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Father's Day is approaching, which has me feeling all the feels for the dads in my life right about now. While everyone's relationship with their father is different, the men who are always, always there for you are something special.

My dad spent our childhood chasing us around a backyard, trying to teach us all of the sports he played with his five brothers (he had three sisters, too… yes, really!). And watching my husband recreate a similar childhood for our four kids—running basketball drills in our driveway, playing catch in the front yard, helping my daughter practice for her dance recital, reading books to everyone at night—is one of my favorite parts of parenting. Which is exactly why we need to celebrate these dudes this Father's Day!

Whether the dad your shopping for is a master griller, a sports fanatic or just someone sorely in need of a new pair of flip flops for summertime, we've got him (and you) covered in the below list of gifts.

Yeti Tundra Haul

YETI Tundra Haul

Before becoming dads, did dads like coolers? We'll never really know. But this we do know: Dads don't just like coolers, they love them. And the Tundra Haul is the best you can buy him (and yes, it's worth the steep price tag!). Yeti is the granddaddy of luxe coolers and this newest version has two ultra-tough, puncture-proof wheels that can take on sand, rocky terrains, rugged trails and more—all while keeping up to 45 cans of beer or 55 pounds of ice at freezer-esque temps.

$399.99

American Eagle Knockaround Fast Lanes Sunglasses

This just in: We don't need to spend a fortune on sunglasses anymore! Especially when brands like American Eagle are churning out super-cool styles like these Knockaround bad boys. We love that the FDA-approved lenses are impact-resistant because, let's face it, at any moment a toy could come hurtling at dad's face, and it's good to know that his sunglasses will protect him.

$25

Veer All Terrain Cruiser Wagon

Veer Wagon

There's nowhere dad won't be able to go with this stroller wagon hybrid that combines the ease and maneuverability of a stroller with the classic fun of a wagon. We tested this one on myriad surfaces and especially love the smooth ride (thanks to those big ol' wheels) and the cup holders.

$599.00

Hooray Heroes' When Emma Grows Up personalized book

Hooray Heroes

The Daddy Edition of the best-selling "When Emma Grows Up" personalized children's book is perfect for celebrating the everlasting bonds that dads have with their little ones… and we're betting it will have your husband tearing up before the waffles are even ready. Personalize the name and appearance of both Dad and child and choose 10 professions your little one might grow up to be. All inspired by Dad himself, of course.

[In partnership with Hooray Heroes]

$39.00

Wüsthof Stainless-Steel 10-Piece Steak & Carving Knife Set

steak knives

Not all dads like meat… but a lot of them do. And if they're anything like my husband, they're very finicky about their steak knives. We love this 10-piece stainless steel set from Wüsthoffor multiples reasons. One: The price. Considering that it includes eight serrated steak knives, a carving knife, a carving fork and a flashy wooden holding box for under 80 bucks, well fam, that's a smokin' deal. Two: Founded in Germany more than 200 years ago, the Wüsthof brand is legit. Three: They're pretty! Which isn't the case for all steak knives!

$180.00

OluKai Mea Ola Sandal

Outfit him with "fancy" flip flops this summer that are slick enough to wear to date night but so comfortable he might actually feel a little guilty about his footwear. Made by hand in Hawaii, OluKai sandals have superior arch support, contoured footbeds and lots of toe room—all of which is too say your man is about to declare that these are the only flip flops he's wearing from now to eternity.

$119.99

Men's Papa Bird T-shirt

Papa Bird Amazon T-Shirt

Have you ever met an adult male who doesn't love a good t-shirt? Nope. This one is soft and cozy and comes in sizes small to 3XL. We're betting this is going to be his new favorite.

$19.99

The Dollar Shave Club Starter Shave Set

Dollar Shave Club

If buying razors is something that always ends up on your to-do list, this subscription service is going to be music to your ears. The Dollar Shave Club delivers razors (and other shaving/bathroom products) to his doorstep as often as he needs. Test it out with the travel-size Starter Set, which includes shave butter and four razor cartridges.

$5.00

Framebridge Framing

Framebridge Father's Day Duo

Have a favorite family photo that's been sitting on your phone (or your Instagram) for months? Bring it into the real world and onto walls! Framebridge makes the process of custom framing incredibly easy—simply choose your frame, upload or mail in your imagery, pick your size and voila, you've got your gift! You can even do the entire process from your phone… in under 5 minutes. And for Father's Day, Framebridge is offering a duo of 5 x 7 frames with mattes for $100.

$39.00

Etsy MyPersonalMemories Bottle Opener

bottle cap catcher

Whether you hang in it your garage, on your deck railing or near his grill, this wall-mounted, personalized bottle opener is the perfect customized gift for dad. We love that it catches caps... and that it has more than 18,000 reviews on Etsy!

$24.99

Ladder smart life insurance

Ladder smart life insurance

We know, we know, presenting him with a life insurance on Father's Day isn't the most sentimental gift, but if you and your man don't have it, we're guessing that it's a point of stress for you both. No, we're not suggesting you go to an old-timey broker's office. Instead, we're sending you to Ladder. Why? Because this site makes the process of obtaining a policy incredibly easy and fast for new subscribers—seriously, the total time it takes from clicking onto the site, selecting your coverage amount and applying for instant coverage is as little as five minutes.

Bonobos Jetsetter Stretch Italian Wool Blazer

mens blazer

The blazer is the ultimate dad jacket. He can wear it to your son's hockey awards banquet, a client meeting or his cousin's wedding, all while looking crisp, cool and ever on-trend. After all, he's a hip dad! Get him there with Bonobos' Jetsetter options, which combine old-school Italian wool with a slight stretch. The best part? He can pair the jacket with anything from jeans to slacks—far more practical that a suit coat!

$450.00

Full Circle Home Brumi Pour Over & Cold Brew To-Go Bottle

pour over bottle brew

Whether dad likes his coffee hot or cold, this reusable, double-walled glass bottles makes the perfect pour-over or cold brew—ready in minutes and easy to take on the go.

$39.00

Google Pixel 3a

Google Pixel

For the tech lover, the Google Pixel 3a is a dream. With an amazing camera (including Night Sight) dad will have no excuse to not take *all* of the photos. Plus, the battery lasts up to 30 hours in case he forgets to charge it. We love the Google Lens that allows you to point the camera at an object or visual and get answers—the kids will love playing with it!

$299.00

Dutch Deluxes Dutch Leather Oven Mitts

Dad won't be able to keep his mitts off of these! (It's Father's Day, so we're allowed to make bad jokes.) Made from 100% leather, these heat-resistant oven mitts can withstand temperatures as high as 460°F 🔥.

$89.00

Untuckit St. Romain Performance Shirt

UNTUCKIT

Am I the only wife who's lived this scenario: Husband puts on button-down and laments its too long. Then he tucks in and adds a belt and laments that he looks like his dad. Untuckit to the rescue! Created by a regular dude who was also totally dissatisfied with the odd length of men's button-down shirts, the brand has somehow created the perfect shirt for dads—in dozens of patterns and materials (we really love the wrinkle-free, sweat-wicking performance material!), the shirts aren't too short, aren't too long, nope, they're just right in length. Read: They don't need to be tucked in but they're also long enough that they're not showing off dad's ripped abs (!) every time he raises his arms.

$98.00

Paige Federal Slim Fit Jeans in Blakely

Paige Federal Men's Jeans

Finding the ideal dad jean is no easy feat. If they're too wide, dads look like they're headed to a rave in 1999. Too skinny and they'll barely be able to bend over to pick up baby off the floor. Luckily, we discovered Paige's Federal jeans in the Blakely wash and let's just say that the fit and color is just right for all dads out there—they can be worn from daycare drop-off to work to date night and everywhere in between. With the perfect amount of tapering, these are about his new 24/7 jeans.

$189.00

Elkin Backpack

Elkin Diaper Backpack

Um, moms? We need a diaper backpack! Dads will be psyched to strap this one on, whether they're headed to the play space with the baby, to a ball game with the big kids or to meet clients for coffee. Why? It's streamlined aesthetic doesn't scream, "diaper bag!" But luckily it does function like one, with pockets galore, a removable changing pad and room for a laptop.

$84.99

Murdock London grooming products

Murdock London

Does his skincare routine involve water and a bar of soap? Or maybe the face wash his mom introduced him to when he was 13? Let's upgrade dad's rotation with British grooming brand Murdock London's assortment of goodies—from the skin-calming Post Shave Balm or the deliciously-smelling Black Tea Body Wash to the perfect-level-of-hold Texture Paste for his hair. Does he struggle with a too-course beard? Then the Beard Conditioner will fix all that. More to love: The sleek navy-blue packaging.

$8.00

Everlane The Trainer

mens everlane sneaker

Not all gym shoes need a marquis logo on them—and while this might be a hard concept for dad to swallow, Everlane's new Trainer sneaker will change his mind pretty quickly. Available in seven leather-and-suede combo colorways, these sneakers are comfortable right out of the box and since they come from the eco-concious brand, they're also feel-good for your soul. The sole is a blend of natural and recycled rubber (94% virgin-plastic-free!) and the brand is on determined path to be completely carbon neutral.

$98.00

SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker

A must-have for anyone who loves them some fizzy water, the SodaStream turns plain water into seltzer in seconds. The best part? It's cord-free and has a small enough footprint that you won't even mind giving it some real estate on your countertops. Oh, and it's saving the planet from a whole lot of plastic bottles, too.

$89.99

The Beez Kneez Designs Vintage Mug via Etsy

dad mug

This vintage-inspired personalized mug will make dad totally nostalgic (and proud!) during his daily coffee fix.

$13.75

Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4

Is your man a tech-loving dad who wants to stay connected but needs his hands free to deal with the kiddos? Then look no further than the Apple Watch. Dad will be able to do everything from tracking his daily activities to checking his emails right from his wrist. Forewarning: You're going to want a matching one.

$429.00

Mixbook Family Photo Books

family photo book

Surprise him with a compilation of your family's best photos—or maybe it's the silliest ones. Or the pics where no one is looking, or the ones where only 75 percent of you are smiling. Regardless, putting photo to paper is the thoughtful gift that will score you a touchdown on Father's Day morning, and Mixbook's options are super easy to create.

$15.99

Yeti Rambler 26-Ounce Bottle

yeti water bottle

Facts: It's impossible to "dad" without being hydrated, and a rugged water bottle will be a welcomed gift by all. We recommend the 100% leak-proof, stainless steel Yeti Rambler 18-ounce bottle, which has an extra-wide opening for sipping and loading (dads loooove big ice cubes!) and double-wall vacuum walls for keeping drinks super cold and super hot. Oh, and it's dishwasher safe, too.

$29.99

Wusthof Grilling Tools

Wusthof Grilling Tools

Grilling and dads go hand-in-hand, so getting him a fancy set of tools for his favorite outdoor appliance for Father's Day will likely be well-received. We love this heat-resistant Wusthof set from Williams-Sonoma because it's solid without being heavy, and each of the four pieces have rings to hang on your grill hooks. Did we mention it's 50% off right now? Done and done!

$160.00

Instant Pot Lux Mini

Instant pot

If your husbands anything like mine, he's not the handiest in the kitchen. Set him up for success on solo nights with an Instant Pot, which in addition to being able to make hard boiled eggs in minutes, can also prepare soups and stews, steam and sauté vegetables and much more in under 20 minutes. We like the Lux Mini because of its compact size and it's palatable price.

$52.99

Public Rec

workday pants

If they're not jeans or sweatpants, my husband completely struggles with pants. The word "chinos" makes him cringe. But pants are a vital wardrobe component for adult males. Enter: Public Rec's new Workday Pants. Styled in the vein of jeans, the five-pocket pants have a tapered ankle and are made from a stretchy blend of polyester and spandex that is quick-drying and super lightweight. Pants that are modern but professional and breathable? We found 'em! An they come in four colors, too.

$108.00

Uncommon Goods Anatomy of Sports Coasters

Anatomy of Sports Coasters

Dads like sports... but what they really, really love are coasters. Seriously. My husband will dive across a room to prevent a cold glass of ice water from sweating onto our coffee table and leaving a dreaded-ring. So get him what he really wants this year and combine his two favorite things! These sandstone coasters have cork bottoms and come in nine categories (skiing, baseball, golf and more!), covering interesting factoids that the whole fam will enjoy discussing.

$45.00

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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We've all been there. You first hear those cries that don't sound like any other cries and immediately know what's happening. It's like our mama hearts know when our little ones need us the most. Having little ones feeling under the weather is hard. They can't tell you exactly how they feel. You can't explain to them that they'll feel better soon, and all there is for everyone to do is to take it easy and stay cuddled inside until you can get them to the doctor.

The issue, by this point, is that my son is old enough to know what's coming when we open the medicine cabinet, so giving him something for his throat ends up being like a wrestling match without the fun and giggles. My son especially likes spitting out anything as a way to protest how he's generally feeling, so we both end up covered in sticky syrup feeling defeated. Because, seriously, who thought that using a syringe or pipette to squirt out gooey liquid down an unwilling toddler's mouth was a good idea? (Probably not a parent.)

That's why when I found out there was an easier and more fun way to make these dreaded sick days better, I was all about it.

Enter: Lolleez.

Lolleez are organic throat soothing pops for kids—and adults!—that are made with organic ingredients that you can pronounce and understand like honey and natural fruit pectin. Plus, they're non-GMO as well as gluten, dairy and nut-free i.e. worry-free for all kinds of kiddos. The pops help soothe sore throats while acting like a treat for when kids are feeling under the weather. I also appreciate that the pops are actually flat and on a stick, as opposed to a lozenge or round ball lollipop. They were also created by a mom, which makes me feel a million times more confident about them since I know she knows exactly how hard sick days with a little one can be.

loleez

When I introduced my son to Lolleez pops, everything changed. Suddenly the battle to get him to take something to feel better wasn't... well, a battle. In the few times he's been sick since, he's been more than happy to pop a Lolleez, and I've been more than grateful that soothing him is now as easy as peeling open a wrapper. And, since they come in watermelon, strawberry and orange mango—strawberry is the favorite in this household—he never gets bored of getting a soothing lolly.

Also, they're easy to find—you can get them at stores like Target, CVS and online so I never worry that I'll be caught without in a pinch. After the sick days have run their course and my son starts feeling better, there's nothing like seeing that glow in his eyes come back and have him greet me with a big smile when I come into his room in the morning, ready for the day.

While our littles not feeling well is inevitable, as a mama, I'll do anything to make my child feel better, and I'm so thankful for products that make it just a little easier for the both of us. So here's to enjoying the snuggles that come with sick days, while also looking forward to the giggles that come after them.

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

Our Partners

Hilaria Baldwin has worn her emotions on her sleeve in recent months sharing the heartbreaking news of her miscarriage and then the happy news of her current pregnancy—and she's all about being her authentic self.

The yoga guru thrives on having her hands full. In fact, on top of raising her four children with husband Alec Baldwin and her work, Hilaria recently decided to foster a new puppy, because what is life without a little chaos!

Motherly caught up with Hilaria this week and she didn't hesitate to dish on a variety of things relating to motherhood. From how she and her husband juggle parenting duties, to how she handled introducing her children to their younger siblings when they were born, and, of course, how she deals with online criticism.

FEATURED VIDEO

Motherly: Congrats on the baby news! We loved that you got your four little ones involved with the reveal. Are they excited to have another sibling?

Hilaria Baldwin: They're really, really excited. Carmen is super excited not only because she not only has very much wanted a sister—she has Ireland [Alec's daughter from his marriage to Kim Basinger] but she lives far—so she wants someone who comes and lives in our house.

I've made a lot of people and finally, another one came out a girl. We never [intended] to have a big family… you know, I had Carmen and then I had Rafa and then I got pregnant pretty soon after I had Rafa and it was another boy, and then we said, 'Let's try!' and we had another boy. The three boys are within three years, so they're such a joy to watch [together]. As much as Carmen is a part of their little group, she's always sort of said, 'Hey, I would love to have a little sister.' So, it's been really exciting to see her get excited.

Motherly: So many parents struggle with introducing their kids to their new sibling and deal with the fear of the older child feeling jealous or left out. How did you handle that? Do you have any advice for parents going through these emotions?

HB: I think at this point we have such a crew that like, my kids are just used to a crowd all the time and it's like our house is super fun and there's always something going on. And so, you know, one to two [kids] was kind of difficult. And then for me, three we were a group and then four it was like nothing happened. You know, the kids, they love babies because they've been around so many babies. They love being together as they're always playing together and fight as well.

In terms of like introducing, one of the things that is like a ground rule for me is that— Alec and I have this on our wedding rings so it's long before we got pregnant— [it is the Spanish phrase] for 'We are a good team.' And that's our motto. It's like everything is a team in the house. There's no excluding, there is no toy that particularly belongs to somebody...They will have a blanket maybe that they sleep with or something like that, but it's not off limits to everybody else.

Of course, they break these rules at grab toys and don't want to share to do all the things that normal kids do, but the rule we keep coming to is that we want to keep everyone happy and accepted, so I think that helps. They all call the babies their babies, and I think that that helps, because it's not like mommy comes home and had this new baby and they're excluded.

Like everything else it's just embracing the fact that we're all scared. And kids really follow the guidance of the parents. If you make it fun and special, that we have the baby and it's about them, then they're gonna follow that lead. If you make it like, 'Oh, don't do that [to] baby, don't touch, be careful' and that kind of thing, it's not going to be as much of a group enjoyment thing.

Motherly: Busy Philipps recently opened up about how she almost divorced her husband over uneven parenting responsibilities. How do you and Alec divide the duties?

HB: I didn't hear about that, but I feel like that's very common…I am somebody who takes pride and am very specific about how I want things to be done. Like, I cook for my kids every night. I bathe them morning and night. When somebody gets into a fight, I want to be there to be able to deal with the dynamic. You know, with Alec, he'll sort of roll his eyes because I'm like, 'You're not doing it the way that I want it to be!'

I almost prefer to do it. I'll wake up with the kids at night. It's kind of my personality and I really enjoy it. You know, some people want support by saying, 'Hey, it's your turn to change the diaper.' But what [Alec] does for me that really, really means something is he'll look at me and he'll say, 'You're such a good mommy' and my kids will say that to me, and that's all I want in return. I'm somebody that I don't require a lot of sleep. I'm a busy body. I'm happy to check things off the list. I'm very type A, but I want to be the one who does this because I know how I want it to get done.

Motherly: You're so open about everything on social media. Do you ever feel like you want to hide more or is it therapeutic for you?

HB: I think it's a combination. I think that it's mostly therapeutic. I was always a very open person, and then all of a sudden I joined this really weird public life world and it was a very traumatic experience of everyday people are looking at you trying to find out your business. Alex was like a very old school celebrity in terms of 'this is my private life, close the doors'. We don't [have to] say anything. I mean he has been a little more outspoken than like the average sort of old school celebrities. And I tried to do that for awhile and it made me not like who I was.

And I really just started realizing, I was changing because this is how they're telling me to behave. And so I said, 'You know what, I'm not doing this anymore.' I said, 'I'm going to be open. And people are going to see that.' Once you marry somebody who is famous and your economics change...It doesn't mean that you have to be different.

And, yes, do I have my days where I really kind of want to close down and be more quiet? Sure. But in the end I realized that everybody has those days. And that's one of those the things that makes us common and connected. And that's what I've really enjoyed with this journey that we're on.

Motherly: Do you have ways that you personally deal with online criticism, or do you just kind of turn a blind eye and try to not focus on the negativity?

HB: I think I go through phases and I think a lot of it has to do with your philosophy, your emotions, where you are not just in that phase in your life. I've done things from literally copying the comment and posting it on my story. And I think that using that as a place of saying, 'Hey, this is bullying. This happened to me too and this isn't okay.' And if this person is bullying me, I guarantee you that they're bullying other people. So I'll do that. Sometimes I'll block, sometimes I'll respond.

This lady wrote me last night and [told me] I should be careful because with [yoga] twisting you can cause a miscarriage. And I had just suffered a miscarriage, so I basically should know better, and that that happened to her, that she twisted and then she had a miscarriage … Now, yes, in yoga you should not do the lower belly twists when you're pregnant, but that being said, if you twist, it's not going to cause a miscarriage...And that's one thing that, I mean I responded to her and I just responded to her saying, 'I lost my baby because my baby's heart wasn't good, not because I did something wrong.'

Too often women look at ourselves and point blame, we think, 'Well, we must have done something.' Let me tell you something from having a miscarriage: The first thing that all doctors tell you is, 'I want you to know that you didn't do anything wrong.'

Motherly: Can you tell us a little about how you're dealing with picky eating in your household?

HB: I was dealing with the pickiness of my kids and particularly Rafael, who's like my super, super picky eater. We had to sort of get very creative because he literally would prefer to not need, then to eat something he doesn't want to eat. And he is that typical picky eater where he wants he'll eat like four or five things and you know, they're good things, we're lucky with him, he likes tofu and lentils.

But at the same time, we're constantly trying to think of other things. So, I found Health Warrior bars when he was going through some really picky times and they were great because you can put them in your bag for on-the-go, and he would eat them and it wouldn't be a fight, and I know that they have really good ingredients.

The other thing we discovered from them—because getting kids to eat vegetables is really, really difficult as well —is a protein powder that it's like all plant based. So what I do is I'll make a shake for them every single day that has tons of kale and broccoli and all this kind of stuff in it. I'll put this chocolate protein powder in it and they call it a chocolate shake… So those have been like two life savers and so when they came to me and they said that they wanted to do something together, it just felt very natural and I wanted to spread the word because they've helped our family so much.

For more from Hilaria check out Season 2 of the Mom Brain podcast, co-hosted by Hilaria and Daphne Oz.

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News

After my son was born I found myself thrown into the darkest period of my life, overtaken by postpartum depression and anxiety. My days were awash in panic attacks from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed, with crying spells that hit without warning in between.

Most of my visitors didn't know any of this.

When they stopped by to deliver a meal or meet the baby, most people asked the question we all ask of new mothers: "How are you doing?" I answered with the automatic response we all give when asked this question: "I'm doing okay," adding with a sideways glance and shrug, "Tired, but that's just how it is."

FEATURED VIDEO

"How are you doing?" It's a great question to ask when we see a friend on the street or sit down for coffee to catch up on life. But when we ask it of a new mother, we subconsciously ask her to take the complex period after birth, with its hormonal shifts and emotional ups and downs, and boil it down to one sentiment.

The postpartum period deserves a better question.

The reality for each mother is different, and the answer to such a simple question may be kept private for fear of making her visitors uncomfortable if she senses they expect a glowing new mother, drunk on oxytocin.

A better question for any visitor, or even if you see a woman with a new baby on the street, is: "How are you feeling, emotionally?"

This question doesn't just invite a response, it shows a new mother that you are ready and unafraid to hear about her feelings, whatever they may be.

It shows her you understand that she may be delighted in her new baby, but are open to the possibility that she is also feeling grief for her past life, sadness at the lack of support, disappointment in the grueling and unforgiving schedule a newborn demands.

This question is even more important today, where most women are not surrounded by a village following the birth of a baby. They may be alone, doing the hard work with just the help of their partner, or if they're lucky, close friends and family. They may have no space to process what's happened to them and so they begin the habitual process of setting themselves aside for the sake of others.

A few weeks ago I was at a friend's cookout. A woman entered the backyard with a newborn. She sat down and I watched her carefully, as I do all new moms since recovering from my PPD. Scanning for signs that she might be in trouble, or struggling to maintain a facade of togetherness. I didn't see anything, but that didn't matter.

"Hey," I said. "How old is he?"

"Two weeks," she replied, shifting the peacefully sleeping baby from one arm to the other.

"That is such a crazy time," I said, painfully recalling the chaos of my own experience at two weeks postpartum. "And how are you feeling," I ventured. "Emotionally?"

I didn't even know her name. But it didn't matter. I saw a flash of surprise on her face, followed by a faint smile radiating from inside her. And with the door swung wide open, we talked for a long time about what it really feels like to be a new mother.

So how are you feeling today mama, emotionally?


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Life

Yes, it's called the giving season, but who says that “giving" always has to mean toys, clothes or just more stuff? Gifting experiences, from museum memberships to sporting passes, can give your kids more than just another object for their playroom. It can create memories, help build skills and provide fun for the entire family.

#TeamMotherly agrees. We asked what experiences you want for your kiddos instead of toys, and you happily told us. Here are some of the best experience gifts to give:

1. Children's theater season passes

2. Gift card to restaurant for the family

3. Trampoline jump passes

4. Zoo membership

5. Full session for new sport (gymnastics, football camp, etc.)

6. Trip to the bookstore to pick out new books

7. Local + national state park passes for a year

8. Plane ticket to visit someone special (grandma, aunt, etc.)

9. Pass to an art museum

10. Cooking class for kids

11. A farm stay

12. Tickets for child + friend for a local play

13. Pottery making classes

14. Out of country airfare + accommodation (if you want to be truly indulgent)

15. Swim lessons

16. Aquarium yearly pass

17. Subscription box

18. A train ride to somewhere they've never been

19. Musical instrument + lessons

20. Flower or herb seeds to plant a garden

21. Ballet classes + tutu

30. Gift for charity, let the child decide where to give

31. Miniature golf adventure

32. Indoor climbing excursion

33. Mommy + me music classes

34. Tickets for Disney on Ice

35. Passes to the local waterpark

36. A book bundle

37. Music class gift card

38. Camping gear for a weekend away

39. A hot air balloon ride

40. Subscription to Little Passports

41. Year fees for school

42. Whale watching day trip

43. Materials to build terrarium

44. Weekend stay at Great Wolf Lodge

45. Game night bundle

46. Season pass to attraction (Disneyland, Island of Adventure, etc.)

47. YMCA family pass

48. Movie gift card for the local theatre

49. Volunteer trip (Toys for Tots, food bank, etc.)

50. Donation to future college fund

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.


Life

The nurses and my husband were pushing the stretcher as I tried to put some makeup on; I have always loved red lipstick and bought a new one for this special occasion. I want to look pretty in the pictures, I can not be seen with this face, I thought.

My brown skin contrasted with the white of the operating room—I was there because twins generally means it's high-risk pregnancy, so this was an extra precaution before starting to push. Doctors were ready; clean and sterilized. My husband was dressed as an astronaut and I? Well, I was disheveled, with huge dark circles and no sleep, but extremely nervous and excited.

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"Push, push, push," they said when everyone was set up, but I was just trying to get my hair in a ponytail. There is nothing glamorous about giving birth.

Labor began shortly before 11:00 in the morning. At 11:04, my daughter was born and by 11:07 my son arrived. The two of them were vaginal deliveries. No cesarean. It was so fast that I didn't have time to put makeup on or do my hair. I had no time to get picture ready even when I had spent 37.5 weeks waiting for this moment.

My daughter cried softly and my son was tiny. I could only hold them for a couple of minutes, just a short skin-to-skin hug before they were taken to the NICU. They needed more oxygen and some tests.

From the operating room, I had time to send photos to the family, give the good news on WhatsApp and post something on Facebook. Their dad ran behind them as they went to the NICU. I was left alone, but not empty. I was happy, proud and full of love; I don't know if the epidural was working its magic, but I was never afraid.

Then I was back in my room. A nurse bathed me, braided my hair and put a little makeup on my exhausted face. My mom came to see me, probably a little disappointed that the twins were not with me. Everything happened so fast. Just half an hour after the delivery, I was in a wheelchair on my way to the NICU to see those little strangers that had formed in my belly.

They were twins, but completely different. My daughter was a brunette, but my son was more likely to be blond; she was fully awake and he was sleeping. You could definitely tell that she would be the one with a strong personality and he would be the sweet mama's boy. They were two tiny individuals that grew together in my belly.

"I'm mom," I introduced myself in a whisper.

It was the second time they saw me and I made sure that I looked a little bit better this time. It was not the makeup or the hair, love made me look pretty and I was full of that wild and inexplicable new emotion.

Then something happened. It was just a second, a click.

We recognized each other and loved each other instantly. My mom told me about that "magical connection" but I never really believed it until I felt it.

I was a brand new mom with no experience at all (I have to confess that I even took classes to learn how to change diapers and use a stroller). And, of course, I didn't know what to tell them or how to lull them; there are no classes to prepare you for that. It was so unexpected that I, a writer and a journalist, was out of words.

I was so in love that I was speechless. They were so tiny and had so many tubes and machines on them that I was afraid to do or say the wrong thing.

So I sang. I sang every single lullaby in Spanish that I could remember while I rocked them to sleep. In the beginning, it was one by one, in their own rooms and then, together, one on each arm, like the family we've been since then.

I spent my first night as a mother away from them, yearning for them and missing them. I spent the second night in a larger room with no crib or babies. The third, the fourth and even the seventh—and others—I spent in the NICU, with them.

Our boy was still in the hospital and our daughter in my arms. I discovered the magic of motherhood amid pediatricians and nurses, pumps and tubes. But, even with all that chaos, I found true joy and the most frightening fear.

It has been five years now. Today they are no longer babies; they say they are a big boy/girl now. I know it's true. Where did the time go?

They have grown a lot, but they are still my babies; they can bathe alone and brush their teeth making circles as the dentist taught them, but they are still looking for my arms, my kisses, my touch and my words of love.

They think they need me, but in reality, I need them more. We're a team; we are family. We love each other, we accept each other, we challenge ourselves, we—almost always—like each other, we push ourselves to the limit, but with the same intensity we love each other.

I'm so blessed to have them in my life. I'm lucky and beyond. I'm so excited to walk with them in this life and I'm so thankful that they chose me to be their mom.

Larga vida, mis cachorros. Los amo.

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