While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On sweating every little choice you make with a baby:
I have a 6-month-old who is fun but challenging; I didn't get the "easy" baby that my mother told me I'd get. I desperately tried to get right with my totally reasonable decision to wean her at 3 months. My sister told me in the midst of one of my many early anxiety attacks: "All the things that are 'best' for baby are tiny fractions of a percentage point better than the 'second best' things. Family decisions are not made well on 'the best for her.' Instead they are made as a series of complex risk/benefit analyses that take into account the impact on everyone."
Essentially, she granted me permission to be a family-centered parent, rather than a baby-centered parent — and that really works for me.
I've felt much calmer ever since. It was her modern, helpful, lovely way of telling me not to sweat the small stuff.
Calmer Than I Used to Be
On parents who keep exposing their kids to bullies out of loyalty to (or fear of) the bullies' parents:
I was bullied as a child, frequently and in full sight of adults: parents, teachers, scout masters, coaches, you name it. In the 1960s, if a child couldn't stick up for her- or himself, well, that was just too bad.
As I grew in size and strength, I found ways to at first stick up for myself, later for others. As a mature adult, I consider it a moral imperative to speak for the oppressed at every opportunity presented.
I'm a peaceful person, and a mellow fellow. But show me a bully, and I will go to war.