Caregivers who care too much

CareThere's a fine line between being super helpful and super annoying, and even the best sitter or daycare provide may not be aware when she's crossing it and butting in. Parenting contributing editor Denene Millner, an Atlanta mom of two and stepmom of one, remembers the time her nanny was concerned about her daughters' colds and wanted Millner to rub a mentholatum ointment on their chests before bed. "When I didn't, she acted like I was trying to make them suffer," she says.

Millner didn't want to fire her nanny for caring too much, or lose her in anger. So she did what any good manager would: She delegated, asking her husband to talk to their nanny about it instead. "It preserves the equality in my relationship with our nanny by letting my husband be the boss and deal with the misunderstandings that arise," she says. "It also keeps the relationship between her and me healthy while still letting me blow off steam through a third party."

Of course, if you don't have a person ready to play the bad-cop role in your household, you'll have to address your concerns with your caregiver directly, which can feel uncomfortable to consider but empowering to actually do. I've done it myself, and it was in just these situations that I found my voice, and perhaps even my identity, as a mom. This is, in fact, the good-news part of handling unwanted parenting advice. Deal with it and you may just see your confidence grow.

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