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Ailing nanny should be given time to heal

Dear Abby: Our nanny, who is 58, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before I delivered baby No. 2. The boys are now 15 months and 4 weeks old.

"Nora" has started chemotherapy after having surgery. I completely understand that she has to attend to her needs right now and focus on her health, but she wanted to continue working without it being an issue. Nora has had to take off several days already in addition to being – as I expected – tired and unable to keep up with my active toddler.

I start back to work soon and my job is a demanding one. My husband and I have discussed options and feel it would be best to mandate that Nora take this time off. We will have to make other arrangements for child care, and I can't guarantee Nora's job when she feels better.

She has taken such good care of our first son it kills me to have to let her go, especially while she's dealing with cancer. But I must return to work and do what's beat for my kids. Any advice? – Mommy of Two in South Carolina

Dear Mommy: Have a meeting with Nora and explain your concerns. Ask if she knows someone reliable who could watch the children on those days when she is too weak to do so. Or contact a household staffing agency about getting a temporary fill-in. It would be far more humane than firing her.

For Nora's sake, please try it. If my suggestions don't work, revisit letting her go at a later time.

Dear Abby: My 61-year-old father was arrested recently for 30 counts of possession of child pornography. He has had a rough past – he cheated on my mother and has had multiple stints in rehab for alcohol abuse. During my teenage years he verbally abused me. My mother is in denial about the entire situation and the fact that he is facing time in prison for his actions.

Nine months ago, my husband and I were blessed with the birth of our beautiful baby girl. I feel I must protect her from my parents and my father in particular. Some of my family agree with my decision, others disagree because I am my parents' only child.

Am I wrong for not wanting my father and possibly my mother any longer in my life? – Tough Love in Florida

Dear Tough Love: No. And as for the reaction of your relatives, remember that you can't please everyone, and the well-being of your child must come first.

Dear Abby: How do I keep a co-worker from borrowing money from me? I have my paycheck direct-deposited, which means the money is available earlier than "Anita's."

She asked me yesterday if I would lend her money for cigarettes, and I told her I didn't have any cash on me. When I went on break to buy lunch with my ATM card, Anita came waltzing over and immediately told the cashier to ring up the cigarettes on my ATM card! She said she'd pay me back more than the amount charged to my card.

In the future, how can I handle this if it happens again? I needed the money for my own use, and now I must wait until next week for her to pay me back. – Buck Stops Here in Massachusetts

Dear Buck: One way to handle it would be to be proactive and tell Anita that what she did was rude and you didn't like it. Another would be to inform the cashier that what Anita did was NOT OK with you, and to never do it again. Whichever you decide, don't be afraid of hurting Anita's feelings because she has a hide of steel.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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