DEAR ABBY: I recently gave birth to a beautiful, perfect baby girl, "Cassie." I also just returned to work. I would love to stay home, but I cannot afford to financially. I am lucky that my best friend, "Mary Ellen," doesn't have to work and has offered to care for my little 8-week-old bundle of joy.
My problem is, every day when I go to pick up Cassie, I must wait for Mary Ellen to say goodbye to her. She has started instructing me about how Cassie likes to sleep, be burped and held. While I appreciate her watching and caring for my little one, I am Cassie's mom and I know what she likes. The time I have with my daughter is precious. I just want to pick her up and go home.
How do I tell my friend it upsets me that she feels she should tell me about how to care for my own baby? I feel guilty and sad that I must work, and her comments make it worse. I know she's only trying to help. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but what can I do? -- WORKING MOMMY IN BALTIMORE
DEAR WORKING MOMMY: Before your resentment grows any further, set Mary Ellen straight. Tell her you're grateful she can watch Cassie, but when you come to pick her up you want the baby ready to go. Tell your friend the time you must spend away from your daughter is painful and when she "suggests" how to hold or burp the baby, it makes you feel it's a reflection on your maternal ability.
If Mary Ellen gets it, things will improve. If she doesn't, make other arrangements for your child. Your friend may be becoming too attached to your baby and confused about her role.