The “Mom” Stigma: When Running a Business and a Family is Viewed as a Weakness / by Gwen Wandalowski

Image Source: BMG Today

Image Source: BMG Today

In 2007, Huffington Post’s Blog explored the “Mommy Stigma” and its place in the business world. Fast-forward nearly a decade later and we’re breaking down what still is, and isn’t according to the original post. Things haven’t changed that much – but why?

The scenario: A woman (who we find out also happens to be a mother) quits her job to launch her own company and become a full-time entrepreneur.

Enter a male supporter: “I always thought you’d make a great entrepreneur. I can’t wait to hear what you’re starting.”

She says: “I’m launching a new online community and resource for professional moms, called Work It, Mom!”

He says: “Oh…I never thought you’d do some mommy thing.”

We won’t lie. We’re guilty of stigmatizing the word “Mom” ourselves.

In researching speaking opportunities for a client with a female CEO who happens to be a mother of five (a stellar example of work-life balance that she confidently speaks to) our firm encountered the Marketing2Moms Conference. For an established client, “Marketing2Moms” isn’t necessarily something you’re jumping to present; no matter how many children the CEO may have or her experience speaking as a mother in the business world. To be honest, the “2” didn’t help either.

After digging a little deeper we were pleasantly surprised (yes, surprised) to realize the conference fell into the confines agreed upon between our client and ourselves AND a number of impressive female business leaders were set to speak this year alone. Despite the fact that our firm counts three mothers among our ranks, our initial instincts told us “no.” 

Let’s be real: there would never be a Marketing2Dads conference. Society needs to point out that you’re also a mom which is in turn viewed as a sign of weakness. If you’re NOT a mom then people wonder why. That overarching stigma is tough, we know.

So, there you have it. We’ve all done it. When (if ever) will “Mom” become a norm in the business world? We don’t foresee ourselves ever asking that same question for Dad.