DEAR ABBY: My problem concerns my dear mother-in-law. She wants to baby-sit my infant daughter after I return to work. "Grandma" is 80. She's deaf and frequently does not wear her hearing aid. She is physically frail, confused and forgetful. Needless to say, my husband and I are uncomfortable with the idea of her baby sitting.
She used to baby-sit our two older children, but we stopped asking her last year because we were concerned about her ability to keep track of two active youngsters.
Abby, I cannot stand the thought of telling her, "We don't want you to take care of the baby because we think you're too old to do a good job of it." It would break her heart. She does not see herself as incompetent because she still lives alone. Every time I see her she asks if she can watch the baby, and I just smile and shrug and say, "We're not sure what we're going to do with her once I go back to work."
Is there some nice way I can tell her the truth? Or should I make up some plausible story to avoid hurting her feelings? I love her dearly and don't want to hurt her, but my concerns about my baby's safety are valid. -- UNCERTAIN IN FLORIDA
DEAR UNCERTAIN: The baby's welfare must come first. Without making an issue of it, make other plans for child care. Be diplomatic when discussing them with your mother-in-law because she's only trying to be helpful, but remind her that a newborn requires physical stamina to deal with on a daily basis, and you have hired outside help to aid you in raising your three little bundles of boundless energy.