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Addicted to the Rush of Rushing? Your Chronic Lateness Might Be More Than a Bad Habit

Picture this: You’re getting ready to go somewhere, like work, or a baby shower, or maybe parent-teacher conferences. You’ve given yourself plenty of time, but somehow, when you check the clock, you see you’re cutting it close. Instead of streamlining the rest of your routine, like a person who prioritizes punctuality would do, you answer a day-old text from your mom then decide today is the day to switch purses. You waste precious minutes doing other non-essential tasks, diverted by things you typically ignore, until you finally break free, grab your stuff, and race out the door. You drive way too fast, cursing traffic and applying mascara at the stoplights. You arrive 10 minutes late, full of breathless apologies and excuses, but really, you have no one to blame but yourself.


Is this scenario familiar? You begin with the best of intentions and end up in a manic rush? Does it happen regularly, without interceding circumstances? Has being late resulted in negative consequences, after which you vow to get your act together? Do you feel unable to control your compulsion to dawdle? Have family and friends spoken to you about it, in an effort to get you to change? Do they use the word “inconsiderate”?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, you have a tardiness tendency, and while it may stem from poor time management, it has become a habit. Habits lie on the outskirts of ordinary behavior, serving an ulterior purpose that is often unhealthy, and in many cases a bad habit will develop into a full blown addiction. Depending on how chronic your pattern, you might actually be addicted to being late. Or, more precisely, you might be addicted to the chemicals your body releases when its hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is activated by the external pressures of time constraints.

The role of HPA

The HPA axis is the human body’s central response system. It intertwines the central nervous system, which is responsible for processing information, and the endocrine system, which responds to this information by releasing a variety of hormones. In times of stress, the hypothalamus will coordinate with the pituitary and other glands, flooding the body with a hormone cocktail that heightens awareness, improves cognition, induces euphoria, and triggers a burst of stored energy. Akin to the fight-or-flight mechanism, which discharges the sympathetic nervous system and facilitates immediate physical action, the HPA axis reacts indiscriminately to threatening stimulus. Any stressor that registers on our sensory radar qualifies as perceived danger and will activate the launch code.

Plainly put, our chemical brains can’t tell the difference between walking into a pit of venomous snakes and walking into a room full of glaring coworkers.

When we’re running late, this sophisticated physiological process kicks in, and the result is an intense visceral surge. Some find it overwhelming and unpleasant, what with the rapid heartbeat and sweating, and will take measures to avoid it in the future. Others describe it as a thrilling rush, similar to what people experience when skydiving, bungee jumping, or pursuing other extreme sports. It is even possible to build a tolerance for hormonally induced excitement, requiring riskier adventures to produce the same effect. The activation of the HPA axis is the one thing all addictions have in common.

In a recent study published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” researchers suggest a connection between a person’s tolerance to acute stress and their propensity for addiction. They document a wide variety of addictions, from gambling to drugs to exercise, and conclude there is a correlation between these behaviors and an elevated stress response. It seems the more sensitive a person is to stress, the more likely they are to use the HPA axis reaction as a coping mechanism. There is also evidence this inclination is epigenetic (influenced by both biological and environmental factors). Just as alcoholism, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol runs in families but can be avoided, stress addictions can too.

Addiction awareness

To be clear, labeling your chronic lateness an addiction is not helpful in and of itself. Whether you are powerless in the throes of rushing out the door or just terrible at planning ahead is a distinction without a difference – the problem remains that your habit inconveniences others. What is helpful, though, is understanding the underlying motivation and recognizing the pattern of the HPA axis reaction. Once you identify the feeling of impending lateness as nothing more than a hormonal gust, you will likely stop self-sabotaging with time-wasting tactics – or at least be aware of what you are doing.

Admitting you have a problem and enlisting family members to steer you back on track when you get distracted are essential first steps to promptness, but as with any addiction, behavior modification only works if the addict wants to quit.

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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This month isn't just the start of a new year, but the start of a new life for those due in 2019. If you're expecting a baby this year you've got plenty of celebrity company, mama.

Here are some fellow mamas-to-be expecting in 2019:

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega 

The Spy Kids actress and mom to 2-year-old Ocean will soon have to get herself a double stroller because PenaVega and her husband Carlos are expecting again.

"Holy Moly!!! Guys!!! We are having another baby!!!!" captioned an Instagram post. "Do we wake Ocean up and tell him??!! Beyond blessed and excited to continue growing this family!!! Get ready for a whole new set of adventures!!!"

Over on Carlos' IG the proud dad made a good point: " This year we will officially be able to say we have 'kids!' Our minds are blown," he write.

Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald

In January Counting On Jessa Seewald (formerly Jessa Duggar) announced via Instagram that she is pregnant with her third child with husband Ben Seewald.

We love that she was able to make the announcement in her own time, not worrying about speculation about her midsection. She's been over that for a while.

[Update: January 18, added PenaVega]

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