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Don’t Call Me A “Mompreneur”

As many of you know, I’m currently preparing for the next big evolution in my life: becoming a mom.

However, there’s a big part of my identity that I don’t want to lose in this transition—the business owner/entrepreneur, who has become a central part of the woman I am today.

I’m not naïve to the fact that this is probably going to be the most challenging point of my life so far. But I also believe that being a business owner will make me a better mom, and vice-versa. And while the scheduling will certainly overlap at times, the responsibilities will always be separate to me.

So whatever you do, don’t call me a “mompreneur.”

Growing up, my dreams were filled with images of the corner office with glass windows and a view. My career aspirations jumped around from becoming a big-time CEO, to a best-selling author, then a veterinarian, and even a Human Resources Manager. And while these roles may sound quite diverse, there was always one constant passion in my life: I loved to write, and I was fascinated by people’s stories.

Fast-forward decades later, and this childhood passion lives on. In fact, I was able to develop my career around it, building a content marketing business where we help brands and business owners share their stories with the world. In addition to writing, I wear the hats of “CEO” and “HR Manager” every day. I may not have the corner office with the view, but it turns out my home office overlooking the garden is a much better fit for my lifestyle. (Plus I get to spend way more time with my dog).

And while I never felt in a rush to become a mother, the desire started creeping in when I met my husband, Luke. I knew this was the man I’d start a family with one day. Turns out, it ended up taking nearly 10 years for that vision to come to fruition.

In the meantime, I focused on my career.

I’ve spent the last decade building upon my writing portfolio by contributing to national publications such as Zoomer Magazine, Canadian Business, and Macleans. After Luke and I got married and were able to secure a financial cushion to lean on, I decided to trade in the 9-to-5 world to start my own business. I didn’t know at the time that just one year later Luke would quit his job to join me, and Web of Words would become our primary source of income.

While it wasn’t top of mind at the time, our dreams for starting a family certainly influenced our decision to go all in on the family biz. The plan was that the business would ebb and flow as our lifestyle changed, and this meant supporting us throughout the early stages of parenthood.

Four years later, here we are. As I write this, I’m taking some time away for a “maternity leave” (more on that later), and Luke is stepping into the role of CEO. I have no idea what our future will look like, but I know we’ll work as a team—as equals—to figure it out.

But I don’t think I’ll ever relate to the title of “mompreneur.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with the term. It’s just that, to me, it describes a cohort of women who have always been mom first, entrepreneur second; a group who started their businesses as a way to supplement their income so they could spend more time with their kids.

Don’t get me wrong – this healthy balance between work and family life is one I, too, will always strive to maintain. But this doesn’t change the fact that the business came first for me. It will always be my first baby. And this has posed numerous unique challenges that those who started their business after kids have never had to face; many of which are the inspiration behind upcoming blog posts I plan to share.

At the end of the day, my “mom hat” will look much different from my “entrepreneur” hat. They are not one-in-the-same. I’ll have to learn to juggle them both in a way that works for my family and for the company. But if there’s one thing being a business owner has taught me, it’s that the people you surround yourself with are crucial to your success. And I plan to approach motherhood the same way.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Where in the world are you reading this from? Are you a mom? An entrepreneur? Share in the comments!


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.