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It’s surprising, isn’t it, how there are times when boredom is good? It’s something we need to not just tolerate, but embrace. It can be the gateway to something amazing – like when your child tells you she’s bored and you sit with it, not trying to create something for her, and she comes up with a creative project, or an idea that she begins or even carries out to fruition. Or, you think a walk in the woods by yourself will be boring, you do it anyway, and you come alive with self-reflection, new ideas, and stillness.

The bad can be when you notice that your child is constantly bored. He complains that school is boring. She doesn’t seem engaged with friends. A constantly bored child can become depressed or turn to things that are both exciting and harmful.

One of the most fascinating things that I’ve discovered about motherhood is that a mother can be completely overwhelmed, anxious, busy doing all the right things for her family, and be bored. I find that to be a huge paradox, one that can lead to misunderstanding the why of her sometimes-hidden unhappiness.

A first step is recognizing boredom for what it is. When we’re out-of-our-mind busy, we’d never think “Oh, I’m so busy, I’m bored.” We’ll attribute our feelings of dissatisfaction to stress, “too busy,” and all the other emotions that we associate with too much to do and too much to handle.

Unpacking the “bored” feeling can be helpful. What’s the feeling about? Is it lack of intellectual stimulation? Or perhaps it’s a lack of certain kinds of connection – maybe sensual, maybe deeper friendships (the kind that needs more than a play date conversation). Where was I before becoming a mother, or before being pulled into the trauma years?

Boredom can become a huge negative for a parent, especially for the mother who’s taking care of the day-to-day of making sure a family is in working order. Here’s the bad recipe: You may be problem solving at every corner, dealing with intensities and sensitivities, helping your kids grow so they can one day be on their own. You’re not getting enough down-time alone, not making connections outside of your family, or both. Mix that with some overwhelm and tediousness (dishes, homework, laundry, bill paying – what’s tedious for some can be relaxing and enjoyable for others), then add some fatigue with a touch of lack-of-sleep. Now stir in a little self-talk and a pinch of self-judgement into the mix, such as, “I’m a failure as a mother and whatever else I hoped to be, while everyone else seems to be going off to Hawaii (or has a successful career, or has a great relationship with her significant other, or seems happier than me, or whatever).” You have a perfect mom’s recipe for The Ugly.

Many of us escape. And let’s face it, some escapes from constantly being there for the troops are healthy and necessary. Your escape might be shopping, if you have the money; a drink from time to time; a little gossip, cooking or food; time alone, time with friends – we all have something that is and, must be, our little escape. But, sometimes we might become a little dependent on a painkiller, or maybe indulge in too much wine at the end of the day, or the gossip or needing to fix everyone else’s problems becomes obsessive. Is your escape filling another need? Only we can know when something isn’t serving us anymore.

Just as we need to find healthy ways to help our kids out of boredom, we must also find our own way out. There are a variety of ways: supporting ourselves through friendships, jobs, projects, maybe even medication until we get on our feet, body-centered practices like yoga or running, finding a vocation or hobby that feeds our soul. Remember the kids who can go from boredom to depression or activities that are exciting and harmful? Well, us moms, may need to take stock to make sure that our escapes come in the form of life-affirming self-care.

Letting ourselves feel vulnerable enough to admit this to ourselves is our power. Only we can know what our special way out of the Ugly is, and only we can know when the time is right.

This article was originally published at HelpMyChildrenThrive.com.

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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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The shape appeals to kids and the organic and gluten-free labels appeal to parents in the freezer aisle, but if you've got a bag of Perdue's Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken Breast Nuggets, don't cook them.

The company is recalling 49,632 bags of the frozen, fully cooked Simply Smart Organics Gluten Free Chicken Breast Nuggets because they might be contaminated with wood.

According to the USDA, Perdue received three complaints about wood In the nuggets, but no one has been hurt.

The nuggets were manufactured on October 25, 2018 with a "Best By" date of October 25, 2019. The UPC code is 72745-80656. (The USDA provides an example of the packaging here so you'll know where to look for the code).

In a statement on the Perdue website the company's Vice President for Quality Assurance, Jeff Shaw, explains that "After a thorough investigation, we strongly believe this to be an isolated incident, as only a minimal amount of these packages has the potential to contain pieces of wood."

If you have these nuggets in your freezer you can call Perdue 877-727-3447 to ask for a refund.

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