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Introvert homeschooler with husband working from home--how do I keep my sanity? :)


maryode
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My husband has been working from home off and on since covid hit, and it's mostly been fine, after a few adjustments--but partly because I thought it was temporary. I admit, though--as an introvert homeschooling 3 kids 12 and under, I'm often happiest when he goes in to the office to work since that means there's one less person in the house. Nothing against him--he just hasn't been busy at work and is pretty chatty (a verbal processor), plus the kids get distracted from their work when he walks through the house. To be honest, listening to and working around one extra person all day feels like too much for me sometimes. Our days just seem to flow better when I can focus on school, housework and activities, and occasionally get a moment of quiet when the kids are all occupied, and then chat with my husband in the evenings.

But now he's accepting a full-time work-from-home position. I think I've convinced him to set up an office in the basement so we don't have to tiptoe around him. And I know I just have to get used to having an extra person around the house, and we need to have an honest conversation about what works and what doesn't, but does anyone have any tips for what might help? Or any routines that work for you? Or even a good way to hold the conversation without hurting any feelings?

Anyone else in a similar situation?? Please tell me I'm not crazy for not being delighted we'll all spend 100% of our time together!!

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Yup! Everyone from Dh’s work has been home since March 2020. 
 

Dh set up a proper office, complete with standing desk and monitor mounts, etc. He has a work place, and I have one too. We have a school room and when I am doing my thing, he needs to respect my workspace.

We meet over lunch to talk, otherwise he texts if he needs to communicate something. He knows I might not immediately pick up.

I am not overly rigid—it’s just my schedule is tight enough I can’t be knocked off track.

Be blunt. Your Dh obviously isn’t a mind reader if he doesn’t know this bothers you. Work out your new situation boundaries together.

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DH started working from home last March, and at this point has gotten approval from his boss to work from home for the foreseeable future.

After some experimentation, we found that the best place for him to work (best for him and best for us) was the master bedroom. We carved out 1/3 of the room to house a desk plus folding table to fit his umpteen computer monitors. That aspect works well most of the time.

The kids do get distracted when he comes downstairs to get snacks or fill his water bottle, but he is pretty good at redirecting them, or at least talking to them about what they are doing in school rather than letting them get sidetracked on random topics.

He also does sometimes have questions for me...but, I try to remember that I sometimes pop upstairs to ask him quick questions too. I try to reframe it in my mind that the time I lose to his distractions, I gain back by not having to wait long for tech support or scheduling questions that are holding me up.

Also, when I get frustrated by the annoyances of him working at home, I remember the one huge pro - childcare!! I can run to the grocery store, the dentist, the library curbside pickup in the afternoons without kids. I can take one child to the doctor without hauling everyone else along. We've never had a babysitter, so up until last March, every single errand meant dragging along four kids.

Obviously, DH is working, so he would not be able to take care of a toddler, but with my youngest being 5, it works pretty well for us...and for me it has been a breath of fresh air which will be very hard to give up if the time comes.

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You are not crazy. There is such thing as too much together time.

Have an honest discussion with your DH about setting boundaries around everybody's time & schedules so that you are on the same page.

If possible with his work, try to set routine snack & meal break times for everyone, so that no one is disturbing anyone else while they "should be working."

Take advantage of his being home and leave the kids home one afternoon per week while you go recharge your introvert battery on a solo walk/drive/sit on a park bench with a book & a beverage for a couple hours. Even if he's working, the 12 y.o. can keep an eye on youngers, but he'll be there in case of emergency.

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Earplugs.  (of course, then he's irritated because I dont' hear him . . . yeah, that was kinda the point . . . . especially the way he unloads the dishwasher.  it really triggers my aspie sensitive hearing. )

during school - you need a separate space and he needs to respect that's your classroom area, and he's not welcome.  Or he can have his office area, etc.

dh used to invite clients over when I was trying to do lessons at the dining room table - and he'd want to use it for his client meetings . . . . I had to be pretty darn blunt so it would register (he wasn't being deliberately obtuse) that there were hours he could have clients - and hours he coudnl't.

sit down and talk about it, for how to make things work.  identify exactly what is annoying you.

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DH has strange work hours.  It's why we have two main schooling areas: the laundry corner upstairs and the basement table.  It was more productive for us to make a homeschooling area that wasn't in the main flow of traffic than it was to try to coexist peacefully while doing different things. 😄

I'm a blunt person and it works well in situations like this.  Being able to state a need, and then brainstorm solutions, is invaluable.  It just has to stay on the actual need. Conversations like this aren't productive in my house:

Me: Babe, I need a place where ds can have complete focus during his schoolwork.
Dh: Oh, I'll be really quiet!  You won't even know I'm here.

It doesn't work because the actual need (an uninterrupted area) isn't taken care of, and I would have to rely on him trying his best to work around that.  So the conversation has to steer back to what the desired result is.

Me: No, I need a place without distractions and you need your space.  We have a few areas I'm thinking of, but I need your help.  What about putting a table in ds's bedroom?

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My dh actually started working from home a few years before Covid and it was really difficult in the beginning. He has an extra bedroom for his office so he’s not in anyone’s space for work. We had an honest talk about schedules and that helped the most. He kept coming to talk and want to take a walk around 10 am which is in the middle of my workout time so now he knows not to bother me between 9-11. I know not to bother him when the office door is closed. He purchased good noise canceling headphones for all his meetings which helped a lot so I don’t feel a need to be quiet all day. We also set up a schedule for meals since we like to eat together and if he has a conflict he will text me as soon as he knows so I can change it. Just be honest about what you need and how the day’s schedule should look. 

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My dh has had work remote to many years because he is on a global team. I was still.homeschooling three high schoolers when that began and had to be very up front about boundaries in order to make it work. He is a wonderful man, and his bachelor's in Math was definitely handy but NOT when he would stroll through the room and start leafing through someone's math book and start asking questions when I was in the middle of a literary discussion! So we had to have "the talk".

Separate office space is a must. But also, giving yourself scheduled down time everyday in which you take a break from the kids and also from him. Walks, going to my room to read a book or grade papers, taking no one with me when I ran errands, slipping out to Starbucks for a latte, etc. helped. Susan Wise Bauer used to make her kids give her downtime in the afternoons, and also assigned her husband a subject or two to be responsible for, and as she always maintained, chocolate chips for mom was a must!

I tried to keep a pretty strict schedule with my kids so I could have that down time in the afternoon even when they were young. It was definitely easier as they for older because they were more independent. Your dh's work from home can work for you if you make the schedule and boundaries strong.

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Dh has been home since early March 2020. Previously he worked long hours and had a long commute so we hardly saw him during the week. He was rarely even home for dinner so I went from him being here for dinner once or twice a week to him being here for every meal. 
 

A proper office in the basement helps. A specific time he comes up for lunch helps. This isn’t rigid but once I knew when to expect him,generally, then I could make sure not to be in the middle of something he was disrupting. Grocery management has been hard. It’s just different having everyone here for every meal. Oh- and here’s a tip- if you have something in the crockpot pot for dinner make sure dh knows the plan. I almost lost my mind when I went out on an errand and came home to find dh had gotten into our crock pot dinner for lunch. Haha. That was low point of work from home.

I finally carved out exercise time that he doesn’t disturb. I gave up my routine when Covid hit because I could never get people to leave me alone long enough to get my workout in. In January I laid down the law about being disturbed during my workout. Yes, even popping your head in to say “I love you” and ask how I am doing is annoying when I am doing burpees! 
 

I do try to focus on positives. We have saved a ton on gas and now putting off replacing a car. We had a lot of work done on our house and it was nice to have him here to let people in, etc and not have to be entirely responsible for those things. It’s nice when we are gone all day and he can let out the dog. We’ve saved money on clothes, lunches out, etc. The gas shortage we just had here wasn’t a big deal. 
 

He now thinks his group will go back in once a week after Labor Day and that sounds perfect to both of us. While it was an adjustment the positives win out now that we are in a groove. 

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It’s annoying. Sometimes DH realizes how bad it gets when the little kids have more fits when he comes upstairs.  Other times he’s so bored he doesn’t seem to notice the chaos his presence can induce. I try to relax and realize if I was teaching kids at a traditional school instead of my own home I’d be dealing with many more interruptions than just DH. 

Sometimes I text him and say, “please do not come up here until we’re done with” something.  He’s good about that. But I do have to be very direct about it.

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Right there with you. Add in that DH likes to stay up late finishing up work - but his desk is in our bedroom so I can't even sleep when I want, and yeah...I'm at the edge of my sanity. 

We are looking to move so he has an office with a door so that I don't have to try and shush the kids, or worry about running the vacuum, and can actually USE my bedroom during the day to rest for a few minutes, or to put away my laundry without being in the background of a zoom call! Not to mention, if I want to use the master bathroom I have to worry that any sounds carry to his meeting!

So, figuring out space is important. When it was temporary, fine. But it isn't going to be temporary here after all, and so things need to change. 

Also, discussing what YOUR work hours are, and when you are busiest. Having my DH come up and grab my butt or want to give me a kiss when I'm in the middle of chopping veggies or cooking something on a hot stove was NOT appreciated. I finally explained, "I know this is your lunch break, your down time, but for me it is my busiest time, trying to make food for 6 people, some of whom need different things and dietary restrictions, etc. So unless you want me interrupting your biggest, most important meetings, please don't interrupt me when I'm cooking!" 

(that then led to a conversation of "but you are ALWAYS cooking!" and me saying, "I KNOW", lol)

I think taking time to yourself is the big thing, and with a pandemic, that has been so much harder. And also due to pandemic, we can't just kick the DH and kids out to have the house to ourselves for an hour, either. In the before times he could take everyone to get icecream or something. so I think once my kids can be vaccinated, and we are not all here ALL THE TIME it will help. I hope. 

 

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Oh, and a lunch time would help. It drives me bonkers when DH comes in 30 minutes before I plan on making lunch scavenging for food one day, then the next day his lunch sits there for hours because he got busy and didn't come out at all. I finally have started being blunt. "There are apples in the bowl, but lunch will be in 30 minutes." or going in to him and say, "Hey, if you want lunch, can you come get it so i can clean up the kitchen?"

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Self-employed,  and DH has worked from home about 5 years now, part time.  

1.  Dedicated work space and school space- and respect each others space 

2.  Rules- if you need to ask him something,  pop in and tell him you need to talk when he has a minute- same for if he needs something from you.  Respect each others work time.

3.  Teaching school is a job, too.  

4.  Lay out your routine,  so he knows what is going on.  Let him know about projects in the kitchen,  recess times, etc ahead of time.

5.  Plan a few times to reconnect in the day.   Maybe you pop in to say hi when kids are taking a break, make a set lunch time together (really nice if kids eat first, then go out to play and you have s quiet lunch together ❤ 

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Posted (edited)

DH has mostly worked from home since 2005.  

Work space.  And a specific routine before heading to work. For us, it’s much like any morning before DH would be going to an office, only he grabs a last coffee and walks to the office and we don’t see him till lunch.  He makes his own breakfast and lunch so he’s on his own schedule for that.  Sometimes we eat together, or make something together, but it’s special, not a given.

We communicate via text if he’s in the office. And not a lot. 

We have a standing “veranda” date around 11:00, when we have coffee on the porch.  He takes a break and the kids do reading or whatever.  This is when we go over the plans for the day or week.

We also share a calendar so we see each other’s school, work, appointments and obligations and can schedule around them.

We usually have another hang out time in the afternoon when the kids are done with school, when he takes another short break.

He does not treat me like a co-worker.  That was an adjustment, maybe 12 years ago?  I found that knowing the inner workings of his organization stressed me out.  So now if something is of interest to me he shares it, but he doesn’t necessarily download it all when he grabs a coffee.  It could be that the work culture has changed (or I have) at this point, but 12 years ago it was a needed change we/he had to make intentionally.

If he’s going to be with, for example, a new client on a call, or giving a talk to a large group, he lets me know that he will need extra quiet. Otherwise we stay at a reasonable level of sound, and he’s fine with it.  We used to be more aware of noise, but with Covid, most people are used to hearing families in the background now.  Bonus!

And finally - we share the house workload pretty darn equally, so that I’m not still working when he’s finished.  He sees that teaching is a full time job, and respects that.  Years ago, he insisted that we find a cleaner to take that part off our plates, so we do have a biweekly cleaning crew.  In the interim, we share the maintenance, cooking, and anything else that arises.  He has more time for this without the long commute, and we do it together.  

Pre-Covid, DH travelled quite a bit during spring and fall, and my introvert cup was filled to overflowing during those times, so we sort of balanced out that way.  For now, the major international conferences are canceled, but ... I’ve really enjoyed having him home and kind of dread the return of travel.

Oh!  For the office part ... His office is next to our living room, with French doors.  If he really needs silence, he will go to the basement office, or if he needs to concentrate and be creative, if the kids and I are distracting, we have an outdoor space with WiFi, so he sits out there.  I think it’s good to have a back up plan for an alternate workspace at times.

Good luck, OP!  I hope you find your stride!

 

Edited by Spryte
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15 minutes ago, Spryte said:

 

He does not treat me like a co-worker.  That was an adjustment, maybe 12 years ago?  I found that knowing the inner workings of his organization stressed me out.  So now if something is of interest to me he shares it, but he doesn’t necessarily download it all when he grabs a coffee.  It could be that the work culture has changed (or I have) at this point, but 12 years ago it was a needed change we/he had to make intentionally.

 

 

Ugh....Dh does do this. I've already got a 4 yr old narrating her entire existence and every thought all day long, and then he comes out and wants to tell me some dramatic story involving people I have never met disagreeing about technical things I have zero knowledge or understanding of. My eyes glaze over, I'm sure. I'm at that point I'm usually having a nice, QUIET cup of coffee (and by that I mean I can hear Doc McStuffins in the background, but no one is currently speaking to me) and he comes and starts talking and then my quiet is gone 😞

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8 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

Ugh....Dh does do this. I've already got a 4 yr old narrating her entire existence and every thought all day long, and then he comes out and wants to tell me some dramatic story involving people I have never met disagreeing about technical things I have zero knowledge or understanding of. My eyes glaze over, I'm sure. I'm at that point I'm usually having a nice, QUIET cup of coffee (and by that I mean I can hear Doc McStuffins in the background, but no one is currently speaking to me) and he comes and starts talking and then my quiet is gone 😞

Oh my gosh, yes!  That’s so familiar, right down the narrating kid and the show in the background.  Ours might have been the Wiggles or Little Bear in the background, and somehow it stressed me out to no end to deal with the drama of a high energy kid and then also the drama of an office.  We had to make an intentional shift in communication on it.  I barely even think about it now, but back when we first started the telecommuting stuff, it was a huge thing here.  
 

Just keep practicing.  😊
 

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1 hour ago, Spryte said:

Oh my gosh, yes!  That’s so familiar, right down the narrating kid and the show in the background.  Ours might have been the Wiggles or Little Bear in the background, and somehow it stressed me out to no end to deal with the drama of a high energy kid and then also the drama of an office.  We had to make an intentional shift in communication on it.  I barely even think about it now, but back when we first started the telecommuting stuff, it was a huge thing here.  
 

Just keep practicing.  😊
 

At first I felt badly, because he's an extrovert and he needs an outlet. Then I realized I could here him repeating the same story he told me to multiple people via phone/zoom during the day, plus he would say he was chatting about it in Slack or whatever...so really....I don't feel bad about not wanting to hear it. He's got other outlets. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, maryode said:

My husband has been working from home off and on since covid hit, and it's mostly been fine, after a few adjustments--but partly because I thought it was temporary. I admit, though--as an introvert homeschooling 3 kids 12 and under, I'm often happiest when he goes in to the office to work since that means there's one less person in the house. Nothing against him--he just hasn't been busy at work and is pretty chatty (a verbal processor), plus the kids get distracted from their work when he walks through the house. To be honest, listening to and working around one extra person all day feels like too much for me sometimes. Our days just seem to flow better when I can focus on school, housework and activities, and occasionally get a moment of quiet when the kids are all occupied, and then chat with my husband in the evenings.

But now he's accepting a full-time work-from-home position. I think I've convinced him to set up an office in the basement so we don't have to tiptoe around him. And I know I just have to get used to having an extra person around the house, and we need to have an honest conversation about what works and what doesn't, but does anyone have any tips for what might help? Or any routines that work for you? Or even a good way to hold the conversation without hurting any feelings?

Anyone else in a similar situation?? Please tell me I'm not crazy for not being delighted we'll all spend 100% of our time together!!

My dh has worked from home full time for about 6-7 years now.  Giving him an office was a huge quality of life move for us.  He had his desk in our bedroom and roamed the house during the day and it made me crazy.  I love him, but I have never needed 24-7 togetherness.  It's much easier to have a conversation at dinner when you didn't have the exact same friggin day.  At this point, I'm ready to go get my own job out of the house because I graduated my last kid last year . . . . but the pandemic thwarted my plans.  

ETA:  My husband is actually the introvert and he's perfectly happy getting 100% of his social interaction within the four walls of this house.  I am accustomed to a much wider variety of locations and personal interactions in my life and I miss that.  We do not share interests so it can be real work to listen attentively to stories about computer systems.  I need him to need other people and he does not.  That's the part about extroverts nobody ever gives us credit for.  We never ask any one person to to take on the full force of our social needs and expecting us to BE that person can be a bit tiresome. 

Edited by KungFuPanda
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I am actually thinking of taking on an activity for my dd in the fall that will involve driving an hour round trip and sitting and waiting for her for 1-2 hours 4 or 5 times a week.  At this point the idea of getting out of the house and having some time to myself seems really worth it. It would probably spice up my relationship at this point! 😂

It is not the easiest set up for introverts or couples that don’t need 24/7 togetherness. 

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28 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

At first I felt badly, because he's an extrovert and he needs an outlet. Then I realized I could here him repeating the same story he told me to multiple people via phone/zoom during the day, plus he would say he was chatting about it in Slack or whatever...so really....I don't feel bad about not wanting to hear it. He's got other outlets. 

Yes! This! And so much of what others have said! Except my husband’s other outlets are really limited and some will disappear after he’s done with his current job and transitions. He’s an introvert too but the verbal processing drives me crazy sometimes, and he does seem to time it when I’ve literally just gotten the kids to all be outside at the same time and I finally have my brain back for a very limited time. Once I did say something and that helped... I just might need a more formal arrangement like other posters have said, and be direct.

I think I also need to convince him that he needs friends in similar life situations to verbal process with. I can’t be it. His family is all far away and he doesn’t really want friends, or to leave the house/yard... sigh... So we often have the same conversation multiple times a day and that’s part of the problem... I can’t be all the emotional support for one more person while I’m schooling the kids, running the home, and doing all the things I do. This is why I’m up until 11:30 every night!! It’s finally quiet then!!😆

 

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12 minutes ago, maryode said:

I can’t be all the emotional support for one more person while I’m schooling the kids, running the home, and doing all the things I do. This is why I’m up until 11:30 every night!! It’s finally quiet then!!😆

 

Preach it!

And yup, I'm chronically exhausted because I'm NOT a night owl, but between him working in our room, and just wanting quiet...i'm up way too late. 

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1 hour ago, KungFuPanda said:

That's the part about extroverts nobody ever gives us credit for.  We never ask any one person to to take on the full force of our social needs and expecting us to BE that person can be a bit tiresome. 

OMG!!! 😳😳 You just articulated something that has niggled and bothered me at a subconscious level for 20 years, that I could never really put my finger on. Thank you!

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You know how we joke about not locking or homeschooled kids in the basement? Yeah . DH works from.home in the basement. (It's a lovely finished basement, we set him up a desk in the game room.) He can close the door when on calls. We dont bother each other too much during the working day. 

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My DH has been working from home 100% of the time since March 2020.  He works in our bedroom, which is directly above our living room. Our upstairs floors are creaky and he paces when he's on calls. It drives me INSANE. Plus, he'll just show up downstairs randomly all freaking day long. 

I'm an off the charts introvert and all these people in my house are seriously making me nuts. 

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My husband has worked from home writing software and consulting for 25+ years. We're both introverts, but our kids aren't. He usually has an ongoing chat on his computer with his colleague about anything the two of them need to verbally process or collaborate on.   That's not my job. 

I would start the conversation with, "I have done ___________________, _______________, ________________, ________________ to make sure the kids and I don't distract you when you're working.  [Be specific with some examples.] What are you going to do to make sure you're not distracting me and the kids when we're working? Our work is school, activities,  and chores."  Maintain eye contact, raise your eyebrows a bit, tilt your head a little to one side and lean in waiting for an answer.  Don't fill in with the answers or reassurances if he seems uncomfortable answering right away.  Let him think about it himself because he's not a helpless, mindless creature. He can take responsibility for how his behavior affects those around him.  If his answers aren't good enough, simply explain why they won't work.  If he asks you what he can do to make it work for you, give him specific examples.

Then move on to the introvert part.  I would explicitly tell him what I want and don't want.  Extroverts are usually fairly clueless about this-we live in an extrovert friendly society, so unless they're very personality difference aware, they're not intuiting it. Tell him when you do want to chat with him.  For my husband and I, it's usually at mealtimes. Then there's often a time after dinner when it's just us chatting. I don't want to chat when I'm cooking or doing tasks-that's a distraction for me. I certainly don't want to chit chat in the midst of hustle and bustle. When it's time for talking, I want to give my undivided attention so I can really listen and reflect on what someone is saying to me. (My youngest is 15, so I'm in a different stage of life and can do this more.)

Yes, if it's possible, absolutely set aside a designated workspace as far away from where the action is in your home. Make it clear no one should be interrupted during a task (work, chore, school, etc.) unless it's absolutely necessary during certain hours or some sort of regular time frame. Figuring it out at irregular times on the fly is exhausting. Same with mealtimes and breaks-if it's possible, have them at regular times everyone can plan on.

If your husband was getting social time in with co-workers during work hours, you'll have to explicitly state that that isn't going to work at home.  Encourage him to go elsewhere for that-zoom, drinks after work at a restaurant, outside with the neighbors on the weekend, etc. He's a grown man fully capable of meeting those needs outside of your home routine. Let him know how much of it you want to be included in. 

One thing our society miserably fails at teaching proactive socialization. Mommies and daddies send their little pookies off on the yellow bus and socialization happens by default.  Then they go off to college and socialize with those nearby.  Then they go into the workforce and socialize with coworkers after work. Now because of that, we have millions of adults who don't know how to make friends as grown ups because they're working from home. There are articles about Americans not having any/many friends as adults.

Meet ups, hobby/interest groups, neighbors, volunteer organizations, religious organizations, online gaming, online groups, and the like are all opportunities for making friends and interacting with people.  It's so.much.easier. connecting now with the internet than it used to be. People just have to go make an effort and not expect it to fall into their laps.

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2 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

If your husband was getting social time in with co-workers during work hours, you'll have to explicitly state that that isn't going to work at home.  Encourage him to go elsewhere for that-zoom, drinks after work at a restaurant, outside with the neighbors on the weekend, etc. He's a grown man fully capable of meeting those needs outside of your home routine. Let him know how much of it you want to be included in. 

This is all great advice--thank you!! Part of the problem is that my husband doesn't actually want anyone else to socialize with, or doesn't think he wants anyone else, anyway. He talks to his family, and frequently with one coworker (who's a 60-year-old woman and a good listener, apparently), and my family when they're around. That's it unless I make him get out of the house and be around other people. But his family is long-distance, and has been disappointing him occasionally, so I'm trying to plant the idea in his head that he needs other people--it's just such a huge paradigm shift for him since he's never made friends a priority--more of an afterthought. He will be friendly and visit with the husbands of my friends when we see them, but basically only under duress. Now he's starting to dump his work drama on our 10- and 12-year-olds, since they're good listeners and don't really mind.

I think a big part of the problem is that the way he processes is to talk. The way I process is to think my own thoughts in silence, and occasionally to talk (but his eyes glaze immediately if I start talking to him about school, so I don't even try much anymore). So we're inherently at odds. To be honest, I'm in my zone with the kids all day and am very happy to chat with him at 5:00 or 5:30 and later in the evening (as long as I'm not knee-deep in making dinner--which somehow offends him if I can't talk then), but even over lunch...I'd kinda prefer he does his thing and I do mine and we save our conversations for later. That sounds terrible, I know, and it's probably just something I have to get used to since I've had the house to myself, with the kids, for so long.

So I think I need to help him figure a few things out and, you're right, set actual limits. He's not 100% unaware and sometimes stops himself, but it's still a constant challenge for me.

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36 minutes ago, maryode said:

To be honest, I'm in my zone with the kids all day and am very happy to chat with him at 5:00 or 5:30 and later in the evening (as long as I'm not knee-deep in making dinner--which somehow offends him if I can't talk then), but even over lunch...I'd kinda prefer he does his thing and I do mine and we save our conversations for later. That sounds terrible, I know, and it's probably just something I have to get used to since I've had the house to myself, with the kids, for so long.

So I think I need to help him figure a few things out and, you're right, set actual limits. He's not 100% unaware and sometimes stops himself, but it's still a constant challenge for me.

Did I write this??? Cause yup, I totally feel this in my soul. 

And mine gets offended too - he'll say, "some wives would be glad their husband wants to kiss on them and talk to them" and I'm thinking....not whil making dinner, they don't, lol. 

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29 minutes ago, maryode said:

This is all great advice--thank you!! Part of the problem is that my husband doesn't actually want anyone else to socialize with, or doesn't think he wants anyone else, anyway. He talks to his family, and frequently with one coworker (who's a 60-year-old woman and a good listener, apparently), and my family when they're around. That's it unless I make him get out of the house and be around other people. But his family is long-distance, and has been disappointing him occasionally, so I'm trying to plant the idea in his head that he needs other people--it's just such a huge paradigm shift for him since he's never made friends a priority--more of an afterthought. He will be friendly and visit with the husbands of my friends when we see them, but basically only under duress. Now he's starting to dump his work drama on our 10- and 12-year-olds, since they're good listeners and don't really mind.

I think a big part of the problem is that the way he processes is to talk. The way I process is to think my own thoughts in silence, and occasionally to talk (but his eyes glaze immediately if I start talking to him about school, so I don't even try much anymore). So we're inherently at odds. To be honest, I'm in my zone with the kids all day and am very happy to chat with him at 5:00 or 5:30 and later in the evening (as long as I'm not knee-deep in making dinner--which somehow offends him if I can't talk then), but even over lunch...I'd kinda prefer he does his thing and I do mine and we save our conversations for later. That sounds terrible, I know, and it's probably just something I have to get used to since I've had the house to myself, with the kids, for so long.

So I think I need to help him figure a few things out and, you're right, set actual limits. He's not 100% unaware and sometimes stops himself, but it's still a constant challenge for me.

You'll need to tell him straight out that his behavior clearly indicates he needs more friends than he has, so what's he going to do about that? That's not your problem to solve. Keep bringing it back to what he's going to do about it. Don't volunteer to be his social director.  He's able to do this on his own.

When I don't want to interact for lunch (that usually happens once a week or so) I simply tell everyone in the household that they're on their own for lunch that day. That's not terrible; it's within the range of normal. Remember, it's not your job to make friends or be a friend substitute for anyone. Don't worry about how they feel about it-they can feel however they feel without it being your responsibility to make them feel differently.  Grown ups are perfectly capable of dealing with their own feelings about whatever reasonable limits they face in life. Kids need to practice that too.

Learn to say things out loud matter-of-factly. That keeps it grounded in reality. There's nothing more potentially toxic than letting a problem you recognize go unaddressed. If he's feeling hurt because you don't want to talk during the dinner rush... (continued down below)

By the way, what is it with these people in a snit because someone doesn't want to chitter-chatter with them while working in the kitchen at the end of a long day of hands on parenting!? For heaven's sake, this isn't a date before kids, this is usually the most intense part of the day and people who like to cook don't always enjoy it when it's the family meal grind.  Are we in a snit when they don't want to chat with us when they're working during the last part of their workday finishing up with a client/colleague?  No. We wait until they're done unless it's truly urgent because that's decent behavior. Decent behavior is supposed to go both ways.  Once again women's work isn't respected as actual work and homeschool moms aren't treated like professionals.  That's one nasty aspect of a materialistic culture-no respect unless there's a paycheck.

(continued from above) ...then that's his choice to react irrationally and unreasonably and it's his problem to deal with. I would point it out.  "Why would you choose to be hurt if I don't want to be interrupted during dinner and prefer to listen to you when things are settled and I can give you my full attention and enjoy our conversation? I don't interrupt you when you're working, why would it be OK for you to interrupt me when I'm working? " Again, wait for answers.  These are not rhetorical questions.  It's important that his thought process is challenged.

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13 hours ago, ktgrok said:

Ugh....Dh does do this. I've already got a 4 yr old narrating her entire existence and every thought all day long, and then he comes out and wants to tell me some dramatic story involving people I have never met disagreeing about technical things I have zero knowledge or understanding of. My eyes glaze over, I'm sure. I'm at that point I'm usually having a nice, QUIET cup of coffee (and by that I mean I can hear Doc McStuffins in the background, but no one is currently speaking to me) and he comes and starts talking and then my quiet is gone 😞

Yes. Once I mentioned to him that he always seems to show up just as I've gotten the house all quiet, and he responded that that's when he figured I'd have time to chat. Which totally makes sense, and is super sweet... except this quiet moment is literally what I've motivated myself with the entire morning, and it usually doesn't last more than 15 minutes anyway before either someone breaks the peace, or I need to make dinner/run to the store/do laundry/clean something/make a child work on something, etc.--because I'm responsible for virtually all of it. And that was my last chance at quiet until 10:00 or 10:30 p.m.

7 hours ago, theelfqueen said:

BTW Ya'll - you are my people. You get the " I just need to sit here and drink my tea and you need to hush" that is central to my functioning. 

So glad I'm not alone!! Me being quiet isn't an invitation to come and dump all your stuff on me! It's just me enjoying being quiet. And sometimes quiet is a need, not a want.

10 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

  At this point the idea of getting out of the house and having some time to myself seems really worth it. It would probably spice up my relationship at this point! 😂

It is not the easiest set up for introverts or couples that don’t need 24/7 togetherness. 

And how do you keep the magic in the relationship when you're around each other 24/7??? I'm sure it's different for each couple, but absence kinda makes the heart grow fonder around here!

 

I'm sure this is difficult for husbands, too, to be immersed in the day-to-day grind, and without their own change of scenery. Do your DHs do anything like work in a coffee shop or exercise midday to get out? My husband seems to chronically not have enough work to do, which really fuels the problem. 

How do you handle summer with a work-at-home DH? Summer is my break. I desperately need it. I also feel like since I won't be homeschooling, I will seem that much more available. But I'm totally not--I'll be planning, deep-cleaning, making the kids do chores and practice piano, and figuring out camps, travel, etc. I'll be doing tie-dye and little cooking projects and board games without wanting to simultaneously hold conversations about people I don't know and technical regulations I don't understand. And I'll be trying extra hard to get extra peace and quiet and focus on all my ignored projects. Do ya'll set boundaries for summer too? I'm tempted to basically just rope off the hours from 8-5, except for lunch. We'll do our thing, you do yours.

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On 5/16/2021 at 11:01 PM, maryode said:

My husband has been working from home off and on since covid hit, and it's mostly been fine, after a few adjustments--but partly because I thought it was temporary.

But now he's accepting a full-time work-from-home position.

Anyone else in a similar situation?? Please tell me I'm not crazy for not being delighted we'll all spend 100% of our time together!!

ooooh, yes. Same, sister. SisterS, apparently, after skimming this thread.

My dh also just accepted a promotion that will allow him to work from home except when he needs to go out and visit offices/jobs/people here and there. But homebase is now home. This would have been UNHEARD of in 2019 - but his office just did a renovation and REDUCED the number of offices in the space. 😳 So, it's a trend that's here to stay for at least a couple of years!

It's been a long learning curve of a year. We did build an office for him so he has his space. This is nice, but it's unfortunately *literally* at the center of the house, so his extroverted energy permeates right through the doors. lol

DH is lovely. He is also loud, extroverted, high-energy. I am the exact opposite of all of those things. With the kids being at home 24/7 as well, they all talk at me. A lot. A LOTTTTT.

We've had several heart to hearts when my cup is running over (not in a good way) and we've mostly come to a comfortable arrangement. I'm no longer homeschooling, though, and will be going back to work soon, so DH will be home alone several days each week.

My introvert self is seriously suffering, though. There's nowhere I can go in my own house and be truly alone. Someone always finds me. It's as bad as when the kids were little!!! And, if it's not them, it's one of our dogs, which have become SO NEEDY during the pandemic. lol They're so used to having my full attention as well that when I sneak off, they come looking for me too. No matter where I go.

*sigh*

Good luck!

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8 hours ago, maryode said:

Yes. Once I mentioned to him that he always seems to show up just as I've gotten the house all quiet, and he responded that that's when he figured I'd have time to chat. Which totally makes sense, and is super sweet... except this quiet moment is literally what I've motivated myself with the entire morning, and it usually doesn't last more than 15 minutes anyway before either someone breaks the peace, or I need to make dinner/run to the store/do laundry/clean something/make a child work on something, etc.--because I'm responsible for virtually all of it. And that was my last chance at quiet until 10:00 or 10:30 p.m.

So glad I'm not alone!! Me being quiet isn't an invitation to come and dump all your stuff on me! It's just me enjoying being quiet. And sometimes quiet is a need, not a want.

And how do you keep the magic in the relationship when you're around each other 24/7??? I'm sure it's different for each couple, but absence kinda makes the heart grow fonder around here!

 

I'm sure this is difficult for husbands, too, to be immersed in the day-to-day grind, and without their own change of scenery. Do your DHs do anything like work in a coffee shop or exercise midday to get out? My husband seems to chronically not have enough work to do, which really fuels the problem. 

 

All this, lol. 

And mine does not go to a coffee shop or anything because he likes his desk set p with 4 monitors and various bit and bobs of tech all at his finger tips. He won't even go to the living room at night so I can sleep, because he'd have only one monitor. Sigh. But...he has plenty of work. More than he should..which means he's working when I want to be sleeping, so I can't go to bed since it is about 18 inches from his desk where he is muttering to himself, sighing loudly, banging on the keyboard as he aggressively types, etc. 

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9 hours ago, maryode said:

And how do you keep the magic in the relationship when you're around each other 24/7??? I'm sure it's different for each couple, but absence kinda makes the heart grow fonder around here!

 

 My husband seems to chronically not have enough work to do, which really fuels the problem. 

 And I'll be trying extra hard to get extra peace and quiet and focus on all my ignored projects. Do ya'll set boundaries for summer too? I'm tempted to basically just rope off the hours from 8-5, except for lunch. We'll do our thing, you do yours.

Yes, many people don't function well without a structure and it sounds like he's one of them. He appears to have perception problems about what would be appropriate when.  Letting him know a fairly predictable routine when you DO want chat, when you Do want family time, when you DO want him to do something with the kids will probably help him.

Again, stating explicitly, out loud that quiet time for you is quiet time, not chatting time.  It's astonishing how many adults don't grasp differences in people after decades of witnessing differences in people, so you have to tell them so even though you might feel like Captain Obvious.

You'll also have to tell him that you and the kids aren't here to fill his empty hours just because he's bored. Dad is bored does not equal social time. You and the kids aren't bored, you're busy with things. That's the time he can spend on the Honey Do List.  Keep a long, detailed one that includes everything under the sun that needs doing, prioritized most important to least important or with several columns like critical, urgent, and eventually. (My husband has done this for decades because he's a very systematic, diligent person.  I don't make the list, he does. ) It's time he can spend actively seeking out new friendships and developing them. He can also get in on the chore rotation at home.  Having a posted list of who needs to get what done by when is the cure for idleness. When I was homeschooling 3 kids 10 years apart that posted chore list kept school from going on all freaking day because anyone stuck on school while mom was 1 on 1 with a sibling could just get a chore done while waiting. 

I don't believe in magic, I believe in companionship. We have things we do together because we've been married 28 years and the shine wore off a while ago.  We read some of the same books and talk about them (fantasy and sci-fi) we always have a show we watch together (Monty Don right now) and one we watch as a family (The Expanse right now.) He has a read aloud with the kids until they go to college.  (Deadly Education right now-last kid is 15 others are launched and married.) We're gardening on a large scale-permaculture and an ornamental woodland garden. Lots of talking and planning about it, then working together on it one part at a time (just finished new hugelkultures.) Working together often means me doing one task nearby and husband doing another task nearby. Sometimes we do a task together.

Set aside family time so that's not neglected, then the rest is his own to fill. We have a family game day with all our kids (all 3 daughters and 2 sons-in-law) once a week (sat. or Sun.) that includes a meal and whatever we're currently playing (usually Dungeons and Dragons, sometimes Jackbox, sometimes outdoor games like frisbee and catch when the weather is glorious.) We also read the some of the same books with our adult kids and teen (Spinning Silver was the most recent.)

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8 hours ago, easypeasy said:

ooooh, yes. Same, sister. SisterS, apparently, after skimming this thread.

My dh also just accepted a promotion that will allow him to work from home except when he needs to go out and visit offices/jobs/people here and there. But homebase is now home. This would have been UNHEARD of in 2019 - but his office just did a renovation and REDUCED the number of offices in the space. 😳 So, it's a trend that's here to stay for at least a couple of years!

It's been a long learning curve of a year. We did build an office for him so he has his space. This is nice, but it's unfortunately *literally* at the center of the house, so his extroverted energy permeates right through the doors. lol

DH is lovely. He is also loud, extroverted, high-energy. I am the exact opposite of all of those things. With the kids being at home 24/7 as well, they all talk at me. A lot. A LOTTTTT.

We've had several heart to hearts when my cup is running over (not in a good way) and we've mostly come to a comfortable arrangement. I'm no longer homeschooling, though, and will be going back to work soon, so DH will be home alone several days each week.

My introvert self is seriously suffering, though. There's nowhere I can go in my own house and be truly alone. Someone always finds me. It's as bad as when the kids were little!!! And, if it's not them, it's one of our dogs, which have become SO NEEDY during the pandemic. lol They're so used to having my full attention as well that when I sneak off, they come looking for me too. No matter where I go.

*sigh*

Good luck!

It's perfectly fine to tell your children you want to be alone and they need to go entertain themselves for a while and they should take the dogs with them. My mother did it daily from 2-4 in the summers when we were home from school.  Everyone had to leave her alone in her room and we had to be in our rooms during that time.  No noise was allowed to go beyond out bedroom doors.  We could only come out if the house was burning down or we were bleeding from our eyeballs otherwise there would be stiff consequences. It was good for everyone.

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

It's perfectly fine to tell your children you want to be alone and they need to go entertain themselves for a while and they should take the dogs with them. My mother did it daily from 2-4 in the summers when we were home from school.  Everyone had to leave her alone in her room and we had to be in our rooms during that time.  No noise was allowed to go beyond out bedroom doors.  We could only come out if the house was burning down or we were bleeding from our eyeballs otherwise there would be stiff consequences. It was good for everyone.

Oh, sure! But my kids are all grown adults whose schedules are all over the place, coming and going all the time (or, during pandemic, holed up in their rooms doing schoolwork and coming out for breaks). They're a bit old to tell to stay in their room. 😅

It's now me "alone" with one or two others all the time. So it's not that they are bombarding me all at once - it's just that when any of them are alone in the house with me, or there's only a couple people home, they want to chat while they have the time.

They do take the dogs all the time - for walks, to the park, etc. But, there are a lot of hours in the day, and we have a lot of dogs! Someone is always in need of something.

Maybe I need to set up office hours. 😂

I'm just mainly focusing on the fact that things are opening back up, the kids are starting to move forward with their life plans after being stalled for a year, and one day I'll be wistful, sitting in a quiet house wishing one of my busy kids would call me on the phone. 😅

DH will always be needy, but we'll find a new normal once the kids are on a regular out-of-the-house schedule again.

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6 minutes ago, easypeasy said:

Oh, sure! But my kids are all grown adults whose schedules are all over the place, coming and going all the time (or, during pandemic, holed up in their rooms doing schoolwork and coming out for breaks). They're a bit old to tell to stay in their room. 😅

It's now me "alone" with one or two others all the time. So it's not that they are bombarding me all at once - it's just that when any of them are alone in the house with me, or there's only a couple people home, they want to chat while they have the time.

They do take the dogs all the time - for walks, to the park, etc. But, there are a lot of hours in the day, and we have a lot of dogs! Someone is always in need of something.

Maybe I need to set up office hours. 😂

I'm just mainly focusing on the fact that things are opening back up, the kids are starting to move forward with their life plans after being stalled for a year, and one day I'll be wistful, sitting in a quiet house wishing one of my busy kids would call me on the phone. 😅

DH will always be needy, but we'll find a new normal once the kids are on a regular out-of-the-house schedule again.

The post I responded to doesn't list your kids' ages. You comment about "when the kids were little" could be interpreted that your kids are tweens or teens. Adults should be able to hear and respond accordingly to, "I want to be alone."  I don't think of adults as needing things-adults meet their own needs.

My post was about parents making a habit of saying out loud and enforcing that they need alone time as the kids grow up.  Knowing this, and being able to entertain themselves throughout childhood and young adulthood at home, develops a skill set they can use in life to interact with people. The extroverts won't be so clueless and the introverts learn to set healthy boundaries.  Sooo much of these threads involve having to tell gown ups to use their words when it comes their relationships with spouse and kids because somehow they got the idea they shouldn't or for some reason they won't do it.

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4 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Yes, many people don't function well without a structure and it sounds like he's one of them. He appears to have perception problems about what would be appropriate when.  Letting him know a fairly predictable routine when you DO want chat, when you Do want family time, when you DO want him to do something with the kids will probably help him.

Again, stating explicitly, out loud that quiet time for you is quiet time, not chatting time.  It's astonishing how many adults don't grasp differences in people after decades of witnessing differences in people, so you have to tell them so even though you might feel like Captain Obvious.

You'll also have to tell him that you and the kids aren't here to fill his empty hours just because he's bored. Dad is bored does not equal social time. You and the kids aren't bored, you're busy with things. That's the time he can spend on the Honey Do List.  Keep a long, detailed one that includes everything under the sun that needs doing, prioritized most important to least important or with several columns like critical, urgent, and eventually. (My husband has done this for decades because he's a very systematic, diligent person.  I don't make the list, he does. ) It's time he can spend actively seeking out new friendships and developing them. He can also get in on the chore rotation at home.  Having a posted list of who needs to get what done by when is the cure for idleness. When I was homeschooling 3 kids 10 years apart that posted chore list kept school from going on all freaking day because anyone stuck on school while mom was 1 on 1 with a sibling could just get a chore done while waiting. 

I don't believe in magic, I believe in companionship. We have things we do together because we've been married 28 years and the shine wore off a while ago.  We read some of the same books and talk about them (fantasy and sci-fi) we always have a show we watch together (Monty Don right now) and one we watch as a family (The Expanse right now.) He has a read aloud with the kids until they go to college.  (Deadly Education right now-last kid is 15 others are launched and married.) We're gardening on a large scale-permaculture and an ornamental woodland garden. Lots of talking and planning about it, then working together on it one part at a time (just finished new hugelkultures.) Working together often means me doing one task nearby and husband doing another task nearby. Sometimes we do a task together.

Set aside family time so that's not neglected, then the rest is his own to fill. We have a family game day with all our kids (all 3 daughters and 2 sons-in-law) once a week (sat. or Sun.) that includes a meal and whatever we're currently playing (usually Dungeons and Dragons, sometimes Jackbox, sometimes outdoor games like frisbee and catch when the weather is glorious.) We also read the some of the same books with our adult kids and teen (Spinning Silver was the most recent.)

She speaks wisdom here.

Dh and I operate much the same way. We need daily connection, but we are both too busy to handhold through every aspect of our lives. Texting and shared Google task lists help us stay functional. 

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3 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

The post I responded to doesn't list your kids' ages. You comment about "when the kids were little" could be interpreted that your kids are tweens or teens. Adults should be able to hear and respond accordingly to, "I want to be alone."  I don't think of adults as needing things-adults meet their own needs.

My post was about parents making a habit of saying out loud and enforcing that they need alone time as the kids grow up.  Knowing this, and being able to entertain themselves throughout childhood and young adulthood at home, develops a skill set they can use in life to interact with people. The extroverts won't be so clueless and the introverts learn to set healthy boundaries.  Sooo much of these threads involve having to tell gown ups to use their words when it comes their relationships with spouse and kids because somehow they got the idea they shouldn't or for some reason they won't do it.

Another poster posted about "when the kids were little"--that wasn't my post, which is why it didn't make sense! 🙂

My girls are 7, 10, and 12. They're super sweet and I love being around them and they actually do willingly go off and read or do their own thing. It's just tricky when we have a lot of schoolwork, music practice, chores, etc. to do that I often have to supervise or help with or hold them accountable for. It just gets intense, and especially since we have a co-op day and other activities that break up our week. I'm not complaining--I generally enjoy our schedule--I just think the addition of an extra person around the house, with all his projects, and work drama, etc., puts me over the top. 

I also totally agree about leaving the burden on my DH for figuring out his own social/emotional health and I'm not afraid of a conversation. I had not thought of it that way, and you're totally right--it's his challenge to figure this out and he's perfectly capable of that. I just am a researcher and want to make sure that before I approach the conversation, my expectations are reasonable, and I consider every angle to give it the best shot of working out well. And to figure out what I actually want--which is half the battle. I have a few friends I can hash this out with, but I haven't seen them as much lately and sometimes it's also a benefit to figure things like this out anonymously. 🙂 All your advice and others' has been super helpful for putting things in perspective and remembering that I don't have to solve every angle of this--I can lay out reasonable boundaries and inform him of our routine, rope him into our chores list, etc. 

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