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Here you are, walking down the aisle toward freedom. Congratulations and I wish you the very best in taking your next step into your adult life! May I offer you some advice? These things, you simply need to know.  


You now have the power to create the life you want

Yes, you do! No matter what has happened in your past, it does not need to dictate your future. You can make choices that will build any path you desire. Hold on to that truth and you can make your life anything you dream it to be. This is your beginning, your birth into being an adult, and you alone can make your life everything you want it to be.  

Life is unfair

You may already know this, but I promise you that you will continue to face many things in life that are unfair. This world is a broken place, and because we live in it, things go wrong- often. If you can accept this now, you will be better able to handle much of what comes your way. The reality is that you will have to endure difficult situations, some out of your control… be prepared to accept them as they come, and learn to navigate through these tumultuous turns with rational reasoning and inner strength. Find the support you need through people you trust, and find strength in knowing you are not alone.

 

 

Be responsible for your actions!  

From this moment on, YOU are accountable for who you are. Not your parents, your teachers, your peers or anyone you would so easily like to blame for your mistakes. No one is to blame but you, so don’t make excuses. Own it, because that is part of growing up. Make amends, adjustments, and decisions that allow you to correct your choices, and do it with conviction.  

You have the freedom to define who you are

No one else owns you, only you. You can choose to create your own identity and live it! Don’t allow others to define you, rather build your own voice and make decisions that support it. Other people will always have their opinions about you, but you have the ability to allow them to matter, or not. As you grow older and your life evolves, so will your definition. Treasure it like a cherished gem. Alter it when necessary and honor it always. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

There is no easy out

Seriously. If you find yourself stuck in a difficult situation, usually the only way out of it is through it. Be courageous and honest. Face the hard conversations and take responsible action. I promise it’s worth traveling that tough terrain. You will ultimately triumph with newfound strength and insight for meeting that challenge. You will also develop integrity, the ultimate trait you will have earned. The consequence of handling conflicts responsibly is having the peace in knowing you did the best you could.  

You will fail

A lot. Failure is a part of life. Period. You will regret many choices you make, and perhaps some may have lasting consequences. Always remember, you can learn from it. Every failure has something useful for you to gain. Give yourself grace, because you are human. Make sure you are able to make amends where needed, and move forward with the new insight and knowledge you gained from that experience.  

Find your passion

You may be wondering about your future dreams and goals, as most graduates do. If you already have your ideas and formed your plans, embrace them! Take those mighty steps toward them! If you don’t know just yet, please don’t worry!  You’re still so young; you have so much time to discover what you love. Also, passions sometimes change as you grow older and learn more about this world and who you are. Always allow yourself to birth new loves in your life. You never have to be stuck in one dream. Remember, you are in charge of your life and who you are- so make decisions as you go, according to your heart. You’ll be much happier if you honor it.

Respect this world and the people in it

You may not fully understand the complexities of this vast glorious earth, but as time goes on you will. Don’t take it for granted, it is as fragile as the blade of grass you pluck. If you don’t care for it, it will die. Period. Honor this globe, don’t take it for granted, and don’t destroy it with carelessness. As for the people living in this world, they are valuable and worthy of your utmost respect. No matter who they are, what they believe or where they live. Every human being matters. Don’t disregard anyone as less valuable than the next.  

Life is hard work

You must learn this lesson: In order to live a successful life, you must put forth the effort. Period. You want a good job? Train yourself, get an education, start at the bottom, like many do, to get there. You want good friends? Be a good friend. You want to be respected? Be respectful. Nobody owes you anything, you may think they do, but they don’t. You have to make the life you want. Don’t wait for it, thinking it will come to you and you are entitled to it. You have to earn it. Plain and simple. If, by chance, you are handed a great opportunity, embrace it and call yourself incredibly lucky.  

Don’t give up

You will be faced with conflicts and circumstances that can either raise you higher or kick you lower. It’s up to you to take the steps up. Life gets ugly, terrifying, cruel, and downright difficult… but hold on! The stuff you endure, will inevitably be the stuff that takes you to a new and fulfilling level of living. Life gets richer with adversity. No one is without hardship. Don’t let it take you down so low you can’t get back up. You will always find purpose in your pain, if you’re open to finding it. Each trial you go through brings forth a greater gratitude to savor. You’ll see…

Believe in yourself

You may not know the plan for your life just yet. You might feel anxious about your future. Perhaps you don’t have a clue what you want to do, or who you want to be, or where you want to go… that’s okay. You are still so young! You have so much time to figure it all out. Don’t feel like you have to have it all perfectly planned. Trust that in time, you will discover your dreams and find purpose in your life. If you do have a plan, and know exactly who you want to be, please remain open to the possibility of change. You may feel differently about your dreams, and that’s okay. One of the greatest gifts this life has to offer each and every one of us, is the freedom to reinvent our goals and begin again.

Each day will offer you more opportunities, if you look for them

Keep your eyes and heart open, and don’t ever give up on yourself. You are the only you there is. Cherish who you are, love yourself, right where you are at in your life, always. You will be with you for the rest of your life, so be your own best friend. As you begin this journey in creating a life for yourself, the greatest joy will come from within. Don’t look for it or depend on it from anyone or search for it anywhere else.

This moment? Is the first moment of the rest of your life. Every single moment that you are alive is a blessing. It’s hard at your age to truly get that, but you need to. Make it count.  

Make them all count…

For something.

This article was previously published on themomcafe.com

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.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$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.

PIPA™ base
(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.

Diaper bag
$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.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

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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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