The career identities of 'mumpreneurs': Women's experiences of combining enterprise and motherhood

Joanne Duberley*, Marylyn Carrigan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the experiences of women who establish new ventures in order to combine income generation with childcare responsibilities. Based on interviews with 20 'mumpreneurs', we examined career narratives to show how these women described the transition to entrepreneurship and their experiences of this new mode of working. The findings suggest that the women weave a path between the discourses of intensive mothering and enterprise. Becoming self-employed was deemed preferable to being perceived as a housewife as it enabled identification with a discourse of intensive mothering, facilitating far greater engagement with children than was possible during previous corporate lives. However, the findings revealed tensions which required individualized strategies to address excessive working hours and constrain business growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-651
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • enterprise
  • identity
  • motherhood
  • mumpreneur
  • narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management


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