I'm getting guilt tripped... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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To make a long story short, we recently moved to California and my husband wanted me to home school and be a SAHM when we got here.  I'm a librarian and library jobs are hard to come by, so I (very, VERY, reluctantly, and after lots of arguing) agreed to give it a try for a year. I adored my job but figured it'd take a long time for anything to open up anyway.  Right before we moved, a library position came open and I convinced my husband that I'd probably never get it and I applied.  He was supportive through all of levels of testing and interviews and, at the end, I didn't get the job, but the library called me roughly 2 weeks after and offered me another position, which I accepted. (For the long story, check out my post in Parents as Partners in April, I think.)

 

Before I accepted, I asked for 24 hours to talk it over with my husband.  He was very happy with me home, and why shouldn't he be?  The house was (relatively) clean, dinner made every night, and he wasn't having to do any daycare pick-up.  That's just my perception of why he's happy, BTW.  He says that he's just so happy that we get to have family time every evening (my last job, and this one, will require 3 evenings a week, until 7 or 8, and a Saturday).  Honestly, I hate staying at home.  I knew I would.  I told him I'd feel unfulfilled.  He says I have a bad attitude about it, but honestly performing domestic tasks all day and doing one hour of 2nd grade school work with my ds1 leaves me lacking mental stimulation.  We can't afford a sitter on a regular basis until March, so it is just me dragging the kids to grocery stores or Target when we need something, where they play superhero in the aisles and I end up yelling (and I'm not usually a yeller!). I like working enough that I'd do it even if we only broke even on the childcare.

 

Anyway, he told me that me going to work would be selfish and that hiring someone to keep the kids 31 hours a week was basically letting someone else raise our kids.  Mind you, I worked in our previous state and none of this was ever said.  His disappointment in me since accepting the position has been palpable.  Every time I mention viewing daycares or interviewing nannies, he just shuts down and says to do whatever I want.  To me, working later is the best of both worlds: the kids only have any kid of childcare 4 days a week and the gap between when I go to work and dh could pick them up is relatively small (6-7 hours as opposed to the 9-10 hours, 5 days a week, they used to go).  To him, I'm a selfish lady who doesn't care about her kids enough to stay home with them and raise them myself.

 

Especially for those who work b/c they want to, not because they have to, how do you deal with guilt trips?


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#2 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 10:52 AM
 
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Guilt trips I can handle, as they usually come from myself (rough) or other SAHMs (easier to ignore). But if my DH were laying it on thick, that would be intolerable. We have to be in this parenting thing together, so I'd sit down with him and really hash it out. If he feels so strongly that a child should be home with a parent, why doesn't he take that role, or cut down to part-time so that you can split the duties and gain more family time? I'm especially unclear how he can have this attitude if he encouraged you to apply and if working before was A-OK.

It's easy to read this and think your husband is a jerk, but the truth is always more complicated than a message board can convey. Maybe this is a dream that he's always held but wasn't able to achieve before? Maybe he really believes in homeschooling or has seen something in you/the kids that has made him think that SAH is benefiting the family more than he anticipated. Maybe he's not seeing some of the drawbacks/limitations that you deal with.

My point is that it would be helpful to get at the root of the complaint and to be totally honest with each other. Maybe there's a compromise out there that would satisfy everyone if you get creative.

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#3 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He claims he'd gladly do it.  Unfortunately, he's the major breadwinner and I don't have the earning potential (his bonus check each year, alone, is 2-3 times what my salary will be).  I think maybe he thought I wouldn't get the job, or I'd get it but discover how much I love folding his underpants everyday and decline.  I don't know.  

 

Quote:
 Maybe this is a dream that he's always held but wasn't able to achieve before? 

 

I think this is the winner.  His salary doubled and his bonus check will go up about 5 times over what it was, so now it is possible for me to stay home where it wasn't before.  Unfortunately for him, when I went back to work after ds3 was born (I was previously working at a Mother's Day Out program that I was able to bring the kids to) I fell into a career that I love and not a job that I just tolerated.


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#4 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 11:30 AM
 
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Oh gosh, this is hard.  I'm in a similar position, but we did decide (together- I wasn't pressured into it) that the best for the family as a whole is that I am home, the kids are homeschooled, and my husband is the sole breadwinner.  

Personally though- it is not all I love.  I feel brain atrophy every day that goes by if I don't do something really proactive.  It is a little better as my oldest is getting into more advanced academics, and I have started picking up courses with Coursera when I am really feeling bored.  I also started ghostwriting, and that fills in my need to feel as though I contribute something now and then. 

It would be so easy to be angry at your husband and feel like he is being a bully in this situation, and I shared those sentiments when my husband felt the same way.  It took weeks of sitting down and talking it out to reach a comfort point for both of us, because I was being equally unfair with my my way or the highway approach of, 'if I want to work, I can and will.'

It made a huge difference to his quality of life and that of our children when I was home, and I can't entirely discount the value of that.  So I agreed that if I work out of the home, it will be for no more than three days a week (whether that is 4 hour days or 8, the days out make a bigger difference than the hours.)

I did that for a couple years, then segued to freelancing and working from home.  My husband's current position means he is away from home for 15 days straight, and home for 6. If I was working FT out of the home, *I* might be more  fulfilled, but everyone else in my family would struggle more.  I don't feel like it is an acceptable tradeoff within the context of my life. 

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#5 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 12:00 PM
 
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I don't have much of an opinion on whether you should go to work or stay home, because I think that's something the two of you need to work out together. But I would point out one little thing. You agreed to stay home for a year, then applied for a job before you even started, and accepted the job after only two weeks. If my DH did something like that, quitting on something that was really important to me after he agreed to do it, I'd be very upset. greensad.gif

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#6 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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I remember your earlier thread about this. I hope the move went well!

This is a tough one -- I think you and your DH both have valid points of view. I totally understand wanting to feel fulfilled, and it's wonderful that you found a field you love and that you were able to get your foot in the door so quickly in your new location. OTOH, you did make an agreement with your DH (as you said, after lots of talking, arguing, and hashing things out). So I can see how he would feel as though this had all been settled for the next year at least, and now it's a point of contention again.

That's not to say I think you should stuff your feelings and ignore your need for fulfillment for the next year. But SAH is what you make of it. I WAH, but from my kids' perspective I'm a SAHM, and over the years I've formed a network of dynamic, intelligent women who lead purposeful, valuable, interesting lives despite the fact that they don't draw a paycheck. So if you agreed to try it for a year, I would really throw yourself into it and try it for real.

Could you maybe volunteer at the library in the meantime, to keep those contacts current and also reduce the hours you'd need to be there?

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#7 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hate to sound like a special snowflake, b/c I'm certainly not, but the library field is highly competitive and laying out for a year in this market (highly saturated with librarians who are willing to move across the country for a job) is not a good idea.  Laying out for the next 16, which is what my dh wants, is career suicide.  I would never have applied to the first job had dh protested.  And I guess one of the things that bothers me the most is that I feel like he's telling me to give up all my hopes and ambition, to turn myself completely over to my children (except for once a week, starting in March, when we can get a sitter for two hours and I can go do "whatever I want."  Gee, you mean I get a whole 2 hours to myself?  Thanks!). He admits that going to work is fulfilling for him, but I don't get to have that.  Not any of it.  I tried seeing if he'd be open to me waiting tables a few nights a week, but nope.  I just...I mean, right now I have two kids in pajamas, one naked, and I've just showered and am still in my underwear.  It is almost 12:30 in the afternoon.  I have no motivation to do anything except ds1's school, which took about an hour this morning.  I've been home for a month now and I feel that if I had to do this long term I'd probably become depressed.  I don't have the answer as to what to do either.  Yes, I'm backing out of an agreement I made.  I feel guilty about it, but what are my options?  Be unhappy for a year?  I mean, I guess a year isn't that long but if I want to apply for another job at the library, IF one even becomes open at any point, I have to go through the 4 month employment process all over again.  There's only one library in this county, so backing out of my agreement with them is probably a big black smudge that guarantees I wouldn't be hired anyway.


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#8 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 12:44 PM
 
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Having read the PaP post, I would hash this out in marriage counselling,  You both want such different things for yourselves and your family, and without help your marriage will be ripped apart. 

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#9 of 22 Old 09-17-2013, 01:19 PM
 
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I am just so concerned for you reading this. Do you use the same wording with him that you use here? Because to me, it's pretty clear:

 

"I adored my job.

Honestly, I hate staying at home."

 

Why does he want you to do something that you HATE? Hate is a pretty strong word. Like, he honestly doesn't care if you are, in fact, miserable, unhappy, depressed, used? There's just something seriously wrong here.

 

If he would gladly stay home with the children because he just loooooves doing it, why is it such an issue to pick them up from daycare and hang out with them in the evenings? I call bullshit.

 

I am angry for you. My husband and I are artists and have to make a lot of sacrifices to keep doing what we do while we have a young child. The fact that your husband is not helping you even a little bit with your ambitions, even though he can EASILY afford it, annoys me. Okay, I'll admit it. It enrages me. What a #$%#$%^@#$% entitled jerk.

 

I have a friend in library sciences and it is extremely hard to get a job in that field. GOOD FOR YOU. I can't believe he's not proud of his independent, hard-working, creative wife.

 

Does he HONESTLY think that this is going to be good for the children--to be educated at home by a miserable, lonely mom whose husband is so out of touch that he doesn't even care how she's feeling? Sure, depression and burning resentment make for a great homeschooling base! "Raising the kids yourself" is not as sacred as he thinks it is. Why do they have to get everything in their lives from you? Can't they live exciting lives where they are influenced by lots of creative, caring people? What's wrong with that?

 

You are a librarian, and your kids will see you working hard at something you love to do. They will have a determined mom, an inventive mom. They will have a mom who loves life and books and categorizing things. They will have a mom who is YOU. Isn't that better than having what he wants them to have--a different mom, but one who is around constantly so they don't have to be subjected to dirty influence of other humans?

 

I remember your post about the move a few months ago. Weren't you guys going to look into schools? Holy shitballs, I need a drink.

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#10 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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I agree so much with the PP, he is not really hearing you. You are not cut out for SAH (neither was I and I didn't find out until I was on maternity leave for sure, I worried I might fall in love with SAH, but it wasn't for me either) and you love being a librarian. And yes, you did back out of your original 1 year try-it-out agreement, but with his blessing when you realized it wasn't for you. You did try it at least, so I don't see much complaining to be made here. I think counseling could be very helpful for you two if he just keeps shutting down. You need to get to the root of what about you SAH he really wants or needs and see if there are alternatives. If it is just the housekeeping stuff or the meals, maybe hiring someone to help with those things would work. If it is that he really wants his children homeschooled, again I'm with the PP, I'm sure he doesn't want them to be homeschooled by someone who is miserable and bored doing it. Maybe there is some middle ground to be had here too: alternative schools, public school with some focused teaching on the children from both you and DH, etc.

Again, I really recommend counseling as it sounds like you are trying to offer alternatives and he isn't interested in anything that isn't his dream of you SAH with the children. hug.gif

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#11 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 08:26 AM
 
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It doesn't matter what you agreed to.  You only agreed to it after lots of arguing.  He needs to stop being a manbaby and deal with the fact that you also get to do something you enjoy.  And if he wants them to be homeschooled so damn bad he can do it himself when he gets home at night.

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#12 of 22 Old 09-18-2013, 08:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by michelleepotter View Post

I don't have much of an opinion on whether you should go to work or stay home, because I think that's something the two of you need to work out together. But I would point out one little thing. You agreed to stay home for a year, then applied for a job before you even started, and accepted the job after only two weeks. If my DH did something like that, quitting on something that was really important to me after he agreed to do it, I'd be very upset. greensad.gif

 

 

Whatever, did you not read the part that where she said that after lots of arguing she finally agreed to do what he wanted.  As well as she moved and left her job.

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#13 of 22 Old 09-21-2013, 10:35 AM
 
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How old are your children? It looks to me that your husband doesn't really want you at home for the kids, as much as for himself. He likes having a clean house and dinner on the table when he gets home.
Who is really the selfish one?
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#14 of 22 Old 09-21-2013, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They are 8, 4, and 3.  I feel that way, too, that he only wants me home because it makes his life easier.  He said himself this week that he really likes being able to work as late as he wants, which is obviously not possible when you have a daycare center closing or a nanny that needs to go home.

 

He seems to be perking up a bit in regard to it all, or at least mellowing out.


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#15 of 22 Old 09-22-2013, 07:44 AM
 
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I also wanted to have a parent/grandparent home with our kids when they were little; but me and dh went back to work full time when the kids were over 3 y/o.

I feel no guilt whatsoever, because I was fortunate enough to spend time with them when they were babies and toddlers, and now they are thriving in daycare and school. I know we made the best decision firstly for them, and secondly for all of us as a family.

 

If I were in your place I would very gently inform my husband (not ask or negociate, but inform him) that I was going to go back to work. If he has specific concerns, you can both find solutions that don't imply sacrificing your dreams (hire a maid if his priority is a clean house, find a live-in nanny for the kids, homeschooling the kids himself if he wants to homeschool etc.)

 

Although we both work full time now, me and dh we can still have homecooked meals every day and keep the house fairly clean (it also helps that we are all away during the day, so there's no one home to make a mess). And as you'll only work part time (if I understood correctly), you will still have time to take care of housework and meals.

 

(Sorry, I couldn't read your signature on my tablet, that's why I asked about the kids' age :o)


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#16 of 22 Old 09-23-2013, 05:18 AM
 
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I know at my place of employment, it is somewhat of a status symbol for a lot of the men to have a wife who stays home. They have frequent conversations about that go something like, " oh, yeah, MY WIFE homeschools FIVE kids, and she had prime rib waiting for me when I got home last night". It is VERY irritating. I feel like a lot of men like to have a wife at home mostly because it benefits them.

You said your DH is the primary bread winner, but what happens if he is ever laid off, or disabled due to a car accident. If your paycheck suddenly became the ONLY paycheck it might become quite a bit more valuable.


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#17 of 22 Old 09-24-2013, 06:19 PM
 
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SAH is not for everybody. I don't have a lot to add to what everybody else said in this thread, but I do agree that your husband needs to respect your wishes about how to spend your time. If you would rather work than SAH and the family can afford it (I assume you'll be making more than you'll pay in child care), everybody will benefit because you are happier. 

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#18 of 22 Old 09-24-2013, 07:16 PM
 
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It seems like part of his big dream since he makes a lot of money, was for you to stay home. This MEANS something to him, in his vision of how things were supposed to work out.

 

But things change. You thought it would work to give it a try, and you found out sooner than you anticipated that it wasn't going to work out, at the same time that a very important job opened up for you. That seems like it falls under the category of 'meant to be.' 

 

In a healthy reciprocal relationship, there would be a shifting of gears, a sense of 'we thought this was the plan, but it looks like the universe had other things in store.' That is constantly what happens in marriages. People sometimes think they are going to have two children and they end up with three. A child grows up and doesn't go to college despite parent's dreams for him/her. You burn the chicken and you have to run out and get some more at the store. This is life. 

 

It is hard to grasp how he could want you to give up on this opportunity. 

 

I have had 3 children in child care and most of the moms I know have used child care, and it is not the least bit like someone else raising your children. That is actually pretty insulting. A good child care provider or babysitter is a beloved member of the family, who shares in helping your children attain their development and goals. Our child care providers have always been very dear to us and my older children still keep in touch with them as mentors. 


 
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#19 of 22 Old 10-03-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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I'm glad to hear he seems to be mellowing to the idea, because to me it looks very clear that you are not going to be a good SAHM and he needs to accept that.

 

I grew up with a mother who felt it was important to be with us (brother is 2 years younger) full-time when we were breastfeeding, but she was eager to get back to her career in laboratory science after that stage was done.  Due to the cross-country move they made for my dad's career when I was 2, she was never able to do that.  By the time my brother weaned, we were rarely at home all day because she was frantically volunteering for various activism trying to get enough mental stimulation.  Later she started writing fiction and was very focused on that, so she was technically at home but wanted us to leave her alone as much as possible.  She finally started a completely new career when I was 11, by which point I was well aware that she was angry and frustrated that her earlier career was gone and all the hard work she'd put toward her doctorate felt wasted.  I cannot tell you how many different ways my mom's example/influence has affected my brother and me, but the main point I want to make is that we knew, we felt on a daily basis, that she wasn't getting to do what she wanted to do in her life and that it was unfair and that she blamed our dad.  Some kids may be blissfully unaware of their parents' feelings, but most aren't, and the value of having a SAHM is extremely diluted if the mother does not want to stay at home!

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#20 of 22 Old 10-19-2013, 04:41 PM
 
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I am much happier not being a SAHM too. I technically work a full time job, but I can do a lot at home and have influence over my hours. I hate the dynamic that being a SAHM creates. I would like to homeschool, which I have done in the past, but it took a lot of effort to do both. I might again in the future though. My DH is often stressed on his pickup/kid days, but that's the way it is. Neither of us is going to change things because things aren't perfect. I'd suggest getting someone to clean to remove that from your plates. That will also leave you to spend time with the kids during the time you do have. I'm much happier with free time/work time/kid time, etc. I think that makes the house happier. Good luck at your new job! :)

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#21 of 22 Old 10-21-2013, 11:02 AM
 
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Anyway, he told me that me going to work would be selfish and that hiring someone to keep the kids 31 hours a week was basically letting someone else raise our kids. 

 

No. It would be sharing the raising of your kids with someone else. And you know what? That's a GOOD thing.

 

This idea that childrearing should be exclusively and intensively the mother's work for 16 years is an anomaly in human history. For most of human history, the norm has been for children to be brought up in a group where there would be multi-age groups of children for them to play within, and multiple adults around to share in the caregiving. Why are we assuming that this is suddenly such a bad thing? All right, so childcare doesn't exactly replicate a hunter-gatherer village, but a good childcare setting for a limited number of hours per week can give children far better opportunities than being at home full-time. I feel so strongly about this that if my husband were to come home tomorrow and tell me he'd won the lottery and was going to give up work, I would still want the children to go to a childminder at least some of the time, because I think it's better for them than being at home full-time.

 

You said they'd be in daycare 31 hours a week. That is less than a fifth of the whole week. Even if you discount sleeping hours from that (and they can't be discounted entirely, because children do wake up at night and being there for nightmares is an important part of parenting), it's still less than half of your children's total waking time. That's hardly handing the job over to someone else. Having a few more caring adults involved in their lives during those hours, along with the opportunity to play with more children and in different settings, strikes me as getting the best of all worlds.

 

As for accusations of selfishness... it's easy to define what burdens you think it's someone else's duty to take on and call them 'selfish' for not living up to the expectations you've created for them. Why is it so unselfish of him to want his wife to give up a career she loves and spend sixteen years doing something she doesn't like, instead? I appreciate that it is more difficult for him in that, financially, he doesn't have the opportunity to be the one who makes this sacrifice, and in all fairness maybe he would be quite happy to do it. But has he looked at getting a different, part-time job, where he could spend more hours at home while you were working? Or at setting up flexible working hours for his whole team (since you said in another post he was a manager) that would allow him to do some of his work from home after the children were in bed, and free up more hours during the day to spend with them? How about he looks into those options instead of assuming it's your job to shoulder the entire burden of this full-time-parenting goal that he wants and you don't?

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#22 of 22 Old 10-21-2013, 06:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Good Enough Mum View Post
 

 

No. It would be sharing the raising of your kids with someone else. And you know what? That's a GOOD thing.

 

This idea that childrearing should be exclusively and intensively the mother's work for 16 years is an anomaly in human history. For most of human history, the norm has been for children to be brought up in a group where there would be multi-age groups of children for them to play within, and multiple adults around to share in the caregiving. Why are we assuming that this is suddenly such a bad thing? All right, so childcare doesn't exactly replicate a hunter-gatherer village, but a good childcare setting for a limited number of hours per week can give children far better opportunities than being at home full-time.

 

 

This is my favorite part of your post. In days of old, like for most of history until the World War II, when family life was reinvented, child rearing was shared by many, at least by extended family. Further back it was bigger chunks of the community helping with the child rearing. A fabulous child care provider is like that to a family--like a family member who also cares about your child. I have personally been enormously lucky in this regard with the home providers we have been gifted with over the last 18 years. 

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