It may be important to note that I am not what I would consider an "over protective" mother. I am very comfortable speaking to strangers to acknowledge compliments they give Riley. I don't mind at all when the waitress holds her hand or the guy who's always at the coffee shop leans in for a closer look. Riley loves people and I'd never hide her away.
That said there are boundaries. If we are not on a first name basis I'm not going to let you hold her. She's not a puppy. We had a waitress the other night who repeatedly commented on how much she'd LOVE to hold her (insert game show buzzer noise here). I also prefer that people don't smoke around my kids (or me for that matter). I just find smoking to be a nasty, vile, irrational, unhealthy habit. So, even if I know and love you I probably won't want you to hold the baby after your cigarette.
I love it when someone sees me with my hands full, as frequently happens with a baby, and holds the door for me. I do not like it when I'm doing things my way and after politely turning down help an over insistent stranger "helps" anyway. Like today I was carrying Riley and the heavy baby bag in front of the hospital and the baby bag slid off my shoulder. I knelt carefully to the ground to resituate and a parking attendant rushed over. I explained that I was readjusting my bag, but he took Riley right out of my arms! He walked her to the car and then handed her back. Really? Come on.
I'm not super concerned with some of the things it would be fashionable to worry about. Like that Riley sucks her thumb when she's tired or watches tv. Riley has set her own pace with eating solids (within pediatrician guidelines) and hits milestones when she hits them. I try not to stress about that stuff, but occasionally something bothers me. I want to feel like she's safe. I want her to be comfortable, clean and secure most of the time. I feel like I'm pretty reasonable about these things so why, do I have to be made to feel bad and overbearing? Why should anyone care as long as I'm not making constant unreasonable demands on anyone. I don't want to be made fun of taking care of my kid.
I understand there are extremes, but I'm doing my best to nurture the independent little adventurer that I've been blessed with. I want her to experience the world and for everyone to get to see her and I don't care how other people feed, clothe, transport, bathe, or entertain their children. I'm doing it my way and we're doing fine.