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I'm simplifying my life to make room for things that matter

I am so NOT a minimalist. Like, at all. In this exact moment, I have on my kitchen countertop the following items:

  • 32 diapers (clean, not in a box, just spilled out across my counter)
  • An empty coffee mug
  • My daughter's hairbrush
  • An envelope that is stamped but has no address on it
  • A pen (apparently intended at one point today to write aforementioned address?)
  • Two frames from Ikea, still in the plastic wrap
  • An egg poacher—for the record, I have not poached an egg in about five years
  • An empty vitamin container (that is less than two feet away from the recycling bin, but miraculously not in it)

Yeah, not exactly embracing the life of simplicity.

But with spring finally upon us, I am not going to let that stop me from doing a major spring-cleaning decluttering session.

Until fairly recently, I've had this sort of all-or-nothing view of the clutter—if my house couldn't be immaculate, what was the point of even trying? But like everything in motherhood, "perfect" doesn't exist—and honestly, I don't think I want it to.

What's that quote? Perfect is the enemy of good enough.

That's my spring-cleaning goal this year: good enough. I just want to make my home good-enough-er, for these six reasons:

1. Clutter makes me anxious

Motherly's Anne-Marie Gambelin wrote that "Chronic clutter can create prolonged stress, throwing us into a state of low-grade, perpetual fight-or-flight—the system designed to help us survive. The fight-or-flight response involves the complex interaction of many body systems and organs that activate needed functions and minimize unnecessary functions during times of stress. These systems must remain in balance to maintain optimum physical and psychological health."

I feel that fight-or-flight every time I walk into my kitchen and see a sink full of dirty dishes, or a stack of disorganized mail. But when I walk in and it's clean—I can actually feel my mood improve immediately. I want more of that mood this spring.

2. I want to spend money on experiences, not stuff

I think that when my house is more cluttered, I end up spending more money… on more stuff. Either because I can't find something I need that's lost in the clutter, or because of a "not enough" mindset, I find that I am much more tempted to make spontaneous purchases when I'm not actively pursuing a more minimalist lifestyle.

When I am in declutter-mode however, I am much more likely to pass on the random purchases, because I have worked so hard to get rid of stuff—why mess that up?

And that means more money to spend on experiences with my family this spring and summer. I just found out about a local farm where you can milk cows and feed calves (for the record, I am about 6,000 times more excited than my kids about this one), and a motel made of converted train cars—those are the things we will remember and cherish, not the stuff.

3. I am craving get-up-and-go adventures

Spontaneity definitely gets harder when you have young children, but to the extent that it's possible I want to have the freedom to pick up and set off for a random day trip, or simply spend all day in the backyard looking for bugs. That is so much easier to do when my house is organized.

A professional-organizer friend of mine once told me that the average American spends 55-minutes per day looking for stuff. I am certainly not willing to sacrifice an HOUR every day looking for sneakers, butterflies catchers and bathing suits.

Decluttering my house gives me my precious time back. And that means more fun.

4. I want my home to feel like a haven

Spring and summer always get so busy. No matter how hard I try to have a relaxed schedule, it ends up being pretty full. End of year school activities, sports, birthday parties—it's a lot of running around. So at the end of a long, busy day, I want my home to feel like a haven, where I can truly relax, and get that calmness I crave.

5. Less screen time for my kids

I wish I was better at ignoring the mess and just playing in spite of it, but it eats at me and before I know it, I am up and cleaning.

Confession: When I clean, my kids are often in front of a screen.

By the end of our Pennsylvania winter, the screen time has definitely climbed up, so come spring we are always yearning to knock it back down to next-to-nothing. If the house has less clutter and is more organized, there is simply less cleaning to do. No excuses, we're going outside, kids!

6. I want to take care of myself

I have learned that if I am not actively and intentionally taking care of myself, self-care quickly falls away, almost completely. And that's not okay—for me or my kids. So this spring I am re-prioritizing me. I want to plant that little flower-garden I have been daydreaming about for years, take the occasional nap with the windows open, cook healthy meals with food I've bought from our local farmer's market, and go for walks on trails with my dog.

Again, I am working to get better at doing those things regardless of the state of my house, but the truth is that I enjoy them so much more when I know I don't have piles of mess to come home to.

By decluttering my home and my schedule, I can get more intentional with my time and actually spend some of it on me.

Maybe I'll even poach an egg.

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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
$199.95, Nuna


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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