No matter how ‘together’ a parent may seem, odds are they’ve made more than a mistake or two, it’s human nature. Sometimes we don’t know better, other times it’s a result of pure exhaustion and laziness. Parenting is a 24-7 job and sometimes, particularly after a rough shift, we coast because even Wonder Woman gets a day off every now and then. Most of the time these actions come and go with little thought, sometimes a little nagging mom guilt, or the occasional glare from a judgmental mommy shamer.
There are other things that parents do every day, probably without a second thought, that could get them into trouble. These aren’t negligent things, in fact most of these are pretty commonplace in the life of a mom. However depending on where the family lives this parent could be doing something that is actually illegal. Since most people don’t read all the fine print and aren’t well versed in obscure and outdated laws, odds are many of us have broken the law without ever knowing it. Here are 15 times when mom was blissfully unaware that she was breaking the law. How many of these ‘offences’ are you guilty of committing?
15 Singing Happy Birthday
As a parent ‘Happy Birthday’ is a pretty big deal. Many parents blow a pretty big budget taking their kids out to a restaurant, or renting a space at a play place to ensure their child has a special day to celebrate. Here’s the thing, if the family is out in a public place (think anywhere outside the house) and belts out this popular birthday tune, they are breaking the law. Time Warner owns the rights to the song Happy Birthday, and by singing to your child in a public place, mom has completed a public performance, even if she isn’t being paid for it and therefore is in violation with the owners of ‘Happy Birthday’. Just think about how memorable little Bobby’s birthday will be though when mom gets dragged out in hand cuffs.
14 Letting The Baby Color With A Permanent Marker
Most parents try to keep their children away from permanent markers for fear of what will happen if they’re let loose around the living room with something that won’t come off. But what about when a child needs to mark their lunch bag, or clothes for camp so they won’t get lost? Better keep those markers locked up! In some states (like California) it’s illegal for a parent to hand off a permanent marker to their child, even if it is just for an art project, since this law was intended to help reduce local graffiti. Have a permanent marker or some spray paint in your bag while you’re at the park with your kid for an arts and crafts project after school, you could also been in trouble because of the same anti-graffiti laws!
13 Bathing Two Babies At Once
In Los Angeles, things may get dicey for moms with twin babies (or siblings who enjoy to play in the tub together). The simple act of bathing her children could have mom breaking the law. While many parents enjoy the convenience of bathing two children at once, this isn’t permitted in La la land. It is illegal to wash two babies at the same time. We don’t know why, or how often moms get charged with this horrific ‘crime’, but this law exists. Parents with more than one child have a hard enough time managing all of the various things they have to do to keep their children fed, clean, and educated, so why take away their ability to multitask? What’s next, no more shared story time or family meals? This law seems more than a little outdated.
12 Ignoring The Grandma
In China, keeping a strong relationship with the grandparents, particularly if they are over 60 isn’t just a “nice to do”, it’s the law. A few years ago a new national law was introduced to ensure that the grown children of parents who are older than 60 years old, visit their dear parents often and ensure that both their financial and spiritual needs are met. Parents with young children, may find this ruling a challenge to meet. This responsibility is particularly intensive since there are so many only children who need to meet this demand without the support of siblings. One marketing officer in China, who only visits her parents twice a year said, “I feel like I should visit my parents more but having a job in the financial industry means I have to work long hours and sacrifice some of my personal time for work.”
11 Refilling The Toothpaste On Sundays
Most rules in the Western world have loosened surrounding what people are and aren’t allowed to do on a holy day, like Sunday. Not too long ago grocery stores and malls were closed on Sundays so people could focus on family and spirituality with only a few convenience locations open for business. Apparently in Rhode Island there is a rule that remains a hold out, where it’s illegal to sell the same customer a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. We’re assuming this means that any mom who is concerned with her child’s dental hygiene could be in big trouble for making her child ‘work’ on a Sunday. Maybe families with dental emergencies need to line up and pretend to be different customers so they can get everything they need to keep their smiles minty fresh.
10 No Snowball Fights
Snowball fights on a cold winter’s day are a rite of passage, but they can also lead to a trip down to the police station in Colorado. You’d think in a place world renowned for fluffy snow, winter sports, and mountains that they’d encourage people to enjoy some nice wholesome snow fights, but apparently not. If mom, or any other members of the family decide to break the rules and participate in some snowball fights, they could find themselves in receipt of a hefty ticket. Snowball fights are strictly prohibited in this state, and they aren’t afraid to enforce this law to anyone dares to break it. Repeat offenders may find themselves put on ice for their crimes. I have to wonder, how do they feel about water balloons?
9 Building A Snowman That’s Too Big
Many kids would be thrilled at the prospect of mom building them an epically large snowman. Unfortunately for mom if she builds a frosty too big she could find herself iced out by the law, if she builds a snowman any bigger than what most would consider to be a snow child. In Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada there is a very specific law that fights against attacks from out of control snow people and winter fun. For any residents who live on corner lots, consider yourselves warned, and get out your measuring sticks because it’s illegal to build a snowman who is larger than 30 inches tall (that’s around 76 centimetres in the Canadian metric system). Perhaps the townspeople have been watching too many episodes of Scooby Doo.
8 The Famous Magic Trick
While the movie IT has been bad for business for people who call clowning a profession, in Hawaii they have strict rules involving common clowning around practice. Say mom decides to step in and play clown for her child’s birthday party when the hired help cancels, she needs to keep a close eye on her routine to make sure she isn’t breaking the law. In Hawaii it’s illegal for someone to put a coin in someone’s ear. This is one of the most common party tricks performed by magicians, clowns, and annoying great uncles everywhere, and apparently someone in Hawaii needed it to stop. What does the magicians’ union have to say about this unusual regulation? We’re guessing they didn’t hear because there are too many coins and never ending cloths stuck between their ears.
7 Pretending To Be A Witch
Witchcraft isn’t just something from the movies or for Halloween. Wicca which is also called Pagan Witchcraft is a bona fide religion that was introduced publicly in the 1950’s. This nature religion, is practiced by over 134,000 people according to an American Religious Identification survey completed by the City University of New York. There’s nothing illegal about practicing Wicca, or being a witch, however moms in Canada should note that only ‘real witches’ can practice Witchcraft. So if you want to play witch with your kids, make sure you’re the real deal. The criminal code has an oddly specific ruling stating that it is, “illegal to pretend to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration”. This is going to make Halloween mighty awkward down at the police precinct. Maybe they make a special exception for October.
6 The Pinball Wizards
With the advent of online and at home gaming systems, arcades aren’t nearly as popular as they once were. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t a fun and wholesome place for kids to blow off some steam, that is unless it’s in South Carolina. Moms in this state need to be careful the next time they drop their child off to enjoy some after school games, because they could be contributing to the delinquency of a minor by allowing them to play some pinball. For whatever reason, Pinball is illegal for anyone under 18 in this state. Perhaps it’s the bright lights, the bells, and the fun, we don’t know. Any parent who has a kicking rumpus room complete with vintage pinball games could be setting themselves up for a police sting. Better watch it, or next thing you know your kid will end up at the bowling alley.
5 Using Free Wi-Fi While The Baby Naps
Open Wi-Fi is like a modern free-for-all. It’s there, so people use it. No questions asked. We’re not talking about going to a coffee shop where they give you a special code; we’re talking about when someone stumbles upon an open network and just rolls with it. The next time mom is enjoying some silence and a latte with a scone, she may want to ask before she simply takes the internet for her own use. Just because something is there doesn’t mean you can take it, using this open network is akin to stealing someone’s purse because it’s sitting there unattended. Using ‘free’ Wi-Fi is considered a federal crime – that being said it’s also a really hard one to enforce, but mom takes a gamble every time she logs in without asking permission.
4 Riding A Bike In the Pool
While most people who aren’t a part of the cast of Jackass wouldn’t consider riding a bicycle in a pool as a good idea, it still doesn’t make it any stranger that this act is against the law. Sure riding a bike in a pool probably isn’t great for the pool or the bike, but is it really worth mom getting into hot water? In California they take their transportation laws very seriously, making it illegal to ride your two wheeler in a pool. There has to be some great story behind how this law came into play. Should matters of common sense be illegal? I personally think if someone wants to take their kid for a ride in their pool they should go for it, so long as they take the proper precautions, like water wings and a bike helmet.
3 Too Much Bingo
Bingo is a fantastic way to teach children literacy and numeracy skills in a fun game format. It’s also a way for mom to unwind on a girl’s night out with some friends to take a break from her full time job as parent, but for mothers in North Carolina they need to make sure they don’t spend too much time hanging out in the Bingo Hall. We’re assuming this has to do with gambling addiction prevention, but it’s still a little unusual that state regulation prevents anyone from playing bingo for longer than five hours, a pretty random number. You have to wonder, do they cut you off and take away your dabber? Imagine all the disappointed grandmas who want to just enjoy a fun Sunday afternoon at the local Bingo hall.
2 Selling Old Books
Anyone with kids knows how much stuff they can acquire. Baby and children’s gear not only takes a lot of space, it also costs a pretty penny. It’s no wonder so many people turn to garage sales or online websites like Kijiji and Craigslist to rid themselves of excess things they’ve outgrown and give them a little extra cash. Certain areas have a ban on children’s books that are older than 25 years old. While some might think this is to prevent bedbug transmission, this isn’t the reason. It turns out that antique books from yesteryear could contain lead, which was a common substance used in toys and books, that could be quite bad for baby. If mom is looking to push some old baby books, she could find herself in big trouble for pushing potentially lead-based wares.
1 Sharing Netflix Passwords Is Not Caring
This one is up for debate, but a well reported headline had many people panicking when papers everywhere reported that the, “Federal court rules that sharing your Netflix password is a federal crime.” While there was a precedent setting case that dealt with the consequences of illegally sharing a password, it wasn’t a Netflix one, so mom can probably take a sigh of relief when she offers her Netflix account up for use by Grandma or the babysitter. The actual case had to do with Computer Fraud and espionage (something that hopefully most mothers aren’t really guilty of), but they could technically and hypothetically be violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act or CFAA by sharing their passwords. In this case it’s up to mom if she wants to live dangerously, however we’re guessing the FBI isn’t busting into anyone’s living room any time soon.
Sources: Readers Digest, Thought Catalog, The Talko, Cracked, Weird Worm, CNN
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