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On July 18, "Good Morning America" tweeted a link to a segment about a new "trendy baby shower gift."

Instead of more conventional gifts, the story explained, co-workers of new moms are donating their own paid vacation time so that their colleagues can have ample time off after giving birth.

"'It really, really meant a lot to me,'" GMA wrote in its tweet, quoting a new mom featured in the story who benefited from the trend. "I was extremely appreciative and very humbled.'"

Does this story just ... not sit well with you? You're definitely not alone.


People were alarmed that a "trend" like this could be framed in such a positive light in GMA's tweet.

The morning show was flooded with aggravated replies from readers — mostly women — disturbed by how the story reflects a sobering reality about how our society values parenthood.

"This is a horrifying story," the top comment in the tweet's replies read. "Co-workers making up for what employers aren't providing IS NOT A FEEL-GOOD STORY. Damn is the U.S. ever broken."

"One of my friends went back to work the week after having her baby," another reply read. "This shit is ridiculous."

[rebelmouse-image 19346571 dam="1" original_size="750x399" caption="Photo by Samantha Hurley/Burst." expand=1]Photo by Samantha Hurley/Burst.

To be fair, the morning show's on-air segment and online article did a much better job putting the "trend" into context and pointing to Washington's failures when it comes to parental leave policy. But the tweet's wording left many readers cringing at its sunny, lighthearted tone.

One of those readers was Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

He shared GMA's tweet with his followers, adding that ideally, big-hearted co-workers shouldn't have to provide this "generous baby shower gift" to their friends at work — the law would already guarantee it.

[rebelmouse-image 19346572 dam="1" original_size="633x225" caption="Image via ;Sen. Brian Schatz/Twitter." expand=1]Image via ;Sen. Brian Schatz/Twitter.

Schatz's take is hardly radical, of course. Research suggests that a wide majority of Americans, spanning all political leanings, agree that we need a federal paid parental leave policy.

It's absurd we don't have one already.

The U.S. remains the only industrialized nation without a federal policy mandating new parents get at least some paid time off.

Right now, the Family Medical Leave Act calls for businesses with 50 or more employees to allow parents 12 weeks time off without fear of losing their job. But there's a huge caveat: That time doesn't need to be paid.

While many white-collar workers enjoy paid parental leave benefits, many low-income parents — and, disproportionately, women of color — don't have such benefits through their jobs. They're the ones who are furthest left behind.

But as the Schatz noted to his Twitter followers, we can do something about it.

The good news is, the persistent calls for change have never been louder. A handful of states have passed promising paid-leave policies in recent years, and there's growing demand for the federal government to follow suit. Women are running for office in record numbers, too, giving hope that a potential gender shift in Washington could re-prioritize which issues get addressed in the years to come.

We need to vote to make it happen, though.

Head over to Ballotpedia to learn more about who's on the ballot in your own area ahead of the November midterms, and give your vote to a candidate who will make paid paternity leave a priority in office.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.