A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Being a new parent is scary, intimidating, exhausting and wonderful in every other kind of way. Then a mere 3 months after giving birth, you must decide who is going to fill your shoes and care for this new little treasure of yours. Hiring someone with a style of care that’s similar to yours is a good place to start. But you only have a few months of parenting experience under your belt, and though having a caregiver with years, sometimes decades, of experience can be reassuring as you fumble through what to do with a newborn, it can also be intimidating.

My first nanny experience scarred me. It was the Devil Wears Prada version of the nanny world, but I was the one paying someone to boss me around. Yes, my nanny was bossy, and she added undue stress to my early days of motherhood -- something that, now that I look back, could have been avoided. So I’ll take one for the team and share my cautionary tale, in hope that other parents can benefit from my harrowing experience.

At first, I found relief in my nanny’s extensive knowledge in infant care. She cut my baby’s nails without flinching while I was scared to death that I would accidently cut him. When it came to diaper change, I was still such a rookie. I’d double and triple check the tightness of the tabs to get the correct fit. But she was a pro, taking a diaper from the caddy and whipping it out with force and confidence to then quickly unravel it into a flexible garment conform to his tiny body. It was comforting, I thought, to have such an expert to show me the ropes.

But after a month, her suggestions stopped being a relief and took an intimidating and forceful path. Yes, I still had a lot to learn, but by then I had combed through an entire bookshelf of Parenting Literature and was using and trusting my own intuitions. That’s when things started to clash.

“Why do you and your husband always wear your baby?,” she asked in a condescending way when my son was 4 months old. This question was her not-so subtle way of saying he cried too much when she wanted to go on one of her epic strolls and visit with her friends. Then, she warned me that she would know if I didn’t do rigorous sleep training -- something we decided we weren’t interested in doing. But she thought it took him too long to fall asleep for his nap, so she kept pushing and pushing. When it was time to start solid foods, she insisted on giving him cereals. “All babies start with rice cereal,” she said when I told her I wanted him to start with vegetables.

Eventually, I grew more confident and knew exactly what I wanted for my baby and what was best for him. Though perhaps we were ill matched from the start, our nanny didn’t seem willing to do the intricate dance that I think is necessary for this kind of relationship to sustain itself -- a relationship that relies on mutual respect and on a common goal to do what’s best for the baby. For this relationship to be successful, the parents need to feel supported, the caregiver valued and the baby happy and well cared for.

One day, I texted her from work to check on him. Her response was brief and dismissive: “Well, what can I say. He is not having a good day!” Of course, I panicked and was unable to concentrate on work. I was worried about my baby and wanted to make sure she’d do what she could to make him feel better. “He loves the song B-I-N-G-O,” I texted back. “If you sing that, he usually cheers up.” She once again disregarded my suggestion and wrote: “You need to get him an iPod with his favorite songs.” That was her last day with my son.

Though I was relieved not to have our nanny around to tell us about everything that is wrong with us, I was angry. And then depressed. I was rattled to the core as a new mom. Was there something wrong with my baby? Was he already a problem child, and was my parenting style to blame for it? I knew that the character of my child and my parenting would likely come into question again, and this was undoubtedly a stepping stone in parenthood, but having to deal with such incertitudes only six months postpartum felt way too early!

When my husband and I started looking for a new nanny, the interviews went very differently. We still payed attention to the applicants’ years of experience and recommendation letters, but not just. First, we asked for recommendations through parent friends in hope that it would help us find a better personality fit. Then, we laid out our baby’s preferences and discomforts, as well as our own. And though not much had changed from when our son was 3 months old, this time we knew what we wanted and needed, and we put it on the table right away to avoid ambiguities in the future. For instance we said, “He does not like being in the stroller for long periods of time. Is that going to be a problem?” “Apparently we fall into the category of attachment parenting, if you find this absurd, let us know.” Lastly, we acknowledged the value in their experience and made it clear that we wanted to be aware of their ideas and opinions, but wanted to make it clear that we what we wanted most was to keep a dialogue going.

When we found the right match, we could finally put our “Miranda Priestly” behind us. Knowing that our baby was being cared for in a way that made him comfortable and without having to apologize for his needs gave us the support and peace of mind we needed to then do our other jobs.

Original illustration by Shanequa Simpson for Well Rounded NY.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

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.

You might also like:

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.

You might also like:

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)! 🎉

You might also like:

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.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.