Dear Annie: I knew my mother-in-law would go crazy when we had the first grandchild, but I’m starting to feel resentment. My baby is 7 months old. Mom was angry when she wasn’t the first to hold her. She drives 50 miles twice a week to visit. She shows up uninvited and ends up wherever we are — the mall, the park, in church, etc. I haven’t had one Saturday alone with my husband and daughter in seven months.

I work full time and have precious few hours with my child when she’s awake. I try to be understanding because I know Mom waited a long time for a grandchild, but she’s driving me crazy. She insists I let her take the baby for the weekend, but I’m not ready. Last week, we planned a vacation, and my “smother-in-law” caught wind. Now my in-laws are booked at the hotel across the street.

The final straw was when she quit her job, assuming I would let her babysit. She just showed up at the daycare center, expecting to take her. I don’t want my in-laws to be the caregivers for my child, because they live too far away and they are both chain smokers. Mom and her husband are lonely, and my husband feels bad for them. They have no friends and have formed their entire lives around this new baby. I need space. — Help in Reno

Dear Reno: Your mother-in-law is out of control. A 7-month-old baby is too young to spend the weekend with Grandma. Tell her you will consider letting your daughter stay overnight when she is toilet trained and Grandma and Grandpa stop smoking. Chain smokers should not be providing daycare duty for young children of any age, and there is no reason you cannot politely inform them of this.

It’s time for your husband to step up and tell his mother to back off before she endangers her relationship with her grandchild. If possible, she should cancel her plans to vacation with you. You are wonderfully understanding about Mom, but if you don’t set solid boundaries now, she will push you to the limit.

Dear Annie: I am 30 years old, and so is my fiance, “Paul.” He is a hard worker and a good person for the most part, but he only shows affection, holds my hand or says that he loves me when we are in the company of others. Also, he constantly compares me to his ex-wife and says I can’t do anything as well as she does. Thank goodness he only does this when we’re alone.

Is Paul suffering from low self-esteem, or is he trying to tell me that he doesn’t love me? — Thinking in W.V.

Dear Thinking: A man who only shows affection in public is putting on a show. In private, where he should be comfortable expressing his true feelings, he berates you for not being his ex-wife. This is not a healthy relationship, and if you stay with him, you will be increasingly miserable. Please extricate yourself immediately.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Modest in Iowa,” who objected to being cared for by a male nurse.

As a cancer patient having experienced many treatments and procedures, I want to tell “Modest” to grow up. And as a man, I accuse her of sexism. This is the 21st century, and a male nurse deserves respect as a medical professional. — Past the Point of Modesty in Louisville, Ky.

Dear Louisville: We agree that male nurses should be treated with respect, but modesty has nothing to do with professionalism or sexism. Patients should also be treated with respect, and those who request same-sex nurses should be accommodated whenever possible.

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