Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Family's Ailing Nanny Should Be Given the Chance 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 best 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.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety | Work & School