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Why I Didn’t Leave the City When I Had Kids

I was born and raised in New York City. My mother was too. I am actually a fourth-generation Manhattanite that could never imagine living any place else.

I will tell you the truth, though: when I went for my 9-week ultrasound after my first round of IVF, and the doctor heard (and saw) a second heartbeat, my husband said, "We have to move!" I don't know if I was more in shock over that additional heartbeat, or of the prospect of having to leave the island that my family has called home since 1902.

So we looked. We looked in Brooklyn. We looked in Queens. We looked in Staten Island. We even looked in New Jersey. Some of the homes that we saw were quite magnificent. We even toured a renovated firehouse in St. George right by the Staten Island ferry. But, nothing compared to the bright lights and big city that is lower Manhattan.

We decided to stay. Sure, moving would've given us more space, but how much space do you really need? My grandmother raised seven children in a 350-ft. apartment on the Lower East Side. If it was good enough for her, it should be good enough for me! I never had a bathtub or a closet to call my own, so I figured that maybe my kids shouldn't either.

Once we stopped looking for a house, we started thinking about how to adapt our current living situation so it could accommodate two extra people. We made a ton of changes: we put up some walls, painted everything, and did what typical parents do when preparing for their newborns. Of course, I worried I wouldn’t have enough space. But ultimately, I always knew that this was going to be the better choice for me and my growing family.

I'm happy to say that almost 13 years after the arrival of my tiny little twinnies, we made the right choice. And yet, moving still crosses my mind from time to time. I had a recent talk with my kids about it -- high school is right around the corner and, in New York City, there’s an overwhelming amount of options. Maybe it would be time for a simpler life. Maybe they needed a breathe of fresh air.

And just like their mama did 13 years ago, my twins totally freaked out. They love living here. They love playing in a park filled with kids instead of a backyard, where there might only be the two of them. They love walking to get shrimp noodles in the morning or fresh mozzarella in the afternoon. They love the hustle and bustle. They love seeing random celebrities. They love being able to get pretty much anything they have ever wanted at any time of day. While they aren't spoiled, it's not the worst city to live in when your kids forget to get poster board for a project due in the morning at 9 p.m. at night. (Thank you, 24-hour CVS!)

But what I love about the city is so much more than the superficial -- the fact that I never had to teach the kids what "diversity" was; that the kids are amazingly open-minded; that they have kids in school with two moms, two dads, no dad, raised by grandparents, and every type of family in between. I love that they take seeing a giant Picasso in the street (near Washington Square Park) for granted. I love that they literally went trick or treating in Gucci. I love that they are so open, accepting and inclusive, that regardless of where they end up as adults, they will have tons of friends and very open hearts for all of them.

WAIT! Don't think that I'm saying that folks living in the 'burbs are close-minded. NO WAY! I'm just saying that the typical opportunity for exposure to different types of lifestyles is sometimes limited. Growing up downtown in the literal melting pot of the city (you saw Gangs of New York right? We live in the "five points") allows them to see, hear and even taste the different cultures and lifestyles.

I love this city and, sure, we don't have a bathtub, but we do have so much more to be thankful for. And most days, we have a typical life... even if it it may never seem typical to someone living outside of Manhattan. (You see us cooped up in 650-square feet. I see a small but cozy 3-bedroom that I can clean in about 20 minutes.) And anyway, my kids don't know the difference.

So if you’re on the fence about whether or not to raise your kids in the city, I hope I've convinced some of you to stay. But if you go, and have some extra room in your basement, email me because I'd love to store some boxes down there.

Natalie Diaz is the Pied Piper of twin families around the globe. Founding Twiniversity — the world’s leading support network for multiple birth families — in 2009, she’s become the global influencer for this small niche community. Reaching over a million families a week through Twiniversity’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube channels, moms and dads of twins flock to Twiniversity to find resources, ask questions, explore new products, and find community and support from other twin parents. Natalie is a true connector, bringing parents from all walks of life together, breaking past cultural differences, to share in the highs and lows of parenting twins. Natalie’s book, “What To Do When You’re Having Two” is a global bestseller in Twins & Multiples Parenting.

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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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