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In my experience, division starts early in the world of mothers. When I was roughly seven months pregnant with my first child, I did a crash course on all the labor, delivery and parenting classes offered at my local hospital. Starting a family in my 30s, I was keen to do the whole thing "right."

To my relief and terror, the one and two-day lessons—covering topics ranging from labor to diapering—made it very clear that there was a "best" way to do just about everything.

While the labor class presented the idea of epidurals, it was evident in the way this class was taught, that the mothers able to give birth naturally would be the happiest. I wrote furiously in my notebook and scanned my partner's eyes to see if he believed I had it in me to go the distance without drugs.

Recounting tales of the seminar at a barbecue that weekend, a mother of two spoke to me with intensity. "If you use drugs or an epidural during your baby's delivery, you will regret it for the rest of your life," she said.

I wrapped my arms around my precious bump and wrapped my heart around her words. Would I fail at being a mother before I'd even begun? How different that moment would have been for me if she had extended welcome and support instead.

Now, don't get me wrong. My girlfriends, sisters, aunts and mom are my absolute bedrock. It is upon their love and reinforcement that I thrive. But mothers seem to be expected to choose sides when it comes to parenting—often to the detriment of our emotional well-being and our gender as a whole, I believe.

But, how wonderful would it be to have a conversation with someone whose mothering decisions differed from our own without judgment or feelings of inadequacy?

On another day, I attended a nursing class. A confident midwife welcomed us anxious 20 or so moms-to-be. "I'm going to write the three most controversial words you'll ever hear on this board," she said with marker in hand.

Instantly perched as far forward on the edges of our seats as our beautifully full bellies would allow, we watched her undertake a flurry of arm movements, her back to the room. Moments later, she turned to reveal in bold, all-caps letters: FEEDING. SLEEPING. DIAPERING.

She went on to explain that as mothers we would develop deep devotion and almost radical conviction to the ways we decided to care for our babies.

Would we co-sleep or never allow them in the bed? Was using a pacifier worth the possible nipple confusion risk? Considering the resources required to launder cloth diapers, which diapering choice was nobler for the planet? We would have to decide and then we'd have to commit.

I called my mom afterward, wondering how she chose to formula feed.

"I had a difficult time nursing in the hospital. The nurses suggested I try bottle feeding," she said. Adding, "My generation wasn't really told there was one right way to do everything. We just loved our way through."

The idea of relying on love over facts did appeal to me. But as I hung up the phone, I went back to reading statistics on my screen about breastfeeding and formula feeding and everything in between.

That midwife's warning proved true in my life. Mothers were ardently passionate about the choices they made.

I tiptoed around certain topics when making new mom friends, careful not to come on too strong or turn them away if our home habits differed. The overall impact is that I never felt truly myself around these fellow moms. Struggles I was having stayed secret – observing an unspoken rule never to show weakness. I wondered if my new friends were equally uneasy.

As the years have passed, the fervor hasn't really dwindled. Moms continue to be under pressure to choose sides: screen-time, sleeping schedules, discipline approach, scholastic expectation, sports focus and sugar intake to name a few.

But here's the thing: Every mom I've encountered is simply trying to do the best she can for her children.

This idea of committing categorically to an approach puts too much pressure on the mother and encourages distrust of other styles. In my professional life, I learned at the start that success was found in being nimble—not blindly committing to a path.

Moreover, appreciating different parenting styles creates a richer environment. I often advise my kids to see all sides of a situation—explaining that opposing positions can be enlightening.

In a culture where there is ever-growing reliance on echo-chambers, moms have an opportunity to lead the charge out of insular, self-serving conversations.

Open-mindedness about ideas that disagree with our own might not result in any change to our parenting behavior, but we can create a genuinely supportive landscape in which every mother (and the children she is raising) is encouraged to be successful.

There are multiple paths to take to arrive at the destination we're all working toward—well-raised children. I plan to remind myself more often that a mother who is raising her children with different daily choices than my own is not a threat.

In the process, I hope to model for my kiddos that uniting around a common goal does not require we all be identical. Valuing one another's differences is where equality and progress reside.

I am convinced that my new, sincerely accepting perspective will allow me to enjoy being a mother even more than I do because I will be operating from a position of true openness. I invite you to join me if you wish.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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