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What does it take to go from business idea to lady boss?


This new column features an entrepreneur, who happens to be a mom, each week—walking us through the process of how you too can take your ideas from dream to reality. If you missed our last article featuring Paige from Little Bean + Co. on the value on branding, you can read that here. This week, we’re discussing the fifth step many modern entrepreneurs need to make on the journey to success: having a social media and online presence.

At only 23-years-old, Jenny Wecker

has more success than people twice her age. She’s done it all at breakneck

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speed with her daughter on her hip and now, just over two years after Fawn

Design began, a second baby on the way.

After high school Jenny

attended college for a short time, but like so many born entrepreneurs, (hello Mark Zuckerberg!) she found that it

bored her, and was actually holding her back from pursuing her goals.

In early 2014, Jenny was

talking with a friend who was expecting a baby about the complete and utter lack of

stylish, functional diaper bags.

That was Jenny’s “ah-ha!” moment.

An accomplished seamstress

herself, Jenny had been sewing since she was five years old. In fact, she made

each Fawn Design bag by hand during their first year of business.

Now, her KickStarter

campaign has been featured in the New York Times, her company sponsors the app

“Collabor8” and was featured alongside it in Forbes, and the sales to date this year since January are over half a

million dollars. It’s the real American dream, and this unique entrepreneur is

taking it all in stride.

I was lucky enough to talk about the wild ride these last two years have been, what running a business with your husband (and daughter) is like,

and how social media has been integral to building her brand and her reputation.

This lady boss knows her

stuff. Her unique way of looking at problems and coming up with creative

solutions is what makes her company, Fawn Design, so powerful. Indeed, her designs are

not only outside the box, they are redefining the box into something softer—almost

like the half-circle shape of her brand’s signature bag.

How did you first forray into social media with Fawn Design?

I stated making the bags by

hand to start and posting them on Instagram. The response was really crazy from

the start. Very quickly I got to the point where I would take an order for one

and people would ask, “When can I get one, when can I get one?” and I had to

say, “I have no idea!” at that point.

I was sewing as fast as I

could. And then I actually became pregnant with my daugther Georgia during that

crazy time and was extremely sick. I had a really tough pregnancy, so it was

making it an even a harder struggle to keep sewing the bags myself. My husband

had said from day 1 that if I wanted to turn this into a business and make real

money that I had to get them manufactured. He knew I would never be able to

keep up.

I got to the point where I literally wanted to scream if I looked at my sewing machine before I gave in and listened to him.

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At that point, how did you figure out what your next steps were?

Money obviously was the

biggest thing, and finding a manufacturer. We wanted to use a US manufacturer

but it was not going to be an option for us. There wasn’t a single manufacturer

who was willing to try. They said the bag was too complicated, and that

overseas, handbags are really big. So we got quotes from overseas

manufacturers, and while they were more reasonable than the US ones, we hadn’t

made very much money from sales at that point. We didn’t have much savings and

we were living in my parent’s basement.

So we decided to do a

Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds to place our first manufacturing

order. We ran it as a presale with the hopes of raising $25,000 from December 1st

to December 15th. We ended up raising $42,000 which was pretty

unexpected.

It definitely gave us the

validation that people did actually want the bag – it wasn’t just my mom and

friends.

Are all your sales online or do you wholesale?

We don’t do wholesale right now, we just haven’t

really needed to. Our sales direct to consumer have been so good that we don’t

have the inventory to open up to wholesale. We have a ton of interest in it and

we just have to kinda keep turning them away for now. I don’t know, its kinda

one of those things we don’t know if we’ll ever do.

What makes your bags unique?

When I was designing the

bag I had a vague idea of what I wanted. I wanted it to look different, and be

unique: to not look like a diaper bag but to have all the function of one.

The

first things I decided on was the shape—the half circle shape which is our

bag’s trademark. There’s nothing else out there that looks like that.

But you’d be surprised how

much math is involved in making a half-circle bag. It took us a really long

time to get the calculations correct and then pleasing to the eye. But when we

got it right it fit like a glove.

We’re really proud of that. The shape, the design, everything, we did that all on our own.

Our bags are

also faux leather inner and outer – not fabric-lined like so many diaper bags.

It’s super easy to clean but it also looks incredible. You can even pull out

the entire inner part, shake out any crumbs, and put it back in. It’s so easy.

The majority of our

customers are moms buying them as diaper bags, but we also have a lot of people

buying them because it’s such a good solid bag: a fashionable backpack. The

fact that someone who doesn’t even have kids is using it tells me that we’re on

the right track.

Did you have any experience

with social media before you started Fawn Design?

No – other than personal

use of Facebook and Instagram. But I quickly realized the power of social media.

I would post a picture of me with the bag on my personal Instagram and people

would say, “Oh my gosh, I want one!” These were people I didn’t really know that

well, like people from high school or in my neighborhood. That’s when I knew

social media would be a powerful tool for growing our business.

When we did our Kickstarter campaign, we reached out to a large number of bloggers, sent them a

bag, and asked them to post two pictures each day and link our Kickstarter.

Collaborating isn’t new, but using it to fund a Kickstarter—I don’t think a

lot of people had thought of that before.

But you know, Instagram

still is like our most active platform. And I plan all the posts still, even

though I have an employee do the actual scheduling and posting. I love the

creative process of going through customer’s photos and curating them on our

feed.

Recently we started doing

more Facebook, working with an agency who do a lot with social media to drive

sales.

We also do quite a bit on

Pinterest. We pin our items, of course, but we also pin a lot of other things

applicable to our target audience. Turns out, Pinterest is usually a top

referring site which was surprising to us.

How were you able to grow your social media audience?

Right now we have 53,000 followers on Instagram and that’s been growing for two years. It was really

slow to start, but once we had our Kickstarter and started collaborating with

influencers, then our Instagram really stated to take off.

We were using it to keep

everyone who preordered updated on the status of their bags. And since the

beginning we’ve been really big on collaborating. We send out a lot of free bags each month to

different bloggers or influencers. We ask them to post about it and it helps!

Giveaways have been good.

But once you hit a certain amount of followers then those giveways stop

contributing to the bottom line: into sales. We’ve never done a loop giveaway

though. I always recommend people don’t do those. They’re not good for your

social media.

At the end of the day you

want followers who are there for your product and not just there for free

stuff.

Would you say that Instagram has been really integral to building your

brand?

I definitely think up until

this point it has, but Instagram is changing and that’s been really hard on

some people. We are switching our focus a bit to other social platforms like

Facebook and Pinterest and into actually working with bloggers to have them post

on their blogs and on Youtube. So it has been important for us, but I don’t

think it’s as effective as it was, say, two years ago. But it also doesn’t wear

on me like it used to. It’s smoother now.

You mentioned Youtube. What are your plans for that and other video

platforms like Snapchat and Periscope?

I have a Snapchat account

but up till now it’s been more of a personal account. A lot of customers follow

me and I guess I just like to show what I do on the daily, to show what our

life looks like. People probably think our life is a lot more glamorous than

what it actually is.

Then this past few months

I’ve been doing a weekly Periscope talking about different business topics.

It’s really fulfilling for me to put all the advice I’m asked about on a daily

basis into a central location.

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Creatively, what inspires

your design and how is that brought into your social media?

I go through phases when

I’m super inspired and super pumped, but I’m just like anyone and there are

other times when it’s like, “Ah! I don’t even want to think about that kind of

stuff!”

But I’ve always felt like I

looked at things in a different way.

Becoming a mom has really inspired everything we’re doing going forward.

When I started I wasn’t a mom, but now I

actually use the product with my child. I can think about like things I want to

change or the color I want to see. I can picture things for future photoshoots

like how would I combine colors, how I would style that color and how the whole

thing would come together.

Traveling has also inspired

me in a major way, and you can definitely see that reflected in our social

media.

The best part of owning

your own business is that we have that freedom. We live in a nice enough house,

we have a nice enough car but we could live in much bigger house, have nicer

cars, have nicer things, have nicer clothes. Instead we’ve always been like, “I

would rather go to Europe!” I’m glad that my husband and I both feel that way because

when we come back and we just feel recharged and creative! We went to Italy and

I remember all those colors and now our Fall colors will reflect that.

And,

how cool would it be to shoot those new colors in Italy and tell that story?

How important would you say confidence is in building a brand and

starting your own business?

Confidence is one of those

things that is so important in so many aspects of your life and the older you

get the more you realize just important it is. When you’re not confident you

see how hard things are.  I come a

divorced family and there was a lot of being pulled here or there. I had to

grow up at a young age and decide the kind of person I was going to be so I

could make my own choices create the own life that I wanted to have.

People ask me what’s biggest piece of advice for starting a business? I always say, just start.

Just do something.

That’s what I did. I just

started and thought, “I’m going to give it 100% or not do it at all.”

I’m

seven months pregnant right now. My daughter Georgia will be 15 months when this baby girl

is born. It was unexpected but we actually are really happy. Honestly I know its going

be really hard the first few years but I definitely think its one of those

things that’s a total kind of blessing.

When I think about the

future and where this business is going to go, Georgia’s going need a friend and that

friend’s gonna need her, too. We’ll never be too busy for our kids but I think

we’re going to have a very different life. And I think this all happened for a

reason.

How does being a mother impact the way that you run your business?

I tell everyone my three priorities are my family, my faith, and my time, and it goes in that order.

My family comes first and

yesterday was a great example.This week has been so crazy. But on Wednesday it

was my sister’s (the nanny’s) birthday so I decided to give her the afternoon

off. My husband and I tossed around the idea of bringing Georgia into work but

then we were both like, “You know what, let’s take half the day off and get

outside with Georgia!” There’s always a ton of work stuff we could be doing but

Georgia needs our time too. That’s a perfect example of how we do things.

When we’re working we’re

working really hard so that when

we’re done for the day, we’re done. We don’t bring it up at home and we just

focus on her.

Beyond being a mother, being

spouse and having a business with my husband… people ask us all the time how we

manage to do that? And it’s super hard. I’m not gonna lie, super hard. But

having those boundaries where work is work and play is play helps. We’re not

perfect but we try hard.

Is there any one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

I have two. One, don’t underestimate the power

of sitting down and making a list of all the things you should be doing.

Unfortunately the stress never goes away once you’ve completed a task because

there’s always 100 other things you need to be doing, but it helps to feel like

you’re accomplishing something.

And two, don’t let money

get in the way. I don’t recommend getting in debt but I know a lot of people

get discouraged by the financial side of business. Sometimes you just have to

get creative.

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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)

SHOP

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.

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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 

www.pinterest.com

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.

FEATURED VIDEO

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.
Parenting
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