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Ed:  Today the Parent.co team is gathered to discuss Mother’s Day. We have three dads: Mike, Ed, and Justin. And three moms: Angela, Sara, and Autumn. And two women who don’t have kids, but do have moms who they’re close to: Amanda and Katrina.


Many people – including moms – have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day. We accept that it’s kind of a Hallmark holiday, a manufactured obligation to get us to buy stuff like cards and chocolate and flowers.

But then again, Mother’s Day does provide an opportunity to focus on the moms in our lives, to celebrate and thank and appreciate them.

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Angela: I think that’s my fundamental problem with Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Anytime there’s the one day on the calendar it almost creates an implicit excuse to forget about that appreciation the rest of the year.

Autumn: We are sort of teaching our kids to experience the stress of this thing you have to do – ‘hurry up and get the crayons and feel guilty’ – and feel all these other things around it.

I don’t really care if my kids spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. I don’t want my husband to be like ‘You gotta make something for your mom!’ and they’re like ‘We do?!’

Sara: There’s a Buzzfeed article of kids’ Mother’s Day cards. In one a kid wrote ‘I am writing this so I can eat.’ At school they were like, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this before lunch.’

Angela: I think the only gift that I’ve ever gotten my mom that I felt pretty good about was a bouquet of flowers delivered every month for a year. That was an opportunity for us to have a monthly exchange about how much I appreciate her and care about her. Anything to stretch out the appreciation for the whole year.

Ed:  Maybe Mother’s Day can be seen as another opportunity to teach kids to understand  gratitude, how to express it.

Autumn:  Basically, I think that we – moms – want to be recognized. We want to be seen. We want to be seen and appreciated.

Then there’s a bigger conversation of how do we help our kids and our spouses understand that a big part of getting through life is saying ‘thank you.’ 

Someone saying ‘I know it was kind of a pain for you to leave that thing to go do that other thing to pick up the kids and that wasn’t the plan but you did it and that’s really awesome. That’s really helpful.’

Angela: It’s an opportunity to express those things that you feel like you don’t get to express. That’s a positive. It helps us remember.

Autumn: There’s also that other layer that’s becoming a little noisier year to year. It’s a corporate driven, sort of saccharine holiday that puts women without kids into this crappy space.

Either they chose not to have kids or can’t have kids or have lost a child. I know you can’t be responsible for every person every second of the day, but what does this feel like to these other women?

Sara: That’s what it’s like these days being on social media. Before, you’re might have those feelings on your own, but no one is throwing them in your face every second.

Ed: It’s something to be thoughtful about. I wonder if that’s another reason why Father’s Day is so much more muted than Mother’s Day. Most single parent families are kids living with a mom.

Autumn: I heard Howard Stern say one year, and it’s so true, ‘Why are we doing this whole Father’s Day thing, because for many people Father’s Day is the day you go and look for your dad.’ It’s cruel but true.

Justin: Unfortunately that probably is true.

Ed: What makes a great Mother’s Day gift?

Angela: If my kids have spent time on something and taken care when they’re doing it, I don’t care if it’s functional or not. I would just be thrilled to get it.

But then I would feel guilty when I threw it away. They would say “Mommy, where’s that thing I gave you?”

Sara: And you’d have to say, ‘Here’s the truth: it was kind of crappy.’

Angela: I guess for me it’s about time. It’s showing time and appreciation. Either giving me time or spending time doing something, or in some other way a gift of time shows appreciation to me. I definitely don’t want or don’t expect my husband to get jewelry for me.

Ed: Autumn looks incredulous. Autumn is giving the skeptical look.

Autumn: That’s the tricky part of these holidays, aside from the schlock and the cheese and the precious stuff. There’s often this expectation that you need to do something.

Then, I think there’s this dynamic where moms are approached by their partners and it’s like ‘Well, hey, so I didn’t really do anything yet.’

Then it’s your responsibility to either let them off the hook or be the a-hole that’s like, ‘Well you’re supposed to do something.’

I know I definitely don’t want to know that nothing has happened yet, and he hasn’t really done anything.

That makes it even worse. Because it puts it on the other person. The same with Valentine’s Day. The same with birthdays. The same with all holidays.

Sara: I think that is kind of a crappy dynamic. It exists because the holiday exists.

Amanda: I wish I could go back to being able to make my mom something for Mother’s Day that she would appreciate and love and just coo over.

The biggest thing for Mother’s Day – even in Google Search Trends – is this whole concept of brunch. I like the idea of making food and spending time together, but I don’t live near my mom. So I’m left with sending flowers I guess. I still want to make popsicle stick art for her.

Mike: In our household, Mother’s Day is ironically about relief from being a mother.

It’s kind of an interesting thing. ‘You can get away today. Here’s a spa day – take a break from your responsibilities as a mom. I got the kid. See ya! Take the day and do whatever you want.’

Angela: Autumn and I were talking about this last week. My perfect Mother’s Day would be to spend the morning with my kids and my husband and to have family time, and to also have some time to myself.

But even better than having time to myself would be to have time with friends. To have time with other female friends.

Sara: I feel guilty when I’m out indulging just myself but if I’m out with my friends and we’re shooting the shit there’s really nothing that’s more fun than that.

Last year in my daughter’s preschool class they sat down and the teacher took time with each little kid asking a series of questions about the mom. It was so sweet – except for the part when my daughter said my job was “vacuuming.”

It’s just a simple piece of paper. I’m sure I still have it somewhere but I also took a photo of it. That’s something that is going to be a part of our life. That’s a gift.

 

Ed: What is everybody doing for their mom or their wife on Mother’s Day. Be honest. I’m taking Erika to see “Captain America.”

Sara: I cross my fingers that a statement necklace shows up for me. And maybe I’ll call my mom instead of throwing her a text.

Amanda: I’m on the fence this year. I may make a surprise trip to see my mother. Even though she’s been an empty nester for a while, for some reason it’s really hitting her hard this year. Out of nowhere. I think it’s because we’re calling her a lot less. Even though we’re texting more. I mean she really has a grasp on emojis!

She’s starting to feel more of a physical distance that’s unnerving her so I might just make a surprise visit. She will love it because I will have to catch up on like three months of conversations.

Justin: I’ll be in Montreal so we’re gonna have a whole weekend up there.

Autumn: You’ll be in Montreal with your wife?

Justin: With my wife and my kids. My mother and father. Sunday when we come back we usually do a barbecue and so I’ll do that.

I usually have the boys pick out a way that they can help mommy on Mother’s Day and carry it through the week. So it’s a chore that they pick up through the week. Something to help their mom out.

I have a hard time subscribing to the gifts. I think the thing is kind of a Hallmark holiday. So instead I try to show her how much she’s a great mom every day and not just for Mother’s Day.

Mike: My wife sent me a link to some sandals. She was like ‘This is what I really want,’ and I’m like ‘Okay. I’ll get them for you.’

That’s how it is every holiday. It’s fantastic –  it makes it a lot easier, and it takes the stress out of it. We’ll go out to dinner, or I’ll make dinner for the family and Dominic will do something nice for her.

If she wants the day on Sunday she can do whatever she wants. We don’t make a big deal out of it.

Autumn: I was thinking of sending a link for the gift I want to my husband. He doesn’t like it because it takes the surprise away. I’m like ‘Why are you fighting me on this?’

Mike: My wife is like ‘Wouldn’t you rather know that you’re getting me exactly what I want?’ And I’m like ‘Yes.’ She’s like ‘Remember the mixer?’ And I’m like ‘Yeah. I remember the mixer.’

She’s like, ‘Just stick to the plan.’

Sara: I’ll never forget the mixer.

Autumn: I don’t know what’s going to happen. I won’t be home for most of the day because I’m going to New York for a girl party. I’ll be home mid-afternoon Sunday.

I want to be like, ‘Hey cool, now we’re together but I kind want to go from the airport to yoga and then come home and then have dinner. Great, that’s it!’

I think probably that.

Angela: My husband is going to be gone for work. I don’t think he even knows, honestly, that it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. I’m going to be at home with our kids and my mom. And I’m happy that my mom is going to be with me on Mother’s Day.

Ed: You look convincingly happy.

Angela: I am happy. She likes Mother’s Day. The big take away: no special plans except to spend time with my mom and my kids.

Ed: What are you going to do with your mom?

Angela: I don’t know. I really meant to make freaking brunch reservations.

Katrina: Freaking brunch, that’s a good one for home.

Angela: I don’t like cooking.

Katrina: I’m hosting a Mother’s Day brunch thingy or dinner, I guess. Dinner with my mom and Andy’s mom. My grandmother.

Amanda: Growing up, it was important to my aunts that they were around their nieces and nephews on Mother’s Day. To recognize that they were participants in their lives and had appreciation in that day as well.

Angela: I think when used properly Mother’s Day relieves symptoms of neglect, disconnection, the sense that you are not seen. That sort of invisibility thing that we sometimes feel.

I think it’s a really good idea, and it’s sad when it turns into a stressful occasion; when there’s commercial pressure, or consumerist pressure.

What Amanda just described, that sounded fantastic – generations of women together with their children and their nieces and nephews just to celebrate.

A celebration of the women in my family – that sounds beautiful.

Mike: I don’t think Mother’s Day is bullshit. It creates a focal point for your appreciation throughout the year.

Ed: It probably teaches kids how to show thanks and be appreciative.

Angela: It all comes down to time and sentiment and intention.

Autumn: Wow, we worked it out didn’t we?

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 30, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

walmart-best-baby-carseat

When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

SHOP

Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

walmart-best-baby-carseat

Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

walmart-best-baby-carseat

With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

SHOP

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

Our Partners

Nannies and early childhood educators do incredibly important work. Parents and children need these workers, they are vital to families and our economy. And they are woefully underpaid.

On average, nannies in the United States make less than Amazon delivery drivers, and day care workers earn less than either.

According to Sittercity's most recent data, the typical hourly rate of nannies in 2019 is $17.50 per hour. According to Amazon, most delivery drivers earn $18 - $25 per hour. And day care workers make only a couple dollars more than they would working in fast food, earning $11.17 per hour on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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What does it say about our society that we value the delivery of consumer goods more than we value care work?

Yes, parents are struggling to pay for childcare, but those caring for our children are struggling to pay their bills, too, and it is hard to retain talented professionals when there is more money to be made in other fields. "It is stressful. Everybody loves these children, and that's why they're there, but the love can't pay their bills," day care operator Danielle Frank told KSNB News this week.

Frank owns Smiling Faces Academy in Kearney, Nebraska, but the problem of high turnover and low wages in the childcare industry is an issue all over the United States. This isn't a uniquely American issue, either. In Japan, day care workers are desperately needed, the New York Times reports, but childcare workers there earn about a third less than workers in other industries and report struggling to cover the basic necessities.

Back in North America, this week day care workers in Nova Scotia, Canada who are frustrated with low wages have threatened to walk off the job, a move similar to one made by YMCA childcare workers in Chicago last year. "I make $15.50 an hour, and I have a BA in early childhood education with a certification in infants and toddlers," childcare worker Tahiti Hamer told WGN last year.

From Nebraska to Nova Scotia to the story is the same: Parents pay a lot for childcare while workers make very little, even though some licensed day cares require employees to have training in early childhood education, or even a bachelor's degree. And when you've got student loans, maybe carrying Amazon packages starts to look better than caring for children.

According to a recent study by the Indeed Hiring Lab, the childcare industry has two big problems right now.

"As the labor market has strengthened in recent years, more workers need child care. At the same time, growth in interest in child care jobs has slowed," Indeed Hiring Lab economist Nick Bunker notes. He suggests low-wage earners who work in childcare have more options these days, and employers should consider raising workers' pay.

It's easy to see why the industry has a hard time keeping workers, especially as other lower-wage job sectors (like Amazon delivery) expand. Unfortunately, for many childcare centers, paying workers more is just not doable without some help from levels of government.

And help is needed, not just to ensure that parents have access to quality, affordable childcare, but also to ensure that those providing it aren't living in poverty.

A study out of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, found childcare workers' earnings are not keeping pace with increases in similar professions or with the costs of childcare and living. "Childcare workers have also experienced no increase in real earnings since 1997, and, as was true in 1989, still earn less than adults who take care of animals, and barely more than fast food cooks. Those who work as preschool teachers have fared somewhat better; their wages have increased by 15 percent in constant dollars since 1997, although their wages remain low. In contrast, parent fees have effectively doubled," the researchers note, highlighting that many childcare workers earn so little they actually qualify for public assistance.

The researchers continue: "While there are no available data to explain this glaring gap between trends in parent fees and teacher wages, it is abundantly clear that families cannot bear the burden of addressing the imperative to provide more equitable compensation for their children's early childhood teachers."

Speaking to the Education Writers Association last year one of the reports' writers, Marcy Whitebook, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California at Berkeley, said the problem is that our society devalues the work of looking after and educating children under 5, even though it is as demanding and important as teaching those ages 5 and up.

"Americans aren't used to funding early childhood care and instruction like they do K-12 education," Whitebook said. "We don't look at it as education. And we don't look at it as education everyone should have access to."

That may change in the future, as presidential candidates float plans for universal pre-K and childcare, but right now, having access to childcare is a privilege. And those who are privileged enough to employ a nanny should pay them fairly if they want to keep them, says Elizabeth Harz, CEO of Sittercity. "It's also worth noting that when parents are proactive and offer systems and official paperwork that give nannies protection in the relationship, it goes a long way," says Harz.

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News

Children with autism open our eyes and our hearts to growth, beauty and love in unexpected, marvelous and deep ways that expand our humanity. But, an autism diagnosis is a moment that stays with a parent.

Some parents might have trouble understanding what's happening. Others may worry or have a sense of relief that there's a name for what they've noticed in their child. Regardless of your emotions, there's not a right or wrong way to feel.

Here are seven areas to cover after receiving an autism diagnosis:

1. Line up great medical care.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids with autism often have other associated medical issues such as gastrointestinal issues, language delay or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Depending on where you live, your medical choices might be sparse or specialist-rich. Getting good, consistent healthcare is invaluable and establishes important baselines, routines and trust. How do you know which specialists or family doctors have the skills you and your child need? Ask those who have gone before you.

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Medicaid provides services for children on the spectrum but there are simply not enough providers who accept Medicaid. Waiting lists in some states can be as long as 15 years. If Medicaid is part of your family's life, get your child on the waiting list as soon as possible. While you wait, look into attorneys and advocates for additional support. A good advocate will ensure you have a primary role in your child's education, regardless of the insurance plan you may or may not have.

If you don't qualify for Medicaid, the ACA marketplace (also known as the exchange) offers affordable coverage for those who qualify. If your family has private health insurance, call to see what your benefits are so you're prepared.

2. Understand your insurance coverage.

Autism is a medical diagnosis and should be covered by health insurance, but it's not that simple. Many health insurance plans do not cover therapeutic treatment for autism. From 2005 to 2015, Autism Speaks battled within state legislatures to make sure autism treatments were covered under health insurance. Through those efforts, 47 states passed related legislation. But many of those laws address only traditional insurance programs not self-insured companies (which cover most workers), and some have been weakened by loopholes exploited by insurance companies. Make a call to find out exactly what kind of coverage you have.

3. Find a community.

Autism can feel isolating, but it doesn't have to be. There are many autism support groups, some formal like chapters of the Autism Society of America or Autism Speaks and some unaffiliated groups of parents who have bonded in mutual support along the autism journey. Learn from others. Share your story. Find communities of support in churches, parks, restaurants and stores that have a heart and respect you and your child.

4. Start support.

Autism is highly variable. There are a number of decades-long treatments that address autism such as Floortime, Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children (TEACCH), and the Early Start Denver Model. The most research-backed treatment is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and it's therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. It focuses on improving specific behaviors, such as social skills, communication, reading and academics as well as adaptive learning skills. It is practiced by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and is the most common treatment approach covered by insurance. There are less than 30,000 BCBAs in the nation, but it is a rapidly growing profession with increasingly greater access for families in need of ABA.

5. Find a good support system if you need a break.

Make sure you have loving and qualified family, friends, or professional childcare providers who can stay with your child so you can have an established date night or occasional weekend away. Such activities are important for all parents of young children but they can be especially critical for parents with children on the spectrum. Finding people who understand your child's needs, routines and sensitivities is vital to offering you an evening out while keeping things balanced on the home front. The important thing to remember is having an autisic child is beautiful and it's okay to reach out for help if you need it.

6. Contact your local school district.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) school districts, often in coordination with the public health office, are responsible for providing services from birth. Part C of IDEA mandates that schools conduct "Child Find" to locate children who need help. Among other things, Part C services can provide speech, occupational, physical and behavioral therapies to your child, often delivered in your home, and at no expense. It is part of the commitment of special education to assist families in having their children ready to learn by the time they start school. For help, call your local school district and request a meeting to begin the journey of getting the assistance your little one needs.

7. Establish a financial plan.

Many children with autism will grow into healthy self-sufficient adults, but some may require varying levels of support. That is why having a financial and assistance plan that looks after their long-term needs is essential. It's tough, but having important conversations with your partner and members of your family will help your little one in the long run. If you need advice, look into Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) to assist with creating a tax-advantaged savings account to pay for qualified expenses.

The bottom line is simple: This is hard and there will be challenges, but you've got this, mama. There will also be more beauty in this journey than you can ever imagine. The main thing to remember is that your child has you as their mother, which means they're already doing great.

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Learn + Play

It's time for Halloween! And you love dressing up. Or you hate dressing up but your family or friends or next door neighbor really want you to dress up. Oh, and also you're pregnant. 🤰🏽So what the heck are you supposed to be?

Don't sweat it, mama. We spoke to Pinterest to find out their top pinned maternity Halloween costumes, and there are some fun (and funny ideas) in the mix.

Whether you're 8 or 38 weeks pregnant, you'll be sure to find some Halloween inspiration right here. Time to get spooky!

1. Mummy-to-be 

www.pinterest.com

Via Womans Day

Bonus points because this punny costume looks super easy to DIY.

2. Your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

Via Pinterest

Besides it being an easy costume to make, you get to eat pizza all night. Win-win!

3. Gumball machine 

www.pinterest.com

Via Brit+ Co

This one requires a glue gun and some extra craftiness, but the result is a sweet treat.

4. Kangaroo 

www.pinterest.com

Via The Spruce

Grab a stuffed baby kangaroo and you're halfway there.

5. Mommy to BEE 

www.pinterest.com

Via Redbook

Buzz buzz. You look bee-utiful.

6. Violet from Willy Wonka

Via Pinterest

Can be a family costume or a stand alone, just make sure you have tons of make up remover handy before going to bed.

7. Mama bird 

www.pinterest.com

via Brit + Co

What kind of a mama bird will you be? A flamingo? A peacock?

8. Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. 

www.pinterest.com

via Buzzfeed

Grab a spare shirt and your crafting skills to turn yourself into a literal monster.

9. Mother earth 

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via Darian Davenport

You've got the whole world in your hands... and belly.

10. Pregnant Beyonce

Via Instagram

You get to be Queen Bey for a day.

11. Baseball player 

www.pinterest.com

via the Bump

You come prepared with your own bat, and ball.

12.  Prego 

www.pinterest.com

via Brit + Co

Come on. You knew this one was coming...

13. Snowman

www.pinterest.com

Via Ashley Engel

If you have black leggings and a white top, you're already winning Halloween!

14. Juno

Via Costume Works

Such a classic, plus you will get to wear your comfy maternity jeans all night long.

15. Pregnant unicorn

Via Pregnant Mama

Requires very little purchasing and prep.

16. Troll

Via Brit + Co

This one can easily turn into a family costume if everyone is down for a big wig and a sparkly belly button.

17. A magic 8 ball

Via WeBegToDiffer

You can spend the night answering everyone's questions.

18. An emoji

Via Brit+Co

Just pick your fave!

19. A beach ball

Via Instagram

Only for those mamas in warm weather!

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Life

I will confess: I am a car seat safety fanatic. Some people might call me an advocate, but let's be real. I verge on crazy status.

I kept my kids rear-facing well past the age of two. I've schlepped their car seats on and off of airplanes more times than I can count. I've checked their installation again and again until it is JUST RIGHT. Yes, I am that mama. But, I make no apologies. Why should I? If there's one thing I'm crazy about, it's my kids' safety.

That's why I was surprised—no, shocked—to discover that a car seat safety rule exists that I didn't know about. As a result, I was unknowingly putting my son in an unsafe position.

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You're probably already familiar with the LATCH safety system. LATCH is an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children and is the preferred method for installing your car seat. These are the anchor points in your car that allow you to clip your car seat directly into the frame of your car's existing seat.

For years, since my oldest was born, I have been obsessive about always using the LATCH system. When we shuffle the car seats around, I always situate the kids' in the seats with a LATCH system, even when it makes for undesirable seating combinations, like adults jammed into middle seats while my toddlers lounge like kings in the captain's chairs.

Recently though, a fellow mom (who also happens to be a Car Seat Safety Technician) shared a car seat installation rule I'd never heard before: The LATCH system in most vehicles is only built to accommodate a load of 65 pounds.

Sure, no problem, I thought. My oldest is nowhere near 65 pounds. But, she pointed out that 65-pound limit includes the weight of the child restraint, a.k.a. car seat. Do you realize how heavy car seats are these days? In order to use the LATCH system, the sum of the child's weight and the weight of the car seat must be no more than 65 pounds. Since most car seats weigh upwards of 20 pounds now, many manufacturers recommend that you stop using the LATCH system when a child reaches 40 pounds. I had no idea!

Now my son's car seat is secured with the seat strap. When he's done with the five-point harness and transitions to using the seat strap himself, we can return to using the LATCH system. At that point, the straps are made to absorb his impact in the event of a crash, and the LATCH system would then only be used to keep the seat from catapulting through the car. For a list of LATCH weight limits by manufacturer, refer to your car's manufacturer.
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