DEAR ABBY: My mother has baby-sat my 1-year-old daughter, "Lily," since she was less than 2 months old because circumstances compelled me to return to work earlier than planned. She agreed to keep her for free to help my husband, "Riley," and me because she knows things are tough financially right now. We pay Mother as much as we can, and of course, provide all of Lily's food, diapers, etc. to keep at her house. I have thanked my mother many times, and hope she realizes how grateful we are for everything she does.
However, the longer Mother baby-sits Lily, the more she acts like she can overrule the decisions Riley and I make regarding our daughter. She complains about how "stupid" our pediatrician is (even though she has never met Lily's doctor personally). She tries to dictate what decisions we make based on her "mother-knows-best" philosophy, then becomes offended if we do something different.
Recently she informed me that she was sending back the "chunkier" baby food I had bought for Lily to eat at her house because she doesn't think Lily is ready for that kind of food. When I pointed out that Lily has been eating the same food at our house for the last two months, she hung up on me.
I have always tried to avoid confrontation with my mother, but when it comes to my daughter, I believe Mother should respect the decisions that Riley and I make. I'm afraid if I say anything, though, she'll refuse to keep Lily any longer. What should I do? -- IN A BIND IN TEXAS
DEAR IN A BIND: Your choice is whether to bite your tongue or bite the bullet. Avoiding confrontations may have worked when you were a child, but now that you are a parent your little girl's welfare must come first.
It appears your mother is trying to relive her own mothering experience by imposing her will on you. The situation is not healthy for you, your daughter, or even your mother. Either find the courage to talk to her woman-to-woman and clear the air, or you and Riley should make other child-care arrangements for your daughter.