no time to play with kids+ all house work for me= acting up for attention kids

Payge - posted on 10/04/2012 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Am I the only one who stays at home and hardly plays with my own kids? I try and try and even if i do sit down to relax and play with them my head is running a million miles an hour of all the stuff around the house i could be doing. I feel horrible and have got myself on a strict schedule and i feel if i loose it ill get soo stressed out from backed up house work i never play with my kids!!! Can someone please give me some advice and help me to understand they are only little for a short period of time and this time is very precious and how to handle my house work in between? I give them attention but the only attention i feel i give them is yelling and punishing becuase they act up to get my attention. Im soo lost and feel like a horrible mom for doing this and being this way! I really need some advice and need to know if im the only one who feels this way.

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Fit2BMe - posted on 10/05/2012

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Here's a somewhat different perspective.... You are their mom, not their playmate. And while play is a great and natural mom and child quality time, its ok not to be their primary entertainment. Some moms play all day with their children, but as a result their kids never learn how to self-entertain. It's not bad for kids to see how your role differs as it encourages them to play with each other and other kids.



Here are some practical ideas that I found helpful:

1. Have an hour of "quiet time" each day when kids play by themselves in their playroom or wherever, while you have "mommy time" where you either relax or get chores done (I use this time to relax as every other profession gets a break, as should you! I need it to help restore my energy, guilt-free.). Tell the kids you will set the timer and when the timer rings they can come do whatever again. It takes a little while of being super consistent for this to work well.



2. Involve kids in the chores and jobs you are doing. Kids LOVE to help. Even the wee little ones. They can carry stuff, fetch stuff, hold stuff, supervise etc. a baby wanting to be held can be strapped to your back or front while you work using a backpack or sling.



3. Give the kids an hour or segment of time each day that they can count on getting your undivided attention. Try to make it consistent each day and at roughly the same time of day. This will help them delay their gratification (great skill!) will help you feel less guilt outside of that time, and ensures you have had some time with them.



4. Activity Time! Try to get in physical activity for the kids every day to help manage their energy levels so they're not wrangy and looking to you to make that better. As I said in another post, an indoor trampoline helps a ton, mcdonalds play land is free and gives you a mental/physical break while they play, indoor play places are great as it teaches them to socialize with other kids while you get to socialize with other moms.



All of this helps them to learn how to meet their own needs (the ultimate goal of parenting is to love them and teach independence which boosts their liklihood of success in life and their self-esteem), as well as helps them learn to respect that you are mom but also have your own needs to meet and your own responsibilities. This is modelling healthy behaviour for them too!



5. I found it helpful also to have a ratio (depending on their age and where they were at developmentally, of your time to their time. For example, when my son was one year old I would spend about 15 minutes doing something, then would spend 5-10 minutes reading him a story or something. Then would spend more time doing something else, then to back to doing another short activity with him. Toddlers can only focus for so long anyway. Sometimes the back and forth approach really helps. Lets you get stuff done, but shows them you are still interested and will come back to check on them and play a moment. This also helps keep them engaged in their own play for longer, which helps to develop that independent play.



6. Rotating toys also helps a ton!! So toys have that new-all-over-again appeal.



A big note though is to not feel guilty!! I am a mom who needs to get things done and needs to have some time to myself in order to have energy and feel relaxed enough to really enjoy my kids. If that's what you are like, don't let yourself feel guilty for that!! Not every mom is the same and there isn't any such thing as the perfect mother or the perfect personality for parenting. Being who you are, confident and true to yourself, and explaining that to your kids does worlds to help them develop a healthy appreciation for themselves and individuals, and others. It gives them permission to be who they are as individuals too.



Hope this helps.

Bobbie - posted on 10/05/2012

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I feel for you. I have been there. When my children were small I got a kick out of my son saying "I busy" when I would call to him. Later I realized that children repeat what they hear the most.

Here is something difficult to get your head around so I hope to make sense.

Somewhere there has been a change in your emotions deeply attached to a feeling of loosing control or power. For instance a person with an eating disorder turns to that one thing that they can fully control in their live, how much they eat. They find peace mentally in the thoughts and actions because they emotionally regain a feeling of calm with that control.

So for you the focus of housework is your mental escape of that feeling of having no control over your life. When you stop focusing on the thoughts and actions that you find comfort in your mind runs a millions miles an hour with thoughts of "oh no, what if I loose control of the one thing that I have full control over, the house?! The emotional and mental trigger is to say, "I can't get backed up on house work. It is the one thing no one has any say in but me.

does that make sense to you? It goes really deep I know.

The correct approach to regain mental and emotional balance over your self demanding schedule is to address the areas in your life, usually relationships where you are unhappy, fearful of lose, or sense of lose. If your husband is deployed, or otherwise unavailable to you physically, emotionally or your marriage is in other ways changed, this could be triggering your need to find a sense of control and peace in a cleaning schedule.

If you are too upset to change your cleaning schedule it won't help to just stop cleaning. That could and does cause emotional chaos. Instead try regaining your say in what changes your life takes, for instance where you move to, what your husband does with his schedule that leaves you feeling left out or not worthy.

Hope that helps, please feel free to email if you need more focus

Denikka - posted on 10/04/2012

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Leave the housework. It's really NOT that important :)

Like you said, they're only little for a short time. Enjoy it. trust me, they won't remember or care if the dishes sat in the sink all day. Or if they wore the same shirt two days in a row. Play with them and forget the rest. You can always clean when they're asleep, or take a day off once a week, send to their grandparents or daycare or out of the house and use that time to clean :)

Rachel - posted on 10/30/2012

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What I've had to do is learn to clean only what needs to be done right away.

Dishes, laundry and sweeping. That kind of stuff keeps the house clean. It's okay for the house to be messy.

You could pick 1 day that you do your deep cleaning and then just pick up throughout the week.



I've had to learn it's okay for toys to be all over the place, as long as messes are cleaned up the toys can wait.

Sarah - posted on 10/05/2012

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Here are a few suggestions. Not sure on your kids' ages, but have them help you where they can. This also helps teach them how to do these things. I have a 1 yr old that helps me with laundry.....she takes out the clothes from the laundry basket and hands them to me to fold.



I try to get some of my housework done during naptime. This helps with the sweeping and mopping of the floors so I don't have lots of little helpers creating more mess.



Also set a time limit on how long you are going to do housework each day. You are not going to get everything done that you want done.....but that is ok!! First set your time limt (1 hr 2hrs?) then make a list of things that need to be done. Once you have everything written down divide it into your days of the week. Try to put chores together that will equal up to your time limit.....so don't put two big jobs that might take you 3 hrs to finish. Some days you may only have one chore if that takes you the full amount of time you have allowed. If something does not get done of finished that day just adjust the rest of your weeks list to accomidate the change. Then maybe once a month take a day where the kids do something fun with someone else (grandma, dad, aunt, etc.) and that is your day to really do a cleaning. And make a list of all the things you want to get done that day. Lists help so you can put it down on paper and then forget about it until it comes to the time you have set aside to do that list.



Another option would be to hire a cleaning person that comes in once a week to clean.



For myself I do much of my cleaning on the weekends. Daily I will do the dishes and toys are picked up each night before bed, but that is pretty much the only cleaning I do on a daily basis. Each weekend I sweep and mop the floors, vacuumm, dust, and clean the bathrooms. This usually takes me about 2 hrs without interuptions. I usually do these chores while my 1 yr old naps. I also do laundry one day out of the week....this usually is either Sat. or Sunday. This is one that I have my kids help me with, but can also be doing other things as the laundry is getting done. There are some weekends when we either have company over or we are gone for the weekend....then my list of chores either gets put a little bit into each day out of the week or just gets pushed to the next weekend. Then I will take a day here or there when my husband can do some fun things with the kids and I do more of the heavy cleaning....washing the windows, sorting through the kid's old clothes, organizing the stack of papers that has ended up on the desk, etc.

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Amber-Lee - posted on 11/13/2012

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I feel like this a lot. I am working 60+ hours a week to keep us afloat. I feel like I miss out on my kids because I am just pooped at the end of the day or have stuff to do at home.

They, both girls 4 and almost 2, act up, fight, yell scream to get my attention when I am home.and when they feel like I should be home. So this is what we've been doing.

We have tight schedules, but most of it can be done when ever, you just feel like you need to do the dishes after eating, or laundry at a certain time. DON'T! I make a list of everything I have to do today, feed kids, shower, play.ect and a list of things I would like to do clean the bedroom, vacuum, grocery shopping. Then split it up into two times of day. When the kids are awake and when they are not.(or when they are gone visiting someone or school) I managed to find two hours a day to play with them.

Everyone thinks I'm nuts but, I also split up my kids nap times. While the little on is sleeping big sister and I get quality time, cooking, baking, dress up. While big sister is napping little sister and I read, play pretend and do art projects. Both get one on one playtime with mom, and it's low stress.

Jessica - posted on 11/12/2012

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You need a big toy box full of toys and take the time to play with them. My sons father started out with a simple ball with Ezra and it was great. Ezra and I have done Legos together, play dough, you can make play dough you know...let them cook with you, a car track could be interesting... even just with blocks, dress up is a favorite past time around here. I live in central Vermont. I saw one kid trailing his cape behind his mother down the sidewalk on the way to the elementary school...after school...must have been to get a sibling... my son's father used to get the flash light out at night and make a game of looking for spiders

Stacy - posted on 11/10/2012

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I used to be overwhelmed too about housework and balancing the time to play with my son. ou are not a horrible mom, know that Being a stay at home mom is dfficult, its always something we have to do and its really stressfulat times. You really do need to drop the daily housework down though, sounds like there is too much going on for you. What I do when my son is up, the chores (laundry and dishes) I have to do that day will be done after we eat breakfast, and I only take an hr or so to get them done, to keep him from getting into somehting I designate something or a few things he can do to keep his attention. I am usually good about picking up after ourselves and evn cleaning dishes after using them. But if I dont feel like doing them I dont, I wait until when hes in bed at night, and that gives me peaceful time to clean up. Also bigger things like vacuuming cleaning BR, moping ect. Unless its something I have to clean right then Ill usually make a list every week and wait for one day to do it. I realized that it just wasnt worth taking the time away from him, it was hard to get used to because I really like things clean and spotless, and they still are for the most part, it just takes me longer to do it and I still have time with my son the majority of the time. You can even do chores while tey nap (if they do) that helps expeciall when something really needs to gt done but can wait a couple hrs..

Dont worry because lot of people go through this and you re not alone. its hard at first to sync into a routine that balances work and playtim, but it doesnt take long to find a good schedule for kids and you. Remember you stay home with them and that is the most important job, chores and anything else can wai,t even if its only till the end of the day, thats a step forward giving you more time with your family

[deleted account]

You did receive some wonderful ideas especially Fit2BME. You need to let go and realize the kids are little for such a short time and sitting there worrying about how things are going to get done will not help you at all. Stick with a schedule that works for you and let the kids learn to entertain themselves when you cannot be there. Talk quietly to your children will help more than yelling at them. Do you like to be yelled at? Communication and examples of how you want to be treated and they will react to you better.

Bobbie - posted on 11/06/2012

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I just checked back and saw all your responses, didn't read em, but I saw them :)

Wanted to just give you a shout out and say, with humor, one way to make more time with your kiddos is to not sign onto facebook or circle if moms :)

Seriously though I hope you are giving yourself a break from the worries of getting it all done and taking a break to just "be"

Ashley - posted on 11/05/2012

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how old are they? depending on the age, you could have them help with the housework, so you could get it done quicker and have more time to play. if they are in school, you can get the housework done before they come home. if neither of those work, then you could get up before the kids do to get it done before they wake up, or do it after they go to bed. even during nap time. if your always cleaning your house, then it cant really be too bad can it? so therefore, would it really be a problem if you left it for a couple hours to have more time with the kids? or even a day every now and then. i understand how you feel, because i have felt the same in the past but i have learned how to do both. i cant stand when my house is a mess, i mean, if one thing is out of place, or there is one speck of dirt on the floor i feel like my whole house is trashed and like i need to scrub it from top to bottom. i clean my house ALOT, including scrubbing the bathroom, walls, floors, moving furniture, everything, so my house is never really even messy, its just how i feel when something isnt where it should be. so, i completely understand, but there is a time for cleaning and a time for kids. i get up early just to clean it before anyone gets up, then i clean again after the kids leave for school, then again after the youngest has lunch and is taking a nap, then again before the kids get home from school, then again after dinner and again when the kids are all in bed. i know it sounds like alot, but it's really not, because it never really gets too messy because i am always on top of it. in between those times, it is my kids' time. and doing it that way, i usually dont have to spend more than 30 minutes at a time cleaning, except the 2 times a week that i deep clean.

Verity - posted on 10/16/2012

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I did a course on parenting n they said if u can divide ur attention to ur kids even if it's only 5 mins at a time then it's definitely beneficial. I always do my housework when they are in bed.

Christina - posted on 10/14/2012

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Fit2BeMe-



I agree with this approach. Being a housewife, pregnant, having a 2 1/2 year old, and taking college courses online forces me into this style of daily routine. My daughter knows the routine and MOST of the time isn't resistant to it. A lot is expected of me regardless of the fact that my husband assumes I sit on the couch all day eating bon-bons lol, and it all has to get done, it is important!

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/08/2012

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I hear you on the bigger house adjustment. I had that same adjustment and no joke, it took me two full years or more to really get the hang of it. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is. I think all along the way, we as mums are figuring stuff out. Then just as we feel we might have a handle on it all, it up and changes and we are readjusting again, trying to figure it out again. :)

Payge - posted on 10/08/2012

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Thank you Everyone for your helpful words and awesome poems. My kids are 4,3 and 1 1/2. My husband works full time and runs his own farm opperationg full time, soo he is gone most of the time but we go and help him whenever we can so the kids get time with him. They are a handful! I will try most if not all of everyone tricks and advice they gave me. This means so much to get advice from people who know what im talking about. I try so hard to involve them in all my housework but eventuallly give up because i find myself asking nicely and then when they dont do it i get a little frusterated. There are some things I just have to stop doing and i have my laundry schedule and when i clean my bathrooms but find myself doing that little extra at times when i shouldnt. We did just move into a bigger house then what we had before, instead of 1 bathroom now i have 3, instead of 3 small small bedrooms, now i have 4 big ones.... So im sure all the stress of cleaning more rooms and bigger ones gets at me. Once again thank you soo much for your help and im glad to know im not the only one who has gone or is going through this!!!

Vie - posted on 10/08/2012

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I agree with them. You can involve them in some house hold chores like wiping baseboards with duster or dry rag, taking laundry to appropriate room (tell them where the items go and see whether or not they remember after the first few times you do this chore with them), matching socks (also a good skill for teaching concepts of "same" and "different"), putting trash in wastebasket, putting clothes in hamper, setting the table, drying dishes, sweeping small messes with hand broom, folding their shirts and other clothing items (teach them how to do it, and don't expect perfection). As a kids they think that they are playing while doing those things.

Bobbie - posted on 10/07/2012

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@Sara

Sounds great Sara :) I have just one thing to add. According to the specialist on children behaviors it makes a big difference to their sense of responsibility to say "I will help you pick up your toys" rather that "Help me pick up your toys"

Such a subtle difference I know but apparently it works. When they hear it put as if you are helping them they react differently and take a more active role of getting things put away.

**just saw an opening to add that to your great info**

Sara - posted on 10/07/2012

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hey no your not the only one i use to feel that way i was doing the same but now what i do is i'll do some cleaning and when i'm cleaning i'll take brakes from cleaning to play a game or something with them and then i'll get back to work doing what needs to be done then i get them to help me a bit doing some work around the house like pick up their toys and put their clothes in the laundry basket i'll let them help me put the clothes in the washing machine and i give them an allowance which makes them really want to help and do their chores my chores are pick up your toys, put clothes in laundry basket clean your room and help mommy my kids are 3 years old and 6 years old i hope this helps you out

Jurnee - posted on 10/07/2012

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when my kids were younger and I was home with them I tried to keep a schedule, one day vacuum, one day dust, every other day laundry, and I would do those things at certain times and I had time when we would do things together. Also try to get them involved in helping you, they can help with laundry, picking up toys, preparing meals etc. Even when mine were babies I would coook by letting the baby play with some bowls on the kitchen floor while i cooked or putting my infant on the counter while I prepared dinner, so they were still engaged and less likely to start screaming when I was doing something. Also,playing with them constantly isnt good either, they need to learn to play together and to entertain themselves also.

Julie - posted on 10/07/2012

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Only do housework in the mornings or afternoon. And go for a walk or to the park. Can't do house work if you are not at home. Interaction with you children is a part of your job as a parent and just because you can't see the results right away does not make it any less important.

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/05/2012

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Cute poems!!!

There is a way to do both though, so don't give up! Its not about perfection, though, and they're absolutely right--Kids are the most important.

Having said that, there are different aspects to raising kids and enjoying them and them enjoying your attention aside from just being a play maye (or a "play slave" if your ever had a 2-3 year old. Lol.). Balance is always the key, right?

My husband says, he never expects people's homes to be spotless, or their floors and windows to sparkle, however its healthy for children to learn how to live in a clean environment, how to take care of their belongings and take pride in themselves. It's also healthy for kids to learn some independence too. So much is learned by example. Kids watch us closely. If we never have time for them they feel unworthy and will seek attention. However, if we only focus on them, and nothing else, we risk robbing them of some important skills but also hurting their self esteem if it conveys they can't manage without us. It's also a quick way to raise a budding narsisist. Lol. Its all about balance.

My 3.5 yr old son gets tons of attention, some quality focused and some shared, some active, some passive. But he also knows how to do things for himself and play by himself and self manage. And, because he sees me as an example, and because we include him, he is GREAT at cleaning up after himself without it being a drama. He just automatically clears his place at the table, and helps with clean up after meals. There's no crying for quiet play time--in fact he typically bounces up the stairs for it and afterwards shows me all the interesting inventions he made. Kids feel secure in the routine. And quantity is not the same as quality. You can spend 3 hours with a kid and have it be so-so where you're only half mentally and energetically present. Or you can spend one awesome hour. (Clearly we have more being SAHM's).... So it's not about how much, but the quality. Hugs and kisses, meeting needs, words of affirmation, listening to stories etc. these can happen through the day. They aren't sitting down and playing, but they're still quality. Great quality actually. :)

Bobbie - posted on 10/05/2012

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A poem for you



I hope my child looks back on today and sees a parent who had time to play



there will be years for cleaning and cooking, but children grow up when you're not looking



so settle down cobwebs and dust go to sleep



I'm cuddling my baby and babies don't keep

Bobbie - posted on 10/05/2012

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A poem



Some houses try to hide the fact that children live there,



ours boasts of it quite openly, the signs are every where.



for smears are on the windows, little smudges on the door,



i should apologise for the toys strewn on the floor.



but i sat down with the children and we played



and we laughed and we read.



and if the windows do not shine, their eyes will shine instead.



and when at times I'm forced to choose one job or the other,



i want to be a housewife, but first I'll be a Mother







Author unknown.

Bobbie - posted on 10/05/2012

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Here is a poem for you!



Housework Can Wait





Come in, but don't expect to find

All dishes done, all floors ashine.

Observe the crumbs and toys galore.

The smudgy prints upon the door.

The little ones we shelter here

Don't thrive on a spotless atmosphere.

They're more inclined to disarray

And carefree even messy play.

Their needs are great, their patience small.

All day I'm at their beck and call.

It's Mommy come! Mommy see!

Wiggly worms and red scraped knee.

Painted pictures, blocks piled high.

My floors unshined, the days go by.

Some future day they'll flee this nest,

And I at last will have a rest!

Now you tell me which matters more,

A happy child or a polished floor?



...Author Unknown

Fit2BMe - posted on 10/05/2012

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To tackle cleaning specifically, I have a cleaning routine/schedule.



Some things get done daily: sweeping, kitchen, general tidy up after the day, laundry when needed (we cloth diaper, so probably need to do this a bit more regularly than others but its not time consuming)



Mondays: I clean the bathrooms. To make it quick and easy we use Green Cleaning Wipes. This way any messes I notice through the week when I'm using the washroom, I can get super quick an easy when I'm in there. With boys who don't always aim the best, this makes Mondays so much quicker and easier.



Tuesdays: Organize something. A cupboard that's starting to get messy, a closet, a drawer--anywhere where stuff is starting to pile up, before it gets too bad.



Wednesday--Bedding/Larger Laundry loads (I also have hubby and the boys do the garbage on this day)



Thursday--Windows (when/where needed), walls (when/where needed), and surfaces (dusting etc.)



Friday--Boys bedrooms and playroom. Their rooms are never really messy, because we don't keep toys in there and they generally are only there to sleep and dress or play quietly with their lovies,, but at the end of the week they still need tweaking, and the playroom toys generally need resorting. In our playroom we have all the toys in clear plastic bins with lids, and labels. These bins sit on the shelf so that its easy to see what toys they have, and super easy to clean them up and keep them organized.



Saturday--Vacuum, Mop, tidy up the car, outside work. This is the heaviest cleaning day, however because we work as a family on it, it's really not much at all.



Sunday--Nothing!



Doing cleaning this way means our house is always pretty tidy and clean (not perfect, but I'm always comfortable having people come), and it means I'm my spending a lot of time each day doing anything because its more maintenance than heavy cleaning. Before we did it this way, it seemed the mess would just keep building up, and we would always be cleaning but never felt like we had it all accomplished. It was so defeating and energy draining. And on weekends we didn't feel like spending all our free time cleaning. This is casual and relaxed!!

[deleted account]

I have my daughter help me with simple things like dusting and putting away dishes. She doesn't nap any more, but her brother does, so I use that time as one on one time for her. My son is still breastfed so that is his one on one time.



What I do is make the morning my cleaning time. I get as much done as I can before lunch. After that I give myself an hour of computer work. That is were I write my shopping lists, do my budgeting, and pay any bills. If I finish that early I check email, etc.



After that I'm all theirs. They can pick an activity to do, or just play with toys around me. It is what they want to do. Some days, like today, I get a bit of extra time on the computer since they are playing nicely by themselves. Other days, I'm lucky if I get anything done on the computer.



I'll be honest my house isn't the cleanest it could be, but it is pretty much clutter free (which for me bugs me a lot more than dirt).

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