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by Abigail Van Buren

Holidays Inspire Divorced Mom to Resolve Her Bitter Feelings

DEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to "Longtime Reader, Bloomington, Minn." who was upset that "Mrs. Jones" asked her nanny if she wanted another part-time job. Your reader had no right to get upset about the nanny being offered another job. As long as it doesn't affect her 35-hour work week, anything the nanny does during her free time is her business -- not her employer's.

Mrs. Jones should not need anyone's permission to talk to the nanny. So what if "Longtime Reader" paid $1,200 to get her nanny? I am a nanny and my family paid $2,350 to get me, and they do not tell me who I can and cannot sit for. Paying a fee does not guarantee ownership of the nanny. The nanny may seem like a member of their extended family, but she really isn't. She is an employee and is entitled to her own life and her own decisions about her time off. -- LYNETTE A. BUDD, ROWLEY, MASS.

DEAR LYNETTE: I agree that the days of indentured servitude are over. And if the nanny's arrangement with her employer is for 35 hours a week, what she does in her spare time is her own business.

However, as a courtesy, Mrs. Jones should have spoken to "Longtime Reader" before extending an offer to her domestic employee. It is a question of good manners.