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Minimalism means freedom; it means letting go of the clutter that’s been stressing you out. Choosing to overcome the chaos in your home and create a simpler life is a big deal. And it’s, ironically, overwhelming when you haven’t started yet. What’s even more overwhelming about it is tackling this project with kids in the house.

When I started my big purge, I had three kids aged three and under. I thought I’d never be able to make this important change in my home, and there were a lot of frustrating days.

Giving up wasn’t gonna happen though, because I had reached my breaking point and I was tired of cleaning up all the time. I wanted to be able to sit and enjoy my kids without having to pay the price of housework catch-up later. I wanted to spend my weekends soaking up family time, not doing 17 loads of laundry.

What everyone else was calling “normal” and “just motherhood” really sucked to me, and I wasn’t OK with it. I was determined to find a better way, so I let go of the things that weren’t necessary for me to keep. It worked.

But how did I do it with kids hanging off my leg begging of boredom? How can you, the overwhelmed mom with her feet on the same ground mine stood on four years ago, declutter your entire house with little ones around? I’mma show you.

1. Hire Netflix to babysit

Let’s start with the obvious. I know I talk a lot about limiting technology, but sometimes you just gotta let it fly. Turn that TV on, girl. Paw Patrol's got your back. When I was working through my house, I would save the TV especially for this time. I’d make it a really big deal, serve popcorn and juice, and put on their favorite show. I could usually get in a good hour of purging this way.

2. Set a decluttering schedule

I figured out that I needed to have set times each week that I tackled the clutter. Doing this helped me make it happen even during a tough week and eliminated excuses. Purging was on my calendar for three hours every Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning, it was a priority just like an appointment, so I had to follow through.

I got strict with myself and knew that if I really wanted this amazing lifestyle change (and I really really did), I had to put in the work. Plus, mama’s purging schedule quickly became a part of the kids’ routine and they learned to expect it (and look forward to a little TV time). Kids are less likely to freak out and have meltdowns when something is familiar, expected and happens routinely every week.

3. Include the tiny humans in the process

Most days, my kids just wanted to be with me. They’d see me sitting on the floor sorting through old paperwork and photo albums and want to be in my lap or draw a picture of the Yo Gabba Gabba cast next to me. When I stopped fighting it (who says they have to be away from you and you need 100% focus?) and encouraged them to join me, it got a lot easier. I would make my decluttering super exciting and let them sit with me, ask them to “help” me sort things into piles and turn it into quality time. After all, more time with my kids was my goal, so I needed to get used to being intentional about that.

What this ended up doing is making the process something my kids looked forward to, and I wonder if that’s part of the reason they’re so into it now. (if you haven’t seen my Periscopes where I declutter with my kids and they don’t give a what, you’re missin’ out!)

So let your kids eat a snack on the floor next to you, bring in some blocks or coloring stuff and let them be near you. Talk to them, listen to music together, let them watch Netflix on the tablet while you purge the closet… Your kids just want to be with you.

4. Get at it when they’re not awake

If you’ve got a particularly fussy little guy or you’re trying to purge something you don’t want them around for, tackle it while they’re napping. I used to put my older two down for their naps in my bedroom and the baby downstairs in his Pack & Play while I decluttered their bedroom. Shake it up, rearrange, do what you gotta do to make this happen.

5. Hire help

This may not be an option for everyone, but assuming you don’t have family around to lend a hand, this is something that’s worth an investment. When you put your money where your mouth is and invest in making this change happen, the likelihood of your success skyrockets.

Do you have a cleaning lady who comes once a month to help you out? Let her go (you’re not gonna need her anymore once you’re done anyway) and put the money into a few hours of babysitting so you can focus on banishing the clutter. Is there a girl who works at your church nursery who seems to love your kids? Offer to pay her $50 to come over and help you out on Saturday mornings.

6. Make a deal with Dad

If things are really tough and you’re not making enough progress, make a deal with your hubby. Explain how much decluttering means to you and how much less stressed you’ll be when it’s done. Ask him to take the kids out of the house for a few hours one day so you can really hit it hard. You’re taking on a huge project that’s going to change the way your family spends their time in an amazing way, this is going to create space for more memories, more joy and an intentional childhood for your kids—you guys need to be a team and you need some help. Ask for it.

7. Take it easier than planned

I know when you first learn that you don't have to clean up all the time if you'll just declutter, you wanna go all in. You might be doing more harm than good, though! If you have a baby, are pregnant or have kids under the age of six in your house, making this happen is tough. You might need to slow down and allow yourself more time to get to your goal, and that's OK! Do it in 10 minute chunks, dedicate one morning a week to it instead of three... Whatever it takes, just hack away at it and it will happen.

If your kids aren’t super little, and you’ve got at least one who can handle some responsibility, things are easier. My oldest is seven now, and when I had to pack for our cross-country move (which involved a ton of purging because we moved with almost nothing), she saved me. Kids around this age really like being trusted and given responsibility, so let them help you! Even now when I have something important to do, Bella helps me by keeping the baby occupied, leading her brothers in a game, making a snack and heading to the backyard or reading them a story.

Wherever you can get help and a little more time, take it. This matters, mama! Make it happen.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna


2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna


3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95


4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna


5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

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

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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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