Here at VancouverMom.ca we have a rather lofty goal – we’re redefining what it means to be a mom in Vancouver. We all know that being a mom is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be all diapers and drudgery. By sharing yummy places to eat, unique places to shop, and cool neighbourhoods to walk, we’re connecting modern, urban moms to this amazing city. When you love where you live, and you’re hooked into the amazing community of moms in Vancouver, life with kids is so much better.
To help further our goal of inspiring and informing our amazing readers, we’re profiling some moms who are redefining the word “mom” for themselves. Today we’re sharing highlights from an interview with Kim Graham-Nye, the mom behind gDiapers, a unique, environmentally-friendly alternative to cloth and disposables. Kim is a Canadian who now lives in Portland, Oregon with her two young sons, but her company will be heading to Vancouver this weekend for the Vancouver Baby and Family Fair. If you want to find out more about gDiapers and every other kind of baby gear imaginable, check it out.
Kim Graham-Nye is Redefining “Mom”
The impetus behind Kim and her husband Jason starting gDiapers came when she was pregnant with her first child, and they were sitting in a cafe in Sydney, Australia reading a magazine article about disposable diapers. “We realized one disposable diaper takes 500 years to biodegrade, and the two of us were just kind of floored,” she said. “And we had this vision – you know, we didn’t know if this baby in my belly was a boy or girl – but we had this vision of them being grown up and looking back at us and the environmental issues our generation has left them and saying, ‘What were you guys thinking?'”
Kim and Jason moved to the US to start gDiapers in 2004, and launched the product in the US in 2006. gDiapers is now working on officially launching in a big way in Canada. She says, “We really feel that Canadian parents, moms and dads, are such our target market. In Canada it’s about being a good citizen.” She adds, “Having maternity leave makes a big difference, so I think people [in Canada] are more open to alternative products than people in the US.”
Family-Friendly Policies and Fortune Magazine
Kim is committed to instituting family-friendly policies for her employees. “In the US, it’s harsh!” she says. “It’s an at-will state, so you can fire people, like, today. Your health plans are associated to your job, so if you lose your job your family’s health plan is at risk.” At gDiapers, Kim is taking a different tack. “We just try to bring in some basics on a human level. We offer three months paid maternity leave – and dads can have access to that as well. We do flexible hours, which, to be honest, everyone should do. I don’t think there’s anyone who works nine-to-five here. My husband and I work 5:00am to 3:00pm because we now have kids who are in school. We’re home at 3:30 to pick them up and then we have family time. We also have on-site childcare, which isn’t common even in Canada, but it was our own solution to [helping our employees] manage young children and work.”
Kim’s efforts in redefining the word mom for herself and others haven’t gone unnoticed. She was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs for 2011. When we asked her what that was like, she said, “It was absolutely mind-blowingly amazing. The woman who continues to impress me – and this was the first time I actually got to meet her – was Christine Day, the CEO of Lululemon. I’m inspired to think what they’re doing as a company. Not only more conscious around the environment, but also around people. I was so humbled I couldn’t tell you.”
Redefining Work and Balance
Kim feels that the structure in the work force needs to change. “It’s just really antiquated. It doesn’t reflect the fact that we have two working parents, and both moms and dads want to be engaged with their kids.” It sounds like she’s doing everything she can to make that change happen.
When asked what inspires her, Kim said, “I feel incredibly blessed getting to do work that I love. It’s not just that I love babies and the planet, but I love seeing the community around gDiapers getting involved.” She also draws a lot of inspiration from the new generation of moms who are redefining motherhood on their own terms. “The younger parents now – I’m psyched! I feel like Gen Y moms and dads are rocking it. They’re changing everything from within and in a more peaceful way, integrating their kids into their lifestyles more, and sharing the workload more. They’re not buying into that “Supermom” mentality. They seem to have taken the pressure off, and I love that. Just being a little kinder to themselves.”
We can all use a little more kindness in our lives. Thanks so much to Kim, for sharing how she’s redefining “mom”.
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.