The other day a neighbor and friend offered to drop off a bunch of books and old clothes her kids had outgrown. My immediate thought was does she think we don’t have enough books or clothes for our boys? It was completely ridiculous but in our society, it’s so deeply instilled in us that we should be independent and do it ourselves that even the offer of help makes us somehow feel like we’re not doing things right let alone asking for help. I love that Toyosi is making us think differently and not only creating a community for parents but recognizing caregiving as work.
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Do you have these moments that stop you in your tracks and make you realize that you just can’t do it all? Toyosi did too. She realized, prior to the pandemic that she couldn’t be home with her daughter and work her demanding full-time IT job. Toyosi was raised in Nigeria by a “village” of adults who supported her and helped share the load of raising a child. Even though she was in America, she needed to create a village to help her raise her child. Toyosi started Abulé, a startup that connects parents to support each other and share the load of parenting. This amazing startup will help you find your village too.
What inspired the change in your career from IT to being a founder?
I was in IT and working for the fraud detection department for the IRS. The project had really long hours and my daughter was with me the whole time because I was working from home.
It was nearly impossible to juggle it all and I burned out. I became determined to change the narrative that parenting needed to equate with burnout. With a background in IT, I realized that technology could provide a solution to this burnout.
Tell us all about your amazing startup, Abulé!
Abulé means village in my native language, Yoruba, which is a Nigeria. Abulé is the first digital barter care economy being built on blockchain. So it allows and encourages the trading of care tasks amongst other parents and people in the community. It allows us to reward caregivers using crypto tokens of appreciation that truly appreciate because one of the issues is that childcare is undervalued and under compensated.
How did your upbringing in Nigeria influence your idea for Abulé?
I grew up in Nigeria and I vividly remember having neighbors, aunties and uncles stepping in to help at the drop of a hat. That’s what I was hoping to experience when I became a mom. I was in for a rude awakening when that wasn’t the case. I used to live in DC, but I had to move back home to my mom to find that care and support because there was just no way I could do it alone.
The first step for me was accepting the fact that I cannot do it all alone. Society makes it seem like we should be able to figure it out on our own. But parenting isn’t supposed to be done in isolation. But It’s still hard to admit that we need help.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.
Read more from Bridget, follow her on IG, and check out her new series, Work Like a Mother.