Do mums need business cards?


There comes a time in every mother's life when she realises her name and previous occupation are irrelevant. It is usually about the time her eldest child starts pre-school or makes friends at the local playground that she discovers she is no longer known as "Michelle the lawyer" or even "Michelle", but simply as "Harry's mum".

But rather than fight this loss of pre-child identity that seems to be an inevitable part of motherhood, a growing number of women are embracing it and marketing themselves via the latest must-have parenting tool – the "mummy card".

As the name suggests, the mummy card is a business card for mothers. The cards read something like this: "Stephanie. Mum to Riley, 4, allergic to peanuts but likes dogs, and Mandy, 2, my little princess." They are usually decorated with pastel-coloured drawings of butterflies or perhaps elephants.

Mummy cards go hand-in-hand with "play date cards", which helpfully list where and when your offspring are available to play with other children. Seriously.


The trend appears to have originated in the US, where women have been handing out "mommy cards" for at least seven years. And it seems to be taking hold in Australia, with four local online printing sites offering mummy and playdate cards for sale.

One site ( urges women to "Show your motherly pride with our Mummy Cards".

"Mummy Cards are the latest trend for the modern mum. The perfect way to keep in contact with other parents. After having your own mummy business cards, you'll wonder how you ever existed without them," it says.

I guess the growing popularity of mummy cards shouldn't really be surprising. The age of first-time mums continues to rise, with the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing the average age of first-time mothers in 2011 was 28 years, compared with 27.5 in 2001.

The number of years a woman has spent working in her chosen career before having children is therefore also increasing. It's understandable that some of those women feel the need to represent their new role in a similar way to how they did in the workforce, particularly if they decide to be a full-time stay-at-home mum.

But there are several things that bother me about mummy and play date cards. First, the need to hand out a card to other parents rather than do something crazy like, say, talk to them is a sad sign of the times.

We are already communicating with our friends, family and the entire world via Facebook, twitter and instagram. But has the basic skill of face-to-face communication really been so forgotten that we are unable to chat to another mum as we push our kids on a swing at the park? If you do get along and want to catch up again, here's an idea, just swap mobile numbers.

Second, handing out a mummy business card reeks of the need to justify the work that mothers do day in, day out. Motherhood is a relentless, seven-day-a-week job with no weekends, no holidays and little thanks. Full stop, the end. No mother, stay-at-home, working or anything in between, needs a business card to justify how she spends her days.

But perhaps the most compelling reason not to pack your nappy bag full of mummy business cards, even if do feel inclined to do so, is that I believe the desired outcome is fairly slim.

A quick poll of almost 90 women from across the country in my online mothers group revealed few would call a fellow mother to organise a playdate as the result of being handed her mummy card. "I would take the card, acting all 'wow, how cool, great idea'," responded one mum. "Then walk away and say 'tool' and throw it in the bin."

But perhaps all is not lost. Maybe we just need to make the cards a little more honest.

For example, mine could read: "Letitia, mum to Hugo, 4, who will more than likely throw a tantrum if your child beats him at Angry Birds and Jasper, 14 months who will without a doubt eat your dog's food and pull every book off your shelves if you take your eyes of him for more than 10 seconds. Available to play at your house, because ours is a mess. I'll bring the wine."