Dear Abby: Maybe we shouldn’t let my mean mother-in-law see her baby grandson

Always ready with a nasty remark, the woman crossed a line by criticizing the new parents for putting their child in day care.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m married to a wonderful husband and I am a new mom to an 11-week-old beautiful baby boy. I am fortunate to have 12 weeks of maternity leave, after which my baby will be starting day care. This decision was very difficult, but necessary. I enjoy my career, and my husband has a good career as well. My parents still work full time, and his parents are too old (in my opinion) to safely watch their grandbaby while also keeping him engaged.

My mother-in-law, “Ella,” is sometimes very rude, and we have never seen eye to eye. Four days ago, my in-laws and other family came to visit the baby. When the topic of day care came up, Ella said, “Babies in day care cry and no one picks them up.” She also said, “He’s going to be sick and miserable all the time.”

Abby, I am furious about her comments. As if I don’t already have enough anxiety over sending my baby to day care. I ignored her because I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of the other family members. I know she said it because she’s mad she’s not going to be watching him. She has made nasty comments in the past about other stuff, which I always let go.

I told my husband he needs to stick up for me and tell her she needs to cut it out, but he wants me to ignore her comments as he has his entire life. I told him either he or we need to tell her we will no longer tolerate her nasty remarks or she’s no longer seeing her grandson.

My husband hates confrontation in general, but especially with his mother. Ever since Ella said what she did, I have been on edge with him. I think he should stand up for me, but he doesn’t want to rock the boat. Am I being too extreme by not allowing Ella to see her grandson? — DAY CARE MOM IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR DAY CARE MOM: You have a wonderful husband, but part of the package is his mother, who has a big mouth and poor judgment about what comes out of it. While I sympathize with your predicament, it occurs to me that your dislike of her is coloring your thinking in this instance. Rather than take it out on your husband, develop a thicker skin where Ella is concerned. Of course she should be allowed to visit her grandchild. Remember above all, YOU are the mother and YOU get to make the decisions about your son’s care.

DEAR ABBY: I need help! I don’t know how to tell my wife of 21 years that her breath smells awful. I really miss our passionate kissing. I just can’t get past the smell of her breath. How can I tell her without hurting her feelings? — AT ARM’S LENGTH IN LOUISIANA

DEAR AT ARM’S LENGTH: For the sake of your marriage, speak up. Telling someone their breath is “strong” should not cause embarrassment. (I would certainly want to know!) There can be more than one reason for halitosis. Could it be her diet? Is she drinking enough water? Does she need to make an appointment with her dentist for a checkup? If none of those things helps, she should consult her physician to make sure her bad breath isn’t a symptom of something serious.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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