Adios, date night. You were fun while you lasted. A new bill before the California State Senate may mean the end of date nights for many couples. If passed, even people hiring the occasional Saturday night baby-sitter would be required to provide minimum wage, workers’ comp insurance, a timecard, a paycheck and overtime pay for all sitters over 18. Let's not forget the 10-minute break for every four hours worked and the 30-minute meal break for a sitter who's on the clock for more than five hours (i.e., you'll need two sitters for the price of, well, two sitters). Of course, while this is discouraging news for many, younger high school students looking for baby-sitting gigs may finally see their youth and inexperience pay off, as they can start to edge out the older competition who are covered by the bill.
Back-to-school supply lists include your standard fares of crayons, scissors, a box of Kleenex for the classroom, and, increasingly, eco-friendly options for lunch containers. Many schools are requiring that students swap the traditional brown paper bag for a reusable bag or lunchbox. With a growing number of schools instituting waste-free lunch policies, many parents are commending their mission, but lamenting the extra work involved in packing kids' lunches. Not only do parents have to hope their kids remember to bring home the reusable sandwich bags, lunch boxes and reusable water bottles, but they must get them cleaned and prepped for the next day's use. Does your child's school have a waste-free lunch policy?
Money can't buy you love -- and it can't buy your kids happiness, either. For children, the best things in life really are free. A recent survey out of the U.K. showed that what kids enjoy the most is playing outside with other kids. While many kids crave expensive game consoles and clothes, and many parents stretch budgets to provide them, what actually makes kids laugh the most is free for the offering, and that's playing with their friends. These survey results have many in Britain questioning a consumer-focused mentality in the country, where parents work long hours to provide their children with an increased number of material goods.
Do your kids benefit from bilingualism? Research is increasingly showing that babies raised in bilingual households are not just fluent in multiple languages but also receive other learning benefits as well. It has recently been shown that bilingual babies are "open" to learning language for a longer period of time than monolingual babies. Beyond language abilities, it has been shown that bilingual kids are also more "flexible thinkers" in other arenas. Since they learned to accommodate two separate sets of rules for language at an early age, they are more comfortable switching between different sets of rules in other situations as well.
You're in the designated lactation room at work, all hooked up to your favorite little milk-sucking machine and it gives out -- what do you do? After likely uttering a few choice expletives under your breath, you call the emergency-pumping hotline, of course. Just outside of Chicago, in a room filled with pictures of nursing moms, stands a team of Medela customer service reps ready to help moms diagnose their expressing concerns. Not sure how long your milk can stay refrigerated or frozen? They can help you there, too. The company, which says it has purposely recruited moms to its workforce in the past, receives around 400 calls a day from milking moms with questions. Where employees at some companies are offered stock options, Medela employees get $500 in products for their first child and $150 in products for subsequent children.
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. She is currently developing an alarm clock that will start an IV coffee drip 10 minutes prior to wake-up time. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.