough. It is SO enough, and if you want to start a business do it because you’re insanely passionate about it, not because you feel you should be doing more. You don’t need to start a business to be a boss.” Hollie de Cruz (Tease + Totes ‘Wednesday Woman’ Interview)
I know what a fortunate position I am in to be able to make a choice about whether I work or stay at home, and I do often wonder that whilst the kids are young am I squandering my time with them worrying about failed features and blog figures?
Well my answer is yes and no. I can’t be a mum 24/7. My ambition and drive is part of who I am and whilst I’m not in a regular office based role, I need to have another outlet. But do I, or any other SAHM for that matter, need to feel pressurised into feeling that we need to be anything more than a mum? Absolutely not.
In a world dominated by social media and all the “cool stuff” we should be doing, it’s easy to believe that making the second cheese sandwich for your kid’s lunch (because the little bugger chucked the first one on the floor) isn’t fun enough to share worldwide. But let’s not forget that being a parent is one of the greatest jobs in the world, and for that reason alone all mums should be proud.