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On more evenings than not, after my partner walked through the door I would hand him an angry toddler and try to block his view of the mess on our main floor. "Just take him downstairs for 10 minutes so I can clean up and get dinner on. Then you can come back up!" I would beg.

I didn't want to banish my spouse to the basement playroom before he had even taken his shoes off, but I needed to.

Actually, what I needed was day care but I wasn't ready to admit that yet.

I have the incredible privilege of working from home, but I was also incredibly stubborn about wanting to keep my son with me, and so, day by day, everything fell apart. I felt like I was drowning, but I also felt like I couldn't say that.

Other moms seemed to have one of two opinions about my situation: Either they thought I was amazingly lucky, or they were in awe of how I was managing to work and care for my son simultaneously. "I don't know how you do it," they'd tell me. "Coffee helps," I'd say.

But the truth was no amount of coffee could cover up the fact that I wasn't managing it all, something my partner could plainly see. I would immediately demand a few child-free minutes to catch up on chores, on dinner prep, on work. I was forever catching up.

I'd been against day care because I wanted to be the one spending quality time with my child, but each day I found myself spending all our time together waiting for the next bit of time without him. I tried to get as much work done as I could before he would wake up in the morning, but it was never enough. From the moment he said, "Good morning Mommy," I was waiting for the minute when I could be alone with my laptop.

Everyone (including me) thought I had found the perfect solution to the dilemma so many parents face: I didn't have to choose between working and staying at home with my son. But by trying to do both, I constantly felt like I was failing at both.

I was the mom who showed up to toddler gym class on the wrong day (twice!), I was the coworker who always forgot the meeting was today and the partner who had nothing left for her spouse at the end of the day.

I started touring day cares and preschools but each facility felt like, well, an impersonal facility where I couldn't just leave him.

But in the back of my mind, I wondered: "What if day care could make me a better mother? A better partner?"

I shoved the thoughts away every time I considered the expense of childcare, so I lied to myself: "You can do this, it's not that hard. You're saving money."

Our breaking point came one day when my spouse arrived home to find the living room covered in blue and yellow Play-Doh, Raisin Bran and hot sauce. I'd given my toddler the Raisin Bran to buy me time to clean up the Play-Doh, and when I got distracted by an email, my frustrated baby dumped the Raisin Bran on the Play-Doh and walked through it.

When I insisted on cleaning up instead of playing with him, my baby did the one thing he knew would force me to chase him: He opened the fridge and took out the first condiment he could reach and ran with it. He flipped the lid open and the Frank's went flying.

Too soon, my partner arrived home and peered past me to the mess, to a couch now decorated with angry streaks of buffalo heat. "What the heck happened here today?" he asked before I banished him to the basement with a nearly naked, wailing toddler.

What happened? I tried to work and parent at the same time, that's what happened.

My partner gave me time to calm down and clean up before coming back with words I never thought I would hear him say: "We have to find a day care."

I knew he was right. We toured two more day cares before choosing one for our son. It was everything the ones I'd toured before weren't: safe, secure, non-profit and high-quality. I knew it was the right place for my son, and I knew the decision to enroll him there was the right one for both of us.

The first week, drop-offs were not tear-free (for either of us), but soon they were.

Soon, my son was having fun, making messes and new friends.

Soon, my son was eating nutritious snacks and lunches instead of the Goldfish and drive-thru cake pops I'd been serving up.

Soon, my stress level decreased, and at the same time, my son's vocabulary increased.

Soon, the house got tidier and we all felt happier.

Now, I can enjoy time with my son, and be truly present with him instead of just mentally cataloging everything I need to squeeze into nap time.

Now, when my partner gets home, we come together as a family and no one is banished to the basement so that I can catch up.

Now I feel like a better mother and a better version of myself.

I can't make more hours in the day, but I am able to make the most of the hours we do have by being physically apart for some of them. Day care gives us the space we need to reconnect.

Finding a great day care was an act of love. I didn't do it because I don't love spending time with my son, or because I don't love being a mother, but because I do.

And I love our day care, too.

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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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