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How a Traveling Dad Can be a Present Dad

*We’ve partnered with BabyBjörn to show how modern dads are redefining parenting norms. While there’s no shortage of stories about entrepreneurial moms trying to “have it all,” we don’t hear much about the dads who are doing the same. We feel for the mom who’s trying to start a business (or businesess, plural) while balancing the responsibilities of parenting, but dad? We rarely stop to think about his emotional struggles, or how much he, too, feels the pull between parenting and pushing his business forward. For this third installment of our BabyBjörn #dadstories series, we’re spotlighting the entrepreneur dad. Meet André Hueston Mack, who is as passionate about fatherhood as he is about his many professional pursuits. He's not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk. Often literally…while babywearing. As the winemaker/owner of Mouton Noir Wines, as well as a creative director, coloring book author, and soon-to-be restaurateur (his Brooklyn wine bar & Sons: Ham Bar & Buttery will open this fall), André spends much of the week on the road, working, mingling and entertaining. But while he may miss some of the day-to-day with his three boys, Finnegan, 8, Django, 6, and Zephyr (nicknamed Pickle), 14 months, he’s no less “present” in his sons’ lives. Below, André lets us into his Brooklyn home and shares his strategies for “having it all” -- or at least trying. What's your typical schedule during the week with the kids? Most weeks, I get on a plane every Tuesday for work and return home by Friday for dinner. For a lot of my friends, that seems like a massive amount of time to be away, but I generally check in daily via text, phone calls or my favorite, FaceTime. My wife, Phoebe, bears the brunt of the workload during this time. During the weekends, I share a lot more of the responsibilities of their morning routines and getting the kids to where they need to be. I also get to spend more time with them on an individual basis, allowing me to focusing on catering to their needs. On Saturday, while Finn is at Dance class, Django and I get to spend most of the day together, hanging at the park, throwing the ball around, brunching, catching up on the previous week and planning future adventures. On Sunday, while Django's at Cello, I have the same scenario with Finn. Phoebe likes to sleep in during the weekends, so Pickle and I generally sneak downstairs for reading sessions before everyone awakes. Dinners play a big role in the socialization of our family and are something that's taken very seriously. We take the liberty every chance we get to huddle around the table to indulge. Once a quarter, I pack up the family and they come on the road with me for a week. Destinations for travel are usually selected by points of interest for education for our children, and where we do business. We homeschool them, so they do their exploring/research while I work, and the day ends in a family dinner somewhere. Our summers are mostly spent together as a family in the Willamette Valley, in Oregon. I find that this levels the playing field of a massively hectic travel schedule the rest of the year. How do you share the love of your career with your children? I honestly believe that true passion is infectious, and by the very nature of how our home life is set up -- meaning homeschooling and working from home -- my children are very involved in the inner workings and events in my business. Part of the reason for opening this new family business (& Sons) is to share our passion for hospitality with our children, while showing them that humility and gratification can be gained from helping others. What does being "present" as a father mean to you? It means to be 1,000% coherent and to be truly engaged when I’m with them. It also means instilling values and thought processes to handle whatever is thrown at them in their lives. It's through those teachings that my “presence" will be felt long after I've left this earth. How has your role as a parent changed as you've had more kids? I'm somewhat a believer that there really is no difference between having two and three children, but my role as a parent has changed with the wants and needs of each child. Because as we all know, just because they're raised underneath the same roof doesn't mean they’re exactly the same. How would you describe you and Phoebe as a parenting team? I always knew that Phoebe would be a great mother -- I can be honest and say that was also a part of the attraction. She was confident, independent and smart, with a quick wit. She's a whole lot more practical, whereas I am totally spontaneous. I guess good cop/bad cop is one way to describe us as a parenting team. Phoebe is more strict while I tend to be a little bit more lax about things...but the rules can be reversed, depending on the topic. And although we come from total opposite backgrounds, our parental beacon guides us towards raising insightful, self-aware, free-thinking human beings. Tell me about your decision to homeschool. Our parenting style is united under our motto: "Don't let school get in the way of your education." Life's education is partially earned through real-life experiences and it's homeschooling that gives us the ability to let our children explore their passions at an earlier age. As the father of 3 boys, why are BabyBjörn’s stories of fatherhood so important to you? Growing up, most of my friends didn't have their fathers present in their lives. I was always grateful that there was a father figure in my life. I want my boys to know that fatherhood is a lifelong process, and that you never stop being one. It’s great to see a brand like BabyBjörn trying to highlight how much dads do, how impactful they are on their children’s lives, and how important the bond is between a father and his child. Tell me about a parenting moment you thought: I'm in over my head. Sometimes I can be a real grudge holder, and one day I found myself imposing that on my older child after he had an incident with one of his friends. I realized that it's up to him to forgive, and that I shouldn't be pushing my own agenda. And...tell me about the parenting moment you realized: this is exactly where I should be. There are way too many moments that I realize I'm exactly where I need to be, even on the very challenging and complicated days. They tend to prove that being a father is one of the greatest gifts. Photography by Ren'ee Kahn-Bresler for Well Rounded. Check out BabyBjörn’s #dadstories here, then share your own on Instagram (or get the dad in your life to share his!) using the hashtag #dadstories. Don’t forget to tag @wellroundedny and @babybjorn_us!


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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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