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Lesley

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DD11 has been dancing for years, with increasing hours - around 12/week last year.  It's registration time now and the schedule for next year, if she did all the classes, would be 15/week, with the extra hours coming on a school night where she didn't previously have dance.  She would have only one school night per week off.

So now, I'm torn - she obsessively, passionately loves to dance.  The kind of love where if I tell her she can't add the hours, she will likely be complaining to her therapist at age 40 about how I didn't love her because I wouldn't let her dance as much as she wanted.  And she's been a decent student, managing a B+ average.  However, keeping up with schoolwork last year involved a lot of tears and frustration and yelling (it doesn't help that she hates schoolwork much, much more than the average child).  She just can't seem to grasp that if she chooses to dance that much, then schoolwork will fill the time that she could otherwise use to relax.  I've explained it till I'm blue in the face but she doesn't get it.

I'm not looking for solutions here, obviously there isn't an easy one.  But how do you manage this with your kids?  Or is it something that they eventually get with age/maturity?  I'm not sure I can take another year of listening to her carry on about her homework.
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Becca

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Sorry if this is blunt but here it is- Let her be mad but cut back her dance hours. She will get over it. What she won't get over is an inferior education or never learning how to prioritize work over play (because while dance can be considered "work" in reality that is play because its how she chooses to spend her free time). Dancers who do lots of hours (and my DD is one) have to learn very early that school comes first. Honestly I think it took one time when she was 8 of her missing class because she didn't do her homework in time to go for that never to be an issue again. 

Also all kids whine to a point but it should not be so bad that you cannot take another year of it. If it is you might want to make sure she understands how you are paying for dance and driving and if she is going to cause you grief about anything that you would rather save the money and stay home. If she loves dance she will quickly shape up. If not, well she can miss some classes until she gets the point.

And if worst comes to worst and her lack of dance is what she tells her therapist at age 40 at least you can be content in knowing she is employable enough to afford therapy. Could be a lot worse.
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Twinkletoesx2

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And if worst comes to worst and her lack of dance is what she tells her therapist at age 40 at least you can be content in knowing she is employable enough to afford therapy. Could be a lot worse.

Lol Becca!
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Lesley

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becca
Honestly I think it took one time when she was 8 of her missing class because she didn't do her homework in time to go for that never to be an issue again.


This might be an idea - I'm not sure cutting hours is a good solution as we had an agreement about what grades she had to achieve to continue to dance the full set of classes and she has kept up her end of the bargain - it would look really bad if I went back on my word regarding that.  However, I could make her stay home from dance classes to complete homework without breaking my word!  Last year we just crammed it in around stuff, including a few very late nights.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #5 
I guess my only thought is that 15 hrs/wk feels like a heavy load for an 11 year old to me. Just because it's offered doesn't mean she has to take it all.  Where does she go from there?  Is 15 the max hours in the studio or do the older dancers take 20-25 hours?  And if not, does it make sense for an 11 yo to dance as much as a 17 yo?  

IDK... I guess I believe more in the slow build up.  At 11 my dd, now a very serious, planning (hoping) to be a professional dancer 16 yo , was dancing 5/6 hrs a wk.  I know it's hard to not get all caught up in the here & now but maybe don't forget about where this could lead.  About what this heavy schedule & that lack of balance in her life today, at such a young age, can mean for tomorrow.   And not just for your dd... for you too.  IDK.  Just food for thought perhaps.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #6 
Lesley, if we knew dd had too much homework to go to dance and be done with homework by 10pm, she would skip the less essential dance classes. This reduced stress and tears and helped prioritize school and time management. Honestly it didn't happen often, but it worked. Good luck.
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dancingymnast

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lesley


This might be an idea - I'm not sure cutting hours is a good solution as we had an agreement about what grades she had to achieve to continue to dance the full set of classes and she has kept up her end of the bargain - it would look really bad if I went back on my word regarding that.  However, I could make her stay home from dance classes to complete homework without breaking my word!  Last year we just crammed it in around stuff, including a few very late nights.


Yes, absolutely! We are new to dance, but my DD used to do gymnastics. Her hours were up to 19.5\week at one point. She would come home from school at 3:00, and had to leave for gym at 4:45. The agreement was if her homework is not done by then, she is not going. And she sounds a lot like your DD in that she hates doing her schoolwork, but she almost always had it done, just so she wouldn't have to miss a practice.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #8 
DD was dancing about 15 hours a week as an 11 year old. From the time she was 6 and started having bits of homework (she went to a Montessori school then, so not much homework), the deal was - if homework wasn't done and done right, no dance.  We had to choose between private school and dance in 3rd grade because I couldn't afford both, so she did start having a lot of homework and she learned to use her time very wisely.  She would do homework in between dance classes if she had a break, sometimes at lunch.  It was the best time management teacher she could have ever had.  She did very well in school and danced a great deal of hours. She did home school her junior and senior years of high school.

I would have pulled her from practice if I had needed to, but I didn't.  Every child is different, but the "deal" worked for us.  Good luck!!
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Sidhe14

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Reply with quote  #9 
Our rule is that homework needs to be done before class starts or she doesn't go. There were maybe 2 days last year where she was a few minutes late because she was finishing homework and one night she missed a class. DD doesn't handle late night homework very well so for her this isn't an option she's given. We tried to have as many school nights free as we can. DD doesn't take all classes available to her as some of the other girls do.
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jwsqrdplus2

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Lesley, if we knew dd had too much homework to go to dance and be done with homework by 10pm, she would skip the less essential dance classes. This reduced stress and tears and helped prioritize school and time management. Honestly it didn't happen often, but it worked. Good luck.


This is what happens here as well.  For the past couple of years, Ash has managed it herself deciding when she needs to miss studio classes for homework/studying.  She has made a point to attend all ballet classes even if she misses every other class that night.

Bottom line: school is priority, dance is secondary.  If she wants to dance, she gets the work done and keeps her grades up.
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Lesley, if we knew dd had too much homework to go to dance and be done with homework by 10pm, she would skip the less essential dance classes. This reduced stress and tears and helped prioritize school and time management. Honestly it didn't happen often, but it worked. Good luck.


Ditto here except the cutoff was midnight (DD is 15).  Frequently she would do homework until it was time to leave for dance, and then come home at 9:30 or 10 and kept going with homework.  IF there were instances where she felt that even that schedule wouldn't result it in all getting done, then she'd miss non-essential dance classes that night.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times it has happened in the last couple of years. 
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #12 
I do think 15 hours a week is a lot for an 11 year old, even though it's probably in the range of what my DD did when she was that age.  BUT ... two thirds of them were on the weekend (3+ hours Friday nights, long hours Saturday, and her solo on Sunday).  She only did 2 other week nights and it was only for 2- 3 hours.

It leads me to my standard question ...where does it go from here, and what are we trying to create? 
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #13 
In our house, school is priority. Dance is a hobby. We have a similar agreement with DD8: no homework, no dance. I'm pretty strict so we also have a rule that if she complains about homework she owes me that time she wasted complaining and I "take back" that time by having her do extra chores, extra math practice, keeping her home from play dates, etc. At her school, they send home a packet on Monday that has to be done by Friday. She always has that packet done by the time she goes to dance on Monday. I also reward her with private lessons if she tests a grade level ahead in any one line item on her report card. With what you're describing, I wouldn't sign her up for the full hours as it sounds like she wasn't handling the lesser hours well.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #14 
I think this somewhat depends on if those classes were a requirement for your child.  Are they a requirement to be on team or can you pick and choose those extra classes?  If they are not a requirement and I was in your situation, I guess I would have a firm scheduled meeting with my child and talk about responsibility and blessings.  You have to do the things you need to do before you get to do the things you want to do.  I guess it would go one of 2 ways for me...either she would have to prove herself for 3 months (by grades no lower than a B and no bellyaching and good time management) in order to be blessed with those extras or a reevaluating at 3 months with a very good possibility of taking them away if she was unable to meet the schoolwork requirements.

Then I would meet with our SO and let him/her know how I wanted this to work and ask for their support.  This can be a learning experience in multiple ways.

If they are a requirement to be on team...well then, I'm not sure how I would handle this.

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Lesley

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
I guess my only thought is that 15 hrs/wk feels like a heavy load for an 11 year old to me. Just because it's offered doesn't mean she has to take it all.  Where does she go from there?  Is 15 the max hours in the studio or do the older dancers take 20-25 hours?  And if not, does it make sense for an 11 yo to dance as much as a 17 yo?  


Funny you should mention this... the older girls have already made the hard choices and dropped classes, causing low enough enrollment that the studio now offers only ballet, jazz, and a few related classes like lyrical/modern/contemporary at their age.  Whereas for our girls, there are still the options for tap, hiphop, acro, etc, and there are as many girls in DD's group as all the other older levels combined, so it hasn't been hard to have high enough enrollment in each class.  It ends up being close to the same number of hours, but the older girls are more focused in their training.

I know that I am not the only parent at the studio thinking long and hard about next year - even before the last season ended many were thinking of cutting back on dance for a wide variety of reasons.  I am very curious to see what actually happens when push comes to shove.

It doesn't help that my DD is not able to discuss this rationally - the combination of puberty and her over-dramatic, high-strung personality means that she bursts into hysterical tears at the mere idea of taking less than every possible class!


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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #16 
We've done what others have done, in that if school work isn't done she doesn't go.  Her schedule is 21 hours a week plus 2.5 hours of privates a week so it's alot.  I homeschool though so it's not quite the same, although I'm strict about putting school first still.  She goes to a pre-pro school and not a comp school so we can take a day off whenever we want to.
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kmpmom

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Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle
We've done what others have done, in that if school work isn't done she doesn't go.  Her schedule is 21 hours a week plus 2.5 hours of privates a week so it's alot.  I homeschool though so it's not quite the same, although I'm strict about putting school first still.  She goes to a pre-pro school and not a comp school so we can take a day off whenever we want to.


Sorry ...does that say TWO and a HALF HOURS OF PRIVATE LESSONS A WEEK???
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joriebelle

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmpmom


Sorry ...does that say TWO and a HALF HOURS OF PRIVATE LESSONS A WEEK???


Yes, but she was training for YAGP last year so that's why it was so much.  One teacher would work with her for an hour, exactly an hour.  The other one was slotted to work with her an hour but always went over, sometimes to two hours.  Before YAGP she didn't do privates that much.  My DD15 that goes to a comp school does a 30-minute private a week.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #19 
I'm sorry but it sounds a bit like you're letting the inmates run the asylum for lack of a better way to put it. 15 hours of dance at that age doesn't concern me as much as the fact that you have a child who is flipping out over homework on a regular basis. Extra curricular activities are a privilege bottom line. I would tell my child in no uncertain terms that unless the work was getting done with a very minimal amount of complaining, the dance lessons would stop. Period. I would not care at that point about going back on my word. She needs to learn that if she wants to dance that much, there will be very little free time. That's the sacrifice, not the school work. My daughter was able to get through her junior year with a full dance schedule and never had to miss a class due to excellent time management. But it did mean sacrificing a social life and a significant amount of downtime. No crying, no tantrums, just hard work. If your child is having that tough of a time than she's not ready. Which is fine, she's young. But in my opinion, she needs to prove to you that she can do it and if she can't then dance (or at least some of it) needs to end.
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #20 
I am in disagreement with others on this. I disagree that school comes first, I find it quite strange that so many people choose to put school first.

Your daughter struggles with school, to me that means dance is even more important. She needs a place in her life where she can be successful, can be praised, can be encouraged, can feel like she is doing well. If school is the centre of her life, and if you take away things she does well in like dance, then she is going to be bombarded with messages of "you are not good enough".

The fact that your daughter dislikes school also tells me dance is more important. The big life lessons like persistence, goal setting, determination, team work and focus won't be learned very well at school because she doesn't love it. She needs to learn them by doing an activity she is passionate about and putting her heart and soul into it. Dance will give her these life skills, which will serve her better in her future than algebra and foreign languages.

Busy kids learn to be more organised and get things done. Kids with a lot of free time are more likely to procrastinate, don't learn to manage their time well, and take longer to do tasks that don't take that long to do.

Schoolwork should not be ending in frustration, yelling a or tears. This is a big concern, so much negativity around her work is going to turn her off learning. She will associate learning with negative feelings and she will want to be done with it as soon as possible. School should not be about teaching kids to hate learning it should be about learning to love learning. School should not be about getting good grades for 13 years, it should be about producing life long learners!

I would be having serious talks with the school about this, if her school work has to come before her health and happiness than I would say the priorities are very mixed up.

I have the opposite view to many parents and I am quite shocked that parents would not allow their child to attend dance class if they haven't done homework. My kids are not allowed to skip dance to do school work. I have already paid for dance for a start, secondly if they miss dance they are letting a lot of people down who are relying on them, routines can't be practiced properly, teachers need to waste other kids class time researching my kid what she has missed. If she doesn't get her homework done, the only person it impacts is herself. But even more importantly dance is physical activity, it is creativity, it is team work, it switches on the mind.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #21 
Jacaranda while your perspective is appreciated you know full well that most of us are in the US. Where homework needs to be done. It's not an option here to just not do your work when you don't want to. Doing so would cause even more stress to this child as she would fall behind.
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Psmom

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacaranda
I am in disagreement with others on this. I disagree that school comes first, I find it quite strange that so many people choose to put school first.

Your daughter struggles with school, to me that means dance is even more important. She needs a place in her life where she can be successful, can be praised, can be encouraged, can feel like she is doing well. If school is the centre of her life, and if you take away things she does well in like dance, then she is going to be bombarded with messages of "you are not good enough".

The fact that your daughter dislikes school also tells me dance is more important. The big life lessons like persistence, goal setting, determination, team work and focus won't be learned very well at school because she doesn't love it. She needs to learn them by doing an activity she is passionate about and putting her heart and soul into it. Dance will give her these life skills, which will serve her better in her future than algebra and foreign languages.

Busy kids learn to be more organised and get things done. Kids with a lot of free time are more likely to procrastinate, don't learn to manage their time well, and take longer to do tasks that don't take that long to do.

Schoolwork should not be ending in frustration, yelling a or tears. This is a big concern, so much negativity around her work is going to turn her off learning. She will associate learning with negative feelings and she will want to be done with it as soon as possible. School should not be about teaching kids to hate learning it should be about learning to love learning. School should not be about getting good grades for 13 years, it should be about producing life long learners!

I would be having serious talks with the school about this, if her school work has to come before her health and happiness than I would say the priorities are very mixed up.

I have the opposite view to many parents and I am quite shocked that parents would not allow their child to attend dance class if they haven't done homework. My kids are not allowed to skip dance to do school work. I have already paid for dance for a start, secondly if they miss dance they are letting a lot of people down who are relying on them, routines can't be practiced properly, teachers need to waste other kids class time researching my kid what she has missed. If she doesn't get her homework done, the only person it impacts is herself. But even more importantly dance is physical activity, it is creativity, it is team work, it switches on the mind.

School does come first. It's not even a question. Of course the child likes dance more. I think it's highly likely all of our children in this group like dance more than school. At 11 a child lacks the maturity to prioritize her obligations to school and dance so that's what her mom is doing for her. From the description of her personality and frustration with homework I think it's possible she has an attention disorder. I have a son with ADHD and your dd's experience sounds very familiar. He really struggled with time management and with setting an efficient order to do what needed to be done. Those were the things I did for him until he developed those skills for himself. I really think you'll both be happier in the long run if you get her into the habit of getting through homework before doing any dance. Write out a schedule and see where homework can happen if she takes on these extra hours and if you can't see it working in a real life school week then don't burden her with an impossible task.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psmom
School does come first. It's not even a question. Of course the child likes dance more. I think it's highly likely all of our children in this group like dance more than school. At 11 a child lacks the maturity to prioritize her obligations to school and dance so that's what her mom is doing for her. From the description of her personality and frustration with homework I think it's possible she has an attention disorder. I have a son with ADHD and your dd's experience sounds very familiar. He really struggled with time management and with setting an efficient order to do what needed to be done. Those were the things I did for him until he developed those skills for himself. I really think you'll both be happier in the long run if you get her into the habit of getting through homework before doing any dance. Write out a schedule and see where homework can happen if she takes on these extra hours and if you can't see it working in a real life school week then don't burden her with an impossible task.


Yes!  I bolded what I especially agree with  [smile]
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dancedaughters

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Reply with quote  #24 
I think you have a couple of issues here and it might be good to try to think about them separately.

Homework/schoolwork is a source of stress for your child.  Not all children respond well to the same approaches.  For some children, a firm no-nonsense approach is very helpful and gets them to focus and get things done and move on.  For others, it increases stress and anxiety and leads to them getting even less done than they would have without interference.  I think it's important to be open to trying some different things with your child.  I know with my younger DD, sometimes she has a plan for completing her work that I know is not going to work out well.  But if I tell her that and get into an argument over it, that does not convince her to do it my way - it just takes more time away from her work and upsets her and she gets less done than if I had just left her alone.  So I would say tread lightly and experiment a bit.  Age 11 is a good time for her to be experiencing the consequences of her actions.  You might want to try letting her manage things herself for a period of time, and see how it goes, and then talk about changes (like, sit down on the weekend and say "okay, you got most of your work done this week but you ran out of time for that book report - what would you do differently if you were starting over").  

I am not a fan of the homework must be done before dance rule, simply because for my kids, there have been many days when they were able to get their homework after dance but could not have finished it before.  YMMV.  

I don't think cutting back her dance hours because of schoolwork is going to make her have a more positive attitude about schoolwork, so whatever you do, I'd be careful about the reasoning you use.

I do also think 15 hours is a lot for an 11 year old, regardless of the school situation.  It might make sense to just start out by talking with her about last year.  Remind her of how it felt going through each week.  Was she tired?  stressed?  did she want to have downtime outside of dance?  (I ask because my younger dd does like downtime, whereas my older one always filled any free time with other activities.)  Then I would talk about making gradual changes.  If your DD thinks last year was okay - maybe add one hour instead of three.  You could also talk about which things you are adding - at our studio some classes have a performance component and some don't - the ones without performance are easier to skip without affecting other people.  There have been times when I've agreed to let my daughter take a class with the understanding that she would skip it during heavy homework times if necessary.

There are times when talking with your child's teacher about homework can be helpful, too.  Our public schools mostly used a system of giving the homework day by day, which was tough for my DD1 as she had some days with very little free time and other days with lots.  Some teachers would give her some of the homework in advance, which was very helpful to her in managing her time.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psmom
School does come first. It's not even a question. Of course the child likes dance more. I think it's highly likely all of our children in this group like dance more than school. At 11 a child lacks the maturity to prioritize her obligations to school and dance so that's what her mom is doing for her. From the description of her personality and frustration with homework I think it's possible she has an attention disorder. I have a son with ADHD and your dd's experience sounds very familiar. He really struggled with time management and with setting an efficient order to do what needed to be done. Those were the things I did for him until he developed those skills for himself. I really think you'll both be happier in the long run if you get her into the habit of getting through homework before doing any dance. Write out a schedule and see where homework can happen if she takes on these extra hours and if you can't see it working in a real life school week then don't burden her with an impossible task.


Couldn't agree more.  And I just deleted the rest I typed....other than it wasn't all that long ago that women were denied the right and privilege to get an education.  That denial still happens all around the world as women are not much more than property.  To devalue what other women before us fought so hard to achieve and is one of the few things that can make us equal in many peoples eyes to men is really a shame.
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