Rant

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    It's happened again. A month after a mom was arrested for daring to let her daughter play in a park near the McDonald's where she works, another mother has been slapped with a pair of metal bracelets for leaving her kids in a park to play. Only Ashley Richardson's story is especially heartbreaking.

    According to cops, the mother of four kids ages 6 through 8 was at the food bank picking up something for her family to eat while her kids played. While she was gone, her 8-year-old tried using a toddler swing and got tangled up, which prompted a call to the fire department. When Mom returned, cops arrested her.

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    There is a "new" convenient sleep training method that parents with too many sleepies in their eyes have somehow bought into. Dubbed the "Jassey Way" after the pediatricians who wrote the book on it, this method boasts that parents can get started on this before baby's one month birthday. The idea: don't feed baby during the night and eventually they will learn that they are not getting fed and so they will sleep and parents can sleep.

    I love to sleep. I would go to sleep right now if I could. But when you have a newborn, sleep (as you once knew it) just isn't part of the routine. And that's because babies need food every two or three hours in those early months to grow. All this nonsense about ways to help newborns sleep through the night really should be about parents who will try anything to be able to sleep through the night themselves without their pesky baby waking up.

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    Hold on to your seats, ladies, because this news will make you lose your freaking minds. According to a new survey by vouchercloud.com, men believe that women should become mothers by age 25. Meanwhile, women think that the proper age to have a first child is 31.

    Take a moment and let that sink in. Apparently, the quarter-century mark is the most timely age to become a mother ... according to the gentlemanly folk, at least.

    I think I'll pass, thankyouverymuch.

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    Just because Robin Williams was famous doesn't make it okay for anyone to treat his death with so little respect -- regardless of what that person may think of suicide. The actor's 25-year-old daughter, Zelda Williams, may have found some initial comfort in the many sweet and compassionate messages she received on her Twitter and Instagram accounts after her father committed suicide Monday. Sadly, the few Internet trolls who make it a priority to hurt others with their nasty comments were enough to inspire her to quit using her social media accounts -- at least until she heals.

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    Moms, hold onto your smartphones, we're in for another bumpy ride. This time it's a pediatrician who has overtaken the Internet with yet another diatribe about parents who spend too much time with gadgets in their hands and -- in her mind anyway -- too little time paying attention to their kids.

    Sure, some of what Dr. Jane Scott has to say in her now viral essay, "Parents, Put Down Your Smartphones," is worth pondering if you're a parent. But added to other rants of the same ilk that have popped up over the past year or so on the Internet, it's hard not to feel like people like Scott often miss the forest for all the trees.

    Smartphones have changed parenting. Sometimes for the bad.

    But it's time some acknowledge that just as often, smartphones have made life better for kids and parents alike.

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    A young, innocent man was shot and killed by police for reportedly playing with a toy gun at Walmart, and yet Josh Duggar can take a family photo with his kids' hands on an assault weapon and we are supposed to think it's okay. Another Duggar -- Jessa -- recently encountered a bit of controversy when she posted a photo of herself holding a firearm. What is with all these gun photos?

    This isn't exactly about gun laws here. It's about gun safety. The more there are photos of kids posing with guns, the more kids will think it's okay to handle guns ... on their own ... without adult supervision.

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    A few days ago, my daughter did something cute. I filmed her on my iPad and sent it to her grandparents. Then, I couldn't resist, I decided to post the video on Facebook. But first I hesitated because I thought: holy crap, I'm one of those parents who bores everyone with footage of my child doing something that only a mom (and grandparent) thinks is cute.

    I posted it anyway.

    And people, lots of people -- people who have jobs and lives that are far more exciting than mine -- began commenting. And commenting. And "liking" it. And using emoticons to let me know how great it was. And I thought: holy crap, the whole world has collectively gone mad.

    Sometimes we can't help capturing our children's adorable moments. Their spontaneous interpretive dances. The replies they give for why the sky is blue. Tape these moments and keep 'em coming.

    But there are certain vids we, as loving parents, should never post. Hint: anything with tears and raw emotion and Band-Aids being ripped off.

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    Every year it happens. The school supply list comes in. I take one look, and I groan. Is it any wonder parents end up spending some $72.5 billion (yes, BILLION) on back to school shopping every year? Recycling your school supplies is darn near impossible.

    It's not that we don't have anything worth recycling. In the last few days of school, my 9-year-old daughter came home every day with a backpack full of the detritus that had accumulated in her desk and locker over the year.

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    When proud mom of five Tanis Jex-Blake hit the beach last week with her kids, she expected to have an enjoyable, relaxing day. What she didn't anticipate was driving home in tears after two men and a woman mocked her because of her stretch marks

    Blake, 33, was sunbathing and sporting a bikini for the first time in 13 years when she opened her eyes to find a trio of bullies standing over her, pointing, mocking her body, and pretending to kick her.

    While the Canadian was initially shocked and deeply hurt, she didn't take the insults lying down. Despite the fact that her day was ruined, what Jex-Blake did next has women everywhere cheering. 

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    When you first hire a cleaning lady, it feels like an amazing luxury. Gone are the dust and dirty fingerprints, and suddenly everything has its place. You lose yourself in the neat pattern of fresh vacuum lines in your carpet, and you can see your reflection in your dining room table for the first time in ages. 

    With eager anticipation, you find yourself straightening before her arrival, expecting that initial magical feeling to be re-created again and again.

    But slowly, after a few weeks or months, things start to change. You notice a difference. Whether you can no longer find where she stashed your trusty planner or you could make a weave out of the cobwebs draping your chandelier, you start to feel like maybe your cleaning lady just isn't getting the job done anymore. 

    Here are 5 signs it may be time to dispose of your cleaning lady:

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