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Dear husband: Let’s not wait until the kids are grown to make time for us

We're here now, in the crazy-wonderful stage of parenting young children...and I want you to know, I see you.

Dear husband: Let’s not wait until the kids are grown to make time for us

[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

My darling, I wanted to tell you...

One day we are going to wake up, and our kiddos are going to be adults.

Can you even imagine these perfect little bodies turning into full-blown adult-size women with jobs and big responsibilities?

I mean. I want them to, of course. But still. It's a little trippy thinking about what they'll be like. What life will be like.

Our babies are going to move out and have lives of their own.

They're going to create families. Their families will become priority number one and we will move gracefully down the list.

It'll be hard to let go, I'm sure. Maybe even heartbreaking. Sometimes I stay awake at night wondering if they're going to ask if they can go to college five hours (or more!) away from us...like I did. To my parents.

But then, sometimes, I let myself think about life with you when they're grown.

We're going to have lots of uninterrupted one-on-one time together again.

We can travel. We can explore. We can go on adventures of a new kind.

We can go try that fancy new restaurant on a whim. Without finding a babysitter, or the extra cash to pay them.

Or maybe we'll even invite our grown children to join us for that nice dinner and we'll enjoy adult conversation together.

The days when we'd attempt to go out to dinner with our little ones where they'd grab the salt to pour it out, then the pepper, then the salt....will feel like another lifetime ago.

We'll wake up together, to each other. And fall asleep together, with each other.

It'll be quiet in our house—no more loud singing of The Little Mermaid soundtrack, no more fighting over toys, no more giggles when we make funny faces.

We can have all the uninterrupted conversation we want. No topic will be too deep, no good debate will take up too much of our time.

We're going to have all of this when our kids are grown.

But why wait?

Sure, life is busy now. And loud. And it takes more organization and planning and patience.

But we can't put connecting on hold. We can't put meaningful conversation on hold. We can't put touching on hold. Our love should be lived to the max every. single. day.

The reality is—no one knows when their time is up. Life is here. It's happening now. My love for you is so deep and so much a part of me. I want to celebrate that now. Every minute of now. And not push it off until our kids leave the nest.

Connecting with you can't wait until retirement, my love.

So let's do it now.

Let's not answer their every single request at the drop of a dime.

Especially when I'm trying to tell you about my new awesome idea. Or you're trying to tell me about the new book you're reading. Let's continue our conversation and ask our kiddo to wait a few minutes until Mommy and Daddy are done talking.

Let's embrace the noise together.

Yes, sometimes we wonder how these little creatures can make such LOUD noises, but more often than not, let's marvel at it. I want to memorize our three-year-old's singing voice. (I mean, no one sings Part of Your World better than her.) I want to tattoo our sixteen-month-old's giggles to my memory. I want to take mental pictures of you playing—loudly, uninhibitedly playing—with the girls and tuck them away in a safe place in my brain.

Let's go on family adventures.

They're not going to be perfect! They may, in fact, stray very, very far from the original plan. But hey—that's why they're called adventures! Let's be open-minded. Let's show our children new people and places and communities. Instill a sense of wonder and exploration in them. Doing this together as a team will be my greatest adventure with you.

Let's go on dates.

And try that new restaurant. Let's put dating each other in our budget. Maybe we only do a fancy one once in a while. Maybe getting a cup of coffee together is one of our dates. Maybe sitting together in the park on a nice day is our date. Time together doesn't have to cost a ton of money. (And don't our siblings or parents owe us some free babysitting anyway? ?)

The point is—I love you. I love you now, I'll love you when we retire and I'll love you every second in between.

But we're not retired yet. We're here—now—in the crazy-wonderful stage of parenting young children together...and I see you. I want you to know that. I see you as an incredible father. But I also see you as the person I am so deeply in love with. My sexy, smart, amazing husband.

So let's love each other now. Because I don't want to wait. And the best part? We don't have to.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

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

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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