We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.
But July 4, 1776 wasn’t the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).
It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).
Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.FEATURED VIDEO
When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot. Time to wash—and dry!—your hair. A complete wardrobe refresh.
While we can't help with everything on your list (we're still trying to figure out how to get some extra zzz's ourselves), here are 14 gift ideas that'll make you look, if not feel, like a whole new woman. Even when you're sleep deprived.
Gap Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater
When winter hits, one of our go-to outfits will be this tunic-length sweater and a pair of leggings. Warm and everyday-friendly, we can get behind that.
Gap Cigarette Jeans
These high-waisted straight-leg jeans have secret smoothing panels to hide any lumps and bumps (because really, we've all got 'em).
Tiny Tags Gold Skinny Bar Necklace
Whether engraved with a child's name or date of birth, this personalized necklace will become your go-to piece of everyday jewelry.
Gap Brushed Pointelle Crew
This wear-with-anything soft pink sweater with delicate eyelet details can be dressed up for work or dressed down for weekend time with the family. Versatility for the win!
Gap Flannel Pajama Set
For mamas who sleep warm, this PJ set offers the best of both worlds: cozy flannel and comfy shorts. Plus, it comes with a coordinating eye mask for a blissed-out slumber.
Spafinder Gift Card
You can't give the gift of relaxation, per say, but you can give a gift certificate for a massage or spa service, and that's close enough!
Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck
This featherweight long-sleeve tee is the perfect layering piece under hoodies, cardigans, and blazers.
Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves
Gone are the days of removing toasty gloves before accessing our touchscreen devices—thank goodness!
Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.
Gap Flannel Shirt
Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem.
Gap Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket
Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit.
Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf
Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors—to any winter ensemble.
Nixplay Seed Frame
This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night!
Gap Crewneck Sweater
Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.
This article was sponsored by GAP. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and Mamas.
Going through infertility let me know that there are some things in life that I just can't control. For someone who already has a hard time relinquishing control in life (call me a bit of a control nut!), entering the world of IVF was not only hard physically and mentally, but it also was incredibly difficult because it showed me things about myself that were at odds with this journey.
I realized how much I had needed to be in control of my life, how much I took for granted that my life path most often "always worked out" the way I imagined it would and I also realized how impatient I was.
IVF treatment strips away a lot of yourself. You are forced to give up control and forced to wait….a lot. In our case, both my husband and I had potential issues and the two of us pulled away from the rest of our friends whose sperm romantically found their partner's ripe egg and impregnated them the old fashioned way.
While we were undergoing a lot of things physically and emotionally in a dark, isolating world of blood labs, doctor's offices and at many times, what seemed like barbaric tests. Something made me very "hush-hush" about it and I'm usually a wide-open book about everything. I guess you could say I was ashamed, I felt like it was a weakness or a flaw.
I only opened up about our struggle with fertility when I, finally, had a successful pregnancy and realized that once you go into the world of IVF there's no turning back. I was now an "IVF person." I became really passionate about the world of infertility especially once I started talking to others who went through it. This was one of the things that I felt now defined me, I had an "infertility journey," I was a #ttcsister, and because of IVF, I became a mom.
I embraced it and became proud of it. I launched my business by sharing my infertility story and it was so much a part of who I was. It motivated me to start to form an in-person community of women, pregnant, trying to conceive, or already moms based on my struggles with motherhood... before they even started! All while pregnant and then giving birth to my daughter.
Then a year and a half later I accidentally got pregnant.
The truth is, I never went back on birth control after having our baby because I didn't want to go through getting off of it again. Some people might not be able to relate to thinking you can't get pregnant on your own. They can't imagine the idea that you and your husband's test results indicate that the likelihood of pregnancy without IVF is basically zero.
But somehow, one of my husband's sperm in the millions of sperms that were morphologically corrupt found its way to my egg at the perfect time. The interesting part is that one of the most prominent thoughts I had when this happened was that I now felt like an imposter. How could I just get knocked up?!
I was helping and advocating for infertility and it was actually approaching National Infertility Awareness Week. I spent several weeks hiding just like I did during my last pregnancy.
Then, one day at work, I felt so sick from morning sickness and I couldn't tell anyone why. I went into the bathroom and just cried. Not just because of how debilitating the sickness was, but because of how alone I felt. Here I was trying to bring moms together yet I was isolating myself.
I was experiencing every IVF veteran's dream and I wasn't happy. I was feeling badly, torn, upset and just irrationally guilty and I needed support. I picked myself up, walked out of that bathroom and told every one of my colleagues at work "I'm pregnant, by mistake, and I need help."
The truth is, I've realized that just because I dodged IVF and some of those hardships this time around and truly feel like I was given the biggest stroke of luck, it doesn't change what I went through to get my first daughter. It also doesn't change my passion for advocacy in infertility and fighting with all my might for motherhood.
Can you believe it's already time to start decorating for the holidays? And this year, Target is making it easier than ever to create inviting holiday spaces that are still neat, organized and clutter-free. Whether your style is whimsical, traditional or rustic, there are plenty of neutral creams, frosty whites and touches of evergreen that will take you through the holidays and well into the new year with style.
This holiday also marks the 3-year anniversary of the launch of Joanna Gaines' Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line. The collection features nearly 300 new pieces from gifting and décor to entertaining. Oh, and this season they have faux Christmas trees!
Ready to create your own modern winter wonderland at home? Grab our favorite minimalist piece:
Joy wire Christmas wreath
The word "Joy" isn't a holiday classic for nothing—it's sure to bring lots of smiles and laughs to any home. And when it's atop the garland in this festive wreath, it's an instant pick-me-up. Plus, for an extra twist: This comes pre-strung with white LED bulbs for a little light to brighten dark spaces.
Mini cable-knit stocking
This stocking brings simplistic holiday cheer to just about any living space. This mini size is perfect for little ones or if you just want stockings that don't take up too much space.
Faux white pine garland
Bring the outdoors indoors with a garland that can be framed around your door. Or add holiday spirit to your table runner with a garland centerpiece. We love how realistic this one looks for such an affordable price.
Whitewash advent calendar
Let's be honest, advent calendars are nice, but some have gone a bit overboard in how complicated they are. But not this one. The cutout shape of a tree features rows of numbers, while a roaming wreath moves the countdown along. Simple, yet chic.
Round tree skirt
No tree is complete without a beautiful tree skirt. This striped one is a must-have for a farmhouse-inspired atmosphere. Even better if you want a splash of rustic charm that matches your other holiday décor.
Mini marquee star wall sign
Brighten up your living room with this attention-grabbing statement piece. Hang the star sign on your entryway wall to help welcome guests, or place it on your mantel, shelf or end table alongside other accents to add touches of holiday cheer in a minimalist way.
Ceramic house decorative figurine
This tiny house with windows, door and a chimney lends realistic, whimsical appeal, but the solid ceramic design allows it to be used from season to season. Place a small light inside to light up your mantle when standard candles won't suffice.
Sometimes less is more! Upgrade your staircase or tree with this simplistic wooded garland. Pair with fresh cedar and grapevine twigs to create a striking focal point on your home.
Joy wall decor
Create holiday cheer in a small way by adding holiday wall art that sparks a bit of joy.
For a refined look, the decor offers a hardwood frame and the sawtooth back allows for easy display on tiny spaces that need a touch of holiday spirit.
Minimalists will rejoice for this multi-tasking stocking holder—acting as both festive signage and a holder for multiple stockings. It's simple, charming and will look great on your mantle for years to come.
Madison Vining, mama of six, recently posted an honest message that went viral on Instagram. In it she described how we can't really have the full picture of someone's life just by what they post on social media. It's little fragments of their life, which probably leave out the really good moments when people decide to put the phone down to be present, and also the really bad moments they don't want documented.
The post, which has almost 12,000 likes and hundreds of comments, received a lot of praise from other parents thanking her for hitting the nail on the head.
The post reads:
"Instagram stories. Let's talk.
If someone uses the maximum amount of stories allowed in a day (all the teeny tiny dots) guess what? All together, it totals less than an hour of their 24-hour day. Does that surprise you? It's true. It's a peek of 1/24th of their day. Furthermore, it's probably the calmest parts. After all, when was the last time you got into a fight with your husband and thought "Hang on, let me insta-story this!" or had your hands full of screaming babies and thought "Hang on... let me try and hold a phone, too!"
I really want to challenge you.
Before you look at her life and become jealous: you likely did not see her raise her voice as she struggled through schoolwork with her kids, or her picking up trash after the dog ripped it up and dragged it all over the driveway, or her doctor give her a terrifying diagnosis, or her son's preschool teacher call and say he's been a problem... Again. Or her crying because she hates her body and hasn't felt like herself in so long. Or her going to bed each day feeling guilty and like she didn't do enough for everyone. Or her husband being out of work. Or her dad who walked out on her as a kid and it still hurts. Or her burning dinner and yelling a swear word in front of her kids.
Yeah, you don't see all the bad.
But you know what? Before you look at her life and become critical, know that you didn't see her singing worship music and taking extra time as she changed her baby's diaper. You didn't see her driving all the way to recycle center when the trash would have been easier. You didn't see her close her laptop, close her eyes, and stop to pray for someone she doesn't know. You didn't see her tell her daughter, "Just keep killing them with kindness, baby" as she sobbed in her arms about a bully. You didn't see her give up "me time" to prioritize date night with her husband. You didn't see her take her oldest to lunch. You didn't see her anonymous donation.
You don't see a lot of the beautiful things that happen in her life and in her heart, because they're sacred and the first thought that pops into her mind isn't, "I should grab my phone right now."
You don't see it all. Be kind to one another."
Thank you for saying what many think, mama.
Do you feel it?
That little spark ✨ in the air that only comes around this time of year is starting to buzz and pop around us. There's nothing quite like the joy and excitement that comes with counting down to the holidays—especially with your kids who think last Christmas was forever ago.
And what better way to count down to Christmas than with an Advent calendar? We've rounded up our favorites that you can use year after year, mama.
House advent calendar
It's perfectly neutral to go with any type of holiday decor, but is made to bring a spark of magic and fun as your kids rush each morning to find out what's inside the tiny drawers.
Advent calendar wreath
This has to be the most unique advent calendar we've ever seen. We love everything about it: The simple metal hoop, the greenery and the 24 kraft boxes that can be filled with goodies for both adults and kids. It's so pretty, we might even leave it up past Christmas!
Countdown to Christmas advent calendar
We love that you can fill this one with your own treats that can change as your kids grow. And it doesn't have to be sweets. It can be filled with stickers, little toys, handmade goodies and more.
Modern farmhouse Christmas countdown
No treats required for this simple, beautiful sign.
Metal advent calendar
This sleek metal sign comes with 25 small muslin bags and 30 cards you can tuck into each one. The cards have an activity or kind gesture you and your kids can do to celebrate the season.
Ernie and Irene llama advent calendar
Add a touch of whimsy and coziness with this sweet calendar featuring a knit llama.
DIY advent calendar kit
For the crafty mamas in the group, this sweet kit has everything you and your family need to create your advent calendar together. Once you've assembled all the houses, you can fill it with whatever treats your family will love.
Customizable advent calendar
This sweet and modern fabric calendar can be customized with your family name or cherished holiday phrase. It also comes with a set of 24 activity cards you can pop into each pocket.
Clever Creations traditional wooden Christmas advent calendar
This beautiful calendar is a showpiece. It lights up to create a cozy and festive scene.
Light-up stacking house glitter advent calendar
Enjoy a tower of pre-lit cottages that will light up your home each day leading up to Christmas.
My Kindness advent calendar
The holidays are all about giving—and that doesn't stop with just material items. We can give in the form of kindness every single day, and this calendar helps us do just that.
Blue and gray Christmas socks advent calendar garland
We love the twist on a traditional calendar with this sweet garland of 24 stockings.
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.