DEAR ABBY: I am a new mom to a sweet baby boy. I am (or was) very career-oriented and never in a million years thought I would want to be a stay-at-home mom. I will have to return to work shortly, and I'm really struggling.
I have a hard time putting my little one in day care, but I don't have a choice. I have no idea where to begin, how to select the right day care or what questions to ask. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. -- NEW MOM IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NEW MOM: Start by talking to your friends and family, asking if they know of a day care that's good, then make sure that any facility you're considering is licensed. Spend a little time there to see how the caregivers interact with the children.
Go to babycenter.com and search on "daycare." You will find a section on day care centers that will give you the information you need. You should also check with your state's department of social services to be sure no complaints have been filed. I wish you luck in your search.
DEAR ABBY: Over the years the people closest to me (immediate family, friends and a few ex-boyfriends) have given me every reason not to trust anyone much.
About a year ago I found the courage to date again and met a man who gives me every reason to trust him to the fullest. The problem is, because of my past, I'm having problems doing it. How do I move past my issues and give the relationship I'm in a fair chance before I destroy it? -- GUN-SHY IN MAINE
DEAR GUN-SHY: Considering your history, it makes sense that you are afraid of being hurt or taken advantage of. However, not all people are alike. Allow the relationship more time to develop. Don't be afraid to talk things out with him rather than react by jumping to conclusions and/or making accusations.
Listen to what he says and watch what he does. If the two don't match, regard it as a red flag. However, if they do match, then count your blessings because you may have finally found a winner.
DEAR ABBY: For years I've gone to a neighborhood bar every Friday night for a few hours during cocktail hour. I have recently started using oxygen due to COPD from smoking.
My doctor says I can do anything I feel I'm up to. Well, I'm up to going out to the bar like I used to do. Trouble is, I'm self-conscious about the carrier. It doesn't bother me to go out to stores, etc., but this does. Should I stay home, bored out of my mind, or get on with the life I used to have? -- WANTS TO GET ON WITH LIFE
DEAR WANTS: Your doctor has said you can do what you want. I see nothing to be gained by sitting home alone and becoming depressed. My only concern is that the bar you frequent may be smoky and be problematic for your already-damaged lungs. If the bar is smoke-free, go. But if it isn't, then I'm suggesting you find one that is.