What the heck is wrong with the word entrepreneur? It's a perfectly good word that has been around for a long time.
But nooooo, we can't seem to leave well enough alone. It turns out moms who come up with a great business idea are no longer entrepreneurs. They are "mompreneurs".
The cyber lore out there says "mompreneurs" are women who come up with a product or service while home with their children, and somehow stumble upon the idea because of a need they discover while taking care of the little buggers.
With that kind of reasoning, people who come up with a great idea at the local watering hole (which is where many great ideas are hatched), would be called "drunkpreneurs", or "boozepreneurs." You see where I'm going with this?
There are mompreneur magazines like The Mompreneur; books, including "Mompreneurs: A Mother's Practical Step by Step Guide to Work at Home Success"; and websites such as Mompreneurs online.
Lately, PR people have been constantly pitching women-owned businesses for me to write about and using this label, which isn't new but seems to be getting more popular these days. For some reason they think the business product or service isn't quite enough to get my attention.
Well, it's annoying. First off, it's hard to say. It doesn't have four syllables like entrepreneur so I find myself constantly saying "momtrepreneur," but that's not right.
Secondly, women are constantly complaining that they're not treated equally when it comes to the business world, but they feel compelled to alienate a whole gender by making it seem like their accomplishments are that much more important because they experienced motherhood while crafting a business concept.
So do we want to be part of a club and label ourselves? I'm asking this about men and women.
I figured I'd ask a linguist. "There are lots of ways we use language to distinguish ourselves. It's part of identifying ourselves as members of a group. It's not surprising," says John McCarthy, professor of linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
If a man came up with the word and started calling entrepreneur moms momprenuers, that would have been a major no-no, McCarthy says. But since it appears that women concocted the label themselves, it's OK.
He calls the label and others like it "cute."
OK, it's cute, but will it last? McCarthy isn't betting on it because rhythmically it doesn't quite work. He suggests the word "mommypreneur" rolls much easier off the tongue.
Sorry, I don't like that either.
Thank goodness, not all mommies are using the moniker.
Deborah Stephens Stauffer and Kathleen Whitehurst invented DaysAgo, a digital day counter that you attach to food containers so you know when something has been in the fridge too long. The idea was sparked by half-used baby food jars. You know, the ones that fill up the fridge when your kids are tots, and you take your chances using, hoping the mashed peas weren't opened last month.
It's a great idea and doesn't need the "mompreneur" gimmick to sell, even though these gals are the perfect definition of the word. "Just because I struggle daily with juggling conference calls and nap schedules does not mean I am any different than other traditional entrepreneurs," Deborah says.