Why I Can’t Mind My Own Business

Anne McGraw is a fellow Nashville mom who blogs about her life as a working mother of two girls at www.softandsteel.com. Be sure to stop by next week for more fabulous guest posts from Nashville area bloggers as I continue my summer blogcation!

I am that super annoying person who comments on your cute Facebook photo you posted from your summer road trip to the beach, letting you know that your kid should really still be in a booster seat.

It’s not because I like being a brat. I actually do not enjoy brattiness in either myself or my kids.

I just have this ridiculously strong feeling that if I don’t say something – the one time I don’t pipe up and tell someone about something I know, something I’ve read, some important piece of information that’s “best” for their kids – something really bad will happen and I’ll forever hate myself for not having said something when I had the chance.

I’m an information junkie. I read numerous blogs about child safety, product recalls, health advice and healthy foods.

Often, though? I wish I didn’t know.

I wish I didn’t cringe when seeing that my 12 month old had goldfish crackers at daycare. I’d love to not be the crazy mom who brings in her own half gallons of organic milk every single Monday, because even the non-hormone milk they provide doesn’t quite cut it. I know people roll their eyes at me when I tell them about my fear of BPA, and what evil lurks in children’s shampoos, and now sunscreens and mattress fumes and UGH!

I know.

I hate me, too.

But, listen….I’m not entirely crazy. (Or is that what all crazy people say?)

I don’t have a hissy fit when the grandparents take the girls to McDonalds for a happy meal. I have an insane number of plastic toys in the house. I’ll let just about anything go in small amounts – one glass of non-organic milk isn’t going to kill anyone.

If you need proof, here’s my youngest daughter asleep in our bed. Let’s count the things wrong with this picture, shall we? But hey. She was SLEEPING. I wasn’t going to rock that boat and we did what was best for us all.

I’m a planner by nature, a researcher and a reader. I know not everyone keeps as up to date on things as I do – my friends all thought I was crazy two years ago when I wouldn’t turn my oldest around in her car seat on her 1st birthday like they all did.

But I think part of my job as a parent is to keep up with this stuff. And I try to educate others not out of some sense of smug superiority, even though I know that’s how it comes off. It is out of a place of very genuine concern and caring, knowing that if I was in their shoes? I’d want to know that the Nap Nanny I’d been using was recalled last year. Or that sleep positioners aren’t recommended because of associated SIDS risks.

Wouldn’t you want to know? Or really, should I just keep my knowledge to myself unless asked?

Miss a post in my summer blogcation series featuring Nashville area bloggers? Check out Connecting Over The Ordinary and this great post featuring a drool-worthy recipe for Piña Colada Popsicles.


  1. Lawyer Mama says:

    i have a hard time minding my own business too! But I try to remember that I may not have all the facts. That mom using a BPS bottle may have dug it out of the cupboard after her dishwasher crapped out. Or, the sleep positioned thing. Our son had severe reflux – like severe to the point that he was hospitalized for failure to thrive at 4 months. So we had an actual prescription for a sleep positioner.
    If I see something immediately dangerous, I’ll usually speak up too. But I know it’s not fun to have a stranger come up to you and tell you you’re parenting all wrong. That may not be what you say, but it’s usually what a frazzled mom will hear. (-;

  2. Jessica Kelley says:

    I’m with you on the super-safety-consciousness, especially when it comes to SIDS-risks and car seats. My parents and in-laws think we’re crazy for keeping the car seat rear-facing until our daughter was 28 months, refusing to dress her too warmly for sleeping, and even having a fan going in the room–not blowing directly on her, but to keep the air circulating, as that was the newest and best anti-SIDS recommendation at the time. I’ll do it for my second, born in a few months, too. It drives me nuts when my in-laws have had her for the day and I find the car seat straps way too loose!

    But all that said, I usually don’t say anything to people I see doing things differently. But if they dare call me over-protective, I’ll defend my choices like crazy! The ironic part is that my in-laws will loosen car seat straps and do other dangerous things, but won’t let her climb into or out of a chair without their hands two inches away from her–and look at me like I’m a negligent mother for letting her climb and explore!

  3. Shab says:

    I’m with you. I was actually still breast-feeding my rear-facing 26-month-old! (Ok, not beyond the 26 months, but until then!) I also had a son who would only nap on his stomach. We do what we need to do. I got plenty of “advice” about what I was doing wrong. We’re all here trying to survive, right? If folks could take the contest out of parenting and just support one another I think everyone would be better off. (And more people would heed our unsolicited advice!)
    Thanks Anne! Great post!

  4. Anne says:

    Thanks for the great comments so far! I actually don’t walk up to strangers and give parenting advice, although the urge is STRONG. I wish I was that ballsy, but also know there’s often more to the story than what I’m seeing from the outside – as Lawyer Mama said!

  5. Carrie at TikiTikiBlog! says:

    We need to hang more.

    I am that mom who fixes car seat straps in other women’s cars, the one who reminds moms that their kid doesn’t fit the weight and height requirement…I am that mom who yells out the window at kids and adults who aren’t wearing helmets…I’m the mom who tells parents not to let their kid stand inside the grocery cart…

    Annoying, maybe.
    But, it’s the reporter in me. Or maybe the bossy Cuban. Not sure.

    Yeah, we need to hang more!

    I knew I liked you.

  6. Christina anne d. says:

    I totally know how you feel. I cringe when I see kids popping their heads out the sunroof while their parents are driving!! I wish I could say something, but usually their driving away before I realize what was going on. annejk112233(at)yahoo(dot)com

  7. Terri Connor says:

    I also agree–safety consciousness is a good thing to have. Even if you can’t mind your own business. I am kind of like that too, always the one telling people this and that… Sometimes I know people get annoyed but hey, I’m just trying to help.. and if they don’t listen and something happens then at least I know I have done my part.

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