An Interview with Nicole Bridger of Nicole Bridger (Part Two)

Do you have any advice for women that are single mothers for acquiring family or community support for childcare or even just being really low on money – clothes, diapers, and so on? Even the subtle things, that are part of that like emotional support for a bad day, or an unpleasant experience during a ‘black month’.

Sharing! Sharing is caring. My son’s best friend, I take the boys on day after school to hockey and then the mom takes them one day after school. We have a sharing thing today, for instance. I needed my son to go somewhere.

Nicole Bridger Calgary Store

Nicole Bridger Calgary Store

I called my best friend. I had her dog all weekend. He has her kids all weekend. She has her kid for a few hours. I think it’s building a sharing community and are there for one another.

I know there’s always somebody that I can phone that is 5 minutes away. You have to not be a burden on people all of the time. It has to be a give, give, give, give relationship. That goes for clothes and things too.

You can find things from other people. Often, I give my second hand clothes to other people. I know people with older kids are happy to give to me, especially hockey equipment because I befriended somebody who’s son is older and is handing down hockey gear to me, which is amazing.

It is a give, give. There’s ways, whether buying second hand or some cheap store, because kids are always growing out of stuff. There’s quite a community. My sister has two kids. She’s great with that stuff. She gets into the neighbourhood and other mom’s schools.

Daycares are great for getting to know other parents for finding things and how. Also, shoes can get really expensive. Figuring out ways where we all come together, I have a bunch of really close friends with kids and will get together at each person’s house every so often and do a pot luck style.

Then you’re only bringing one salad and a whole room of people eat collectively. Then the kids get to play together, and so you have a sense of community. To be honest, entrepreneurship is lonely and single motherhood is lonely. It really is. It is lonely, lonely!

Jewellery by local artisans

Jewellery by local artisans

(Laugh)

You want to make sure you aren’t isolated and make sure that you’re not alone because everybody is going through life and it can easily feel overwhelming. it is important to connect and laugh and make sure we’re enjoying the process as much as possible.

With respect to developed nations, Canada and the United States lead the world in many respects regarding single parenthood. The majority of single parents are single mothers, too. 

I suspect the community that you’re talking about will be single mothers and their extended family.

I don’t know any single moms! I’m the only one. It’s not intentional, but none of my friends are divorced or single parents. Yet!

(Laugh)

I’m kidding!

(Laugh)

I don’t know why. I wonder because it is nice to have somebody who understands what you’re going through or sometimes I have a lack of patience for my friends when they are complaining about their husbands doing the dishes wrong.

I think, “Really?” Thy know my situation and what I have to go through with my ex all of the time. It helps them to appreciate their own husbands, I think.

What can make an amicable relationship during and after a divorce with an ex – for both of your own sanity, but for the wellbeing of the child too?

If there’s substance abuse issues, it is hard. My ex had nicosubstance abuse issues, and so it made things hard. That was the problem. You aren’t dealing with a sane person. That was hard.

Nicole Bridger featured in River Blue Movie on toxic dyes.

Nicole Bridger featured in River Blue Movie on toxic dyes.

If you were dealing with somebody who was generally sane, for myself, I went and saw a therapist weekly after the divorce. The messages were clear that what was best for my son and maybe as a mom it is easiest to do what is best for your child.

It as very clear to me that even if my son could see his father for a couple hours a week as long as he was sober and my child was safe then that was priority. That there was some regular visit so my child didn’t feel abandoned and my child didn’t see his father.

It was really easy for me to separate my issues with my ex-husband because there was still hostility that I had to heal for myself separate from supporting my son having a relationship with his dad.

So, I could heal those things and put those away and forgive him for all of those things. But I still have to manage and deal with him for what is happening today for the betterment of my child.

And I think that’s what you do. You don’t use your child as a pawn. Luckily, we’ve never done that. His dad doesn’t do that, which is good. It is all about what is best for the child.

And then it becomes really clear and it’s personal, it is not easy! I get frustrated sometimes, but people, you know. Yea.

I want to switch tracks now, if that’s okay, to one of the main lines of thought. Thank you for sharing by the way.

My father is the one and only investor. I should say that too. And then we’ve gotten money from the BBC.

Now, with respect to ethical fashion, what is its importance to you?

What it really comes down to is people are treated with respect and compassion, and so are they being paid fair wages, are they working in a healthy and respectful and happy environment, there’s an estimated like 35,000,000 slaves in the world right now.

Nicole Bridger and Kendall Barber, founder of Poppy Barley ethical footwear discuss eco and ethical fashion

Nicole Bridger and Kendall Barber, founder of Poppy Barley ethical footwear discuss eco and ethical fashion

A lot of those being, I don’t exact percentages, employed in forced labor for apparel. And even locally, those people think since it’s made locally then it’s ethical; but it’s not. There are a lot of dismal factories here, what I would call “tiny little sweatshops.”

That wouldn’t compare to some of the factories in China that are really pristine. I think the local consumer has an idea of local good-China bad, which is not necessarily true because it’s not that simple.

I think the industry needs a lot more transparency about what that means. I think the food industry, the organic and health food industry are really leading the way around how to label consumer products.

it’s clear for them to make choices, educated choices, and that they are empowered to make the choice instead of greenwashing or whatever. For me, for buying it, there are a lot of certifications. Certifications aren’t perfect.

Fair trade is a certification. It is not full-proof, but it is a starting point. So, I factories in Nepal, Peru, and India with fair trade certifications. I buy fabric from Blue Signs factories, which is an eco thing associated with wastewater management thing.

I support global organic textiles. That is more about fair wages. Things like that that I can rely on a little bit to help me feel good. Also, it boils down to human relationships, and if you can go and physically visit the factories. That’s a good thing.

I have used factories for years and then found these things when I bought them. They were shipping half out half of their production to Chinese sweatshops in town because it was cheaper for them to use the Chinese sweatshops than to pay people in town.

Also, there were people being paid under the table, not paying taxes, and not even in their name, which is a total mess. That’s right here in a factory I’ve been using and that I visited regularly.

What I’ve been saying is I have not been given is that, it is a starting point. It is a journey. What I say to our clients is that I can’t promise to be perfect, but I can promise to do the best that we can with what we have available to us, and financially and also technology-wise what’s available and that we will constantly be improving.

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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