DEAR AMY: My mother-in-law, who lives with my husband and me and our 18-month-old daughter, has reconnected with an ex-boyfriend from over 30 years ago. Initially, she kept the relationship a secret. Her boyfriend is an ex-con who was in prison for over 25 years. He was released and is now working full time and spending time with my MIL and occasionally coming over to our apartment to see her. We were happy for her and encouraged the relationship because he seemed like a nice guy. Today, though, after he had spent some time here yesterday, my husband found a pocketknife that had fallen in between our couch cushions. We asked and found out that it was in fact his knife. I am upset that he felt the need to bring a weapon into our home when we have a young child. Amy, I am not judging him -- I am simply making a statement about the safety of our child and how I'm not comfortable with this. I refuse to compromise when it comes to our daughter's safety and my husband is treating it as if nothing is wrong. I am extremely uncomfortable talking about this with my MIL because I know that she will see this as me attacking her man. What should I do?
-- Safety First Mom
DEAR MOM: I don't consider a pocket knife a "weapon," but I do consider an ex-con with a 25-year sentence a definite risk to your household. When it comes to baby-proofing your house, I would put access to ex-cons at the top of the list.
You and your husband have every right -- and the duty as parents -- to choose who will come into your home. If your mother-in-law wants to maintain this relationship, it is her business, but you should be extra-vigilant about who spends time in your household, and that includes relatives, neighbors and any men she chooses to associate with.
You should make this abundantly clear, without worrying too much about her reaction. With her as a part of your household, her choices have consequences for all of you.