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Our childcare is provided entirely by my parents + my in-laws—but part of me still worried

Our childcare is covered entirely by grandparents. I know, we're the luckiest. My mom watches my daughter three days a week and my in-laws watch her two days a week. We don't have to pay for childcare, we never have to worry that our daughter isn't feeling loved every second she's away from us—and we trust our caregivers fully.

So how could someone as lucky as I am feel anything but fortunate?

In the midst of preparing to return to work from maternity leave, I struggled with giving up my full-time caretaker responsibilities for my daughter. What surprised me even more was that I struggled to cope with the fact that her grandparents would care for her more during the weekdays than I would.

As grateful as I was to have family eager to help us, I also felt jealous that they got to step in and—as I rationalized it—take my place.

This made me feel insecure about our care situation, and I struggled with figuring out how to appreciate something I knew I should be beyond grateful for. Fast forward a year and a half later to the present, and I wouldn't trade their role in my daughter's life for the world.

Like much of what I've experienced with the transition back to work, the anticipation and build-up were much more difficult than the reality. But in the build-up, I had a hard time reconciling the fact that other family members might know my daughter better, or have a more significant role in her life, than I would.

I'm lucky to have parents and in-laws who went along with the hoops I made them jump through as I prepared to return to work. One night, after lying awake in bed—anxious, stressed and unable to sleep—I decided that although our parents had successfully raised numerous children, and were total naturals, they needed to be certified just like any nanny or daycare staff would be.

So I made them enroll in a 3-hour infant safety class. Like the amazing grandparents they are, they happily attended without compliant. And then, a few days before my return to work, I invited them over for a full-day baby boot camp.

I had spent days writing a 14-page baby manual (complete with a table of contents). I can look back at it now and chuckle, but in the moment, this thing was my lifeline. If I wrote every detail down about my daughter, they'd have to absorb every word of it and care for her exactly as I did—right?

During our full-day boot camp, I took them through every word in that 14-page manual and taught them how I wanted them to care for my daughter. Again, they were happy to oblige my demands and somehow didn't disown me.

Though this may sound like an extreme approach, it was how I was able to cope with handing over such significant responsibility to anyone who wasn't me. In a way, I felt like I had to still establish that I was the mom—and I was trying everything possible to leave my mark when I wasn't physically present. In that moment, this process helped me cope.

But here's the silver lining. As I reflect back on that volatile time, I see that so much of what I stressed over before returning to work has transformed into the things I value and appreciate most today. For example, I felt like going back to work meant the end of my time being my daughter's mom. In that way, it felt like her grandparents were going to become her new parents and I'd be chopped liver. I'd think to myself, they already had the chance to raise their own children, and now they get to raise mine too.

In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. Mama is always mama, no matter how many close relationships your children develop in parallel. I truly love how close my daughter is to her grandparents and I'm grateful they have the opportunity to be present and active in her life. What I most feared has now become one of the things I most cherish.

I was worried that they'd be better at raising my daughter than I was. And that when we were all together as a family, they'd take over and I'd be stuck on the sidelines watching everyone else parent my kid. In reality, it's been humbling to learn that they are in fact better at a lot of things, and that I don't have to fear not being the expert. Their patience, zest and creativity far surpass mine.

I was worried that I'd lose control over how I wanted my child raised—that they'd do it their own way and it wouldn't match my wants or values. In reality, there have been only a few situations where things have happened that my husband and I haven't agreed with. It's been hard to speak up, because it's always more sensitive with family involved. But when we have, it has always been well received, respected and acted on.

I was worried that they'd care for her in ways that didn't follow my 14-page manual. And in reality, they did. Because they're human, and have their own methods and instincts. While the idea of it stressed me out initially, I've come to value the diverse ways we all care for her.

Truthfully, I think it's one of the best gifts we've given our daughter. She's adaptable and well-rounded, which I chalk up to the fact that she has so many different people watching her during the week. I've swallowed my pride, and have started to appreciate all of the different ways we each approach raising our girl.

When I think about all the things I feared or stressed over, I find that most revolved around the impact on my role as mom. While I want the absolute best for my daughter, I don't want to compromise my experience as her mother either.

The biggest lesson I've learned is that the amount of time I spend with my daughter isn't what makes or breaks my role as her mom. It's my responsibility to fill her life with wonderful people and experiences to nurture and support her as she grows. I am one of those people, but I don't have to be the only one.

And I know that so much of her wonderful personality has been shaped by the many people who help raise her. I'm thankful for my village who loves my daughter unconditionally, and is shaping me into a better person and mother every day.

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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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