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Confession: I've been hiding my stomach from my husband.

Since I've had our second child in as many years, I frequently wear loose tops, and have been known to wear my fluffy robe around the house more often than not. When my husband greets me in the bathroom post-shower, I quickly wrap a robe around myself. And the lights at sexy time? Well, I'm working the dim setting pretty hard.

But hiding a part of myself from him—the part that helped grow the babies we made together—has started to feel like a secret I no longer wanted to hide.

And recently, a few words from him, this man I love, helped transform me from hiding woman to proud mama.

So here's the undeniable truth: I'm two and a half months out from birthing baby number two. My body is recovering from the 60 pounds I gained during my pregnancy. Where I was once tight and toned, I now have saggy areas, stretch marks and a stomach pouch. Sometimes it's hard to recognize myself in the mirror.

But life goes on and so must I.

Plus, my sister is getting married in a few weeks, and even though I'm not emotionally ready yet to buy a swimsuit for her destination wedding, Vegas awaits. So off to shop for swimsuits I went.

“Do you think this is okay?" I asked, holding up a suit to show a friend. “It has full coverage in the back, and these ruffles will hide my stomach."

(Full coverage? Ruffles to hide things? When did this happen to me?)

I decided to try the one piece on when I got home, and of course right when I slipped it on I heard his keys jingle in the door. I had to make a quick decision. Run into our bedroom to change, or keep the bathing suit on to show him? Realizing that I wouldn't be able to run and change in the 10 seconds it would take him to get inside anyway, I realized: I was caught.

And there I was, one cold winter's day in New England, in my postpartum one-piece glory.

“Wow!" He said grinning as he walked in. “You look absolutely gorgeous. New suit? You look great."

I felt so relieved. And encouraged. As I looked at him, I noticed the look on his face—he looked so in love. With me. In my old-lady suit. With the ruffles and the full booty coverage.

And instead of fear, or shame, or wistfulness for the way I used to be, instead I just melted.

There I was, far from the 5-foot-11, 135-pound college girl he fell in love with, awkwardly standing in front of him, unsure of myself. And there he was, looking at me like I was Queen of the World.

That was the moment that transformed me.

My husband sees changes in me—changes that I sometimes struggle to fully see and accept.

My body is definitely different now than it was then. I am different. And we are so different, too. We are a family.

The beautiful thing about being with the one you love is promising to do it forever. And getting to see a kinder, lovelier version of myself than I might allow—through the eyes of this husband of mine.

We started this thing when we were barely out of college and didn't have a clue. Nearly a decade later, we're parents with master's degrees who have each made a career change. We own a home and deal with the nitty-gritty of making our finances work. We worry about real-life problems, not just where we're going drinking Friday night. We're growing up together. We have some life experience under our belts. And yes, we have some extra skin under our belts, too. (Well, I do.)

So now I'm owning the changes.

My breasts have been nursing for two years. My arms have been busy lifting car seats, my back giving pony rides. My face has been crinkling with laughter and proud smiles. I have been wringing my hands with worry. I sleep less, spending late hours writing at my computer and early mornings nursing our new baby.

But I have so much love in my heart. My life feels full. Full of happiness and contentment and craziness and poopy diapers. And potty training and tantrums and spit-up.

My hips are full too. Oh yes, and my waistline. These things will change; such is the ebb and flow of gaining and losing weight.

But our love won't change because of these things. Because we are more than superficial changes at this point in our lives.

So to my ruffled, full-coverage swimsuit, I say thank you.

Thank you for giving me this moment of clarity. For reminding me that my marriage is more than the number on the scale, and our mutual attraction is more important than how we looked at 22.

Our love is big.

Bigger-than-my-stretch-marks big.


Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

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2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

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$349.95, Nuna

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3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

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(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

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4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

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$179.95, Nuna

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5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

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With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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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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