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What is a Mompreneur? What is a Dadpreneur? Are They Equivalent? 

When you hear the term 'mompreneur' what image do you conjure up in your mind? Apparently, it can mean all kinds of different things.

According to wikipedia's crowdsourced definitions, a mompreneur is "a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur." So, basically, any mom who is an entrepreneur (unless maybe she admits she has absolutely no balance in her roles?). This is consistent with the definition provided by MOMpreneur magazine.

According to wisegeek, a mompreneur is "a newly coined term for women who establish businesses at home while also acting as the full time parent of their children." So this definition seems to add the requirement for the business to be home-based and the children to be in the full-time care of the mom to the requirement.

Similar, but somewhat different, Sharon Vinderine, the founder of Parent Tested, Parent Approved says that the difference between being a mompreneur and an entrepreneur is having office space outside the home and having employees with dedicated office hours.

Personally, I think of someone as a mompreneur if they are selling a mom/child focused product or service. So I wouldn't call an accountant working from home while taking care of her children a mompreneur, but I would think of someone working out of the home running a business with 100 employees as a mompreneur if she had a nursing bra business. I would think of a consultant offering infant sleep advice as a mompreneur, but I wouldn't think of a consultant offering Internet security advice as a momprenenur (regardless of their work location and child care arrangements).

So there are three, maybe four, vastly different definitions of what a mompreneur is. Overall, the criteria could include:

  • Is a mom

  • Works in some capacity

  • Is taking care of her kids

  • Is working out of her home

  • Is selling a product or service that is targeted at moms

But what about dads? When do they become dadpreneurs?

Is a male business owner who is trying to balance his business and family life a dadpreneur? Male entrepreneurs outnumber female entrepreneurs 2 to 1, so that unless most male entrepreneurs are childless, there should be many more dadpreneurs out there than mompreneurs. Are dads who work from home dadpreneurs, especially if their kids are around some or all of the time? Are dads who own companies selling strollers or toys dadpreneurs? What about a dad who is at home with his kids during the day and runs a personal training business in the evening when his white collar professional wife gets home from her job? Is he a dadpreneur?

According to Doug French (@LOD), the definition is as follows:

Dadpreneur (n): An absolutely terrible word that should not be used by anyone ever.

This whole discussion is similar to the mommy blogger versus blogger discussion. Very few men get called "daddy bloggers", but almost every female blogger who has children is assumed to be a "mommy blogger" even if she is writing about technology, politics, food or animal rights.

In entrepreneurship and in blogging, as well as in many other things in life, it seems as though society assumes that men have compartmentalized their lives whereas women become primarily a mom once they have children. I wonder if this is a reflection of what truly happens in our society, where women do still take on the bulk of the child care and household tasks, even if it is changing in some individual households. Or is it an attempt, intentional or not, to keep "mommies" in their place and ensure that they are always putting their children at the centre of their universe, even if we don't have the same expectation of dads?

What do you think? If you are a mom and an entrepreneur, do you consider yourself a mompreneur? What is your definition? If you are a dad and an entrepreneur, do you consider yourself a dadpreneur? 

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Reader Comments (19)

Ha! I have no balance what so ever! at least this week.

I don't consider myself a Momprenuer, but I have identified myself as a work at home mom. This is mainly when trying to point out that I am not on maternity leave or a stay at home mom, so I guess that's when I'm explaining my parenting situation not my business?

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Hmm, I can't say I've really used either word or thought too much about it. I guess I would have assumed a mom (or dad)-preneur is a parent who started a (probably home-based) business BECAUSE they wanted it to work with their role as a parent, and/or that the business was for other parents. Basically, that being a parent is key to the business or product.

My husband and I both currently work from home but I don't think either term applies to us. I'm freelancing in the field I've always worked in, and he is still a full-time employee who happens to work at home when he's not travelling. Neither of our jobs serve other parents or were conceived (ha!) as a way to stay home with the kids, per se (though not commuting helps!) They are in school and/or care when we are working, because we don't feel we can do two jobs well at the same time.

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Is it because we are the ones who actually give birth that we are inexorably tied to our 'mommyhood'? Whereas dads are dads OR business men OR professionals OR whatever, we seem to be AND. Or at least perceived as such?

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

But men can be "and" without the two necessarily having to be joined in one word. They can be a dad and a professional. Not a dadprofessional.

As to why we seem to be inexorably tied to our "mommyhood", I think it is probably a combination of giving birth and of what has become normal in our culture. There is an assumption that men continue working when a baby is born unless they make a CHOICE to stay home. There is an assumption that women care for the baby unless she makes a CHOICE to go back to work.

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

There have been times when I've had my back up about the word, but here's my take:

"in the day"... when my business was just sprouting and my business partners and I were dealing with the early days of motherhood and trying to decide of the traditional workforce vs. growing a small, 'cottage industry' business was in debate, "mompreneur" fit. And we wore the title proudly! There is a great community of women starting businesses *because* of motherhood: flexibility, opportunity, time.. We weren't diving right into big business, but had created an enterprise that fit around our family lives and that we could include our families in. I believe there are some dads that do that too. But once our business grew, had commercial space, a payroll system and staff... things like that: it doesn't seem to fit anymore. Entrepreneurs have some control over their schedules for some lifestyle perks, but we can no longer force-fit the business into our family lives. We have to hire and plan to create the flexibility we want.

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia Mumby

Mompreneurs are the business owners that take calls in the bathroom with the water running so that callers don't hear their kids banging on the bathroom door from the other side. Thankfully I almost exclusively deal with moms in my business and they are always understanding. :)

While I proudly where the mompreneur badge, there is one thing that bugs me - many of the mompreneur groups that I've been a member of spend a LOT of time talking about balance and life-harmony - which is fine, once in a while. But when that's all we talk about, I start wondering if we take ourselves seriously enough as professionals. Not sure if this breaks the rules on commenting etiquette, but this is a post I wrote awhile ago about mompreneurs and "business-lite": http://www.teaforthree.ca/2011/09/10/what-i-dont-like-about-mompreneurs/

I also wanted to add that I didn't really see much difference between mompreneurs and other business owners until I met a bonafide dadpreneur - a guy who works with a baby strapped to him in a carrier, lets his kids tag along on business errands, and sometimes takes them to his job site. He's got an excersaucer in his office. I don't know a lot of men who embrace the idea of meshing fatherhood with a business and seeing him in action clarified the distinction between parentpreneurs and entrepreneurs for me.

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTamara

Love 'business-lite' -- I SO get that. Funny.

December 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

I fit the momprenuer description on all accounts, but I am in a field that is dominated by men (software development) so there are plenty of men who are doing the same thing as me. I'm part of a kids app parent developer group. The moms of the group are mostly marketers, and the dads are mostly developers. I am not sure, but I feel like I am the only developer one who has children crawling on top of me, or asking me to spell words, read words, help them draw or cut while I am trying to code and THAT is why I am a momprenuer. I feel like the dad's have a wife who will take care of the kids while they can lock themselves in a room, and that is why they are not dadprenuers. They are not doing both at the exact same time. Being a stay-at-home mom is my primary responsibility, and like Tamara says I feel like it is hard to take myself seriously as a professional because of it. I rarely get to focus 100% on my business, even when my husband is home. The kids act like he is invisible. They will be talking to him, realize they are hungry and come running to me. It probably isn't right, but that is how it is.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I've always felt adding 'mom' onto or into a word is often somewhat condescending. Being called a 'Mommy Blogger' is like nails on a blackboard to me--the diminutive just feels insulting. It reminds me of the terms used for women a few decades ago, when they were joining male dominated fields, e.g. being called a 'lady doctor'.

Maybe the desire to identify women as a 'mompreneur' just stems from the fact that it's seen as unusual & it will eventually lose hold in the language the way 'lady doctor' has now that the majority of med school grads (in Canada, anyway) are female.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Corriveau

Ugh. Yet again, the word "mom" is used to demean or diminish something completely respectable. UGH.

My husband has been an entrepreneur for the past 12+ years. Some of this has involved him working from our home. Some of this has involved ME working from our home. Not once did we ever consider adding a cutesy attachment to the concept. God, how unprofessional.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelli Oliver George

Are most med school grads women now? I didn't know that. Then it fits my son thinks doctors are women :) (ours usually are, so I thought it was kinda funny he once questioned if men could be doctors too!)

I edit authors who will use "lady doctor" or "female cop", and I always ask them to take it out (for one thing, the sex of the character is usually clear by the use of "she" later, and I never see anyone use "male doctor"). Huge pet peeve of mine, but it still happens. Even in the newspaper.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Not to mention that not all mums (sorry, UK.. 'mom' gives me the eebiejeebies!) actually 'give birth'...

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJem

Great post Annie! I'm defined as a mompreneur frequently yet I struggle with the term myself as I feel like the term "mompreneur" doesn't sound very "boardroom" while so many "mompreneurs" are professional and spend loads of time in various boardrooms etc. Interesting discussion.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter@momstownca Ann-Marie

I started my own business as a consultant/contractor so that I can care for my children without missing work (compared to a 9 - 5 office with expectations of attendance). This means I get them ready & off to school, pick up the toddler at lunch time so she can nap at home and get the older children from the bus stop in the afternoon. My work day is fragmented around their schedule and I often work nights and weekends to fit it all in. My business is not specifically related to mothers or children, but the reason I opted out of full time work is so that I can care for my children without being exhausted or feeling guilty. So, I think I fit the criteria nicely! I really don't think I would have chosen this path if children were not in the picture. Hence, mompreneur I am!

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCari

Like someone else mentioned, I see the word "mompreneur" and it feels just as condescending as the mommyblogger label. I am currently working part-time and building a business, which I run from my home. My son goes to daycare every weekday. I didn't start my business because I wanted to spend more time with him, though that has and will continue to be a benefit. I started my business because I wanted to do something that I'm really good at, that lets me help others succeed and that allows me to do my "genius work" rather than having to devote time to doing what others delegate to me.

I can't say that I would call someone whose business focuses on children/parents a mom/dadpreneur anymore than I would call a real estate agent that works at home with the kids one. If their business is growing and providing steady and significant contribution to the house, entrepreneur seems an appropriate title. Webster defines entrepreneur as someone who "organizes, manages and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise" and even home-based businesses can carry risk. I guess I just don't like these gender silos at all. An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur - male or female, kids or no kids.

I would really love to see "mom" stop showing up on everything that women with kids do as if it's cute that they have this little project they do on the side while raising their families.

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Well, moms have to take at least a little time off. Giving birth is an involved process so usually there is an assumption of at least a half day away from work. That said, I'm not really sure who invented mom and dad preneur, but I've never liked these invented words and don't even think they make sense. When you quote things like "Mompreneur mag" or the other people then you, in a sense, give these people the power to define things. It's like you give value their opinion, when there is no value to their opinion on the definition of a made up word. Sounds like Mompreneur might even almost be a brand.

But .. I think you're right that moms working with young children is more of a natural image than dads working with young children.

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex | Perfecting Dad

I love Lisa Corriveau's comment. I don't understand the need to qualify everything with "mom" lately. Here, let me share my mompinion about mompreneurs. Ugh. Why can't we just call ourselves entrepreneurs?

December 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

To me a mompreneur is a woman who has started a particular business because she has kids; if she didn't, she'd be doing something else, which might or might not be entrepreneurial. It's a niche. Ditto the mommy blogger; when I hear that term I think of a woman blogging about being a mom, probably to littles. It doesn't apply to all female bloggers at all. And it isn't necessarily diminutive, because ageing a mom isn't easy.

I hear the term daddy blogger used (same deal, men blogging about being dads) but I've never heard of a dadpreneur, though it turns out by my own definition I know a couple. But then in my social circle, full of self-employed business people and professionals, we generally refer to each other's work in much more specific terms. If I called someone an entrepreneur, I'd probably mean someone who enjoys building business for the sake of doing building business, not necessarily specific to what. Ah, connotations...

I absolutely consider myself to be a dadpreneur. Being an entrepreneur doesn't always mean that family comes first, so I think the name really changes how it represents your priorities :)

September 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan

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