Do you have a friend who just had a baby, recently returned to work or is dealing with a family crisis? Have you told her, "Call me if you need anything"? Yet, she hasn't called and you know she's stressed out.

Try calling her with a specific offer. Say something like, "I'll pick up your kids after school on Tuesday and bring dinner when I drop them of at 6 p.m." What mom would say no to that?

The best way to help a friend in need is to think about what might be falling through the cracks and find a way to take care of it.

Offering to pick up some items at the grocery shopping, run to the dry cleaners or shuttle kids will likely be welcome suggestions.

-- Melissa Kossler Dutton, contributing writer for Columbus Parent