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Less than two years since it’s inception, Bébé De Luxe has already quadrupled their sales year over year, and delighted customers and influencers alike. Bébé De Luxe has been featured in Vogue, by Jillian Harris of Bachelorette fame, and on countless other family and lifestyle blogs.

Amanda Toth is the powerhouse behind the brand. She’s like a superhero really: By day she works full-time as a paralegal at a high powered firm in downtown Vancouver. In the evenings she’s a loving mother to her two year old son, Rian. And then when the rest of the city goes to sleep, she puts on her cape and runs Bébé De Luxe - a line of luxurious bath and body products for babies and adults.

As you might imagine, the road to balance and success is paved with potholes. With so much going on, how does Amanda balance it all? And what happens when a copycat throws a wrench into her best laid plans?

What motivated you to start your own company, and this one in particular?

Amanda Toth: My son Rian has very sensitive skin and would often get red and patchy eczema symptoms, which would worsen after a bath with conventional baby washes.

I happened to go shopping with a couple of mama friends and our littles to a “fancy” baby store one day and saw a milk and oatmeal bath. That lightbulb moment of “I can make this” came on for me and I started researching right away.

I loved the idea of using coconut milk rather than cow’s milk since it is the fat content in the milk that makes your skin so soft, I figured I could get more benefits with the fattier coconut milk. Plus it has natural antibacterial, anti fungal and antimicrobial properties, it just seemed like the perfect base for a gentle, organic baby wash.

It was kismet actually because we later learned my son had a pretty harsh sensitivity to cows milk, including burn-like reactions topically. Had we made the original formula with cows milk, we wouldn’t be here today! I can’t say that I’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur but once I started, things just kept falling into place nearly effortlessly.

What makes your product unique?

Amanda Toth: I know most companies, especially small businesses, believe wholeheartedly in the products they make and I am the same. We use our signature Coconut & Oat Milk Bath blend for Rian’s bath daily, washing head to toe (including his hair) for nearly two years now. It is intended to be used as a replacement for conventional soap, some people feel weird about not lathering up with bubbles but my wildling child doesn’t stink so I’m pretty sure it works!

All silliness aside, our formula is especially great for babes and littles as the natural antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties of the coconut milk cleanse the skin while helping to soothe all sorts of irritations, diaper rashes (which are often fungal) and won’t strip the skin of their natural oils.

Because the formula contains no soap and no harsh chemicals, even when your little one has eczema or a severe diaper rash, it won’t sting like a soap or body wash would. We have had excellent feedback from customers using our signature coconut and oat milk bath for eczema, rashes, sunburn, and made into a paste it also helps to exfoliate cradle cap and can be used as either a face mask or facial scrub for mama.

How do you communicate that to customers?

Amanda Toth: The natural beauty industry is a growing trend that is beginning to really resonate with consumers. Recently a couple of trusted brands in the baby care business were discovered to have been less than honest and/or selling products which had known cancer promoting chemicals in their formulas. People are looking for natural products that they can trust, especially for their children. In nearly every social media post, article or marketing material we focus on the fact that our formula is simple, no-nasties, organic and made with food-grade ingredients.

How do you deal with copycats, or legitimate competitors?

Amanda Toth: I’m going to be honest here and hope that others can learn from my experience. The first copycat really stung and I called them out for it. It was a true copycat in that this person targeted me specifically and not only recreated my formula but the aesthetic of the brand I worked so hard to create.

Bébé de Luxe is my second child and I felt protective like a mother bear.

It was a great lesson to learn in my first year of business and I am grateful that I had those growing pains so early on to get them out of the way. I am now more confident that my own branding, formulas and passion shine through every aspect of Bébé de Luxe and allow all of these things to speak for themselves. The old adage is true, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. While it may not ring true in the moment, know that if you have an imitator, you are a trailblazer and have created a product that inspires recreation. That is a beautiful thing.

How can you tell the difference between a copycat and a competitor?

Amanda Toth: To me a copycat is someone who maliciously imitates your brand. A competitor is a fellow entrepreneur who has created a quality product that I am proud to have Bébé de Luxe next to on a shelf.

A few of my favourite competitors that I have mad respect for are - Herbivore Botanicals, Tubby Todd, K’Pure Naturals and Haven Living. These are all brands I recognize for their aesthetic, natural formula and ethics and I use products from each line personally.

Collaboration over competition is the key to success in a market saturated with start-ups and I am proud to work alongside some of the most collaborative and welcoming women.

Why do you think really understanding what makes your brand unique is important?

Amanda Toth: I think today businesses are a dime a dozen and new products and brands pop up on the daily. It’s imperative that you create a unique product or brand to stand out from the crowd.

Knowledge is power and understanding what makes your brand unique equates to power.

Our customers truly identify with the struggles we have had with my son’s skin and find comfort in knowing that our products are natural, organic and food-grade. Especially with handmade and local consumers, having an identifiable connection to the brand or product really hits home. Let’s face it, shopping handmade and local costs more than buying mass produced products at a big box store, people are recognizing the value in higher quality products and shopping locally but your product has to connect with them in some way before they will spend their hard earned money.

What’s more important: being passionate about your company OR making real money?

Amanda Toth: I believe passion is key and that the “real” money cannot be acquired or attained without it. There has to be something driving you to hustle harder than your competition when you feel like you’d rather get some shut eye or hang out with your friends. Sacrifices are a very real part of growing and grooming a business, you have to love what you’re doing or you’ll flounder.

Do you struggle balancing being an entrepreneur and a mother?

Amanda Toth: Of course. Women wear so many hats in society. Not only am I an entrepreneur and a mother, I am a wife, a full-time career-driven women (a career separate from my business that I have busted my butt at for 13 years and I am not ready to let go of). I am a sister, daughter, friend and so many other things.

It is the sum of all of these things that make me unique but also causes me to struggle at times in any one or more of these arenas. One of my biggest struggles is finding patience and stepping back to allow the little moments to unfold rather than micromanaging every aspect of a day. Being a busy mom, entrepreneur and also working full-time, I have a lot to squeeze into 24 hour but toddlers go at their own pace. I need to allow myself to enjoy the process rather than get frustrated that we aren’t keeping my usual pace. It’s a blessing really, as my usual pace isn’t sustainable so being a mom to Rian often forces me to slow down.

What makes you unique as a mother?

Amanda Toth: I don’t know that I am unique as a mother. I’m just an average 33 year old who doesn’t really feel like I know what I’m doing half the time.

I’m a big fan of winging it - motherhood, business and life.

While I have a ton of Type A traits, mostly enjoying the feeling of being in control, becoming a mom and an entrepreneur has shaken things up for me and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not really in control, ever.

I think being a mother has made me realize that it is a universal thing. Across any age, race, religion or economic status we all love our children above all else and none of us are experts. It has really opened me up to connection in a way that I have never been open to before. Insecurities always made me a bit of an introvert but now those same insecurities cause me to seek advice and commiserate with other mothers.

There is power, strength and magic in acknowledging that we don’t really know what we’re doing.

How does being a mother affect the way you run your business?

Amanda Toth: I would say that being a mother makes running a business more difficult but I don’t have any idea of what it’s like to run a business without being a mother.

And if I weren’t a mother, I wouldn’t have a business.

So to me, being a mother and running a business go hand in hand. Because my business is primarily marketed as a baby care company, I think it gives me the perspective of wanting the best for my child which translates into how we market and connect with our customers.

Is there any one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring lady bosses?

Amanda Toth: Find your passion. Don’t start a business thinking you are going to make it rich. It takes true grit and determination to make even the best products into a successful business.

It also takes so much more money, time and effort than you can ever imagine. Patience is paramount, even the little things will take longer than you expect but getting it right is worth it.

Everyone imagines that being their own boss is this wonderful thing but there is something to be said for the security of a steady paycheck and being able to leave your work at the door when you clock out. Knowing your family is housed and fed by doing your 8 hours at the office is actually pretty amazing.

That’s is one of the reasons I’m not yet ready to let go of my career. I am a Taurus which means I need to feel stable and secure. Having a job with steady pay, benefits and a pension plan gives me those things without the stress of having to push more online sales or attend more markets.

What does the word “motherly” mean to you?

Amanda Toth: I think we all have an ideal definition, and it’s not always achievable. We read books and blogs, research and ask questions all before babe even arrives. Most of the things we think we know about being a parent go right out the window as soon as that baby is put into your arms.

At the core of being a good mother, we should be loving and patient above all else not just with our children but with ourselves too. We are hardest on ourselves, but if we were to ask our children what being a good mother means they would likely give us a simple definition of love, kindness and patience. We all need to be reminded of that. 

Being a good mother doesn’t mean only the best organic meals, having the smartest kid dressed in the best clothes. I think it is time we get back to basics with our children, who often learn more from our example than from our teachings. Slowing down and showing them we are patient, demonstrating true kindness and unconditional love will give them a good foundation to grow into a good human being.

Get your own, no-nasties Bébé de Luxe here!

Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

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While breastfeeding might seem like a simple task, there are so many pieces to the puzzle aside from your breasts and baby. From securing a good latch, boosting your milk supply and navigating pumping at work or feeding throughout the night, there's a lot that mama has to go through—and a number of products she needs.

No matter how long your nursing journey may be, it can be hard to figure out what items you really need to add to your cart. So we asked our team at Motherly to share items they simply couldn't live without while breastfeeding. You know, those ones that are a total game-changer.

Here are the best 13 products that they recommend—and you can get them all from Walmart.com:

1. Medela Nursing Sleep Bra

"This fuss-free nursing bra was perfect for all the times that I was too tired to fumble with a clasp. It's also so comfy that, I have to admit, I still keep it in rotation despite the fact that my nursing days are behind me (shh!)." —Mary S.

Price: $15.99

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2. Dr. Brown's Baby First Year Transition Bottles

"My daughter easily transitioned back and forth between breastfeeding and these bottles." —Elizabeth

Price: $24.98

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3. Multi-Use Nursing Cover

"When I was breastfeeding, it was important to me to feel like a part of things, to be around people, entertain guests, etc. Especially since so much of being a new mom can feel isolating. So having the ability to cover up but still breastfeed out in the open, instead of disappearing into a room somewhere for long stretches alone to feed, made me feel better."—Renata

Price: $11.99

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4. Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack

"I suffered from extreme engorgement during the first weeks after delivery with both of my children. I wouldn't have survived had it not been for these packs that provided cold therapy for engorgement and hot therapy for clogged milk ducts." —Deena

Price: $10.25

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5. Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump Wipes

"Being a working and pumping mama, these quick clean wipes made pumping at the office so much easier, and quicker. I could give everything a quick wipe down between pumping sessions. And did not need a set of spare parts for the office." —Ashley

Price: $19.99

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6. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter

"This nipple butter is everything, you don't need to wash it off before baby feeds/you pump. I even put some on my lips at the hospital and it saved me from chapped lips and nips." —Conz

Price: $12.95

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7. Medela Double Electric Pump

"I had latch issues and terrible postpartum anxiety, and was always worried my son wasn't getting enough milk. So I relied heavily on my breast pump so that I could feed him bottles and know exactly how much he was drinking. This Medela pump and I were best friends for almost an entire year" —Karell

Price: $199.99 Receive a $50 gift card with purchase at walmart.com

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8. Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads

"I overproduced in the first couple weeks (and my milk would come in pretty much every time my baby LOOKED at my boobs), so Lansinoh disposable nursing pads saved me from many awkward leak situations!" —Justine

Price: $9.79

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9. Haakaa Silicone Manual Breast Pump

"This has been a huge help in saving the extra milk from the letdown during breastfeeding and preventing leaks on my clothes!" —Rachel

Price: $12.99

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10. Medela Harmony Breast Pump

"Because I didn't plan to breastfeed I didn't buy a pump before birth. When I decided to try, I needed a pump so my husband ran out and bought this. It was easy to use, easy to wash and more convenient than our borrowed electric pump." —Heather

Price: $26.99

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11. Milkies Fenugreek

"I struggled with supply for my first and adding this to my regimen really helped with increasing milk." —Mary N.

Price: $14.95

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12. Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags

"I exclusively pumped for a year with my first and these are hands down the best storage bags. All others always managed to crack eventually. These can hold a great amount and I haven't had a leak! And I have used over 300-400 of these!" —Carla

Price: $13.19

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13. Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding Starter Kit

"The Kiinde system made pumping and storing breastmilk so easy. It was awesome to be able pump directly into the storage bags, and then use the same bags in the bottle to feed my baby." —Diana

Price: $21.99

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This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks is pregnant and frustrated. The actress took to Instagram this week to lament the lack of plus-sized options for pregnant people.

"It's so hard to find some clothes to wear today....Although I get to pregnant I still can't find no clothes. It's so hard to find some clothes when you're pregnant," she sings in a lighthearted yet serious video.

"It's so hard to find cute plus size maternity fashion while pregnant, but ima push through," she captioned the clip.

Brooks has been talking a lot this week about the issues people who wear plus size clothing face not just when trying to find clothes but in simply moving through a world that does not support them.

"I feel like the world has built these invisible bullets to bully us in telling us who we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to look like. And I've always had this desire to prove people wrong—to say that this body that I'm in is enough," she told SHAPE (she's on the new cover).

"Now that I'm about to be a mother, it means even more—to make sure that this human being I'm going to bring into the world knows that they are enough," she said.

Danielle Brooks is the body-positive hero we need right now. Now can someone make her some cute maternity clothes, please?

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In prior decades, body image issues usually didn't hit the scene until kids reached adolescence. But thanks to social media, and our culture's relentless pursuit of thinness, we now have to find creative ways to teach young children how to develop healthy body images.

Before I dive into some practical tips to help kids improve body image, I want to first diminish any shame that you might be feeling if you have body issues of your own. It's so important to remember that you downloaded every internal message from somewhere else. Of course, it's critical to work on your own issues, but it's also important to know it is not your fault that you developed them in the first place!

So, whether you are struggling with your own body image, or you love your body, here are some tools to help your child feel better about the precious body he or she lives in:

1. Break the spell

How do you know if your child has a bad body image? Perhaps they've begun making negative comments about their size or shape. Maybe they are comparing their body to others. Maybe they are avoiding foods or activities they once enjoyed because they feel uncomfortable about their body.

Often the most common response a parent has is to reassure their child that they are “fine," or “beautiful" or “perfect." And while there is certainly nothing wrong with some reassurance, it simply may not be enough to overpower the cultural messages kids are surrounded by. Reassure them that they are perfect just the way they are.

2. Unkind mind, kind mind and quiet mind

This little menu of options encourages kids to identify and differentiate between three different thinking states within themselves. I refer to them as “mind moods." Try teaching your child about these three states of mind and brainstorming examples of each. For example, unkind mind = “I hate my thighs." Kind mind = “I love singing." Quiet mind = Peacefully resting or playing.

This will raise their awareness of their thoughts and help them to choose their mind moods more consciously. As they learn to turn up the volume of their kind minds and spend more time in their quiet minds, they begin to feel more present and peaceful.

Once you have helped your child identify their unkind mind as a distinct voice, they can then try on some different responses and see which ones help bring them some relief. Try asking them to write or say all the messages their unkind mind is saying and practicing using strong, soft, silly or silent responses. Kids can learn that their unkind mind is not all of who they are, and that it doesn't have to run the show.

3. Get to the root

This concept helps kids discover what triggers their body dissatisfaction. You can help your child by asking questions or taking guesses about what might have started their bad body image. For example, I helped one 7-year old get to the root of her body obsession by noticing it started when there was a death in her family. Right around that time, her best friend started talking about dieting, so she latched onto food obsession as a distracting coping tool.

Once we uncovered this, she was able to learn about healthy grieving and truly healthy eating (as opposed to what the diet culture deems as healthy—which can actually be unhealthy).

4. Mind movies vs. really real

Try asking your child to show you some things around them that are real (i.e. things they can see, touch or hear). Then ask them if they can show you one single thought in their minds. You can playfully challenge them to take a thought out of their head and show it to you or fold it up and put it in their pocket. This tool teaches kids how to be more present.

Of course, they might use their imagination to do this, but with some finesse, you can teach your child to distinguish between the mind movies that cause them stress and the really real things around them. This is an immensely helpful tool that will not only help them with body image (since body image is one long mind movie) but will also improve the quality of their lives in general.

5. Dog talk and cat chat

Many kids cannot relate to the concept of being kind to themselves but ask a child how they feel about their favorite pet, and a doorway to their compassion, kindness and unconditional acceptance opens. For non-pet lovers, you can ask your child to imagine how they would speak to a baby or their best friend.

Dog talk and cat chat can help teach youngsters how to take the loving words and tones they use toward a beloved pet, and direct these sentiments toward themselves and their bodies.

6. Do an internal upgrade

In addition to helping your child combat the messages they receive out in the world, you can also work on the messages they get in your home. Again, if you struggle with body image, it is not your fault, but you can work on healing—and not only will you feel more peace, but your child will benefit as well.

To the best of your ability, refrain from talking about foods as “good" or “bad." Refrain from making negative comments about your (or anyone else's) weight or looks. Refrain from praising someone (or yourself) for weight loss.

Practice welcoming your child's tears and anger without trying to change their feelings before they are ready. Practice eating all food groups in moderation. Foster a positive, grateful attitude about your body.

May you and your child feel comfortable in your bodies, eat all foods in moderation, move and rest in ways that feel good, and find abundant sweetness and fulfillment in life.

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Learn + Play

After a long day of doing seemingly everything, when our partners get home it kind of becomes a habit to ask, "How was your day?" In between prepping dinner, handing off the kids, finishing your own work, we don't exactly get much value from this question. Sure, it may open up the opportunity to complain about that awful thing that happened or excitedly share that presentation you killed at work—but it usually stops there.

I could do a better job of really talking in my relationship. After 12 years and two kids, sometimes all we can come up with post bedtime routine is, "You good? I'm good. Fire up the Netflix."

Here are 21 questions to dig deeper into your marriage after a long day—see where they take you!

  1. Did you listen to anything interesting today?
  2. If you could do any part of today over again, what would it be?
  3. How much coffee did you drink today?
  4. Will you remember any specific part of today a year from now? Five years?
  5. Did you take any photos today? What did you photograph?
  6. What app did you open most today?
  7. How can I make your day easier in five minutes?
  8. If we were leaving for vacation tonight, where do you wish we would be heading?
  9. If you won $500 and had to spend it on yourself today, what would you buy?
  10. If your day was turned into a movie, who would you cast?
  11. What did you say today that you could have never expected to come out of your mouth?
  12. What did you do to take care of yourself today?
  13. When did you feel appreciated today?
  14. If you could guarantee one thing for tomorrow what would it be?
  15. If we traded places tomorrow what advice would you give me for the day?
  16. What made you laugh today?
  17. Imagine committing the next year to learning one thing in your spare time. What would it be?
  18. Did you give anyone side-eye today? Why?
  19. What do you wish you did more of today?
  20. What do you wish you did less of today?
  21. Are you even listening to me right now?

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Love + Village

Alexis Ohanian has made a lot of important decisions in his life. The decision to co-found Reddit is a pretty big one. So was marrying Serena Williams. But right up there with changing internet culture and making a commitment to his partner, the venture capitalist lists taking time off after his daughter's birth as a significant, life-changing choice.

"Before Olympia was born, I had never thought much about paternity leave and, to be honest, Reddit's company policy was not my idea. Our vice president of people and culture, Katelin Holloway, brought it up to me in a meeting and it sounded O.K., so why not?" Ohanian writes in an op-ed for New York Times Parenting.

He continues: "Then came Olympia, after near-fatal complications forced my wife, Serena, to undergo an emergency C-section. Serena spent days in recovery fighting for her life against pulmonary embolisms. When we came home with our baby girl, Serena had a hole in her abdomen that needed bandage changes daily. She was on medication. She couldn't walk."

The experience changed the way Ohanian viewed paternity leave. It was no longer something that just sounded like a good thing, it was a necessary thing for his family. It was crucial that he take it and now he is advocating for more fathers to be able to. In his piece for the NYT Ohanian points out something that Motherly has previously reported on: It is hard for fathers to take paternity leave even when their government or employer offers it.

A report from Dove Men+Care and Promundo (a global organization dedicated to gender equality) found 85% of dads surveyed in the United States, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands would do anything to be very involved in the early weeks and months after their child's birth or adoption, but less than 50% of fathers take as much time as they are entitled to.

Dads need paid leave, but even when they have it social pressures and unrealistic cultural expectations keep them from taking it and they choose not to take all the time they can. Ohanian wants lawmakers and business leaders to make sure that dads can take leave and he wants to help fathers choose to actually take it.

"I was able to take 16 weeks of paid leave from Reddit, and it was one of the most important decisions I've made," Ohanian previously wrote in an essay for Glamour.

Ohanian recognizes that he is privileged in a way most parents aren't.

"It helped that I was a founder and didn't have to worry about what people might say about my 'commitment' to the company, but it was incredible to be able to spend quality time with Olympia. And it was perhaps even more meaningful to be there for my wife and to adjust to this new life we created together—especially after all the complications she had during and after the birth," he wrote for Glamour.

In his NYT piece, Ohanian goes further: "I get that not every father has the flexibility to take leave without the fear that doing so could negatively impact his career. But my message to these guys is simple: Taking leave pays off, and it's continued to pay dividends for me two years later. It should be no surprise that I also encourage all of our employees to take their full leave at Initialized Capital, where I am managing partner; we recently had three dads on paid paternity leave at the same time."

The GOAT's husband is making the same points that we at Motherly make all the time. Research supports paid leave for all parents. It benefits the baby and the parents and that benefits society.

By first taking his leave and then speaking out about the ways in which it benefited his family, Ohanian is using his privileged position to de-stigmatize fathers taking leave, and advocate for more robust parental leave policies for all parents, and his influence doesn't end there. He's trying to show the world that parents shouldn't have to cut off the parent part of themselves in order to be successful in their careers.

He says that when his parental leave finished he transitioned from being a full-time dad to a "business dad."

"I'm fortunate to be my own boss, which comes with the freedoms of doing things like bringing my daughter into the office, or working remotely from virtually anywhere Serena competes. My partners at Initialized are used to seeing Olympia jump on camera—along with her doll Qai Qai—or hearing her babbling on a call. I tell them with pride, 'Olympia's at work today!' And I'll post some photos on Instagram or Twitter so my followers can see it too," Ohanian explains.

"The more we normalize this, on social media and in real life, the better, because I know this kind of dynamic makes a lot of men uncomfortable (and selfishly I want Olympia to hear me talking about start-ups!)," he says.

This is the future of family-friendly work culture. Take it from a guy who created an entire internet culture.

[A version of this post was originally published February 19, 2019. It has been updated.]

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