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First it’s denial: Scratchy throat? No—it’s nothing. I’m just thirsty. It’s not my 4-year-old’s cold. Couldn’t possibly be.

Then it’s hope: Well, yes, OK, I do seem to be coming down with a bit of a cold but I still feel good—I’m sure it’ll pass quickly.

Then it’s irritation: Ugh, this cold is getting worse and it’s messing with my week—we have three children’s birthday parties in the next four days. I cannot be sick!

Then it’s abject misery: Can’t function. Still need to function. Somebody help. What, you mean there’s nobody? I’m in charge? Of small people who make noise and have boundless energy? You mean I still have to get up and make lunches and do the school run and change diapers and wipe faces and cook dinners and read bedtime stories?

We’ve all been there. It’s the couple of times a year when I catch one or both of my kids’ illnesses that I’m reminded that while parenting under perfect conditions is tough, it’s when things start to go wrong that the real work begins.

Mama doesn’t get a sick day.

While I was doing any of my other jobs, in any of my other lives, I was able to take time out to be sick, to slow down, to look after myself and to get better. Parenting—not so much. And dads, I’m talking to you as well. My husband just goes to work when he’s ill now because he knows that if he stays home the kids will think it’s carnival day, so work is probably the less physically strenuous option.

Daddy doesn’t get a sick day either.

Since the day we became parents, our own feelings are secondary to the needs of the little people. And when our feelings are such that we would rather stay in bed with a box of tissues and the entire season of Downton Abbey on Netflix, we may as well be wishing to travel to the moon.

Today, I’m finally coming out of the other end of a cold that knocked me down for over a week, and for the first time I’m looking around to survey the damage. I definitely gave my kids chicken nuggets more than once in the last week and didn’t disguise the broccoli well enough that they ate it. The iPad has had more of a workout than usual, and the toys are in all the wrong places. There is probably a string of urgent emails I haven’t responded to and there’s a pile of paperwork on the kitchen counter that definitely includes letters from the school I haven’t read and bills I haven’t paid. Also, there was a box of digestive biscuits I had hidden away that is no longer and my beach body diet has gone decidedly off track.

But, these things notwithstanding, we all seem to have emerged miraculously unscathed. My kids didn’t even notice I was ill, and the house is still standing.

I’m pretty sure I owe most of this to my comrades in arms. To the other parents in the trenches—including my husband—who know what it feels like, and who swept in with reinforcements when needed.

It was the little things and the big things—or the little things that, when you feel ill, are big things. From the sympathetic enquiries about how I was feeling at the school gate to the sweet friends offering to pick up groceries. The moms who invited my kids around for playdates so I could rest. The super neighbor who cooked and delivered a full meal for my entire family just as I was feeling my worst and then turned up with freshly baked bread in the morning. For my husband who left work early as often as he could to rescue me at suicide hour, and tiptoed out of the room in the early mornings to get the kids so I could sleep a bit longer.

Thank goodness for reinforcements. I don’t know if I deserved all the help and kindness that has come my way over the last week or so, but I will sure be paying it forward to anyone else who needs it.

And if I hadn’t started 2017 more determined than ever to be thankful for my healthy body and all it can do if I look after it, I sure am now. Although I still have the box of tissues within arm’s reach, the world is much, much brighter when I’m not looking at it through a fog of coughing and sneezing—I’m feeling good and planning on making the most of it.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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