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The Urban Mom's Guide to Buying a Car

Becoming a mother means that you’ll start changing a lot of things to accommodate your growing family. You’ll swap couture clothes for comfortable, practical ones, and you rethink everything in your home as it all looks like a potential hazard to your new tiny roommate. And your car -- that stylish coupe in your parking space… Well, you’re probably going to upgrade it for something a little more family friendly.

Buying and owning your first family vehicle can be a daunting decision to make for new moms, especially if you have to deal with the unique challenges that come with living in a large city. From having to squeeze into tight spots to showing a pothole who’s the boss, cities are an automotive minefield, and you need a vehicle that is not only spacious, but also maneuverable and economical to navigate your urban environment while still being able to haul not only lots of stuff, but also your newborn or your herd of preschoolers. So, to help you find the perfect car for your family of city dwellers, here is the Urban Mom’s guide to owning a car.


Safety is a major priority to consider when purchasing a family car for the city. One of the challenges often encountered with city driving are collisions. So, to ensure your family’s safety, carefully research the safety features of each of your car options before making your decision. Cover the basics: side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control. A backup camera and parking sensor can also come in handy; and if you find yourself leaning back or turn around to talk to your kids, you may want to opt for a couple of modern safety gadgets, like the forward-collision alert and the lane-departure warning. Rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitors are valuable tools to have if you feel like you’re lacking visibility.


Space is another factor to consider, both the interior of the car and dimensions of the exterior. First of all, you should ask yourself whether you will be able to fit your family, as well as all your baby essentials, in the car comfortably. Remember that, down the road, your family will change. Your kids will get bigger, and you may add more children and pets to your gang. So you may want to think more long-term and think big(ger) to avoid accruing additional expenses later on. But of course, you want to think about your living situation. If you live in a city, figure out what kind of car your parking can accommodate. Will your new car fit comfortably in a ¾ garage? Is it easy to parallel park?


You need to consider the fuel economy of the car. In the city, cars spend a lot of time idling in traffic. Idling expends a lot of fuel, so you need to research or select a car that is going to preserve fuel wherever possible. If you are serious about green energy and have the budget to cover their heftier price tag, hybrid and electric cars are really the way to go when driving in the city.


Once you’ve chosen your car, you can outfit it with all necessary accessories needed for traveling with kids.

Car Seat. Car seats are notorious troublemakers for new parents, particularly when it comes to installing them. However, with a bit of clever engineering, newer cars have been designed with improved interior dimensions, including raised roofs for more head space and flexible seating to allow getting in and out of the car with greater ease. These improvements also make it easier to install and remove the car seat without causing injury.

Another point of concern for new moms, when it comes to car seat installation, is which side of the car to install the seat. It is intuitive for parents to install the seat behind the front passenger seat in a rear-facing position, to be better able to see the baby. However, new studies suggest the safest place to install the car seat is in the center rear passenger position, as to avoid injury due to side-impact collisions, as well as to keep the car seat away from side airbags.

Stroller. Owning an urban family car can often present problems when it comes to trunk space and transporting all those baby essentials you need, especially the stroller. Fortunately, if you have a car with limited trunk space, there are many models of stroller suitable for urban living, which are light and compact and fold easily. Some of the better models will include an infant car seat that can be docked to the base installed in the back of your car, along with a lightweight frame that can be folded to save space in your trunk.

Car Organization. New babies come with a huge number of accessories, and most of the time your diaper bag can handle the load, but inevitably things will find their way into the nooks and crevices of your car. Keep your new car clean and organized by investing in a good organization system for your car. Diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys and anything else that your baby might need can be conveniently stored in a back-of-seat organizer.


Dings, scratches and overheated engines are likely occurrences for moms driving in the city. The key to ensuring your car survives the challenges of city driving unscathed is by keeping a regular maintenance schedule.

Regularly inspecting your car gives you the opportunity to identify and fix small problems before they become huge disasters. Leaving or overlooking problem areas will end up costing you a lot more money and inconvenience in the long-term.

Most checks can be done at home, and small repairs only require a small selection of tools and auto products, which can be kept in the trunk of your car, alongside the stroller and diaper bag. What’s more, the money you save by regularly maintaining your car can be spent on more baby stuff.

When it comes time to take your urban family car for a tune-up or more extensive mechanical repairs however, source the best auto shop and mechanic for your car needs. Find a mechanic you can trust and form a good working relationship with. You need to feel comfortable talking with your mechanic about everything, from radiator fluid to car seat safety. Never be afraid to ask questions, no matter how irrelevant you think they may be. When it comes to owning a car, you should always think of your family’s safety first.

Jenna Joubert is an Auto Mechanic, Mom, and Blogger. At a young age, she worked at her family’s auto body shop and it was there that her passion for the automotive industry grew. Jenna is ASE certified and trained at the BMW Performance School! When she isn’t working she is vacationing at Disney with her young family.

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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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