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Explain to Me Being a Non-WOH No-Kid Wife


Tsuga
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I believe in a public safety net.  I am a product of a reasonably decent public safety net.  It is a moral failing in my book to attack the poor.  I think you agree with that so why are you hung up on a belief system you don't seem to actually be arguing for. 

 

What gets me is that very few people are actually arguing "the poor are just lazy." That isn't, by and large, the argument that conservatives make. It's a straw man. I'm sure some people do have the prejudices she expressed against the poor, but conservatives are generally not saying, "The poor are lazy, and that's why we shouldn't help them." The argument is actually, "These government programs aren't the best way to help them, and may actually hurt poor people in the long run. They need reform." Making the safety net as local as we can so it goes to the right people in as timely a manner as possible is one concern. Promoting voluntary charity so that we as a culture don't just shrug our shoulders and say, "The government will take care of it," is an ethics issue that needs to be talked about more. Conservatives also support "workfare," but not because they think poor people are intrinsically lazy, but because they believe that a requirement to work in order to receive benefits helps people in a "teach a man to fish" way--you don't even necessarily have to be working at a typical job, as "work activities†that are specified in conservative welfare reform proprosals are defined very broadly to include unsubsidized employment, government-subsidized employment, on-the-job training, up to 12 months of vocational education, community-service work, job searches and the completion of one's GED. All of those things help an unemployed person get back on their feet.

 

It's fine to disagree with all those points from an ideological point of view. But let's not pretend that it's as simplistic as essentially saying, "Liberals love and care for the poor, and conservatives think the poor are lazy scum who don't deserve a thing. So why is it okay for housewives to be lazy, huh?"
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so more ideas: 


It's a status thing in some circles for couples to be able to live on one income, regardless of having kids or not. 

Maybe she has a trust fund. Maybe she invested in good stocks ages ago & is living of investment income. Maybe her parents are rich & she knows they will get that inheritance. Many people I know have crappy retirement savings because they are almost guaranteed to be getting a huge inflow of money when their parents die. 

Some people don't actually need to work. In a marriage, both people don't need to earn money.  


I'm going to circle back to art because I think you're not really considering all the possibilities. There are many commercial artists who do not advertise what they do. I know a lot of romance authors, including a bunch who write erotica. They do not tell anyone their job.  Or maybe she is currently going through a dry spell in her creative process and doesn't want to discuss what she does.  

 

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What gets me is that very few people are actually arguing "the poor are just lazy." That isn't, by and large, the argument that conservatives make. It's a straw man. I'm sure some people do have the prejudices she expressed against the poor, but conservatives are generally not saying, "The poor are lazy, and that's why we shouldn't help them." The argument is actually, "These government programs aren't the best way to help them, and may actually hurt poor people in the long run. They need reform." Making the safety net as local as we can so it goes to the right people in as timely a manner as possible is one concern. Promoting voluntary charity so that we as a culture don't just shrug our shoulders and say, "The government will take care of it," is an ethics issue that needs to be talked about more. Conservatives also support "workfare," but not because they think poor people are intrinsically lazy, but because they believe that a requirement to work in order to receive benefits helps people in a "teach a man to fish" way--you don't even necessarily have to be working at a typical job, as "work activities†that are specified in conservative welfare reform proprosals are defined very broadly to include unsubsidized employment, government-subsidized employment, on-the-job training, up to 12 months of vocational education, community-service work, job searches and the completion of one's GED. All of those things help an unemployed person get back on their feet.
 
It's fine to disagree with all those points from an ideological point of view. But let's not pretend that it's as simplistic as essentially saying, "Liberals love and care for the poor, and conservatives think the poor are lazy scum who don't deserve a thing. So why is it okay for housewives to be lazy, huh?"

 

 

 

Did you read the end of my post?  I was making a classic conservative argument about self determination.  I certainly was not making the argument that your post is responding to (that liberals think one way and conservatives another about poverty.)  Most liberals do not get a much higher grade on alleviating the poverty problem than most conservatives do.  I think a minority or liberals and conservatives are truly well informed on what works best to help people out of poverty.  

 

A public safety net can take many forms, not all of them government run or funded.  

 

As for if anyone is saying the poor are lazy?  I have to disagree with your claim that no one makes that argument.  I was poor and even homeless as a child.  When I worked FT it was primarily (really nearly exclusively) for private non-profit organizations that served poor people and homeless people.  I've heard people make all sorts of incendiary and incorrect assertions about poor people.  Sometimes just ordinary people, sometimes politicians, sometimes economics professors, sometimes administrators for programs that serve poor people.  Heck, even people applying to work where I worked had negative ideas about the poor.  

 

One last note:  when we relied primarily on voluntary charity in this country, a large chunk of elderly and disabled people were starving to death, visible poverty was, as a percentage of the population, a much larger issue and many poor families got torn apart by the American version of workhouses, which were usually single sex camps where people lived in what were even then unsafe and unsanitary conditions. The mentally ill or developmentally delayed were commonly abandoned and abused and left to rot in mental health hospitals.   Having worked in and around the volunteer sector my whole adult working life, I can say the bandwidth is not there to replace things like healthcare programs for children or WIC.  And it wouldn't magically spring up in a culture where the norm is two earner households.  We have the ability to essentially solve the homelessness issue.  We did nearly that in the post war period when the HUD budget was a much larger part of the federal budget than it is now.  Who taught me that?  A fundamentally conservative supply side economist.  

 

ETA: workfare has been the law of the land here since the Clinton administration and welfare reform of the 1990s.  The results as to if it saves government money or lifts people out of poverty have been mixed.  Some families have been helped.  Other families are about the same or even worse off than they were.  Like most popular ideas pertaining to helping those in poverty, it's been both a success and a failure.   For my dad, it was a success.  For my mom, it was tricky.  She couldn't work and she had to live with seeing her benefits drop considerably relative to inflation and have nosy workers demand to know if anyone had helped her by throwing her $50 for groceries or bought her new shoes as a gift.  It did not really impact me or my brother as we were on our own, living off my wages and student aid in 1998.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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I apologize, I wasn't clear in my post. I was responding to your quote about Tsuga, but I didn't mean for what I said to be directed at you. I was referring to Tsuga's earlier post where she talked about growing up under Reagan and being drilled about the poor being lazy. I should have just quoted that post directly so there wouldn't be any confusion.

 

I didn't say "No one says that," I said that that argument is not the conservative platform. There are plenty of individual conservatives who hate the poor--and individual liberals who hate the poor, too, I'm afraid. What I tried to communicate is that hating the poor was not the position of Reagan. And that is not the position of the Republican Party today. It seems to me that Tsuga doesn't quite understand what people who disagree with her politically think about the issue of welfare and only sees it through the lens of, "If you care about the poor, you're liberal, and if you don't, you're conservative."

 

As to your last statement, the GOP is not calling for the utter dissolution of welfare and other government programs. I didn't say we should only rely on voluntary charity. Anyway, this seems to be getting away from the original question of whether it is socially acceptable for a woman to stay home if she has one child or less.

 

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I apologize, I wasn't clear in my post. I was responding to your quote about Tsuga, but I didn't mean for what I said to be directed at you. I was referring to Tsuga's earlier post where she talked about growing up under Reagan and being drilled about the poor being lazy. I should have just quoted that post directly so there wouldn't be any confusion.

 

I didn't say "No one says that," I said that that argument is not the conservative platform. There are plenty of individual conservatives who hate the poor--and individual liberals who hate the poor, too, I'm afraid. What I tried to communicate is that hating the poor was not the position of Reagan. And that is not the position of the Republican Party today. It seems to me that Tsuga doesn't quite understand what people who disagree with her politically think about the issue of welfare and only sees it through the lens of, "If you care about the poor, you're liberal, and if you don't, you're conservative."

 

As to your last statement, the GOP is not calling for the utter dissolution of welfare and other government programs. I didn't say we should only rely on voluntary charity. Anyway, this seems to be getting away from the original question of whether it is socially acceptable for a woman to stay home if she has one child or less.

 

 

Threads drift.  

 

I'm no huge Reagan fan but I don't think that he hated poor people.  That said, he did promulgate some big myths about who was receiving welfare and for how long people received it on average and how much fraud there was in the system.  I think he did that to curry political support because politicians are good at saying what sells.  And in a recession, criticize the poor sells well.  When I was a baby, Reaganomics did push both of my parents to quit school which did lengthen the amount of time I was in poverty, by a fair bit.  My mom was told to kick my dad out the front door and then let him in the back door so that she could stay on food stamps since the policies punished married couples.  She said no, nope, not happening but without those food stamps, they couldn't afford to stay in school.  We also saw the homelessness issue in this country rise dramatically when mental hospitals closed or shrunk in the 80s and were replaced with...basically nothing but an unfunded mandate for community based care.  

 

Please note I give political parties nearly equal middling to poor grades when it comes to real solutions to poverty.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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Assuming we are talking about professional classes here - so far as I am aware, we're not discussing minimum wage workers who truly DO have to overwork to survive...

 

Sure, the work has to be done. But there are options - my dad, for example, went in early every morning so he could be home by 5 to spend time with us. 

 

Plenty of people work more than they need to. Never heard parents joking about working until the witching hour at home is over ? Let mom or nanny handle that...

 

Workaholism is one of the only addictions that gets a free pass in this society. It's just as damaging as any other addiction. It's not a virtue to overwork. 

 

The trope of the nagging wife is a particularly obnoxious one, imo. Maybe her 'demand' is perfectly reasonable in the context of them both working and having a young child. 

 

this

dh currently works from home -  he now has lots of free time and has a *very* flexible schedule, but we have a comfortable income.  Many times dh has told me he works to support what I do - which is making our home.

 

No I'm not employed.   the only time I've regretted that has been during periods of unemployment.  I grew up with a grandmother who equated someone's worth with how much money they made.  (yet, the only "job skills" she encouraged me to get was typing.  so I could get a job as a secretary and put my husband through college."  her words.  she was a jealous bitter and petty person.  oh - and very covetous of "stuff".)  

 

 I think it is disrespectful to denigrate another's choice of lifestyle priorities, staying home or working - you aren't paying for it.    I also think it's disrespectful for a woman to think she has to provide s3x in exchange for her dh supporting her.   it would make me feel like nothing but a piece of meat with that attitude.  it's like a woman who only see's her dh as a paycheck.

 

I do think both attitudes are harmful to marriage relationships.  marriage is supposed to be a complimentary partnership - two people working to make a relationship work.  how they do that varies from couple to couple - but it should always be as equals.   and that isn't based on $$$.

 

eta: clarity.

Edited by gardenmom5
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Super controversial post warning

 

It's not a JAWM though I'd really like someone to explain how it works and not just say "shame on you Judgy Mc Judgerson". I own my judgment but I'm willing to grow as a person. I want to know HOW this works... there's a lot bundled in here, a lot to tease apart. On the one hand this is a rant and on the other hand I will probably meet this person someday so it would be great to have some insight into her mindset in a positive way.

(snip)

 

I know quite a few people like this.  They are modern, educated, capable people.  

 

And I adore their reasons for what they do.

 

What *satisfies* one spouse (the job holder) earns enough money so that...

what *satisfies* the other spouse (the non-paid-job holder) ...

 

works.

 

And what is really interesting is that the satisfaction the OTHER finds fulfills the needs of both. 

 

So, for examply, Spouse1 works for pay and is tremendously satisfied by it...but wishes s/he could contribute more to the world and

Spouse 2 works for no-pay and is tremendously satisfied by it...but wishes s/he could contribute more to the family finances.  

 

Instead of feeling sad, they rejoice that they are doing what they both want...together. 

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I want to repeat what Gardenmom said. "I also think it's disrespectful for a woman to think she has to provide s3x in exchange for her dh supporting her. it would make me feel like nothing but a piece of meat with that attitude."

 

I don't give my husband sex for supporting me. We have a sexual relationship because we both want it. I wouldn't even joke about it because one, TMI and two, it's just a bizarre notion that plays into both haggard sexist notions of what I'm here for AND to the caustic and demeaning arguments made by some feminists that any marriage is just legally sanctioned prostitution.

 

My husband is not my employer. Not for sex, not for cooking, not for housecleaning, not for childcare. I am not a prostitute. Or a chef. Or a maid. Or Mary Poppins.

 

I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a midnight...board poster.

Edited by LucyStoner
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I'm chatting with DH, he's at work, and he says "who wouldn't want to stay home?" (if they can afford it).  Also, "there's plenty of things to do around the house even without kids"....  If you don't NEED the money?  Better question why shouldn't she stay home, if he's good with it, she wants too, they can afford it... why not?

 

 Dh loves that I stay home, he doesn't have to; cook, clean, wash clothes, take care of chores, dogs, cats, doctor appointments are magically scheduled for him, the bills get paid on time, I'm rarely to busy to listen to his work stories, I'm here if he forgets something and needs me to bring it to him.... the list goes on. The only thing I don't do is mow the yard but only because  yellow jackets can kill me.  Do I feel like I should get a job after the kids are grown? Not unless we need the money, why would I want to?  I do plenty of work here and my working would only add to DH's burden at home.  I most definitely don't feel less worthy of having food, clothes, and general stuff just because I don't bring money into the house, I contribute in so many ways that make me invaluable to DH.

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7 months after DH and I were married, I went from being a full-time student with a work-study job to having only one class remaining to earn my degree. For various reasons, WE chose for me to stay at home rather than pursue a job at that point. I was intentionally unemployed for about 9 months.

 

A few years later, I was pregnant and finished a year of teaching, intending to stay home. A few weeks later I miscarried our first child. I did not go back to work. I was pregnant again 6 months later.

 

We LOVED those periods when I was at home. I could keep the house nice, cook interesting foods from scratch, exercise, volunteer, etc. during the day. Then we had our evenings free to just BE together. There was no stress to work at home after a full day of work outside the home.

 

I don't feel guilty in the least about not contributing financially because it was our mutual decision and the intangible value-added was worth it to us. We are a unit who create a home and family together, not roommates each paying our "half" of the expenses. We entered into marriage both embracing this. When my children are grown, I may do it again if we decide it fits our desired lifestyle then as well.

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7 months after DH and I were married, I went from being a full-time student with a work-study job to having only one class remaining to earn my degree. For various reasons, WE chose for me to stay at home rather than pursue a job at that point. I was intentionally unemployed for about 9 months.

 

A few years later, I was pregnant and finished a year of teaching, intending to stay home. A few weeks later I miscarried our first child. I did not go back to work. I was pregnant again 6 months later.

 

We LOVED those periods when I was at home. I could keep the house nice, cook interesting foods from scratch, exercise, volunteer, etc. during the day. Then we had our evenings free to just BE together. There was no stress to work at home after a full day of work outside the home.

 

I don't feel guilty in the least about not contributing financially because it was our mutual decision and the intangible value-added was worth it to us. We are a unit who create a home and family together, not roommates each paying our "half" of the expenses. We entered into marriage both embracing this. When my children are grown, I may do it again if we decide it fits our desired lifestyle then as well.

:iagree: Especially the bolded.  I think it's very important that the decision to work or not is made by both people for the betterment of the family (even if it's just the two). DH and I are a team and him working (he makes 3X what I could) and me staying home is the best for all of us, so no resentment on his part and no guilt on mine.... That's not true, I wish I could make as much $$ as he does so he could have the opportunity to stay home for awhile.  

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Super controversial post warning

 

It's not a JAWM though I'd really like someone to explain how it works and not just say "shame on you Judgy Mc Judgerson". I own my judgment but I'm willing to grow as a person. I want to know HOW this works... there's a lot bundled in here, a lot to tease apart. On the one hand this is a rant and on the other hand I will probably meet this person someday so it would be great to have some insight into her mindset in a positive way.

 

---

 

Every woman I know works outside the home or has more than one child or a disabled child. I don't know ANYONE who doesn't have a profession or who doesn't have kids (kids being in some cases your effective profession).

 

Except for the wife of a co-worker.

 

She doesn't work outside the home. She has a degree but she doesn't use it. She has no children right now. She has never had children, and is young, so it's not like she faces that.

 

And yet she calls him and complains that it takes him too long to get home. There's no baby at home so... she's just bored. He said so. "She wants me to come home because she gets bored." Because you know, she doesn't work. I could see how you'd get antsy. What the hell do you do all day?

 

This man is literally buying your lunch, lady. Oh and of course, the other women who are actually earning a living? We're still here too, lady. Because, you know. We are earning our own retirement and our own clothes etc. It's not like your husband is avoiding you. He's literally earning your vacation for you.

 

And on top of it, she has recently demanded that he relocate to a neighborhood she likes more. Which is expensive.

 

So he's telling us about these places they are moving. For her. Because she "can't live in this area". It's too boring for her. He did not frame his move in this way, by the way. I know his wife doesn't work from an unrelated conversation, and he brought up his move in a more general conversation about real estate because it's Seattle so everyone between 25 and 40 has nothing to talk about other than real estate and traffic. Anyway. Just to say, he did not frame his real estate questions as a wife complaint and I'm not sure he even realizes that there are like 10 working women in the office just going "wow".

 

How does that work? I should also note that our area has far better services and schools for kids than the area she wants to move to which, while very fun for adults, isn't kid friendly. So that's understandable, she's not thinking about that, because she doesn't have kids, but what I do not get is asking your partner to spend an additional 1 hour 30 minutes in a bus because you don't like the area. When he is paying the rent

 

Doesn't he get to choose? How do you get to choose? What value do you provide to this man that you get to choose?!? I mean that he's not providing to you. Like my partner, he loves me and loves touching me. But I love touching him too. I can't just be like, "Well if you don't do what I want, no sex." Because then I don't get sex either! Also that's prostitution, demanding economic value for just sex. :P

 

I know she's not disabled because of the hobbies she wants him to take part in. Because she is bored. Well I'd be bored too without a job or a family as my job. But anyway, point is, it would have to be a reeeeealllly specific disability and also... there is just no way that she's better served in the neighborhood she wants to live in even if she were disabled. She wants the ambiance and said so.

 

I'm not talking about being a SAHM which has a pretty clear economic, social, and for some, spiritual value. There's no question in my mind that taking care of a child is extremely important work, even as it is much more than work.

 

I mean, literally earning your living as nothing more than being a wife.

 

 

Which isn't really earning, per se... how does it work? What's the value to him? Why would a man, or a woman for that matter, do such a thing? It's 2016. She has a degree. They are from educated families.

 

 

I can't wrap my head around it. What am I missing? Pummel me.

I would hold the judgment if possible. The situation I know of like this, she had a mental illness and ended up killing herself unfortunately when he'd been working excessively long hours. It wasn't untreated but unable to be successfully treated.

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But there is work to do to earn the money you need to survive. To pay for a home, to pay for food, to pay for a 401k, to pay for the medical deductible, the transport.

 

It's not like they are working for nothing. The work is for money to live.

 

None of us are in the office for fun! There is just X amount of work to do and if it doesn't get done some people get fired. Even in the government it was like that. You worked an eight hour day plus your lunch hour or lunch 30 minutes.

 

The wives call at five p.m.

 

I did a poll on this forum, because I kept noticing people who said their husbands worked "so late" and also people would occasionally mention their husbands left at 4:30 p.m. And I thought, "Seattle is known for having a good work life balance, how is it that most adults I know work a good 45-55 hour week plus commute?" But most people, the majority, said their husbands or they worked a good 45 hour week at least. 8-5:30. But hey, that's not bad in my book, that's two meals with the kids per day.

 

 

So I don't really get the "having to nag" someone to work less. Why would anyone work more than they needed to?

Because some people just do. And some jobs are really demanding. I have had times where I had to remind my Dh to pack up and come home. When he's busy he forgets to eat or sleep and doesn't take care of himself.

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But there is work to do to earn the money you need to survive. To pay for a home, to pay for food, to pay for a 401k, to pay for the medical deductible, the transport.

 

It's not like they are working for nothing. The work is for money to live.

 

None of us are in the office for fun! There is just X amount of work to do and if it doesn't get done some people get fired. Even in the government it was like that. You worked an eight hour day plus your lunch hour or lunch 30 minutes.

 

The wives call at five p.m.

 

I did a poll on this forum, because I kept noticing people who said their husbands worked "so late" and also people would occasionally mention their husbands left at 4:30 p.m. And I thought, "Seattle is known for having a good work life balance, how is it that most adults I know work a good 45-55 hour week plus commute?" But most people, the majority, said their husbands or they worked a good 45 hour week at least. 8-5:30. But hey, that's not bad in my book, that's two meals with the kids per day.

 

 

So I don't really get the "having to nag" someone to work less. Why would anyone work more than they needed to?

 

In my experience from way back in the day when I worked -- Some people work long hours because they're unorganized and unproductive during normal working hours.  It takes them twelve hours to accomplish what a more organized person can do in eight.

 

And some people truly are workaholics whose identity is very much wrapped up in their work, or who simply really enjoy their job.

 

DH (who is almost always home by 5:15 but frequently does some work from home later in the evening or on weekends) says the same thing occurs at his office and every place he's ever worked.

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Reaearch shows that women in general still do a significant number more hours unpaid work than men. So that's part of it. I did have some time off before having my first baby. I spent a lot of time working on the garden, cooked all good from scratch and actually kept the house really nice as well as doing some volunteer work for a school. It wasn't a really long period and by the end of it I was ready to go do something else but ended up with a baby instead.

 

Older ladies who are post family that I know like this cook meals for sick people, send cards, cook, garden, sew and write letters. Sometimes I think it's not always good for their mental health but many cope very well.

 

Separately I had times on my job where I had little to do and yet I still needed to be there and I still got paid. I didn't feel guilt about it as long as is done what needed to be done

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Another IRL couple comes to mind.  When I was a kid, a relative was always making excuses for his wife not being able to come to family doings etc.  Wife said it was menstrual stuff that kept her home.  Other women in the family thought that was ridiculous.  However, now that I've experienced days and weeks like that, I could see how that could be a real issue as far as holding a regular job.  So if you didn't *have* to go out there every day, why worry about it?  Might as well put your energies into your home and health and (if applicable) kids.

 

I still think "not working" is the exception rather than the rule, though of course "work" may be broadly defined.  I financially supported an entrepreneur friend for a while, and some people might have said she wasn't working, but she was working on making a business happen.  Eventually the minor investment during the start-up years paid off significantly.  Some SAHWs have online crafty businesses and stuff like that, which outsiders would not necessarily see.  Or she could be trying to become a published author etc.  Even doing a lot of volunteer work would count IMO.  As would physical therapy to improve one's own health / mobility.

 

Would you count it as "work" if the person sat at home and knitted hats for NICU babies?

 

A question - why do you distinguish women who are empty nesters from women who haven't had kids yet?  Why does one owe an economic contribution more than the other?  Why doesn't this apply to men too?

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A friend of mine near retirement age doesn't have a job or have children living at home and I although I am unsure how long ago she held her last job I do know it has at least been several years.  She doesn't complain about her husband or their living situation and she takes care of their small farm.  She has friends and family and she has several things that she likes to do.  You can be a homemaker and not treat your spouse poorly.  They live out in the country so he does have a long way to drive to work but I believe that was what he preferred. 

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Most families I know are stressed all the time. Super busy, driving everywhere, rat race. This include couples with no kids and empty nesters. If this couple can make this arrangement work financially and it works for them, great. I think home making is valuable. A home maker can help create a space of peace and who doesn't need a bit more of that. I bet my husband would love it if I were less frazzled and running in all directions. (He is totally supportive. Not dogging him. Just saying that a little peace and a few more accomplished tasks off the to do list would be a huge gift to him and me)

Just as the amount of a paycheck shouldn't determine someone's value, earning a paycheck also should not determine someone's value.

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My mom became a SAHW when her youngest was in school, and has been a SAHW ever since.  Well, she did start a business at home, but had to stop it because of illness.  My dad continued to work until he reached retirement age.  I know my dad preferred it that way, not because my mom added a ton of economic value at home, but because my dad liked getting up and going to work every day.  Ya know, seeing people you can talk tech to, solving electrical problems, learning new things, having a mentally healthy routine.  I don't believe he ever felt put out by the fact that my mom was sitting at home bringing in $0.  (Actually my mom would have preferred to be working too, but circumstances worked against it.)

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Dh and I have been married for 24 years.  Throughout our entire marriage, he would have preferred I stay home and not work, regardless of our child status.  It hasn't always been feasible to do so, however, and I did work early in our marriage because we had to eat. Then I was a SAHM while our kids were growing up.  I'm working now, for my own personal reasons and for financial ones, but he'd still be happy for me to stay home.

 

He had several reasons.  One:  his mom was a mostly SAHM and after kids grew up was a SAHW.  He found comfort in someone being at home, and in his world men worked, wives took care of the house.  Two:  He liked not having to worry about household stuff.  I took care of the finances, cleaning, cooking, etc., and he was more than willing to do the work of bringing in the $$.  He never considered my staying at home to be useless or lazy.  Three:  He seems to find some self-worth in being the bread winner and his wife not *needing* to work.  

 

Now, his views and mine have not always meshed, and it has caused some friction.  I can't just be at home all day. In fact, it was a big contributor to our separation and near divorce.  I get stir crazy.  Before kids, if I hadn't worked while he was gone all day, I'd have probably been bored and needy too..lol.  (and honestly, I probably would have ended up leaving him because he worked a LOT of hours)

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Different people have different arrangements.  If this woman and her dh have an arrangement where she doesn't work, that's their choice.  He's a man, not a boy, and if wants to go along with her desire to move and X, Y, Z, that's his choice.  And if he lacks the b___s to tell her  that he doesn't want to do something, then he deserves to live with the consequences.  If he's unhappy with his wife's desires, he needs to be taking it up with his wife, not his co-workers. 

 

When my children are grown (which, with them being 12 years apart feels like it will never happen) I won't necessarily rush out into the workforce.  I mean, I might start working again, but it will have to be because of some specific benefit that my dh and I together has decided that we want.  If we can afford for me to continue not working, I might not work.  I don't necessarily see paid work as a thing that people are 'supposed' to do if they aren't doing something else that justifies skipping paid working (such as child or elder care).  I think if you can afford to now work, then work becomes an option, not a thing that you have to do to justify your existence.

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I'm chatting with DH, he's at work, and he says "who wouldn't want to stay home?" (if they can afford it).  Also, "there's plenty of things to do around the house even without kids"....  If you don't NEED the money?  Better question why shouldn't she stay home, if he's good with it, she wants too, they can afford it... why not?

 

 Dh loves that I stay home, he doesn't have to; cook, clean, wash clothes, take care of chores, dogs, cats, doctor appointments are magically scheduled for him, the bills get paid on time, I'm rarely to busy to listen to his work stories, I'm here if he forgets something and needs me to bring it to him.... the list goes on. The only thing I don't do is mow the yard but only because  yellow jackets can kill me.  Do I feel like I should get a job after the kids are grown? Not unless we need the money, why would I want to?  I do plenty of work here and my working would only add to DH's burden at home.  I most definitely don't feel less worthy of having food, clothes, and general stuff just because I don't bring money into the house, I contribute in so many ways that make me invaluable to DH.

 

I agree.

 

I am approaching the empty nest years.  It may be that I won't be able to be a SAHW once the kids are up and out, but my husband and I both hope to and that is what we'd planned when we got married and had kids. 

 

My husband likes not having to spend any time worrying about the bills being paid, the dog taken to the vet, having to take time from work to meet an appliance repair person or installer, the food being purchased and cooked.  He knows that it is not by magic that he has clean clothing every morning and a lunch ready for him to take on the days he needs it.   I am far better at doing those things than he is, though of course if I wasn't around or became incapable of doing them, he would do them.   

 

I'm equally happy to be home dealing with these things. 

 

It's a good partnership for us. 

 

Tsuga said:

 

 

My values are very, very working class. You work, you eat. You no work, you no eat. It is literally that simple. There is a high value on work, there is a high value on self-sufficiency, there is a low value on being provided for as a gift.

 

My husband is not providing for me as a gift.   What an odd idea.  My working-class father would have snorted in derision at the notion that he was providing my mother, who never worked outside the home, for pay, after they were married, a gift.  She worked hard every day of her life, and he knew it, and he thanked her for it.

 

Edited by marbel
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So I don't really get the "having to nag" someone to work less. Why would anyone work more than they needed to?

 

Because some people just do.  They get their satisfaction from being "productive", and they would never quit working if someone didn't make them.

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I can think of a few reasons for her not working/wanting to move...

 

Perhaps they are going through infertility and she sees a lot of happy families in the current neighborhood and just can't bear it any longer...

 

Mental illness or physical illness...I know when I was dealing with IBS, I would want to stay near my bathroom for hours after I ate...

 

Perhaps they are trying to adopt...fielding calls from social workers and adoption agencies can be a full time job...

 

Perhaps she has some sort of criminal record, even a tragic accident, that will follow her every time she applies for a job due to background check...

 

Could there be an ill relative she helps with?

 

Maybe she's a super-secret super spy waiting for her next assignment...

 

Perhaps that was something they simply agreed upon when they got married...

 

Maybe she's a work-from-home call girl-type

 

Agoraphobia?

 

She could have a compromised immune system...

 

She's on the run from the authorities...

 

She's a victim of human trafficking...

 

 

So those are just a few ideas that popped into my head. Probably not a single one of them is the true reason. sometimes brainstorming helps me realize that I don't know and can't know what is going on in a person's life, and unless a person could be in jeopardy, it really is none of my business. People are odd and quirky. I know I am!

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I'm chatting with DH, he's at work, and he says "who wouldn't want to stay home?" (if they can afford it).  Also, "there's plenty of things to do around the house even without kids"....  If you don't NEED the money?  Better question why shouldn't she stay home, if he's good with it, she wants too, they can afford it... why not?

 

 Dh loves that I stay home, he doesn't have to; cook, clean, wash clothes, take care of chores, dogs, cats, doctor appointments are magically scheduled for him, the bills get paid on time, I'm rarely to busy to listen to his work stories, I'm here if he forgets something and needs me to bring it to him.... the list goes on. The only thing I don't do is mow the yard but only because  yellow jackets can kill me.  Do I feel like I should get a job after the kids are grown? Not unless we need the money, why would I want to?  I do plenty of work here and my working would only add to DH's burden at home.  I most definitely don't feel less worthy of having food, clothes, and general stuff just because I don't bring money into the house, I contribute in so many ways that make me invaluable to DH.

 

Exactly! My DH has said numerous times that when the kids are older he does NOT want me to find a job. It is a HUGE boost to his career and an immense reduction in his stress to have me home to pick up dry-cleaning, grocery shop, clean, schedule appointments, be here when the pest control guy comes, be here to meet the appliance repair man, research medical issues for him, etc etc. Just the few times I've had to scramble to get him some important papers he left at home, or the phone he forgot, has been invaluable.

 

And honestly, if you add up how much a live in housekeeper/errant runner/personal chef/personal shopper costs, I'm pretty sure you would see that a SAHM "earns" her keep. Although really, that entire idea is repugnant to me. I don't have to earn idly squat with my husband. He wants me to be happy, because he loves me, and vice versa. 

 

I know we have friends where she was working as a hostess at a restaurant and planning their wedding and her husband said to go ahead and quit. No kids, but it was not bringing in much money and it was nice to have her home, and since they do want kids ASAP might as well do it now so she can just focus on getting pregnant, not worry about sick days for doctors apps, etc. And he works in the same industry as my husband, so will have the same kind of benefits to having a wife at home, so he can focus on his career. 

 

Oh, and in regards to "who would work longer than they have to?" I nearly spit out my drink. You've never met a workaholic? My husband and I both know he will work way harder/longer than is healthy for him if I don't keep an eye on it. I will be the one to say "you've worked late for 3 nights in a row, you need to come home and relax and get some sleep" or "I know you want to keep working on that presentation, but have you seen the time?" and nine times out of ten he has NOT realized how late it is, and will grudgingly go to bed. If he didn't have me keeping an eye on it he fully knows that he would work himself sick. Yes, there is a balance, as he does bring in more money with some of it, but there is way more to life than money. Way more. 

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My values are very, very working class. You work, you eat. You no work, you no eat. It is literally that simple. There is a high value on work, there is a high value on self-sufficiency, there is a low value on being provided for as a gift.

 

 

Many people who marry believe that "you" becomes a corporate "you".  He's working, therefore she's working, so to speak.  Many people would not see a spouse providing all of the material support for another spouse as a gift, but rather as providing "our" material support. 

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Also, I don't think there's anything wrong with 'demanding' your spouse ( in the case of the other woman) keeps a work life balance. Ideally, he'd make sure he got home without her having to nag. 

 

Yeah.  I don't think I ever got to the point of whining or harassing, especially not during working hours (whether they should have been or not) but you bet your rear I've pushed and pushed for work/life balance as a wife.  My own work and/or child status doesn't make me more or less deserving of a healthy home life.

 

My aunt is a non-woh, no-kid wife.  She did work at certain points, but I don't remember the last time she did.  She doesn't need to.  That doesn't, and shouldn't, reduce her status as a partner in a relationship or as an individual with needs and wants.  Her wifeliness has no business being measured by income or reproductive status.  She's still a person. She's still a wife.

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.. My working hard at home helped give him the freedom to relax more when he wasn't hard at his work.

 

 

 

This is so true.  There is a lot more to keeping a house running than just taking care of this kids.  Groceries don't get themselves, houses don't clean themselves, landscaping doesn't take care of itself, laundry doesn't wash itself, the appliance repair/delivery people need someone there to let them in, etc. 

 

Someone at home, kids or no, taking care of all of those things frees the money-earner from ever having to think about them.

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So I don't really get the "having to nag" someone to work less. Why would anyone work more than they needed to?

 

I have often texted my husband "ETA?" and he texts back with something like "whoa, didn't notice the time! Leaving in 5." 

 

He gets involved in his work. He enjoys it, mostly.  If he's working on solving a problem, he's not necessarily going to notice that it's time to clock out. 

 

 

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I think their relationship is not my business.

 

It is not for me to decide if someone else's spouse is using their degree. Or that they are selfish for wanting to live in another neighborhood that creates a longer commute. Or if they are a nag for wanting their spouse to come home. Or even to speculate on whether or not they have an invisible illness.

 

Why they have their set up is their business and theirs alone. The glimpse we get into someone else's life is just that. A glimpse. A sliver. We will not understand it.

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But there is work to do to earn the money you need to survive. To pay for a home, to pay for food, to pay for a 401k, to pay for the medical deductible, the transport.

 

It's not like they are working for nothing. The work is for money to live.

 

None of us are in the office for fun! There is just X amount of work to do and if it doesn't get done some people get fired. Even in the government it was like that. You worked an eight hour day plus your lunch hour or lunch 30 minutes.

 

The wives call at five p.m.

 

I did a poll on this forum, because I kept noticing people who said their husbands worked "so late" and also people would occasionally mention their husbands left at 4:30 p.m. And I thought, "Seattle is known for having a good work life balance, how is it that most adults I know work a good 45-55 hour week plus commute?" But most people, the majority, said their husbands or they worked a good 45 hour week at least. 8-5:30. But hey, that's not bad in my book, that's two meals with the kids per day.

 

 

So I don't really get the "having to nag" someone to work less. Why would anyone work more than they needed to?

 

My dh likes his job, for the most part.  He's helping to build a company he feels connected to, for the most part.  He provides a service he feels is important, for the most part.  He takes pride in being the best at what he does, for the most part.  The fact that it's not a punch in/punch out, set hours business makes it tricky.

 

He probably wouldn't do it on a full-time basis if we were independently wealthy, but neither of us thinks he'd abandon it completely.  He gets more out if it than just a paycheck.  That doesn't mean either of us is okay with his workaholic nature, but that he does have to be mindful of boundaries and sometimes still needs reminders.

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Because healthy adults are supposed to earn those things.

 

<snip>

 

And actually it is okay to get free stuff, so long as you aren't suffering?

 

1. Says who? 

 

2. It's ok to get free stuff, as long as you aren't STEALING it from someone else.  The wife isn't stealing anything.  He is giving to her, freely. 

 

Viewing relationships an account to be balanced is not healthy, IMO. 

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I have a friend who stays home in similar circumstances. I was equally baffled by it. I mentioned my confusion to my husband and to a few guys. They all mentioned that they kind of (secretly, deep down) would like to have their wives stay home even without children because it meant that she would be dependent on them, and it made them feel... in control? more powerful? like a true provider? more important? Something along those lines.

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Also, as to the new neighborhood, maybe the husband will also enjoy it, on the weekends, and they will have tons of fun there, which is why she's suggesting it? Or maybe he wants her to stay home,a nd she would rather work, but since he doesn't want her to she's bored and wants an area she can at least find interesting. 

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My mother never worked (mental illness).  Of course that is a disability and you said she doesn't have a disability, but it is the sort of thing that is not necessarily obvious to a lot of people. 

 

My sister does not work and has no children (her spouse works).  Again, mental illness.  And, again, you would not necessarily know that.  I doubt her spouse goes to work and tells people why my sister does not work.  If you met her, you wouldn't notice something like a disability because mental illness isn't always in your face obvious unless you spend a lot of time with the person.

 

 

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As to why should he provide for her, why not? Look at it with another example. It's saturday, and dinner time. I could make just myself a nice dinner, and him cook an entirely separate dinner, so we both earn our own dinner. But why? Is it freeloading if one of us makes dinner for the other? Of course not. 

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And if he makes enough money to support their lifestyle, why should she go to work to make more? What would that be used for? Should they have separate bank accounts and each pay the same portion of rent/bills/etc? Otherwise she's mooching? Just like my dinner example, if there is enough to go around, why wouldn't I share it?

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ETA a few things:

 

1) If I didn't text or call my husband, many days he probably wouldn't come home until 7 or 8 because he gets absorbed in his work.

 

2) When my DH and guy friends told me about their secret desires to have SAHWs, my reaction was  :eek:

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I have multiple undergraduate degrees as well as a Masters and I didn't work for 16 months prior to our first child being born and have no intention of going back to work when my youngest is out of the house.  

 

#1- I think this definitely falls under the category of "not your business".    If the husband and wife have agreed to the arrangement, I don't see why anyone else cares?

 

#2- I don't believe that an education is only worth something if you use it for earning an income.    It has inherent value, regardless of whether you are using it to earn an income or not.     Also, I am just geeky enough to love school the way some women love knitting or dog training, hiking or kick boxing.    I dream about going back for my Doctorate someday, just for the fun of it,  but I doubt I'd ever return to the work force.

 

#3- As far as the idea that women should "earn" her food, lodging, insurance- there's a BIG difference between having a sense of entitlement that society just "owes" it you vs. you & your husband making a decision together that you are going to stay home and he is going to work to provide those things.    

 

In *our* home, my husband really values a well-made & complete meal that is ready every night at 5:30pm.  He *really* likes for our home to be neat and tidy at most times.    At my previous job, I often worked 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and frequently an additional 4-8 hours on Saturdays.   When I was working those hours, we were not able to maintain the level of tidiness & meals he prefers.   And I genuinely *like* and *enjoy* homemaking activities.    He owns his own business and stays very busy running every aspect of it and did not particularly enjoy handling household affairs.   He is more than happy to have me at home taking care of all budgets, bill paying, appointments, filing- basically I do *everything* other than yard work and that suits both of us just fine as I am the more naturally organized of the two. 

 

If I went back to work, we'd be hiring out a lot of that work to be done.  And, really, I can't imagine why it is somehow okay for me to "earn" a living as an accountant or maid service or personal chef if I'm working for other people but somehow those very same services don't count if I'm performing them for my own family.  

 

Furthermore, I've been lucky to witness several older ladies who no longer have children at home and have chosen not to return to work- they do so much for the community around them and I think it's a beautiful thing- they volunteer in numerous ways and the support they've given has been invaluable.    Choosing not to return to the work force has enabled them to help others in a way they wouldn't be able to do if they were still working.    

Edited by FlyingMOm
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I can see that if "working class" means "full employment v. severe poverty" it makes sense for everyone who can earn an income to be making every effort to do so. Only lazy people don't work (as capable) when "not enough" is the reality of their family.

 

On the other hand, many people have jobs where one income with reasonable hours and fair employee expectations is "enough to go around" for a family's worth of basic needs, plus some 'wants' besides. In that case you really need to ask 'what would the other person working do for us'. It would add both money and stress, right? And if the money is enough, the stress is pretty pointless as an add-on.

 

I don't get the hyper-individual view that the earnings of one spouse are earned 'by him' and 'given to' (or taken by) his spouse. It's really foreign to how I think about families. What comes in comes in for all of us... If it's too hard for one, it can be done by two. If it's no big deal for one, it's no big deal.

 

No exchange of goods-and-value takes place in healthy families. No one asks their beloved, "What exactly do you add to me?" -- as if one's contribution of 'goods' matters more than their love relationship, and therefore the correct reciprocal is that the beloved should provide identifiable 'services'. (Neither should people take advantage of another because they love each other, so, yes, this can get out of hand and cause resentment: but it isn't taking advantage in most cases of normal family resource pooling.)

 

On the other hand:

 

I'm offended by the idea that 'contributors should get their way' in marriage.

 

If a married couple can't make a fair, respectful, negotiated decision about where to live without resorting to, "My pay check, my call." -- type of thinking... Well, that marriage is deeply unhealthy. You seem to be implying that by not having a job, an unemployed spouse should be treated as an infirior partner when it comes to family decision making: her preferences of where she would like to live should matter less than her spouses? He should care less about pleasing her and more about pleasing himself? Because dollars? I'm truly glad they are not living that way.

 

I'm sorry if this particular wife is selfish, demanding, or whatever. It's possible that this particular wife (if she is a bit selfish) could take her hubby's preferences more seriously (being fair instead of being selfish) -- but, no, a lack of income does not mean that one should naturally embrace a lack of equal partnership.

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I just saw this thread and read the OP. I cringed. I will start at the top and work my way through and see what kinds of comments are there, but I wanted to start first by saying this could be me. The only service I perform for my children is driving them to school. Next fall I'll only have one at home. What do I do all day? Probably nothing as defined by some of you. I watch tv, I read a lot, I play on my computer, I perform cleaning duties and do laundry. I email my DH at work several times a day just to say one thing. I don't want to make a list during the day and talk about them over dinner. That seems stupid. I call him occasionally when I'm out and need him and am unable to email. So yes, I do pull him away from work occasionally. His job allows for it. Thank goodness he doesn't work late because I look forward to him coming home every night. Yes, I do get bored a lot of the time, but I can miss him just because he's a neat person to have around and I enjoy his company.

 

Even when our last kid moves away from home, I will still not work. I have no interest in working again. I have no hobbies. I do have a mental disorder but it's controlled by medication and definitely doesn't prevent me from working.

 

So now the question is why does he allow this? Well, why not? He loves me. He enjoys doing stuff for me as much as I enjoy doing stuff for him. No, I do not use sex to get what I want. What a stupid assumption to make about someone in my position. We're in a partnership and each of us is doing what we want to do, and we're able to do it, so why the heck not live this way?

 

So now I'll read through these posts and probably email my DH with my feelings. I don't usually read controversial threads but this one is too close to home for me to not be curious about what people are saying.

 

FWIW, my mom is a housewife too and loves every minute of it. She worked on and off while I was young, but has always preferred being at home. When she was able to quit work for good when she remarried 20 years ago, she was happy. We talk on the phone every day and have this conversation a lot, about how much we enjoy being at home. She told me she's very happy I'm in this position because she can't relate to someone who chooses to work when they can stay home. So to each their own I guess. We all have our feelings and opinions.

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I'm simply a little stunned about some of the things the husband is sharing with his coworkers. It's inappropriate and I don't understand why a person would be inclined to portray their spouse in such a light to his coworkers. It's not very professional for one, and it's no ones business what his wife is calling and saying to him. I don't care whether she stays home or not- but her spouse needs to learn some boundaries about what is appropriate fodder for coworkers and what is not. He will save himself some grief in the long run if he does.

 

I always hated working with guys who used to complain about their wives, and the ones who tried to do it in the martyr-ish way where they weren't really complaining (but they were) were the worst. They also seemed to be the guys setting up for affairs at work. Not saying that's what's necessarily happening here- but seriously. If he's talking about his wife that much at work he needs to find something else to talk about.

 

ETA- I shouldn't say just guys because women are just as guilty. Either way, people need to have some boundaries and put the intimacy of the marriage ahead of making small talk with coworkers.

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One of my friends recently talked about her FIL asking what she was going to do after her kids graduated because surely she wouldn't continue "not working" (homeschooling 3 kids, 1 not NT with a traveling spouse = not working :rofl: ). I thought she summed it up very well: she told him that she IS working and chose a job that requires 24/7 availability with the payoff of an early retirement age.

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As people are so often reminded in other threads, no one knows what really goes on in someone else's home or marriage. That a childless couple has decided that the wife will stay at home is no one's business. That is THEIR decision. I find it kind of interesting that you are so critical of this woman for not working and "earning her keep" when she is not "taking" anything from anyone other than her spouse. I say the next thing gently because I know you work hard and have to juggle many family and professional responsibilities: you sound very resentful of her. Honestly, it's no skin off anyone's nose how they arrange their family's finances and responsibilities if they're not asking the public to support them. And even then, I'd venture to say most people on this board would tell outsiders to butt out. If she's interfering with the workplace, that's one thing. But if not, it's her husband's issue to address.

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