Friday, 29 May 2020

How Solo Single Moms Can Raise Confident, Healthy Sons

The notion that any dad is better than no dad is nonsense.

Parenting solo is a tough challenge, no doubt.

However, psychologists agree that boys do not require constant male guidance to grow up confident and healthy. In fact, a dad living at home who is a poor role model typically does more harm than good. If a biological dad is unfailingly neglectful, physically or emotionally abusive or just plain unloving, his son is most likely better off without his dad’s influence.

So what can a single mother raising a boy alone do to ensure her son gets what he needs? For starters, trust that your beliefs and actions will guide you toward success.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

Adjust your attitude, if necessary. Strive to resolve your issues about men and relationships, especially if you became a single mom under excruciating circumstances – like if your son’s father left without warning or explanation. When you look at your son and see his biological dad’s face, it’s OK to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex gave you anything of value, you’re looking at him. Tell your son early and often how much you love him no matter how you feel about his biological dad.

Banish any “man of the house” notions about your son.
Your goal is to guide your son toward manhood. Right now, however, your son cannot assume responsibility for things adult men are supposed to do. Your son is not your confidant, knight in shining armor or rescuer. Correct privately and quickly any adult who asks your son if he’s taking good care of Mommy or wrongly confers “man of the house” responsibilities on him.

Your son’s only job right now is to be a kid.

Set limits early. Sons of single moms are not at greater risk for getting into serious trouble as adults. Don’t believe the dire predictions you may hear. Believe in yourself as a strong and confident parent.

Focus on your son and his needs. As parents, our only realistic option is to control our own behavior.

Boys do act differently than girls.
Dealing effectively with bursts of typical boy behavior, such as pushing and shoving on the playground, are simply a part of your everyday parenting responsibilities.

Teach your son your values. But let him express these values uniquely. Point out positive qualities in men you see on a day-to-day basis. Emphasize the importance of treating others with kindness, as well as being helpful and considerate. Discuss examples of bullying in age-appropriate ways. Point out why such behaviors are contrary to your family values and simply wrong.

Make it clear what’s appropriate behavior in your home. Of course, hitting, punching and kicking are against family rules. Discuss alternatives to unwanted behavior so that your son can make more appropriate choices next time. These will not be one-time conversations.

Spanking may work for the moment, but it sends the powerful message that acting out your feelings is acceptable, if you’re the one in charge.

Stress using words rather than actions to convey feelings. Model this behavior by using words to describe your own feelings, rather than slamming the car door or stomping angrily around the house. Make sure your son understands that it’s not OK to shut people out. Let your son cry openly with no discouragement or judgment.

Keep talking.
As your son grows older, challenges increase because adolescent boys fear revealing their confusion and vulnerability. Our culture still admires “real men” who fear weakness and strive to solve problems on their own. This is why solo single moms – who don’t have another parent to partner with in raising kids – are often advised to leave their sons alone or let them shoot some hoops. We’re assured that he’ll be fine and urged not to hover.

Resist the impulse to shrug your shoulders and walk away. This is exactly the time to let your son know that you’re always available for conversation. Talking openly – sharing kid-friendly details - about what goes on in your own life makes your son more inclined to say what’s on his mind rather than silently sulk.


Thursday, 28 May 2020

What Is Divorce Etiquette And How Can It Help?

You don’t often hear the words ‘divorce’ and ‘etiquette’ used together. When I hear the word ‘etiquette,’ I think manners, politeness, courtesies – again not things we usually associate with ending a marriage. And perhaps that’s exactly why so many people struggle to achieve a good divorce. So what is divorce etiquette and how can it help?

I’m not a fan of rule books but I do think being conscious about how you conduct yourself during divorce could help you better cope with the end of your marriage so you’ll feel less conscious, less awkward and avoid saying or doing things that you’ll regret later. If we did have more generally accepted guidelines on coping with divorce, then the breakups could be less disruptive not just for spouses but also for children, extended families, friends and coworkers. Who wouldn’t want that?

This episode of Conversations About Divorce is all about Divorce Etiquette and joining me for this fabulous conversation are Suzanne Riss and Jill Sockwell, authors of The Optimist’s Guide To Divorce: How To Get Through Your Breakup and Create A New Life You Love.

What Is Divorce Etiquette?

When someone is going through a hard time, it’s part of our human nature to want to help. We often want to do something to let that person know we care. We want to do something to let that person know we’re sorry they’re in pain. But just like other difficult situations, we don’t want to say anything that will make the person feel worse.

Riss says, “When we are talking about divorce etiquette, we’re talking about making a difficult situation better rather than rubbing salt in the wound.”

It really comes down to acting with kindness and compassion in any situation. Setting that intention at the beginning of the process will guide you through the many points along the way when you have a choice. Riss says, “Make it your personal mission to treat them as you would like to be treated.”

Who Is Divorce Etiquette For?

Divorce etiquette applies to everyone whether that’s friends, family, children and especially your STBX. Both partners set the tone for the divorce and how you divorce, can be quite independent of your marriage. This means that you don’t have to carry over the level of disagreement and arguing from your marriage to your break up.

It’s important to think about this early, preferably before there’s even been a discussion about separating because it’s in that very first conversation that the tone of the break up starts to get set. There’ll be many points along the way where you’ll have the opportunity to reset the tone or reinforce it.

“We believe you can apply some rules for common decency with your partner as you go through the difficult process of separating,” said Riss.

Of course, treating your partner with respect doesn’t mean you’ll get the same back. Rockwell reminds us that you can’t control anyone else. However, “no matter how hard you are trying to be kind, understanding, compassionate, doesn’t mean that on that day, that argument, you’ll be getting that treatment back but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth maintaining that intention.”

You have to switch gears – once the marriage is over, you now have to work to transition your relationship with your STBX from a romantic partner to a business partner. That might be for the short term while you figure out the division of assets or it could be for a much longer period if you have children together.

Meeting Your STBX In Public

Meeting your STBX in public may be awkward, even embarrassing but there’s a high probability it’s going to happen. Knowing that means you can prepare.

“You have a choice at every step,” says Riss. “You can choose positive or negative.”

The example we talked about was what if both you and your STBX turn up at school to pick up your kids. Obviously, there’s been a miscommunication so what should you do?

“It’s best to try to work it out without embarrassing your kids,” says Riss. “If someone needs to be the bigger person, take on that role.” If that means you letting your STBX pick up the kids even though you’re convinced it’s your turn, so be it. Better that than having a brawl in the parking lot.

Another situation is when you arrive at your child’s event, maybe it’s a concert, maybe it’s a baseball game. Your STBX sees you and waves at you indicating they have a seat for you. Sitting next to them isn’t what you had in mind so what should you do?

Sockwell says how you handle this depends on whether your STBX is trying to control you. If it doesn’t feel safe for you to sit next to or near your STBX, then don’t. But otherwise, consider that your STBX maybe doing this with your child’s perspective in mind.

“If I were a child, I can’t think of anything I’d want more than to look out from the swimming pool, the stage or wherever I was performing, and see my parents together because they’re there not because they are in a relationship together but they’re there for me,” says Sockwell.

Friends Take Their Cues From You

Soon after my ex and I split up, one of our couple friends was hosting a cookout at their home. She called me and invited me and told me that they’d also invited my ex. She said that she and her husband liked us both, were friends with both of us and they didn’t want to choose who to invite so they were inviting both of us and leaving it up to us to figure out what we wanted to do.

This is a great model to follow but isn’t what typically happens.

Riss says the key word here is comfort. “People take their cues from you. If you’re comfortable, then the person asking you will feel relieved that you’re OK.”

Letting people know that you’re doing OK will make them feel comfortable inviting you to a social occasion.

There will be friends from whom you don’t hear. Sockwell’s straight-forward advice here is that if you’re missing a friend, then you reach out to them.

“Don’t assume they’re not reaching out to you because of what’s going on with you. They may have their own stressors or own health problems or their own separation. You never know,” says Sockwell.

Divorce is a difficult and uncomfortable topic and your friend not contacting you may be because they don’t know what to say. You taking the lead, can put your friend at ease and breakdown the barrier that threatens your friendship.

On the flip side, Riss recommends that if you know someone who is going through divorce, be proactive and let them know you’re there to support them.

Be Sensitive At Work

The workplace is a different environment. There, if you notice someone is not wearing their wedding ring, it may not be appropriate to comment in an open meeting. Sockwell says, “If they haven’t said anything, I’m not going to say anything because they’re probably doing what they can to hold it together.”

If they bring it up, then feel free to invite them to get together after work. If they don’t bring it up, then perhaps you can approach them in a private space to offer support.

If you’re going to need time off or flexibility for appointments, it’s a good idea to let your supervisor know what’s going on but Riss, recommends doing so once you can do it without breaking down in a flood of tears.

You may also want to consult with your HR department for guidance on how to handle changes to your benefit enrollments and also on company policy around name changes, if that’s going to apply to you.

Beware of Social Media

Both Riss and Sockwell agree that it’s very easy to post something to social media that you may regret later. Riss says, “Don’t react out of anger.” Social media is not the place to air your grievances. If you’re upset about something, call a friend and work through your anger another way.

Similarly, Sockwell recommends against posting updates that are calling for pity. She suggests keeping a journal and using that to work through your emotions.

Even though you may have blocked your STBX from seeing your posts, if you have friends in common then your STBX may still be able to see your posts through their feeds and that could end up hurting you.


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Tricky issues with co-parenting after divorce

Co-parenting — or shared parenting — is usually the best way to deal with custody of your children after divorce, but it isn’t always easy. We spoke with a few moms who are actively co-parenting with their ex-husbands to find out where the trouble lies, and how to best deal with it for the sake of your kids.

Shared parenting requires cooperation

Co-parenting — or shared parenting — is usually the best way to deal with custody of your children after divorce, but it isn’t always easy.

Nobody heads down the aisle with the intention of getting a divorce. Yet we constantly hear that about half of all marriages will eventually end in divorce. When a marriage ends, whatever the reason, there are bound to be hurt feelings and bitterness. If you have children, can you work past these feelings and come together for the sake of the kids? We spoke with a few moms who say you can.

Your feelings? Don’t share

Divorce is intended to sever ties between two people who no longer love each other. “Very rarely is a divorce amicable,” shares Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy.D., who is a child and family psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent. “Each partner in the marriage has their own individual complaints about the other including infidelity, control, lack of communication and so forth.” She says that many couples direct their grievances toward battles regarding money and the children, which benefits no one. “My advice to all parents who are co-parenting with joint custody after divorce is to set aside their anger, disappointment, hurt and rage,” she adds. “Those feelings are for you to deal with in a therapy office and with your supportive friends and family.”

Patsy Shelton is a teacher and mother of two boys. “No marriage ends easily,” she says. “There were tears and anger and blame when my marriage ended, but we were both able to see our roles in its ending.” Both Patsy and her ex-husband shared the desire to protect their boys from the pain they felt. “It's not about our history anymore — that's why we got a divorce! We are free to let all of that go. Now we are friends who look to the future and what it holds, not for us, but for our sons,” she adds.

Joint custody means working together

“We've worked hard to make sure our kids see us together, through occasional meals together, birthday parties, sports and school events,” shares Tracy Jensen, writer and mother of two. “It reassures them that although we don't live together, we're still working together to make sure they're OK — and that it's OK for them to love both of their parents.” Changing your relationship to meet the needs of your kids takes patience and a lot of work, on both sides. “It doesn't mean that anger and hurt don't exist,” adds Jensen. “It means that the needs of our kids are more important.”

While you shouldn’t expect your ex to suddenly become the father he never was, you can appreciate the differences that he brings to your children’s lives and roll with them. “Let your ex develop his own parenting style,” advises Jensen. “He's never going to do it the same way that you do, and that's OK. Kids benefit from a different perspective. Take the opportunity to enjoy what your kids learn from him.”

Make it easier

Many divorced parents wind up trying to make things harder for the other parent, whether subconsciously or on purpose. When you choose a difficult path, it only hurts the kids. “Make it easy for your ex to spend time with your kids,” says Jensen. ”I see a number of friends enveloped in this battle, where time with the kids becomes such a weapon. I have always told the kids' dad if he wants extra time with them, to simply ask.”

By having a regular, consistent routine — that also has room for flexibility — your kids will feel that their lives are more stable. “The boys stay three days with me and then three days with their father,” shares Shelton, “but if I need him to keep the boys, he does! And if he needs me to keep them, I do!” The give-and-take is what makes this feel more like a partnership than a battle. “In the best interests of your children, be friendly, kind and respectful to your ex in front of the kids,” shares Dr. Walfish. “Swallow your pride for your children's sake and never fight in front of the kids. That includes no hostile grimaces or remarks, no sarcasm and no unbearable silences you could cut with a knife,” she adds. “You will make your kids' lives easier and they will be more resilient.”

Tips for successful co-parenting after divorce

Dan Clifford is a partner in the family law practice at the law firm Weber Gallagher. He sees firsthand how struggles with divorce affect the children. He offers us five tips for success with co-parenting.

Parents should always keep the lines of communication open for the benefit of the children. I suggest email as the preferred communication device, but remember to keep all messages short, informational and limited to something pertaining to the children’s medical/educational issues, and/or a detail pertaining to an upcoming custody exchange. Remember, every email could be used as a possible exhibit in a future custody dispute.

Avoid long, accusatory, rambling emails that relive past history, point fingers and force the other party to shut down (and remind them of why you are no longer living under the same roof). If the email is more than two or three lines, it’s too long. If you need to vent, send the longer email you’d really like to send to your best friend, instead.

Consider using one of the custody calendar computer programs available to record special family events, school, extracurricular activities and doctor appointments to eliminate the phrases, “You didn’t tell me,” “You didn’t remind me” and “I didn’t know” from the vocabulary of the parent who fails to show up at an important event.

Always provide a united front to the important people in your child’s life — teachers, tutors, coaches and parents of your child’s close friends. It should never be about you proving to that third party that you are the “better” parent.

Consider providing a gift for the child to present to the other parent for important events like birthdays, Christmas, Father’s/Mother’s Day, etc. While you may no longer like the other parent, it’s a simple gesture of kindness that your child will likely remember forever.

By doing your best to work with your former spouse, you are providing your children with a family safety net — and showing them that they really matter to both of you.


Monday, 25 May 2020

Don't let yourself off, keep on going!

As we work towards a goal or through a period of challenge, and when faced with a difficult task, when we feel tired and in need of a rest, or sometimes just when we're controlled by fear, it can be tempting to take a break, to let ourselves off, to be 'kind' to ourselves.
At times like these, it's all the more important to keep on going, to take the difficult decision, confront the unpleasant task and to have the awkward conversation. 
Through continued action, relentlessly committing to the goal and taking step-by-step eventually we'll achieve our goals and get to where we want and deserve to be.
I wish you a happy, fulfilled and successful 2018 as you work through your divorce and forwards to your new and better life. I'm right there with you, pressing ever forwards and onwards!

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Divorce may weaken kids' immunity

More and more children come from 'broken homes', and a divorce can raise a child's risk of catching colds in adulthood.

Even though parents do what they can to shield their children against the trauma of divorce, kids often feel as if their world is falling apart.

According to a Health24 article, marital problems can create serious instability in the family and feelings of insecurity in the child.

Adding to the problem of instability in South Africa, fewer people are getting married than 10 years ago, female divorcées are getting older and men are more likely to remarry multiple times.

An unfriendly divorce can raise a child's risk of catching colds in adulthood, a new study suggests.

Poor health and chronic illness

"Early life stressful experiences do something to our physiology and inflammatory processes that increase risk for poorer health and chronic illness," explained researcher Michael Murphy of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This work is a step forward in our understanding of how family stress during childhood may influence a child's susceptibility to disease 20–40 years later," Murphy said in a university news release. He's a psychology postdoctoral research associate.

Common cold virus

The study found that children whose parents separate and don't speak are at increased risk for colds as adults.

Previous research has shown that adults who experience the split of parents during childhood are at increased risk for poorer health. The authors of this new study believe their work may help explain why that's so.

The study included more than 200 healthy adults exposed to a common cold virus. Those whose parents lived apart and didn't talk to each other during the participant's childhood were more than three times more likely to develop a cold than those whose parents remained together.

No cause-and-effect relationship

While the study only found an association and not a cause-and-effect link, one reason suggested by the researchers for the increased risk of a cold was heightened inflammation in response to viral infection.

Meanwhile, the researchers found that adults whose parents separated during childhood but remained in contact were not at increased risk of catching a cold.

"Our results target the immune system as an important carrier of the long-term negative impact of early family conflict," said Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon.

"They also suggest that all divorces are not equal," Cohen said.

Continued communication between parents and support system for the children buffers the harmful effects that separation has on the health of the children, he added.


Friday, 22 May 2020

Accepting and Adapting to Obstacles

“The Obstacle is the path” – Zen Proverb

In times of challenge it feels like the world is conspiring against us. Every incident, event and encounter feels like another blow sent to knock us off track. There are the things that need to be resolved with our ex and the inevitable arguments to weather. Simply keeping our day-to-day life on track can feel like more than we can possibly deal with.

It’s tempting to give up. It feels like the world is conspiring against us. We risk becoming defined as a victim of circumstance, constantly dealing with hardship and someone who just can’t get a break.

What may just help if you feel like this, is that I’ve grown to realise is this is simply a reflection of life for EVERYONE. We often choose only to see the positives in the lives of others and compare those to the negatives in our own.

The scale of the challenges and the source of the difficulties may be different, but we all go through times of challenge and hardship. It’s the nature of life.

Whether it’s financial troubles, illness, bereavement, injury, falling victim to crime or facing prejudice, EVERYONE will at times encounter the obstacles that seem to block them on the path they thought was theirs for life.

We can choose to view these disruptions as blockers to our path, and keep fighting to get back on what we believe is the track we should be on, or we can accept them as the prompts for learning and growth, as part of the journey.

Maybe an illness isn’t just our health and vitality letting us down, but instead a timely warning to consider whether our lifestyle, habits, stress-levels and priorities are in balance.

Perhaps financial difficulties aren’t just a hardship to be accepted, but instead a prompt to evaluate our spending and our attitude to money and risk.

A strained friendship may not just be the result of a difference of opinion but instead an indicator that you’ve merely drifted apart, your outlooks and needs have changed and the friendship doesn’t serve either of you anymore.

Things change, life changes, the path changes.

In divorce, disruptions arise which you can view as blockers to your path, or alternatively as opportunities to learn, grow and progress.

The failure of your relationship may be a relief, or it may be devastating. Rather than it being cause for feelings of resentment or yearning, perhaps it’s a chance to evaluate whether your ex truly met your needs, nurtured and loved you as you needed, and whether that relationship was giving you what you wanted and deserved.

If you had become needy and dependent, or controlled and manipulated then maybe this is your prompt to rediscover yourself, prioritise your own needs and recapture independence.

Being separated from your kids, or losing out on custody may feel like the cruellest outcome in the process. You can suffer and protest about this to all who will listen, regretting that you’ll never be able to give your kids a ‘conventional’ upbringing. Alternatively, you can make the choice to consciously and deliberately parent your kids to the best of your ability when you have them. You can choose to be the role-model you want to be and still strive to be a powerful and positive force and influence in their life. You just have to be creative about how you do it.

Everyone experiences hard-times in life. I believe that these events are life teaching us the skills and lessons we need to grow, learn and to live the best life we can possibly live.

While it can be hard to rise-above the immediate obstacle and see them as anything more than problems, I can guarantee that you will look back in years to come and see how much they taught you and how far you’ve come.


Thursday, 21 May 2020

A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health

“Look on the sunny side of life."

“Turn your face toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”

“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”

“See the glass as half-full, not half-empty.”

Researchers are finding that thoughts like these, the hallmarks of people sometimes called “cockeyed optimists,” can do far more than raise one’s spirits. They may actually improve health and extend life.

There is no longer any doubt that what happens in the brain influences what happens in the body. When facing a health crisis, actively cultivating positive emotions can boost the immune system and counter depression. Studies have shown an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels.

Even when faced with an incurable illness, positive feelings and thoughts can greatly improve one’s quality of life. Dr. Wendy Schlessel Harpham, a Dallas-based author of several books for people facing cancer, including “Happiness in a Storm,” was a practicing internist when she learned she had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, 27 years ago. During the next 15 years of treatments for eight relapses of her cancer, she set the stage for happiness and hope, she says, by such measures as surrounding herself with people who lift her spirits, keeping a daily gratitude journal, doing something good for someone else, and watching funny, uplifting movies. Her cancer has been in remission now for 12 years.

“Fostering positive emotions helped make my life the best it could be,” Dr. Harpham said. “They made the tough times easier, even though they didn’t make any difference in my cancer cells.”

While Dr. Harpham may have a natural disposition to see the hopeful side of life even when the outlook is bleak, new research is demonstrating that people can learn skills that help them experience more positive emotions when faced with the severe stress of a life-threatening illness.

Judith T. Moskowitz, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, developed a set of eight skills to help foster positive emotions. In earlier research at the University of California, San Francisco, she and colleagues found that people with new diagnoses of H.I.V. infection who practiced these skills carried a lower load of the virus, were more likely to take their medication correctly, and were less likely to need antidepressants to help them cope with their illness.

The researchers studied 159 people who had recently learned they had H.I.V. and randomly assigned them to either a five-session positive emotions training course or five sessions of general support. Fifteen months past their H.I.V. diagnosis, those trained in the eight skills maintained higher levels of positive feelings and fewer negative thoughts related to their infection.

An important goal of the training is to help people feel happy, calm and satisfied in the midst of a health crisis. Improvements in their health and longevity are a bonus. Each participant is encouraged to learn at least three of the eight skills and practice one or more each day. The eight skills are:

  • Recognize a positive event each day.
  • Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.
  • Start a daily gratitude journal.
  • List a personal strength and note how you used it.
  • Set an attainable goal and note your progress.
  • Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.
  • Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.
  • Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.

Dr. Moskowitz said she was inspired by observations that people with AIDS, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses lived longer if they demonstrated positive emotions. She explained, “The next step was to see if teaching people skills that foster positive emotions can have an impact on how well they cope with stress and their physical health down the line.”

She listed as the goals improving patients’ quality of life, enhancing adherence to medication, fostering healthy behaviors, and building personal resources that result in increased social support and broader attention to the good things in life.

Gregg De Meza, a 56-year-old architect in San Francisco who learned he was infected with H.I.V. four years ago, told me that learning “positivity” skills turned his life around. He said he felt “stupid and careless” about becoming infected and had initially kept his diagnosis a secret.

“When I entered the study, I felt like my entire world was completely unraveling,” he said. “The training reminded me to rely on my social network, and I decided to be honest with my friends. I realized that to show your real strength is to show your weakness. No pun intended, it made me more positive, more compassionate, and I’m now healthier than I’ve ever been.”

In another study among 49 patients with Type 2 diabetes, an online version of the positive emotions skills training course was effective in enhancing positivity and reducing negative emotions and feelings of stress. Prior studies showed that, for people with diabetes, positive feelings were associated with better control of blood sugar, an increase in physical activity and healthy eating, less use of tobacco and a lower risk of dying.

In a pilot st
udy of 39 women with advanced breast cancer, Dr. Moskowitz said an online version of the skills training decreased depression among them. The same was true with caregivers of dementia patients.

“None of this is rocket science,” Dr. Moskowitz said. “I’m just putting these skills together and testing them in a scientific fashion.”

In a related study of more than 4,000 people 50 and older published last year in the Journal of Gerontology, Becca Levy and Avni Bavishi at the Yale School of Public Health demonstrated that having a positive view of aging can have a beneficial influence on health outcomes and longevity. Dr. Levy said two possible mechanisms account for the findings. 

Psychologically, a positive view can enhance belief in one’s abilities, decrease perceived stress and foster healthful behaviors. Physiologically, people with positive views of aging had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of stress-related inflammation associated with heart disease and other illnesses, even after accounting for possible influences like age, health status, sex, race and education than those with a negative outlook. They also lived significantly longer.