Question: Beginner sewing

A reader writes in late June:
Hi Kelly! My name is S. and I am just letting you know, you’re inspiring me. I have a 7 month old daughter, K., and I am wanting to homeschool her. But the main reason I am writing you is to ask where you get your patterns and how did you learn to sew. I have a sewing machine… But the best I can do is make basic pillowcases and curtains! =]

I am wanting to learn how to sew clothes. If you have any tips, please let me know. Thanks again for a very entertaining blog! (By the way, your children are beautiful! I love their names!!)


Thank you for the email! I learned to sew as a child, or rather I was around sewing a lot (my mother) and gradually learned over the course of my childhood. I was at the so-so sewing and/or curtains stage in the year 2000 when my mom gave me my first real machine. I started sewing in earnest after my children were born.

As far as patterns, well, it depends on what you want to sew. I personally love Ottobre but they aren’t really “beginner” patterns by any stretch.  I am friends with the two lovely people who started Patterns by Figgys, which are beginner-friendly patterns for children – lovingly drafted, unique, and have large size ranges. Really the best of all worlds. And finally, you can just go into a Joanns or Hancock Fabrics and grab some patterns when they’re on sale and get started. Most established pattern companies know their stuff enough that you are pretty safe to try something out.

It’s good to have a little guidance before selecting patterns. If you find a few things you like online – either sewing patterns or readymade clothes – I can help direct you to some patterns that might work for you.

As for learning, I find the best thing for many people is to take a class or find a mentor to help you. Your mentor ideally shouldn’t be someone who says they can sew (lots of people say that but their skills aren’t sturdy or reliable), but someone whose items you’ve seen and you like and someone who is frothing at the mouth to teach (these people exist – I’m one of them!). I am happy to mentor you online inasmuch as I’m able but of course, a person you could meet with would be even better.

Do you live in or near a city? If so, and you have the funds, or a sponsor, a class is a great way to get a head start.

Of course there is more information online, many amazing books, tons of YouTube tutorials, etc. It depends on what kind of person you are and how you best learn. Example: when I was first learning to knit, at a certain point I needed to learn how to do a simple cast-on. I went online and looked and looked and I couldn’t get it and I spent over an hour and wanted to cry and/or pee my pants. Then I bought a beginner book and just read the actual words describing the long tail cast-on method (not looking at the pictures) and it clicked. Maybe the writer was gifted. Maybe I am more written-word oriented than picture oriented (this would explain why the abovementioned Ottobre patterns work for me). In any case, don’t let one or two bad spells deter you. There is a perfect methodology/teaching method out there to assist!

I loaned that book to another person and never got it back. I hope she got good use out of it too!

Finding an online group that is supportive and clicks is great, too. There are so many. Again, I was part of a group for a few years and it lost a group owner and got a new one and that changed everything for me.  I hang out a bit at the forums on Pattern Review and Sew Mama Sew. I haven’t found the group that clicked as well for me as I had a few years ago, but I know it will happen again in time.

Good luck and if there is any way I can help, don’t hesitate to email/send pictures/IM/DM/tweet etc! Please do take me up on my offer because one thing I love more than anything else is assisting people in their stitching adventures.

(& thank you for the compliments!)

Question: I’m blogging now in earnest; how should I go about it?

On July 14th Stephanie writes,
Hi Kelly! I hope this finds you happy and well.

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now. I’ve had some mixed reactions to it, but most have been good. A friend of mine recently told me I should be putting my writings onto a flash drive, writing a book and publishing instead of putting them on the internet for anyone to plagiarize.

I honestly like the blogging sort of writing. It fits my style very well, since I’ve been a journal-writer since I was in the 4th grade (all the journals sit on a shelf in my apartment). My thoughts on book-writing have always been in the back of my mind, and I thought blogging would be a good way to introduce people to ME and my writing, and see what the reaction is.

I recently switched from LiveJournal to WordPress, and I love it! I noticed your “kellyhogaboom” blog is on WordPress, and I was wondering how you have the domain name? I saw that you can transfer a domain name there, but I didn’t see anything about purchasing one.

My other question is your thoughts on the book vs. blog with plagiarizing and all that. Have you ever experienced a risk with this? Also, have you ever felt like your blog was drawing some “freaks” from “out there” to your family unit?

The last question is more of a favor or request: could you read/look at my blog and give me some real, honest, feedback? [Friend A]. actually told me she’s never read it because she’s sure it contains nothing but woefulness, while [Friend Z] reads it and is a fan. There are times that I definitely feel like I’m sniveling, and I try to “make up” for it with a positive entry. There are posts where I just unload frustrations about my kid’s dad and/or my (now) ex-boyfriend that make me feel like such an unhappy, hateful person, to be perfectly honest. I don’t know. The aftermath of a break-up is usually full of low self-esteem and self-doubt/loathing.

Anyway, I do enjoy your writing, and any thoughts or feedback you could give me would be very appreciated. Thanks.

Hi Stephanie,

Hello and thanks for writing!

First of all, I’m sorry about your breakup. Without having read your blog as of this writing, I must say I am a fan of “unhappy, hateful” blog entries personally. First of all, this is a reality of your life and to never express these feelings is surely not a good thing; putting them in public is not the only way to handle these feelings, but it is not an illegitimate way either. NO ONE is forced to read your blog, so don’t feel bad about your content. Many might find your writings – yes, the painful ones – helpful; I get many emails thanking me for my expressions of darkness.

One caveat: I think sometimes dark entries can run the risk of hurting parties – not even necessarily those directly involved in the entries, either. For my part, I hope I’ve conveyed an openness to receiving emails, comments, etc. from those who may feel stung by anything I’ve written (this has happened only rarely, more in a minute). I also hope my readers stick around enough to know my occasional venting post is not the sum total of Who I Am. So far I’ve been happy with my readership, very much so.

I hope if nothing else your blog serves as cathartic and mind-clearing to write and publish (mine does for me). I wonder if later in life you will find those “dark” posts hard to read (I do in mine!). In any case, I find keeping an online journal a wonderful exercise for about a half-dozen unique reasons, and I hope you do to.

On to your email queries.

I can’t help you with good book-making and/or selling advice. I don’t have any plans on monetizing my writing. As far as worrying about plagiarism… you have copyright. If you like you can publicly claim copyright in a more visible way and put some text out there like, “Don’t steal or use without permission,” etc etc. Many sites say something like this and require that if anyone reproduces their blog content they ask first and/or reference the original works (and usually these blog-owners are more than happy to grant permission). In any case if someone were to “steal” you’d have the upper hand legally. Is it likely anyone will steal at this stage in your endeavor? I don’t think so. Is it likely that saying, “Hey, just ask permission” and granting it will increase goodwill and following? Yes.

You asked:

[H]ave you ever felt like your blog was drawing some “freaks” from “out there” to your family unit?

I am not sure what you mean by “freaks” but, if you’re asking if I’ve ever felt in danger in any way – no. Most of the comments, tweets, and emails I receive are supportive or at least earnest, even if they sometimes challenge me in ways I find a bit time-consuming or contain accusations of bad faith (example: Christie’s comments and my response). I’ve only allowed comments in the last year, after much pressure from many. I have mixed feelings about the ways this has changed my blog experience but so far I continue to allow them. One thing some of my readers may not know is I make every effort to respond to comments, especially those my readers have put some time and effort into. This isn’t always possible with my other time commitments and responsibilities but I feel very good about my comment dialogues so far.

Ultimately I think my lack of fame or self-promotion along with my writing caliber has brought me to great readers who’ve given me a lot of joy (those who have contacted me via Twitter, DM, IM, email, phone and post anyway… there may be lurker/haters for all I know!). And yes, I really have had people contact me via all the above. Two days ago I got a phone call from upstate NY with sewing questions. Interactions like this make my day.

However, I must admit my pre-comment blog experience was much easier on my mental health. In sum I say remember, this is your space and you can do exactly what you like with it.

As to your request for “honest feedback” – let me read and digest for a while. I just put you in my feed reader and I’ll read for a few days then let you know what I think. I‘ll be watching you, heh.

I’m Ccing this email to Ralph who can help you with the domain-name thing (no, you cannot buy domains through WordPress) and if you have more questions re: copyright. I am no copyright maven but he comes close!

Hope this helps, and do write back if I’ve been unclear or if you have any other questions.

Question: A callous parent?

On May 30th a reader writes:
So, I was thinking about your post yesterday after a little accident on the beach yesterday. [My friend] G. and I make a great team with her kids. I know her kids and I know how she parents, and since we’re together all the time she gives me the right to draw boundaries and set consequences if need be for her girls. It works for us. Her kids are tough and if one hits the other and the other punches back, she just sits back and waits for them to work it out. I’ve learned to be comfortable with that.

So, another woman comes down to the beach with her two boys. They live there, so I’m sure they are much more familiar with the terrain. She seemed largely unconcerned that her one year old was tottering around near the quarry sans life jacket. Okay. Then her oldest sits down on the swing and the littlest toddles over and gets a little too close and bam! The bar on the bottom of the swing beans him on the head and he goes tumbling several feet. I jump up because the mom is nowhere to be seen and then the whole swing collapses and falls backward, most notably knocking the wind out of the oldest. I run over and no one’s crying, everyone seems fine and the mom saunters over and asks if everyone’s okay. I tell her that the youngest got hit on the head and went tumbling and she asks if everyone is okay and then walks away, leaving the kids to fend for themselves. I do likewise. Because – it’s not my deal. I feel like it was okay for me to run to the rescue, should someone have been bleeding or unconscious, but since she seems unconcerned, I have to do the same. But I felt weird about it.

Anyway, just wondered what you thought about it in light of what you wrote.

A story like this is rather hard to get a read on because I wasn’t there. First off, of course it was okay for you to run to the little one’s rescue. Had they been hysterical and hurt, you could have helped (although most young children usually want their mommies/daddies/carers when they are hurt and frightened). When I was a child I liked knowing grownups noticed when one of us had trouble, and I was comforted when they stepped in to assist whether I took them up on it or not.

As for the mother and your thoughts on her, I will say many parents I observe run the gamut of heavily managing injuries/crying to barely reacting. If I were being judged from outside by someone who did not know me I would likely often look like more of the “barely reacting” type. Not so much my kids don’t seek me out, though: they come to me for a hug and wipe their tears on my clothes and move on, and I always give them exactly how much love they need (How do I know? While I am still there, present, holding them, they release me and move on.)

Funnily enough when the kids have a huge throwdown (like what people call “a tantrum”) I am also usually pretty calm through that too. Last night we had a dinner guest (childfree) and I could tell she was watching me like a hawk to see how I’d handle my daughter’s “drama”. But the thing is, it is the very part of me that “allows” drama that also enables my children to move through it quickly and for the most part remain quite even-keeled through many stressors (as far as I can tell). My daughter had a few upsets at the beginning of the dinner and then she was calm and happy throughout the evening beyond 11 o’clock when our guest left. Not that I think anyone has the right to judge my parenting and my child based on her “convenience” for guests; my point is that I did not need to lecture my daughter about her “bad behavior” (or whatever) for her to move on to “better behavior” – but I often feel a social pressure to do so.

Back to the beach: those kids sounded pretty young and when I had young babies I tended to react more than I do now. It isn’t just because I love(d) them, it’s because I felt expected to (or else be judged a “bad mother”). I now believe I did not need to react and rescue and moderate as much as I did. But then, I was new to the whole bit too. Now instead of social mores I have my intense knowledge of my own children. A parent in tune with their kids recognizes relatively quickly when they really do need cuddling, a bandaid, some attention, etc. and when they don’t.

Was that mother in tune with her kids? I can’t tell because I wasn’t there, but you might be able to make a reasonable guess if you think back on what happened. I do see people here where I live who seem almost callous to their children. But often these people have a look like things are rough, their lives are rough, or at least they’re having some sort of terrible clusterfuck of a day. A sort of drawn look not to mention their clothing and their cars (or lack thereof) or their tone of voice or what they’re talking about or the look in their eyes – it reminds me I have things more fortunate than many others. I am not saying everyone who’s an ass-hat to their kids has some tragic story as to why. But I’m far less likely to jump to any conclusions than I used to be.

Another possibility is the mother felt shamed for not being there or shamed/angry for having another person “infringe” on her territory (I hasten to add again, you did nothing wrong) and she might have responded from a hardened place. I just don’t know but you might have a sense.

And finally, the life jacket thing. Well this is not only cultural but varies within families and if we needed to keep our kids safe 24/7 we, well, we wouldn’t HAVE kids. Anecdotally I am very, VERY paranoid with my children around water – and they both can swim. Since they were babies I’ve worried about drowning; even when I had them strapped to my body and was crossing a safe bridge I’d have terrible fantasies about them plunging in. At a quarry I’d probably have crazy-eye with worry over my baby.

And finally, off-topic a bit, anytime I hear adults judging one another about parenting I think of this video:

The truth is parenting is a hard job and most people are doing the best we can. It is wonderful you help your friend out and you are one of those valued friends who shares family life with us. I have several of those childfree (or childless, depending on your preference) friends and they are very treasured by myself, my husband, and my children. G. is lucky to have you.

From formspring: Corporate women & breeder hate

Asked on formspring by a reader of Underbellie. Keep in mind I am no expert on high finance but was asked to weigh in on an article that concerns this world:

Along the lines of your posts on underbellie on society devaluing mothers, two thoughts – The first, best summed up here:

“Wall Street’s Disappearing Women” at

And the second, this whole hatred for “breeders”. Discuss!

I am just now getting to this question as I found that Forbes article difficult to wade through. My first thought: even despite data, facts, and many (heretofore unimpeachable) professional women’s testimonies, it is still impressive how many people will try to come up with ANY possible reason these women “deserve” a disproportionate rate of firing and or (fake) “layoffs” (my favorite line of reasoning: new mothers categorically “lose their edge”. Complete and utter bullshyt).

The story of Rosenberg and Bostjancic at Merrill (and Bostjancic’s immediate replacement after years of “stellar” work) is a very telling (and predictable, and depressing) one. In fact all the stories are depressing(ly familiar) and I wish these fighting women luck in their suits brought against these companies. As women in powerful positions the battle they’re waging has far-reaching implications for all professional women and (I’d hope) even working- and middle-class women.

As long as women are still expected to do most of the childrearing, and then punished when they *do* have children (or evidence of family life), it’s pretty obvious how severely the deck is stacked against them. I had some of this fallout in my career as an engineer but for brevity’s sake I will not go into it now; if you’d like to chat more do re-question or send me an email at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org.

Back to the Forbes article: compare the reactions to professional women and their marginalization especially when it comes to family life with the reactions regarding suggested changes at Downing Street (not corporate but the highest gov’t office in Britian):

Notice anything similar? Women are expected to be doing all the at-home stuff, and expected not to lead, to be paid, or afforded status for their “less important” work.

If you are interested in more evidence regarding our less-than-egalitarian country regarding men and women’s roles in the workplace and family, I recommend adding this blog to your feed reader:

I’m sure there are better ones but this is one I enjoy.

“This whole hatred for ‘breeders'”: goodness. This is where I lose my chipper optimism and just begin to feel despair. First of all, the hatred of “breeders” is of course disproportionally heaped on A. women and B. children (OMG you childfree grownup you are *so awesome* for picking on a four year old!). Secondly, it’s about the most short-sided kind of hatred I can think of, by turns insensitive, callous, and selfish. Only miliseconds ago according to the calendar of our Earth YOU were born and cared for and fed and raised up and clothed; mere milliseconds from now you will be aging and dying, your body failing and nurses and family and friends ushering you on with kindness and compassion (if you are fortunate to live a natural life). In addition, any of us are only one accident away or one illness away from disability. Boy, in all THOSE cases (infancy, illness, old age, disability, our death bed) we sure will be happy for those nice people who give selflessly to care for us!

But for now? F*ck those snot-nosed brats and their cattle-like parents (moms).

So, so sad. I’m glad breeder-hate is a rare and vocal minority, but I do feel so down when I see it. It demonstrates some of the worst qualities human beings can evidence.

Thank you very much for your input; your article was a good one to share.

Question: How do you handle whining?

On June 8th a friend writes,

Do you have any advise or book suggestions when it comes to whining? I just picked up “Easy to Love Difficult to Discipline” hoping that helps.

I allow “whining” because in truth children are often so disempowered it seems unfair to me to require they do not voice their displeasure. That said, of course “whining” occasionally gets to me and I snap or demand the child to stop. My feelings of overwhelm with whining are usually triggered when I’m hungry or tired or upset or preoccupied about something else.

I apologize to my children after I snap (when I’m ready to do so; usually within about fifteen minutes).  I notice my children “whine” less and less the more freedoms I give them and the more I let them be authors of their own life. My policies and my genuine apologies go a long way when my kids are cranky and tired and they start “whining” and I ask them to please be quiet because I am having a hard time. They almost always experience this as a reasonable request and through their well-developed empathy they will be silent and give me the time I need.

This works far better than back when I used to engage primarily in policing “whining”.[1. I will also add it is interesting we designate children’s vocal protestations as “whining” and give it a negative slant. When adults object to policies they believe are unfair we do not categorically designate it as “whining” unless we feel a degree of entitlement about their rights to complain.]

With regards to your book title, I should elaborate that I don’t aim to discipline (I stop my kids from harming and breaking things they shouldn’t harm or break, but I do not punish them). When it comes to “bad behavior” I try to look at the underlying issues happening for all parties and correct those. This usually makes discipline irrelevant. That said, Ralph and I still employ “disciplinary” measures because that’s how we were raised (and that’s how most people we know parent) and it’s hard to break our programming.  We keep trying.

We are learning to practice Consensual Living and it’s going pretty well, although since I am a beginner I am not perfect. Here are two sites/blogs that introduce the concepts and have book reviews.

Unschooling: How do I provide my kids the rich environment they need?

Posted on an online forum June 5th, 2010:
So I have a 3yr old boy and a 1yr old boy. I am in the midst of researching all the various educational avenues for my 3 year old. I know a few homeschoolers nearby and have been inspired by their experiences to the point where I feel like sending my 3 year old to a regular school would be just SUCH a disservice to him. And now in discovering the concept of unschooling, I am even further intrigued. It makes a lot of sense and fits my philosophy well… BUT… I am torn.

I feel like I can’t give my older boy the attention I would need to give him when I am with the baby… and I’m even thinking of having another baby next year if I can. I feel like there are a million things I’d love to do with my son in theory, but then I have so little energy and attention to give him during the day around it. (Especially when baby isn’t sleeping through the night…and I feel like a zombie….) I am not a single mom, but I live sort of like one, as my husband travels and is gone about 90% of the time.

I am seriously wondering how I could have another baby and still give my oldest son a “rich” experience here at home. In exploring all my options, I found a local montessori school that seemed WAY more interesting than what I can provide for him right now. Or at least, what I *think* I can provide for him. Also, he is a pretty sociable little guy, and we don’t have any neighbors with kids… so that too is a concern – how do I make sure he meets friends? Maybe I could have him go to Montessori til the babies are no longer babies?

So…my questions for you guys are… how do you give your older kids the sort of “educational attention” they need when you’re dealing with a baby or babies?

I read on here that one woman unschooled all her children, and I think she said she had 7 kids…. That sounds verrry interesting. But it has me wondering how she did it with babies and all… How do you have the energy for creative projects with a 5 year old if you’re sleep deprived from dealing with a newborn?

Trying to wrap my brain around all this… so any advice is greatly appreciated!

Many unschoolers hold the theory you don’t need to “provide” arts and crafts and science and writing lessons and all that to a passive student (as school does). Most children, given a supportive environment, take on their own interests (which include these subjects and more). They come to you with what they want or need (or you intuit it) and so unschool “planning” is not much of an issue. My children in this last week have been reading National Geographic and a set of encyclopedias, learning to skateboard, teaching themselves chess, and working on math problems of their own volition. My youngest is becoming an experienced street biker (my older already is one), and tonight my oldest helped me patch a dress of hers with bright fabrics. They love going to the library and while we’re there they pick out their own books and read, read, read at the library. I have to tear them away and they bring home books and DVDs which in turn spark more art projects and fields of “study”. In fact my kids are so independent I am often thrilled when they do come to me for something. This independence began in earnest when we began unschooling.

There’s a concept that if you don’t give your kids the “rich” environment all kids will sit on the couch and eat Chee-tohs and play video games. That just hasn’t been my experience.

Some aspects of our family life have made my kids’ autodidactic interests easier. For instance we don’t have a television set (I know many U/Sers are not at all opposed to TV but it’s not a good fit for our family; I grew up without one and loved it). We also bike a lot and being out and about on our bikes, running errands and visiting people always delivers a wonderful series of lessons and rich experiences. At home I’m mostly working on my own things (writing and sewing) as well as doing the cooking and cleaning and my children are hardly what I’d call underfoot.

As for a social life, this varies according to your values, your locale, and your willingness to organize or drive/walk/bike/bus to events. In our case our kids see tons of other children because they’re in sports programs and also the neighborhood kids are over at our house every day of the week; also many of my friends’ children come here for sleepovers because we’re so kid-friendly and my children are well-liked. I don’t know what we’d be doing if we were more isolated in our neighborhood, but given all four of us are so social I have a feeling we’d be finding those avenues.

I do not mean to sound completely clueless about how difficult life is with young children who are still in diapers and/or nursing and still need so much of us physically – I’ve been there and I too thought I’d “need” school to give myself some respite and give my children what they need (like a social life, etc). Your children are still very young and mostly just need lots of love, good food if you have it, TLC, and patience. Soon enough they will be out the door and running to the park or the corner grocery store or visiting friends on their own. I know with young children it can feel overwhelming but you will sleep again someday! (And by the way, the unschooling life is wonderful when it comes to sleep!) Find the things you love to do and try to be present with your children; that sets the best foundation for unschooling I can think of.

From the vault: Thank you

A reader writes me an email on May 3, 2010.

As a first time reader who found your blog via a link from two Facebook friends, I just wanted to say an enormous thank you for your post written on March 5th 2010 about the devaluation of domestic work.[1. found at Underbellie]

I’ve been an at-home mom for nearly 13 years, raising three amazing boys. I love what I do, believe passionately in what I do, and feel strongly that it provides my family and myself (as a woman and writer) a better life than we would have as a dual-income family. Yet, lately, I’ve been feeling a little edgy about being at home, like maybe I don’t really need to be here anymore, that I “should” be doing something else. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but I think what it really comes down to is that I’m struggling against an undercurrent of devaluation. I’ve had 33 years of people telling me that a good education and a good career define me, and yet I have neither of those things. After over a decade of doing “lesser work,” that undercurrent is starting to hurt.

But when I cook – oh goodness, when I cook! – or declutter a closet, or sort everyone’s laundry, or go on my son’s field trip without a second thought… Nothing compares to that. And I’ve come to know myself without all the smokescreens I could easily hide behind in the world of paid work. At home I’m just A., and A. loves her life and her family, and doesn’t need anything else to make her happy.

Anyway, that’s the a-ha moment your blog post reminded me of. I really, really thank you for that. I’m feeling rejuvenated and proud of what I do tonight. You rock.

Thanks 🙂

Kids’ safety: “one conversation at a time”

Originally posted as a comment on FreeRangeKids’ post, “One (Frustrating, Makes Me Want to Yank My Hair Out) Conversation At A Time”:

Just an hour ago I was with my youngest shopping for thread at the quilt store.  The proprietress – whom I *adore*, she and I have a great friendship – asked about my eldest child (we homeschool so I often have the kids with me out and about).  I said she was out and about riding a bus to the bakery and back home.

So then the proprietress does the – “[gasp!] You let her out ALONE?” and I’m feeling pretty confident – because I really do feel good about our lifestyle – so I say, “Yeah, we ride the bus together all the time. She knows what’s she’s doing.” and the woman responds, “Well, I’m sure she does.  But I’d be nervous about *predators*!”

I’ve had the most success in conversations like this saying, “Yeah, many people really *do* worry about that,” and not saying anything more and listening to the response.  Because usually people just seem to want to vent their fears.  They aren’t ALWAYS (or even that often) responding to me and my choices, they’re venting a bit of that “world is a scary place” stuff they live with.  (I’m not excusing those who perpetrate fear from their role in the larger picture of a fear-based culture, fear-based news, etc…  I’m just saying that I have compassion for people needing to vent).  So anyway, usually I just kind of bounce back with, “I hear this is a concern of yours,” type of response, and that seems to keep the friendship and conversation intact without going into a content debate – FACTS about dangers to children, etc.  Which a surprising number of people seem not that interested in discussing (as I’ve also seen here on this site with some of the comments).

Back to my conversation with the proprietress.  This time I went a bit further and I responded by saying:  “Well, I don’t really worry about that.” The problem is I feel like I came off worse for saying that.  She gave me a goggle-eyed stare and I swear I looked like a mom who is Woefully Naive or maybe, Doesn’t Care About Her Children.  I mean for all I know my worldview IS rubbing off on this woman – who knows.  But at the time I felt pretty judged and Othered.

What I’ve noticed though is that if I quote safety statistics (thank you, Lenore and many others!) in a conversation like this, THAT doesn’t seem to impress or convince anyone…  so honestly sometimes I don’t know what response I *should* have.

(I have also tried the, “Wow, it sounds like you think you care more about the safety of my child than *I* do,” which also works very well – I say it nicely, not like a jerk, promise).

Would love any feedback from the smart readers and commentators here.