Q: When I take my 6-month-old daughter out for a walk in her stroller in our downtown neighborhood, I’m accosted by strangers offering all sorts of unsolicited advice: “She looks hot…she looks cold…she needs a hat.” I feel it’s none of their business. Am I off base?
A: Not at all. It must be irritating when strangers tell you how to take care of your own child because they apparently assume Mom is too clueless. Although, to be fair, these comments are almost always made with good intentions-your “advisers” think they’re helping you out. Your best, most courteous response is to muster up as much graciousness as you can and thank them for their concern. Then just move on. Try to avoid a prolonged discussion. If you start defending yourself-“She is old enough to sit up in a stroller!”-things could escalate into an awkward and possibly even heated confrontation. And it’s always possible that you could glean a new idea or two from the self-appointed parenting experts. But it’s totally your call.