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I’m writing this from a comfy hotel bed. I have the family dog at my feet, my husband has left for work, and I can say for the first time in four months, I woke up according to my body’s internal clock. Which is pretty incredible considering that my clock has been completely twisted and smashed since the birth of my second son in May.

My kids were at home last night with my night nurse, Clavia. I want to call her Clavia the Great and Powerful because she is just so great, and also because she pretty much singlehandedly saved my marriage.

This hotel thing was her idea. At four months, we decided that Baby G was ready to cry it out. Like most mothers, I am a fragile flower when it comes to hearing my baby cry. So Clavia urged my husband and I to get a hotel for a night or two while she stayed at our place and did the dirty work.

Of course, this hotel stay is only the tip of the Clavia the Great iceberg. She’s been staying with us every weekday night, getting up for every one of my baby’s whimpers while I sleep soundly.

This is worlds apart from the experience I had with my first baby. Flashback to three years ago, on the floor of my husband’s grandmother’s house in Queens, where we were staying while our apartment was under construction: My breasts are hooked up to the breast pump, my dog is biting my dirty pajama pants trying to get me to throw him the baby’s pacifier, which he has appropriated as his own new chew toy. My colicky son is in his bouncer crying hysterically, as he seems to always be doing. And so am I. Desperate cries, from exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

With my first baby, I thought I could handle it all by myself, and besides, I thought, there would be family around to help. But “family” isn’t there at two in the morning when your colicky newborn falls asleep nursing, then pops his eyes open like one of those vintage baby dolls with the scary plastic eyelids the minute his body touches his mattress. Family likes to come over to “visit,” which means holding the baby while he sleeps. And family is usually off having a quiet dinner at their own homes while you and your husband are playing hot potato with your screaming, red-faced baby, trying to shovel in takeout and making passive aggressive comments about who had the harder day.

For months, I not-so-quietly resented my husband. He got to sleep at night, leave for work and have a sense of agency and independence for 8 hours every day. He wasn’t being drained of life from an infant suckling at his breasts every minute of the day. I hated my life. I strongly disliked my baby. I cried multiple times a day. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. My husband and I were both so tired, we never did anything together at night besides rush through eating before I power-showered so I could climb into bed as soon as possible because I’d be getting up an hour later for the baby.

This time things were different, with Clavia at my side. Nights started with smiling and laughing, and included quality time with both of my children. There was dinner, wine and Netflix with my husband, and then there was sleeping. Sure, a little less of that--I probably lost an hour or two a night while nursing during those first few weeks. But not long after, I was able to sleep the whole night without pumping or nursing; Clavia fed the baby bottles of pumped milk and I slept straight through until my toddler’s 5am wakeup.

This time around, my husband and I actually enjoyed each other’s company during these first few months of our baby’s life. There was no resentment. And since Clavia was there already, we would go on little date nights during the week. Sometimes just to get ice cream at Ample Hills or to take the dog on a walk together. Or occasionally, like last night, to escape to a fancy hotel for drinks and dinner and a full night’s sleep.

These are Clavia’s last nights with us--it is time to cut the proverbial cord. Hopefully the baby will be sleeping through the night soon. Sleep training has been going pretty well, so far (reports Clavia).

I know it is unconventional to outsource dealing with the crappy parts of having a baby, and it is something not everyone is able to swing financially. Of course once in a while, I feel a little guilty for not having had to rough these stormy seas of early motherhood like almost everyone else I know. But I also know I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I am happier, I didn’t get postpartum depression this time, and my marriage is so much healthier because of it.

My postpartum memories this time around are filled with images of quiet nights at home together with my husband, and cuddle-filled mornings with our two sons. And also, delicious mornings like this one, with me alone in a sun-filled hotel room, cup of coffee and a dog beside me, and nothing but the rumble of traffic on the Bowery below to disturb me.

Image source.

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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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