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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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    If we're going to live in a nanny state, can we at least hire one who has more common sense than this? Two moms in two separate states have recently been arrested and charged with child neglect for nearly the same reason -- both allowed their children to play at a park unsupervised.

    South Carolina mom Debra Harrell temporarily lost custody of her 9-year-old daughter and still faces 10 years in prison for reportedly letting her play in a park alone. Nicole Gainey was accused of child neglect after giving her 7-year-old son permission to walk to the park by himself. In both cases, the authorities acted without thinking, and these two stories are indicative of a larger issue: at what point do parents lose the right to parent as they see fit?

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    Today, in further proof that the world just doesn't get how babies are made (or maybe it just doesn't care), the gossip rags are atwitter with allegations that Eva Mendes "blindsided" boyfriend Ryan Gosling with her totally "unplanned" pregnancy. Note we said gossip rags, so grain of salt and all that jazz, folks. After we all join in a giant eye-roll, let's just hash this out.

    The allegations are that Eva has desperately been wanting a baby (because woman of a certain age, blah, blah), and the couple was near breaking up when, oh, what is this? A bun in the oven?

    Cue the tired old "baby hungry woman gets pregnant to trap man" blame game myth. Yes, it's a popular one, but it's a myth all the same.

    It can't happen.

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    To have a daughter in America is to face the Girl Scouts sign-up sheet at least once. They're practically an American institution and one that's helped shape some 59 million American women to boot. But if you've been waffling on whether to let your daughter join the ranks of America's cutest cookie peddlers, this may change your mind: the Girl Scouts have partnered with Barbie.

    Yes, that Barbie. The doll that has given parents agita for years for the mixed messages her plastic body sends to our daughters now has pride of place on an I Can Be Anything badge from the group that claims to "build girls of courage, confidence, and character."

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    Before this week, the song "Rude" by Canadian band Magic was just a catchy tune playing on the radio in my car as I shuffled my daughter from one summer vacation moment to the next. Then a father named Benji Cowart decided to respond to "Rude" with his own version in a viral video being hailed as a "perfect" response to the song about a young man asking for a girl's hand in marriage only to be turned down by her dad. The father of one 11-year-old girl has had everyone from morning TV hosts to Internet writers fawning over him for his "adorable parody."

    To everyone who has "liked" and "shared" Cowart's video, I have one question: are we listening to the same song?

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    There are different kinds of home births just as there are different kinds of hospital births. Some are very planned, some are emergencies. But one thing that is important to note is that women have home births that are planned, researched, and with midwives and doulas. Some women also have unassisted home births but are knowledgeable in what to do if a situation arises. To call a 16-year-old's secret birth after a secret pregnancy a home birth is wrong. To say that a baby died because of a botched home birth is giving home births a bad name. But that is what many in the media are doing.

    The case bringing this up is regarding an unnamed 16-year-old girl from North Carolina. She hid her pregnancy from her parents, gave birth in the home, and then buried the baby in the backyard. This is not a botched home birth.

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    Race is still a very sensitive subject in this country. Without fail, it either makes people angry or uncomfortable. Those are certainly the feelings sparked by a recent clothing display in the kiddie department of a store. At issue is a t-shirt featuring a monkey's body that was placed on a hanger that pictures a black child's head. Some people may think, "What's the big deal?" But this is wrong on so many levels. Here's why.

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    A float in a Fourth of July parade in Norfolk, Nebraska over the weekend offended some people because it mocked President Obama, so of course it's racist. Didn't you know that insulting the black President means you're a racist? Where have you been the last six or seven years?

    The controversial float consisted of a male dummy in overalls, propped up in front of an outhouse with a walker. Wooden signs on the side of the structure identified it as "Obama's Presidential Library."

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    Think the hardest part of dining out with toddlers is getting them to sit in their seat and wait for their eats? Try this one on for size! A family in Georgia is claiming they were kicked out of a restaurant because of their 4-year-old's shirt.

    Little Lewis Roberts was dressed like most kids his age in a lime green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tee. But that wasn't the problem for The Tavern at Phipps Plaza, an Atlanta eatery. It was the fact that Lewis' shirt had no sleeves -- and the restaurant has a clear "gentlemen's dress code" that forbids sleeveless shirts.

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    Kate Middleton has been Royal for three years now, but you'd think she just started the job yesterday. The reason? She's lacking in one very important area when it comes to her official duties. While she's created a lot of buzz with her style, the royal birth last year, and the trips she takes with Prince William, you really don't hear much about her passions, her causes, or her efforts to make a world a better place.

    But when it comes to being the next great princess, the Duchess might want to take a cue from the late Princess Diana.

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