Women entrepreneurs are making a big impact on the United States economy and breaking down gender stereotypes.
Even though women entrepreneurs—as well as mompreneurs—are becoming more common, there are still stereotypes circulating about them. These stereotypes of women entrepreneurs, and mompreneurs specifically, are damaging and not reflective of what it's like actually to be a working mother in the business world.
Here are some of the working mom stereotypes circulating out there, along with ideas from mompreneurs themselves on how to combat these negative perceptions.
Mothers Are Selfish For Working
Society makes gender role stereotypes for men and women: The men must go out and earn money, while women stay at home and raise the children. While this may have been the way it was in the past, in today's America, both parents are going out into the workforce. However, it's the moms who get the flak.
"[There's] the belief that we're not dedicated mothers, and that we're selfish just because we didn't give up on our professional dreams when we became mothers," says Liz Brown, a mompreneur, mother of two kids and founder of Sleeping Lucid. "I believe that this stereotype is dangerous since it unfairly limits what a woman can and cannot do. It makes a woman believe that there is only one way to become a woman, even when other options are healthier and just as good."
In order for mompreneurs to free themselves from this stereotype, Brown says she believes mothers should keep working anyway if that's what they want to do. "Making it big both in business and at home, and getting results is the best way we can prove ourselves."
If They Don't Achieve Balance, They're a Failure
Another one of the social stereotypes for mompreneurs is that they have to be completely balanced in every aspect of their life. This means they spend half their waking hours running the household and caring for their children, and the other half working.
CEO and Founder of The Wellness Business Hub Lori Kennedy said balance just isn't possible. "Depending on the season of motherhood you're in, you will dedicate different amounts of time to different areas like work, family, and health. It's harmful because the assumption is that balance exists, and when you're a mother, it does not. When you can't achieve balance, you feel like a failure."
Rather than trying to fit everything in and feeling bad if you can't get it all done, Kennedy, a mother of two, recommends focusing "on prioritizing time and energy based on the season of motherhood/work you're in."
They Are Bored Housewives
According to Samantha Milner, a mother of three who operates the food blog Recipe This with her husband, there is the stereotype that mompreneurs are bored housewives who have "nothing better to do with their day, so they mess about a bit online and don't really do much."
One of the ways in which mompreneurs are fighting back against this gender stereotype is to build successful businesses and get their names out there.
"As more and more successful moms make a living from the internet and other ventures, people are realizing that the stereotype is vanishing bit by bit," she says.
If They're Working, They're Neglectful
Kennedy says one stereotype is that if you're a working mom, you enjoy what you do and you work a lot, you aren't putting your kids first.
"This stereotype assumes that the mother is the only one responsible for raising the child and places too much emphasis on her having to do and be all of the things."
Instead of giving into that stereotype, mothers, and society at large, need to realize that "there are other people aside from the mother who can care for and love your children," said Kennedy.
Breaking Down Stereotypes and Building Up Businesses
Even though these stereotypes exist, with more women and mothers starting businesses, achieving major successes and being vocal about their exciting ventures, the stereotypes are being disregarded and disproven.
"For far too long, mothers have been shamed into believing that their sole purpose on this planet is to birth and raise children, [and] that having a job, building a career or founding a company isn't the right thing to do because that automatically means you're neglecting your children and your at-home responsibilities," said Kennedy.
"The playing field is still far from equal, but hopefully, we mompreneurs are modeling that you can do both for the next generation of women so that they don't feel ashamed of wanting more for themselves."