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Dear Abby: Volunteering with infants may gratify wannabe mom

Dear Abby: I just turned 20 and I desperately want a baby. I know it’s not possible right now because I am still in school and will be for several years. I also want to be married before having children, and my boyfriend agrees. We take precautions and don’t plan on having kids for a long time.

None of my friends, relatives or close acquaintances have young children that I can spend time baby-sitting. I was wondering if you knew of any volunteer opportunities that will allow me to satisfy my “mothering” instinct until I can actually be a mother.

– Future Mommy In Michigan

Dear Future Mommy: One that might interest you is becoming a “cuddler.” Cuddlers are volunteers who visit hospital neonatal units. They work with infants whose parents can’t be there to touch them, and whose nurses have other important duties to perform.

Contact the hospitals in your area to see if they have this program available. I’m sure if there is one, you would find it emotionally satisfying.

Dog not invited

Dear Abby: I have been friends with “Irene” for a long time. We invite her and her husband to our home for dinner parties, etc.

Recently, with every invitation, she has been asking to bring along her dog, “Pookie.” She lives nearby and could easily leave it at home. We would prefer the dog not visit for a number of reasons: We have a cat; Pookie is nervous around people and has bitten; and he isn’t well housebroken. He pees on everything.

How do I politely refuse her request? We enjoy Irene and her husband, but Pookie, not so much.

– No Pooch, Please, in Pennsylvania

Dear No Pooch: Here’s how. When Irene asks again about bringing her dog, simply say, “We’d prefer you didn’t.” And if she has the nerve to ask why, tell her the reasons you gave me.

Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.