The pandemic has shone a harsh light on many long-standing inequities – including the unreasonable expectations society places on mothers. Working mothers already shouldered far more household responsibilities than fathers on top of their career responsibilities, as McKinsey & Co. outlined in a recent report. Then COVID hit – and the schools and daycares that enabled this tenuous balance closed. Indeed, 3.5 million mothers with school-age children took leaves of absence, lost their jobs, or left the workforce entirely between March and April of 2020, according to the US Census Bureau. Mothers of color were hardest hit.
Based on results from one of its surveys, Shopify thinks many mothers have shifted from traditional 9-to-5s to entrepreneurship to generate income in ways that fit their lifestyles. One in six of the mothers surveyed reported being “very interested” in starting a business. Mothers of color, single mothers, and mothers with young children were especially likely to indicate interest in entrepreneurship. In fact, Black and Latinx mothers were twice as likely to do so than white and Asian mothers. (They were also more likely to take care of all the domestic responsibilities.)
Clearly, mom entrepreneurs could use all the support they can get. The good news is, a number of mothers have drawn on the same resourcefulness and tenacity that allowed them to build their businesses to create communities where mom entrepreneurs can affirm and buoy each other. If you’re a mom starting or growing a business, here are 5 online communities where you can find the network and resources needed for it to thrive – from your own home, on your own time.
MotherHustle is a digital publication and community by and for moms pursuing creative entrepreneurship. Founder Emily Cretella hopes that MotherHustle’s advice, personal essays, and resources inspire mom creatives to make their business dreams a reality. She told Fred and Far that she launched MotherHustle after quitting her marketing agency director job. At the time, she was pregnant with her second daughter and guilty about spending so much time apart from her first.
Initially, MotherHustle was a weekly newsletter where Emily shared insights based on her experience starting a business, aimed at women she’d worked with at the agency, as well as other burnt-out women in creative industries, per Fred and Far. To make the content more inclusive, she brought on a team of other mom creatives. Today, MotherHustle includes a series – #MyMotherHustleStory – that highlights mothers’ entrepreneurial journeys, advice on everything from juggling homeschooling with entrepreneurship to making time for your passion project, and more.
You can engage in the MotherHustle community by not only reading its free content, but also contributing your own, recommending products and services that help creative mom entrepreneurs for its Fab Finds roundup, and posting on its Facebook page and Instagram account.
mater mea, Latin for “my mother,” is a content and community platform that helps Black mothers navigate their lives and careers. Founder Tomi Akitunde told Motherly she launched mater mea in 2012, during the Lean In movement’s heyday. Although she was fascinated by all the conversations about balancing motherhood with a career, they didn’t center women who looked like her.
Tomi, a trained journalist, created mater mea to celebrate the women she wanted to see in the media, perMotherly: a broad array of Black women, portrayed with accuracy and nuance, beyond the “sassy sidekick” and other harmful tropes. She also wanted to pull back the curtain on the journeys of Black mothers with successful careers so readers could look to them as roadmaps.
Besides a wealth of free content on everything from active listening with your child to Role Mamas, a series of profiles of Black mom entrepreneurs and professionals, mater mea also has a paid community where Black moms and gender nonbinary parents can find personal and professional support. The community centers Blackness, embraces a diversity of Black women and gender nonconforming people, and hosts events that bring together experts and members.
Working Momkind is a Latinx-founded digital and IRL community for mothers of all backgrounds, at all stages of motherhood. Ingrid Read came up with the idea while nursing her son, after undergoing many experiences that her friends, birthing class, and other trusted sources of information simply never mentioned about motherhood, according to VoyageHouston.
Realizing she probably wasn’t alone in feeling unprepared, Ingrid built the community of moms she needed while on maternity leave from her corporate job and anytime she could snag a moment. “I wanted to make it easier for women everywhere to find the support they needed to achieve their dreams and champion their families,” she said on Working Momkind’s website. “I built Working Momkind so we could unapologetically do both, despite cultural or societal stigmas.”
Working Momkind’s blog, open to everyone, includes plenty of relevant content, such as a five-part series profiling mom entrepreneurs. Membership — which you initiate by submitting a request to join — opens access to discussion forums, career and parenting resources, partner offers, event invitations, and local and regional groups. On May 20, Working Momkind will host a Zoom discussion with CBD and wellness brand House of Wise on the documentary Year One, about filmmaker Erin Bagwell’s first year of motherhood. Past events have included a virtual yoga session, a Virtual Mommy Hour networking event, and more. Working Momkind also has a Facebook community and an Instagram account with more than 218,000 followers.
City Mom Collective helps mothers start their own businesses in the form of running websites where they share guides of things to do and see in their communities, catered to other moms. It all began in 2010, when friends Steph Flies and Joy Cherrick started Scottsdale Moms Blog after noticing a need for moms to share local recs and build friendships with each other through their devices, according to City Mom Collective’s website.
Not long after, women from around the country began reaching out to the duo about launching websites in their own communities, the organization’s website explained. City Mom Collective has helped moms seed more than 90 Sister Sites across the US to date.
Want to launch a Sister Site for your community? City Mom Collective’s team will coach you on managing your new parenting resource business, building and directing a volunteer writing team, leveraging social media, partnering with local businesses moms love to sponsor events, and more. You can find more details and apply to start a Sister Site here.
Mama Creatives is an online and in-person community for creatives of all disciplines – including creative entrepreneurs – who also happen to be mothers. The goal is to provide a safe space for them to share their stories and show that yes, it is possible to balance creativity with motherhood, according to Mama Creatives’ website.
Mama Creatives began in 2013 when founder Anna Kellerman noticed recurring themes in her conversations with close friends who’d led successful creative careers before having children, such as isolation and a lack of time for creative pursuits, she wrote on the community’s website. Together, they formed a support group. What began as a handful of friends is now a network of thousands.
If you’re interested in joining Mama Creatives, you can sign up for a hybrid online and live membership, which allows access to IRL morning and evening tea events in Sydney, webinars and masterclasses with thought leaders in creative fields, a private Facebook page, and more. This year’s Mother’s Day tea event and monthly Creativity and Healing Master Class Series featured Susan Moylan Coombs, director of the Indigenous organization the Gaimaragal Group.
A bonus: When you buy a hybrid membership, Mama Creatives donates membership to a mother from the Mums 4 Refugees community. The live membership tier offers the same perks, but with entry to six live evening events, including TED-style Creative Mama Evening Talks. Learn more and sign up here.