Dear Annie: I’m 19 years old and work at least 60 hours a week. I recently found out that I am pregnant. The father does not have a job and lives far away. I want him involved with our child, but not if he can’t help support the baby. Am I being too harsh? – Hard Worker
Dear Hard worker: Yes. A parent’s importance should not be based on his income. “Support” is more than money. It can include taking care of the child and being emotionally supportive of the mother. Unless the father is a drug addict, alcoholic or abuser, your child’s relationship with him is necessary and beneficial. But the father should be actively looking for work so he can pay child support, and you should hold him responsible for it. In the meantime, please don’t deny either of them the positive aspects of this relationship.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” who complained about out-of-state relatives who try to take over caregiving duties.
Here’s our family wisdom when visiting or offering to help a primary caregiver: Think of yourself as the “assistant caregiver,” and simply ask the primary caregiver what, when, where and how. Do your best to do what they would do. Don’t make suggestions or change routines. Just give them the peace of mind of knowing that they can leave for a while and everything will be done exactly as they would have done it. This attitude is helpful and comforting to the primary caregiver, who certainly doesn’t need any additional stress. – Been There, Too