A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

It’s no secret that motherhood gets the creative juices flowing. Once we’ve grown a human being, brought them into the world, and then supported their little life day after day, it feels like there’s nothing we can’t do, right? Which means, of course, some of the best ideas are born right after baby. As was the case with Elle Rowley’s Solly Baby.

An avid babywearer seeking a better carrier right after she had baby #2, Elle worked relentlessly in a nook of her living room while her little ones slept. Her design and experimentation ultimately paid off with a soft, luxurious womb-like knit wrap so light and slim that it literally molds to your baby without overheating. Add in custom-dyed fabrics in beautiful colors and gorgeous designs (shibori anyone?), and it’s no surprise Solly Baby wraps have become the centerpiece of just about all our favorite new mama Instagram feeds.

This week, Solly Baby debuted their latest collection, filled with fresh hues, updated patterns and even a ridiculously cool Limited Edition Oh Joy! wrap by design guru Joy Cho. Below, Elle--now a mom of three (Lucy, 6; Solomon, 3; and Frances, 1)--fills us in on what we can expect to see from Solly Baby in 2015, and shares a little advice on balancing babies with business and getting your own creative juices flowing.

How do you structure your days between work and family?

During a typical week, I’ll go to the gym and then into the office early while my husband Jared gets kids ready, my oldest off to school and my youngest down for her nap until 10 or 11. Then we swap. I go home to our little ones for the rest of the day while Jared works until 5 or 6 at the office. I check in on emails and our social media platforms periodically but I really try to stay present with my kids when I’m out of the office. When they’re in bed we’ll both work a little more if it’s an especially hectic time.

The growth of our business has been incredible, but the workload can be relentless at times. Still, I love that there is flexibility within the chaos.

How do you think becoming a mom has enhanced you as a business woman?

I don’t just want to succeed, I want to succeed in a way that I am proud of in every way. In a way that my kids will want to emulate and feel proud that I’m their mom. I see every minute that I’m away from them as time that needs to mean something, not just make money, so I want everything I do and all of my interactions to really mean something.

Who are some entrepreneurial moms you admire or want to emulate?

Oh my, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many, but some of my closest “mentors” are DeNai Jones and Korie Conant (founders of Petunia Picklebottom), Katie Richardson (Puj), Annalisa Thomas (Oilo). It’s been amazing to see these women grow these beautiful companies and still keep their priorities straight.

I’m equally inspired by the mothers of start-ups around me. I see them do the daily grind for little to no pay, no accolades and questioning themselves daily if it’s worth it, if they shouldn’t just give up. That’s the time when every day is such a struggle to just keep going. There’s something so amazing about watching that kind of willpower and determination.

What advice would you give to a new mom that’s trying to start or grow a business?

Three things! First, only work with people who are either hungry for the work or understand your vision (preferably both). Second, have such a clear vision of what you want that no one else can take it from you. And, finally, for my deepest thought: you know how on the Bachelor the girls who get so bugged with each other start obsessing over it and end up getting kicked off because amidst their angst they forgot to develop a relationship with the Bachelor? That’s what knock-off competitors can do to you. Keep focused and leave it to karma.

Is there such a thing as balance? What's your best tips to help achieve it?

If there is, I haven’t found it! I think there is such a thing as priorities, though. I think we all know when our priorities are out of whack and when they’re not. I definitely don’t want to speak from a position of authority on this, but I can share a few things I’m working on:

  1. Take care of yourself first so you can best take care of others.
  2. Don’t be a martyr! No need to suffer needlessly in an attempt to “do it all”. Nobody can do it all. Let’s accept this and let go of the guilt behind things like scheduling in a date by yourself once a month (or more!), hiring a sitter or a housecleaner, going out with your friends, or not making your daughter’s birthday cake from scratch.
  3. When I’m feeling stressed, I like to make a list of everything I can possibly think of that’s making me feel that way. Then I write next to each stressor what I can do to change it. Either there’s something I can do and I’ll plan and schedule what I can do right then or I let it go.
  4. Learn to say no.
  5. Be present.

What's upcoming for Solly Baby in 2015?

This wrap with Oh Joy! is the first of many exciting things this year. We have our Solly Dolly wraps for little ones to wear their favorite dolls or stuffed animals in and a host of other collaborations this year as well. We are always looking for ways to work with our partner charity, Every Mother Counts, so be on the lookout for some projects with them later this year, celebrating motherhood and improving maternal health globally.

Photography by Max Wanger. Models are styled by Jacqui Saldana for Madewell. Solly Dolly wardrobe provided by Boy + Girl.

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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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