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[00:00:00] Krista: Welcome to Secret Mom Hacks. I'm really excited we have a friend joining us today. A fellow mom on Secret Mom Hacks, my friend, Alicia. Alicia, can you hear me over there?

[00:00:26] Alicia: Yeah, I can. Hi.

[00:00:28] Krista: Great! Welcome. We're so happy to have you here today. You know, the vision behind Secret Mom hacks is to pull back the curtain, talk about real life, talk about the things nobody tells us about becoming moms, things that surprised us.

Share some tips and tricks, and ultimately just rally together around this journey that we're all on, knowing that it's hard, but knowing that it's rewarding and fun and that ultimately we can all be here for each other and get through it. And get through it well with our super mom capes on. So, to get started quickly, I just wanna tell our listeners a little bit how we know each other. So we've known each other for a long time cause we went to school together and so we're from the same area. We were on speech team together, so we are former speechies, which I don't know about you. I feel like it has served us both well in our careers.

[00:01:31] Alicia: I think it has. Yeah. Agreed.

[00:01:35] Krista: But now you, so you're near Chicago, right? Just outside of Chicago.

[00:01:43] Alicia: I'm in the western suburbs of Chicagoland.

[00:01:47] Krista: Great. And so you're just outside of Chicago and you are now a mom of two. Who would've thought back in our speech team days like here, we'd be over a decade later and have the most precious little ones in our life and so you have two kiddos. You have a boy and a girl. I think your boy just started high school.

[00:02:10] Alicia: He did. Which I, which, oh, it hurts my soul actually a little bit that he's in high school now, but yes, so he just started his freshman year. And then my youngest, my daughter, she just started her kindergarten year this year. So both big milestone years in their schooling.

[00:02:24] Krista: Yes. Major milestones.

How did you cope?

[00:02:29] Alicia: Well, I was fine for the most part, so I did okay with her going to her first day of kindergarten. I was a little sad because I've always had her home, even though I work full-time, she's always had a nanny. So I've always had access to her to go and have lunch throughout the day and kind of been close to her and been able to see her whenever I want.

So the very first day she was in kindergarten, I went downstairs after while I was working and she wasn't there. And I was really sad at that point in time, but my husband was devastated. He cried so much. It was, it was pretty hilarious.

[00:02:56] Krista: Yeah. Oh, well I am just these, these moments. Mine is in daycare right now with, with me working from home.

And but I know like a lot of this one-on-one attention that she's getting at school. I'm like, oh my gosh. Before we know it, she's gonna be in kindergarten and potentially on a bus and like, I don't know. It's a lot to think about and a lot to ponder.

[00:03:20] Alicia: Right. Yeah, it's true. It's, I mean, it's true. Like I said, I have a high schooler and that has been so much, so much for me this year. I think it was, it was harder on me for him to go to high school than it was for my youngest to go to kindergarten.

[00:03:35] Krista: Gosh. Yeah, because too, before you know it, they're gonna be getting that driver's permit and then they're gonna be walking that graduation line and it's like, oh my gosh, where did they go? Where did those little infants go? Right? Truly trying to cherish every, every little moment.

Well let's talk birth stories. I know we haven't really had a chance to talk about this together, but for me, I was terrified for the longest time about having kids. And so one of the episodes here, actually the first, I believe it's the first two episodes with my podcast, are talking about my birth story. So I will not get into that here. Go back and listen to episodes one and two for that.

But tell us whatever you feel comfortable with sharing about your birth plans, birth stories with your kiddos. I know our listeners would love to hear.

[00:04:26] Alicia: Yeah. So I was so fortunate that I had easy pregnancies with both my children. So they were a walk in the park. I really didn't have extensive warning sickness.

But I was like you first time around I was terrified of having a baby. Like the whole birthing process was absolutely terrifying to me, and I did not have the greatest birth. With either one of them. So my first one at like 36 weeks, I had my 36 week ultrasound and was going into the, the doctor's office, and they were like you need to go to the hospital right now.

I'm like, okay, what, what? Which is terrifying. They didn't really give me any reasoning why or what was going on. They just were like, we're calling in an order. Go to the hospital right now. And apparently they thought that I wasn't, that, that they basically, my oldest wasn't getting enough oxygen during, from my placenta and that they might need to do an emergency c-section.

Again, didn't know all of this right away, so I went to the hospital. They did some additional testing, and then they're like, okay, we're admitting you now. So at 36 weeks, I was not really prepared to be in the hospital and so I ended up going into being admitted, they induced with my oldest and then I had a failed induction because I was only 36 weeks.

What they don't tell you I think in advance is that if you're induced and you haven't started dilating, the percentages that you're gonna end up with a c-section go up drastically. Then what they do, if you've already started the dilation process and I had not dilated at all, so. Went through the induction process was in like 20 hours of labor, and then finally his heart rate dropped and then I had to have an emergency C-section with him.

And so that was, you know, my biggest fear was having a C-section, which after the fact I was just like, you know, that wasn't as bad as I thought it was gonna be. Obviously it's painful, it's major abdominal surgery, but they kind of make you terrified that this is gonna be something that could happen to you.

It wasn't, it was obviously very like tra traumatizing at the time, but afterwards, in hindsight, it wasn't as awful as what I thought it was gonna be. Just the whole, you know, rigamarole of being processed through the hallways and being like, okay, we gotta get this baby out now. That part of it was pretty, pretty upsetting.

And then when he was born they took him straight to the NICU and fortunately we didn't have any kind of major, major problems. He was underweight. He had some, some minor issues with regulating his temperature, but. See him for like 12 hours after he was born. So I I was up in recovery in my room and then he was down in the nicu and since I had a C-section, they didn't wanna get me out of bed and wheel me down there.

So it took a solid 12 hours and finally I was sitting in my room just like sobbing because you're emotional sobbing. And they're like, what's the matter with you? Is everything okay? And I was like, I haven't seen my baby. And I've just had him inside of me for so long and I was just devastated because my sister-in-laws at the time were coming in and they're like, we saw the baby and we fed him and we him and I was like, you saw my baby and held him before I saw my baby and him.

And that was it. For me, I was like, that's the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. Again, in hindsight, it probably wasn't as emotional as what it was, but it was pretty, pretty upsetting that everybody else in the family had been able to see my child and I hadn't. So finally the nurses got me up and kind of wheeled me downstairs and I got to see him and hold him.

But it felt very traumatic because you're so emotional and there's so much going on and it was a lot, a lot to take in, especially because I was very young when I had him. I was only 20. And so I just not quite prepared for that with my second one, it was much easier.

But still, even during my scheduled c-section when I had her, they nicked my bladder and like cut into my bladder and they had to have an emergency urologist come in and repair my bladder for me. And I went home from the hospital with a catheter. So, you know, that , that was not the greatest experience, like having to like leave the hospital while you have a catheter and like picking up your school.

Cause I had to go and buy like maxi dress to cover this catheter that was like taped to my leg. So it was, that one was an odd experience. It wasn't the greatest, greatest thing that could have happened to me, but it, it wasn't as bad as like the first one.  Yeah.

[00:08:29] Krista: Yeah. Oh my goodness. Truly, it's, it's one of those things where it's like the best laid plans. You can have the best birth plan and like, know all of the things that you would like to happen. But just know that all of it could get turned on its head, and you just have to roll with the punches and know that at the end of the day, the doctors are there, doctors and nurses, they're all there to help.

They're all there to keep everyone healthy and provide care. And ultimately things are gonna roll out the way they're gonna roll out. I hate that that happened with your, your gallbladder. Who would've known? I don't know anyone else that's happened to.

[00:09:13] Alicia: Yeah. Well, it was my bladder bladder. But yes, that was I didn't know that that was even a thing. Apparently it happens on occasion because of adhesions or something. I don't know. But because I had. To have a urologist come in and repair my bladder while right after my C-section. I really didn't get to see my daughter for a bit either cuz they had to do surgery, which was pretty comical because they're wheeling me out to like post-op recovery and my husband is sitting, I don't know what these nurses were thinking, but my husband was sitting in, it's kind of our hospital had like these like little recovery stations where they're just separated by a curtain.

They're wheeling me out and my husband is sitting in this chair holding the baby with his shirt off, sitting in the hospital because they're like, oh, they need to do skin to skin contact. So we just had your husband do it. And I'm like, where are your clothes right now? Why are you topless? So he you know, he was, he was sitting in the hospital with all of these other moms and dads just kind of hanging out with his shirt off, holding the baby.

I was like, they could have at least given you a gown to cover up, aren't you cold? So, you know, that part of it, I think was pretty, pretty funny.

[00:10:15] Krista: Yes, thank you for sharing your birth stories. Again, everyone is gonna have a different story. Going in, expecting everything to happen a certain way, and at the end of the day, it's like, please, dear Lord, just let this baby be healthy and let, let all of us just get to the other side.

However, it pans out with everyone happy, healthy, and just getting out of here, ready to go home and, and start this new chapter. So what is something no one told you about becoming a mom?

[00:10:53] Alicia: You know, I didn't experience this with my first, I saw him and it was like an instant, like love connection.

I bonded with him instantly, but one thing I just didn't expect with my second one is I didn't bond with her right away. Nobody told me that that was something that could. And I felt like I was such a failure at the beginning cuz I had this baby and I was like, oh my gosh, this baby, I don't even like it.

She, I felt, I didn't, I felt like she was a little bit of a stranger. And so in talking with other moms, some of them sometimes feel that too. But I felt, I kind of suffered in silence about it for like a solid week before I really started kind of bonding with her. And that doesn't, you don't always like hold your baby and instantly feel this love connection I did with my son, but with my daughter, I was just like, well here's this baby that I'm taking care of now. And I felt very overwhelmed. And you know, one of my friends was like, well, maybe you had a smidge of postpartum depression. And I didn't feel like, I didn't feel depressed or anything. I just didn't feel like an instant, like that instant connection or bond that you normally feel as a mom.

And that I especially not the same with my son. So I felt, I felt really alone in that for like a solid week. And then finally once I started getting to know her personality outside of my womb, it felt like I was, you know, getting to know her. And I felt like I could calm down. I think I was just feeling very overwhelmed about the idea of having a son and, you know, having this baby and making sure that both my kids felt like they were both special.

And I like, the first week of that just felt like a lot for me to process. And then once I kind of got through that first initial shock and the hormones that are raging through your body, it was much better. But I did feel like in the very beginning I was just like, oh my gosh, is this baby gonna love me?

Because I felt like I didn't bond with her in the same way that I did with my son. So I don't think that that's something that people really talk about. Like they don't, that's not something anybody ever shared with me until I started talking about how I didn't bond with my baby.

Some people were just like, well, you know, I didn't really feel like an instant connection either. It just, it happened sometimes and I've, I did eventually feel that bond with her. Like I said, it took me a week to get over how overwhelmed I was and you know, just everything that was going on. And then I, you know, obviously she's, she's an amazing child.

She's so funny. So we bonded, but it, it took a little bit and I just felt like very alone during that process. And I wish other people knew that too.

[00:13:10] Krista: Absolutely. I love that. And it can be, And when I say I love that, I mean just the importance of like allowing yourself to open up about it and like talk with people about it and think through why am I feeling this way?

Because I know it's so easy to sometimes just kind of be off on that. Island a little bit thinking what in the world is going on? And so many magical things can happen when moms open up to each other. Cuz I think we tend to just all feel like we're going through certain things alone. So again, another reason why I felt it was so important to get this podcast up and running, because I think there's a lot moms can learn from each other, you know?

And because there's certain things you wanna talk about that it's like, well, I don't necessarily feel comfortable putting this out on Facebook, you know? Mm-hmm. so, or just like out to the world on Facebook. So definitely. As I've, especially over the last year or two, you know, really valued creating those circles of people that can just come around you and more than ever as moms, because it's so easy to feel ashamed and feel judged for certain things and it's like, hey, can we all just talk about this together and realize we're not always gonna agree on certain things, but like, just be there for each other sometimes just to listen


[00:14:46] Alicia: I think it's important. It's important to develop that. I mean, you know, I felt like I was a little bit on an island and I didn't wanna talk to anybody about it. I felt embarrassed about it. But, you know, looking back, if I would've had the courage to talk to somebody about it, I probably would've felt a lot better.

But I didn't, I didn't feel at that point, you know, I just felt embarrassed and ashamed, kind of like, oh my gosh, I'm not bonding with this baby. You know, I don't feel like she knows me and I don't feel like I know her. And it just felt, felt very off. And like I said, after a week of like having her to hold her and kind of get used to her as, as an individual outside of me, it was much easier.

But it just, I felt really embarrassed and sad that this was what was, what was happening to me. And I think it's something we should talk about. We should talk about our failures too, that we have in life, because other people probably have been doing it too. Other people have probably been falling short in the same areas, and we're just all moms that should support each other.


[00:15:36] Krista: We're all human and there is no instruction guide to any of this. We're all figuring it out, as we go along day by day. Well, what, so, so thank you for sharing that and for, for being vulnerable. What is a piece of baby gear or kid gear, that has been a lifesaver with your two kiddos?

[00:16:01] Alicia: You know, so I didn't have this with Corbin when he was little, but with Raya, this is gonna sound ridiculous, but there are these like little plates.

That kind of stick to the table because with my oldest, he would throw his food off the table, he would knock his bowls over. And it seems, again, it seems ridiculous that this was such a lifesaver for me. But we, we eat out, we, well, before Covid, we would eat out in restaurants quite a bit with our kids. We always take them everywhere we go.

And if we're going to a nice place, then our kids go to, so we take our kids with us out into restaurants and even at home and these little mats that you could just toss in your diaper bag that stick to the table. So the eat not things off, were just such a lifesaver with my second one. And I didn't, when we did, I didn't have these with my son.

I was thinking about all the stuff that he threw on the floor and knocked bowls that he had on the floor whenever we were out and even at home. And it was always kind of just frustrating at a restaurant, especially because you don't wanna be that mom with the kid who's like, you know, yelling or making messes and the servers have to clean up the floors and stuff like that.

And it was fantastic. They were what is the name of those plates now that I'm, I'm on here. I just can't even remember what it is, but basically just like suctions to the table. Sure. They were, they were fantastic. I loved them so much.

[00:17:13] Krista: I have seen those. I don't think we have ever used those, but I know what you're talking about and I have seen them.

So good to know that was a helpful piece of gear. What is something that you thought was gonna be super helpful? And you got it. Either maybe through a shower or just through, like maybe you read about it somewhere and then you got it and you're this was not worth it. This does not live up to the hype.

Do you have anything like that?

[00:17:42] Alicia: Yes, the mama ru like rock and swinger thing. The one that like just kind of would have all these different settings. I was adamant that I wanted this item. So with Corbin, he had a swing and he liked it, but it was just a standard swing and you know the cheap ones that you can get basically anywhere.

And I was adamant that one, that I was gonna have this mama ru. Rocking, like rocking Swinger.

[00:18:07] Krista: I know what you're talking about. Cause doesn't it have a couple of different settings? Yes. Cause it can like, it can do the s movement. Yeah. Or like, I don't know, there's a handful of different ways that it can rock the baby.

[00:18:19] Alicia: Yes. Yeah. So it was this mama mamao like rock and like bouncer thing and it was expensive. And like the new hip technology and I just thought I was gonna love it cuz my son loved his swing and we wanted nothing to do with that. My daughter had no interest in being in that. She didn't wanna be in it. And then actually after talking to a couple people, they're like, yeah, we spent all this money on this thing and never used it.

So it was a more expensive like baby item. And it just was not something that got used. We ended up just getting like an old fashioned. It worked better. So, you know, I was, I, that was all the rage when I first had had my daughter was that mama ru and then I got it and I was like, well, don't need this anymore.

That was, that was a very expensive. Waste of money.

[00:19:03] Krista: Yeah. I remember seeing that. We never had one, but I remember reading reviews and I kind of felt like people either loved them or they really did not like them. There wasn't much of an in between. And yeah, for us Because I kind of had that on my wishlist for a little while, and then I was like, oh, but it's so much money.

And I ended up doing, I think it was a rock and play or something like that for, for ours. But then you look at these, you see these recalls, like there are lots of swings and the swings and bouncers and things that have had. Product recalls on them. And so I, I think for the specific model we'd gotten, it had not had one issued.

But just a side note to just the importance of researching, reviewing the consumer reports, all of that stuff, just to make sure that everything has been deemed safe cuz that is terrifying. But yeah.

[00:20:05] Alicia: Yeah, we had the rock and play too, and it was right around the time that we, right after we got it and my daughter loved it.

It was going through that recall phase too, and I was like, oh, well, and at that point she was kind of getting too big for it anyway and so she would use it as like a seat. She wanted to sit in it. I'm like, this if you shouldn't be up here. But you know, she. was starting to outgrow it anyway by the time they recalled it, but she loved that when we first got it too.

[00:20:30] Krista: So kind of switching gears from baby gear to maybe some mental health or mom organization. Tips, tricks, ideas. How, how do you keep it all together? Alicia, as a mom, as a working mom of two and, and with, you know, some two different, very different aged kids. One is just starting high school, one is starting kindergarten.

How do you keep everything together?

[00:21:00] Alicia: Do people really keep it together? I mean, I keep it together as much as I can, obviously, but I mean, it's just. I, I don't know that, I don't know that I have, I do as best as I can, and that's that. I mean, we're at the point now where we have lots of schedules of sports and things outside of school and all of that, and, you know, you can just do what you can do.

That's really what it comes to. I do try to make sure that I'm keeping track of agendas, and I also try to make sure that, you know, I, I get to this point where sometimes I'm very overwhelmed with work and I have a lot of work and I'm trying to like balance being a mom and working. So I'll try to log off at a certain hour and make sure that I'm spending time and being present with my kids.

And then after they go to bed, I log back on. You know, that's not really healthy either. So you just have to realize that sometimes some of the things that you can't get to today, they're still gonna be there tomorrow. And then you can eventually get to them. And sometimes there's just not dishes that are always done and the floor's not swept and the house is dirty, and that that is still gonna be there tomorrow.

So you may have to look at it, but you know, just prioritizing what's gonna be important and spending time with your kids is what's important and leaving the rest of the wayside. And that's something that I have to tell myself a lot because it kind of, it feels overwhelming. But at the end of the day, it's not as important as being able to do the things that you need to do with your kids and prioritizing them over everything else.

I'm also very fortunate that within, I know that I do had just complained about my busy work schedule, but if I need to do something with my kids working from home, I can, I can be a little bit flexible at that. So if I have to run to the doctor during the day, I just kind of toss on my calendar and take a little bit of time and, and go and do that and flex around my schedule a little bit if needed.

So, but really at the end of the day, you know, you just have to realize what's important and what's not, and try to do the things that you have to do that day and put everything else off until, until tomorrow, or when you have a free minute to catch up.

[00:22:50] Krista: Yes. Because all of the tasks are always going to be there.

So true. So true.

[00:22:56] Alicia: Cooking dinner is always there. Cleaning, the house is always there. It never goes away.

[00:23:00] Krista: So yeah, it's just wrangling it all. It's herding the cats, right? As best. Yeah. You can Well, okay. Side question. I know this was not in here, but initially with what I sent you, do you, but hopefully this isn't too, too far out there.

Do you have a guilty pleasure or something that you really enjoy? Taking time for yourself to, to feed your soul. And you know, cause cuz they say if you aren't taking your care of yourself, it's really hard to take care of the people around you and the people you love. So is there anything special you like to do or you like to make time for it, to make sure you, yourself are getting what you need?

[00:23:43] Alicia: You know, I like to, I try to make sure that I just have time with my friends, you know, every week. We have, I have a really. Supportive, amazing neighbor mom group that I just have the ability to lean on them a lot. So if I need something from them, they can help with my kids. If they need something from me, I can help my them with their kids.

So I try to make sure that every week we try to get together and have a little bit of downtime, you know, even if it's us getting together and our kids running through the yard and playing and whatnot. So I, I do try to make sure that we, we have that time together just so that we can decompress. It really seems.

You know, we are all kind of in the same boat where we're working and managing our kids and trying to make sure that we can, you know, make our way through life on a day-to-day basis. But it really helps to have a really solid group of moms who kind of get it and can be my support system. And then if I ever need them to just take my kids from me for an hour because I need to go get a pedicure because I need downtime, they're all happy to do that.

And I think that that's, that's really helpful for me. It's like if I ha need to get away, my husband or my friends will are happy to help with the. So that I can just run and get a pedicure on my own and have some, some alone time.

[00:24:47] Krista: That support group's so, so important. Truly core to helping us keep our heads on straight, right?

[00:24:54] Alicia: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:24:56] Krista: So what is, what is a tip or trick or piece of advice that you would share with another mama right now?

[00:25:06] Alicia: That it doesn't matter how hard you try to be perfect, you're never gonna be perfect. So don't try to be perfect. Realize that you're gonna make mistakes. Realize that your kids are gonna mess up and just go with the flow and, you know, just accept them for the kids that they are and try to make them into good people if you can.

Don't put too much stress on yourself when you're trying to make your children perfect, because they're not gonna be, and you're not gonna be perfect either. We all strive for this, and this is something that, especially with my first, I was so young when I had him, in my opinion, I know that 23 isn't really that young and the grand scheme of having children, but I felt really young when I had my s.

Really unprepared. So for me, I put a lot of stress and pressure in making sure that he was always perfect, always well, kept, always, you know, reading to him every single night and not taking time for myself and wanting to make sure that I was the top-notch mom and was doing everything correctly. And you know, it was very hard and stressful for me, and I put myself through a lot of anxiety.

And I know that this is probably just a second child scenario, but with my daughter, I kind of got to the point where I realized that there's no perfect mom. You're not gonna be a perfect mom. Your kids aren't gonna be perfect kids. You just have to learn how to, you know, accept the fact that you're the mom that you are.

Just do what you can to make your children good humans, and make sure that they're fed and clothed and well taken care of. All that matters.

[00:26:29] Krista: Do what you can to make sure your children are good humans. At the end of the day, if that is all we do, I really think that is enough for a supermom cape and a gold star.

Building up good humans because this world needs more good humans.

[00:26:49] Alicia: Yeah, for sure it does. For sure it does. And I hope that my children turn into good humans. I mean, they're good children, so hopefully they'll be good adults someday too.

[00:26:56] Krista: Well, I know your heart. I know your personality. I know we haven't actually hung out in a long time.

Life happened and we moved away from our hometown areas and we've, you know, started separate things. But it's so nice that we do have this common thread and, and again, we have some fun, good memories together. And so I have no doubt. You are raising up some good humans. And before we, we wrap the episode, I do want to ask, is there anything that I didn't ask that you feel would be important for other moms to know or, or think about or just to throw out, to share about yourself or your kiddos?

[00:27:37] Alicia: You know, I don't really have anything super big that you didn't touch on. But I do just wanna reiterate, I think that, you know, just take some time for yourself as a mom. You know, we all need it and we're not gonna be able to be our best selves for our children if we're not taking care of ourselves too.

And I think that we forget about that a lot. We forget about that as parents, that we need to take care of ourselves so that way we can be able to show our children how to take care of themselves too. I mean, if we're constantly taking care of only them and not taking care of ourselves, it's what kind of example are we leading for them?

You know, they need to be able to learn how to take care of themselves too, and you can show them that by doing it to yourself.

[00:28:18] Krista: Absolutely. I, I love that. Great piece of wisdom. And mom, mom tips hashtag mom tips. Love that. Alicia. So appreciate your time.  Thank you for joining us today on Secret Mom Hacks, and we're gonna call this episode a wrap.

So everyone, we will talk with you on the next episode. Thanks for tuning in today. Bye mama.

[00:28:42] Alicia: Thanks so much for having me. Bye.

[00:28:44] Krista: Wait real quick though. Mama, before I let you go, I just wanna say thanks again for being here with us today. I do not take that lightly, that you have taken time out of your super busy day to stop by and see what's going on on the Secret Mom Hacks podcast.

I really hope you enjoyed this interview with my friend and fellow mom, Alicia, just as much as I enjoyed catching up with her. And if you haven't done so already, make sure you also go and check out some of the previous episodes here on the Secret Mom Hacks podcast. I share my birth story, I share about my obstacles with breastfeeding.

And Mama, we are just getting started with this podcast. I have lots of, lots of things to talk about, lots of things. I want to talk with other mamas. and parenting and pregnancy and maternity experts about, there's a lot to cover in parenthood, right? But yes, we are just getting started. So I just wanna say thank you.

If you haven't caught those other episodes, make sure you go check them out and if you are enjoying what you're hearing here, Make sure you please subscribe to Secret Mom Hacks. Hit that little plus sign the check mark, whatever it is too. Make sure you are always notified of new episodes. Please give us a five-star rating and also review.

Let us know what you think. Let us know your takeaway. From these episodes, that would be so helpful. All right, now I will let you go. I will see you again soon on another future episode. Until then, you've got this mama.


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