What Do You DO All Day?

The other night, I was talking over with Tom the changes that are coming my way in reference to my job. I will save that for next week, because it’s not the point of this post.

The point is that we ended up discussing very briefly something that we have discussed at length on other occasions, which is this: well-meaning and very sweet friends (whom I will give the benefit of the doubt and say do this without realizing it) who say things that make me feel looked down on for being a nanny.

Now, I give them the benefit of the doubt because I know them well enough to know that they love me and wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings. Or, for some people, I give them the benefit of the doubt because I just met them and they seem nice and like they don’t mean to be insulting.

But sometimes, when I hear people saying the things they say to me, I want to ring their necks.

Shall we explore a few?

1. “You still babysitting?”

I don’t babysit.

I used to babysit for pocket cash for 7 years, so I feel I would know the difference. Babysitting is when you go to someone’s place, on occassion, and watch their kid for a few hours, usually when they have a date or some other short function to attend.

Webster defines it as “to care for children during the usually short absence of the parents.”

Nannying is not for a short absence. The parents aren’t running out for a movie or for a party. They are working hard at their professions. All day. And I step into that role to care for their child while they are gone.

That means that oftentimes, I am the first person that the child sees when they wake up and the only one caring for them for 90% of their waking (and listening out during 100% of their napping) hours during the work week. That’s not because the parents I work for don’t want to be doing that- it’s because both the parents need to provide for their families and still want their children to receive quality care from someone while they have to be at work.

2. “What do you DO all day?”

Well, I work. What do YOU do all day?

I mean, sometimes it’s so funny to me the way people ask that. I’m not the only one who gets that question and feels like I’m being told that I don’t actually do anything, by the way. Just ask any stay at home mom or dad.

It’s funny how so few other professions are asked to give an itemized list of their job duties in order to prove that they are not, indeed, twiddling their thumbs instead of being productive during the day.

But let’s do it anyway. Here are a few things that I do with the boys as their nanny:

-Change diapers.

-Get child dressed.

-Teach manners.

-Prepare food.

-Feed food.

-Allow child to attempt feeding themselves because they need to learn.

-Clean up child covered in food.

-Clean up food from every surface in what feels like a 10 foot radius.

-Read books.

-Teach sign language.

-Teach English.

-Teach some words in Spanish.

-Practice counting, colors, shapes, etc.

-Stay in the house and listen to monitor for however long they need to nap.

-Play outside.

-Go to pool.

-Go to park.

-Go on walks.

-Go play with other kids.

-Document child’s discoveries and adventures via photos.

-Document child’s discoveries and adventures via videos (usually on my phone).

-Send parents pictures of child during the day so they don’t miss them so much.

-Teach alphabet.

-Teach kindness.

-Teach patience.

-Deal with temper tantrums.

-Go back to teaching manners.

-Hold hands and walk at snail’s pace so child can improve balance skills.

-Kiss boo-boos.

-Give hugs.

-Give kisses.

-Contract whatever illness child is carrying.

(This comes with added benefits of:

A. Coming to work anyway unless you’re puking because you don’t want to cause the parents to miss work.

B. Having a sick and miserable feeling child to care for while you feel sick and miserable yourself.

C. Not being paid if the other family doesn’t want you to come over because you are sick and might infect their child.Β And you get it, so you understand, but it still doesn’t change the fact that no work=no pay.)

-Play with toys designed to entertain someone under the age of 2.

-Watch educational videos designed to entertain and teach someone under the age of 2.

-Sing songs.

-Actually engage in playing, not just sitting there watching.

-Helping out with dishes, laundry, etc.

-Do all of this with a loving attitude, patience, and, as often as you can, a smile on your face.

Now, I should clarify. I LOVE my job. I know that list might not sound like it, but that’s not the case. It’s just an honest, and not even comprehensive, list of some of the things that any good nanny will do. And that’s just for little kids. Older kids might require attendance at practices, games, PTA meetings, etc.


And to those that say, “yeah, well my mom did all that AND worked,” I beg to differ. If she was working a different job, that means that someone else was doing the child care while she worked, whether it was a preschool, a daycare, a nanny, a grandparent, or a spouse. Not that working and parenting isn’t commendable. It is. And it’s just as hard, maybe harder for those parents who really want nothing more than to be at home with their child but need to be working. But still, it’s not the same, so she did not, in fact, “do all that AND work.”

3. “Well, at least you can get some downtime, and you can do your errands.”

I’ll readily admit that this job comes with certain perks. If I am extremely tired because I’m sick or have been up late for some reason, I can take a nap while the child naps, and onΒ occasion, I do.

I mean, if you get the chance to sleep when you’re tired or do some other thing without a child around, you do it during their nap. Because, guess what? If I just need a break, I have an upset stomach, or I need to step out to make a phone call (I get better reception outside at both houses where I work), there is NO ONE ELSE there to step in for me. Not even for five minutes. It’s me and the kiddo.

So that means using the bathroom with the door open or bringing the child to the bathroom with me. Which, in turn, means washing my hands with my neck twisted to make sure nothing gets sent on a trip down the toilet.

And that means that there are no breaks once the babe is awake.

And if you need to make a call, the person on the other end can expect half your attention and lots of noise on your end because little kids are loud and require constant supervision.

As for errands, I can run them if I need to, but that includes bringing a little one along for the trip, which means that:

A.I am the only non-parent I know who has a carseat (or two) in my car at all times, along with crackers, diapers, wipes, toys, and a stroller. I don’t mind that because it’s very convenient.

B. People will constantly assume you are a parent. I don’t really mind that either, but I do often wonder what the other people think happened to my genes. I mean, I have dark hair, dark eyes, and an olive complexion. Both the kids I watch are blonde-haired, blue-eyed boys.

C. Couponing with a child in tow is almost impossible (for me, anyway). I have to really pay attention to what I’m buying and what I have coupons for, and that can make for a long shopping trip. I also need to pay attention to whomever is with me because, well, that’s my job. And also because they like balloons, which I’m starting to think grocery stores put on every aisle just to screw with people who bring young children to the store. And they want to hold the items I plan to buy. Oh, and to hurl those items onto the floor or onto the eggs, or wherever seems best at the time.

4. “Well, I am doing X activity, if it makes you feel any better.”

Well, no, it doesn’t make me feel better that your son is an 8th year senior at whatever college he attends or that you are in a job you don’t think anyone would want.

Know why?

Because I don’t think I need to “feel better” about what I do for a living. I work hard, and a family has a better life because of it. I love the kids I take care of, and the parents know that. They often tell me how much of a difference it makes knowing that if they can’t be home with their child, they know that they are leaving them with someone who genuinely cares for them, loves them, and wants to invest in them.

And comparing it to whatever you consider the most embarrassing part of your life does NOT make me feel better. It makes me feel like you think I should feel as bad about my job as you do about whatever you’re ashamed of, but that you want me to know that we’re in it together.

I know you mean well, but please stop assuming that people who nanny only do it as a last resort. It’s true that it’s not what I thought I would be doing. And yes, I used to worry about that. But I chose to leave the jobs I planned on having behind for very good reasons, and I have come to realize how much value there is in what I do for these families.

So thanks anyway, but I don’t need to “feel better” about that.

However, I will admit that I get a certain amount of twisted pleasure now that I expect this to happen. That is because I know that most of the people who say that are aware that I worked my booty off in high school, got into the college of my choice, graduated with a degree and a minor, and that the last thing they expect me to say when they ask me what I’m doing now is “nannying.” It almost makes up for the sympathy in their voices when I see the look of confusion cross their faces as they struggle to respond.

5. “You sure blog a lot more now that you are nannying. You have a lot more time on your hands now, huh?”

Suffice it to say that you would probably do that too if the only person you were with all day couldn’t talk. And that if I am blogging during my work hours, it’s during naptime.

Blogging has become something of an outlet for me, not to mention a challenge. I enjoy seeing if I can get a post out every day. I don’t alway manage it. But the benefit of feeling like I have contact with adults when I am, in actuality, spending 40-50 hours a week with 1.5-year-olds, is worth the time it takes to blog on a regular basis.

So there you have it. Five of the most common insults that people almost never realize are offensive to me or to many others out there who invest so much of their time into bringing up the next generation.

Here’s to hoping that these social faux pas are avoided in the future.


44 thoughts on “What Do You DO All Day?”

    1. The thing is, I get wondering as long as it’s not done with the attitude of “what could you possibly do to fill your time, because that sure isn’t hard work?”

      But I think that it’s funny that we never ask other people what THEY do all day. I mean, we were all kids once, so we should remember how much went into bringing us up. We never ask teachers what they do, because we remember being in school. Why do we ask parents or caregivers what they do? Or why don’t we ask the people doing jobs we’ve never witnessed what THEY do all day since we have no reference for it? The reason is because that would seem rude and we wouldn’t want to indicate that they don’t work hard.

      For some reason that doesn’t seem to apply to parenting or caregiving. I mean, people should remember how much their own parents or caregivers did, at least to some degree.

  1. I completely agree! I’ve started watching a kid 3 days a week and everyone keeps asking if I’m going to get a real job. I can’t believe that childcare, which should be one of the most important jobs ever, has been deemed unworthy.

  2. So well put Meghan! I get these questions being that I am a stay-at-home parent all the time. Thank You so much for blogging about this. I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for anything πŸ™‚

  3. I was a nanny for a little over a year and a half. The only difference was, that the children were being dropped off at my house. That helped me a lot because of my own kids that I needed to see off to school in the morning. Plus I was home when they got off the bus after school. I was watching 4 kids in my home at one point, ages ranged from 3 and 1/2 to 3 months old. My day started 5 am, so that I had enough time to shower and get myself ready before the 1st child/children were being dropped off at 6:50 am. And the last child was being picked up at the end of the day at 5:45 pm, (while my kids were doing their homework and I was getting dinner ready). Did this 5 days a week. And I had to see to the children all while getting my kids off to school and a husband off to work. Aaah! And, thank God I had a minivan at the time. I had 4 car seats to deal with. And yes I would take them out with me during the week, because I was leading the children’s ministry, ages 6wks to kindergarten, at our church at the time as well, so I would go to the church to prepare the weekend lessons and make sure the nursery and classrooms were clean and ready for the weekend services. It was very draining. I eventually had to give up on a few kids. My entire week was being consumed by other people’s kids. That didn’t leave me much time or energy for my own kids and husband. So no, being a nanny is not as easy as some people think. I eventually gave it up all together when my mother-in-law got sick and we did a lot of traveling to be with her. It is definitely a labor of love and, as much as I love kids, I have to say that I’m thankful that I’m not doing that anymore. Never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant. These families are very blessed to have someone like you caring for their children.

    1. Thank you, Sylvia! I am sure those parents were very sad to have to give you up! I have no plans of continuing as a nanny once I become a stay-at-home mom, but then, my plans rarely turn out as I think they will. hahaha We’ll see what happens!

  4. I REALLY HATE the what do you do all day question!! I would put to you that mommying is paid caregiving times a hundred….what I mean by that is that it is more work for more benefit. I think the work is more because it is 24hrs a day ( ie the twice in the middle of the night feedings I gave Charlotte), there is literally no way of calling in sick especially if you are breastfeeding, there are NO days off, and in the end you are the one soley responsible for the Childs welfare. I say more benefits because well it’s your child; no there is no pay and little praise for a job well done but you get the undeniable joy of watching your own flesh develop as an individual. I don’t think any other thing can bring more work into ones life than having a child but neither do I think that anything can bring more pleasure!

    1. I agree! I know I’m not a mom yet, but I aways say, “at least as a nanny, I get to go home at the end of the day, sleep through the night, and have the weekends off!” However, I feel like giving up that “freedom” to be a mommy will be totally worth it. I am really looking forward to having a little baby “mash-up” of me and Tom to take care of.

      Not to mention that I look forward to being at my own house so that I can do some of my own cleaning and laundry instead of helping out with other peoples’ and coming home to more of that at my house!

      (You know you’re grown up when you look forward to doing laundry and cleaning during your day. Boooring. lol)

  5. Preach it sister!

    We’ve discussed this before with you guys and deal with many of the same issues so we know exactly how you feel. I understand questioning someone’s career when you believe there’s irresponsibility or apathy involved, but when there’s a conscious decision about a career that someone truly believes is the best decision for them and their family then there’s no need to belittle or criticize that decision, whether directly or indirectly. Frankly, it’s ignorant and callous.

    1. Yeah, boi!! haha

      I know Jenn feels the same way I do. I hate that she goes through it, but I’ll admit it was a relief when we all first talked about it and realized it was something both of us were going through. It was nice to feel like someone else I’m friends with could relate!

  6. AMEN! This is my favorite blog post ever. I’m so sick of those questions! We’re having a housewarming for family on Sun and I know I’m going to get asked a million times about my job situation. Excuse me, but my job decisions, day-to-day life, and finances are no one’s business but me and my husband!

    It is hard though because you know they don’t mean harm so you can’t really get mad. I still stand by the fact that if I were a stripper people wouldn’t care what I did with my time because at least I had a “9-5” job. But if you spend your day doing things and people can’t see what they are…it’s evidently crazy.

    At least I happen to have one best friend I can complain with :).

    1. Thank you! I knew you would like this one! haha It’s so funny, because I was gonna say that I would understand people having a problem with my job if I was doing something like stripping but I mean…childcare? Or taking care of your own family? People can’t seem to handle that!

  7. I could NEVER be a nanny. It’s so much more of a constant working job than I could ever do. I can’t even handle Lainey for a couple of hours. I have no idea how you do it every day. I hope I’m not one of the people who have ever made one of those comments because I admire people like you πŸ™‚

    1. Haha, every time we talk about it, you say how you could never do it because you get over the kid thing after a couple hours! No insult in that! lol

  8. Although not everyone feels this way, it’s irritating for me to hear it because it’s occasionally representative of a double-standard of thinking.

    You can’t simultaneously believe that we’re all meant to do something with our life (arguably, that ‘something’ intersects with us being happy and making a living) and then ridicule a person when they are doing just that.

  9. WOW! I am glad you got that off your chest!

    Sounds like your job is super rewarding – go you for doing something you love and can be passionate about! Not enough people aim for that.


    1. Thank you. I am not sure that I would be doing this job if it weren’t for Tom supporting our family so much with his work. I definitely would make more money going through a nannying agency, but I wouldn’t get as much choice in who I am working for, and I’ve found that to make all the difference. Tom allows me to do what I love without worrying as much about the fact that I contribute very little financially anymore. πŸ˜‰

  10. Well said, Meghan! I could never do what you do, and its because of amazing people like you that people like me even consider having children. Because the good Lord knows I’ll need some help like you if Davey and I ever have kids πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Kristen! I know you are working hard getting your business off the ground, and it would be tough to run a business, make EVERYTHING for that business, and be a stay-at-home mom too. I am sure you will find a great nanny someday!

  11. I don’ t get the questions much. Because once people get over the shock of a guy in his late 30s being a full time nanny, they usually don’t have the gall to question what I do all day.

    I agree with Sylvia though, having kids at your own house makes a huge difference. I would not want to spend 50 to 60 hours a week at someone else’s house.

    By the way, not only do I have two car seats in my car, but I have a mini-van. (And I don’t have my own kids.)

    1. Is it sad that I’m jealous of the minivan?

      All of my friends laugh at me because I want The Honda Odyssey 2011. I drool over it. I keep telling them that once they have to deal with traveling with kids, they will get it more. Sliding doors, a cooler , a dvd player, seats that fold and move to where you need them…all this in your vehicle…music to my ears. I dream of the day I don’t have to bend over to get a baby out of my Camry. Or worry about denting someone’s car in a parking lot.

      You lucky duck.

      1. Yeah, not quite the same class as my 15 year old mini van. The seatbelts are arranged strangely so if I want to have more than 1 adult, the kids have to be in the back. I have to reach over the front seat to put them in and take them out. I do have a cd player and sliding doors and I can removed the seats, but not fold them. (They weigh about 80 lbs a piece). But all in all I like the minivan. I would like driving my wife’s prius more, but the minivan works, is paid for and hopefully will work for years to come. I have had it for almost 5 years and only put about 9000 miles a year on it. So baring any engine or transmission issues, it will probably make it to 20 years.

        1. Well, I love a car that’s paid for in full! Ours both are, and we plan to attempt to buy a used minivan (in full if possible) that I love when we have a bebe of our own. By then, hopefully a used 2011 Odyssey in good condition will be available for much less!

  12. May I just say that I am extraordinarily proud of you, what you do and how you do it? I’ve watched you “mother” little Will and it makes me so proud to see how skillfully, lovingly, and patiently you care for him–it would be extremely hard to find anyone to replace you. You are going to be a great mother one day–my grandchildren will be a excellent hands! Having been a stay-at-home mother, I know how challenging it is to train children to be loving, kind, thoughtful, responsible people and to demonstrate that good character at the same time; to plan fun times, educational excursions, etc…and oh, so much more. Perhaps the reason so many people wonder about what you do is that they were raised by my generation that valued and gave status to jobs outside the home more and often mocked the traditional family model. Many simply don’t know what a full-time mother does because they didn’t have one–they are curious…..The feminist movement was in full swing when I was raising my family. It was supposed to be about equal pay for equal work and equal opportunity for both sexes to do the jobs they wanted to do–but somewhere in the process it became extreme so that choices were taken away and all women were taught that they had to work in jobs that made money if they wanted to be respected and have power. I’ve had more than my share of “those” questions so I decided to hold my head up and answer with pride that I was a full-time homemaker and Mom to four great kids…often my friends who were busy with careers would lower their voice and confide that they wished that they could be doing what I do but they needed to work to pay for ____. We had decided back when Jonathan was born that I would retire from teaching and we would live on what Dad earned–I have always appreciated that your Dad felt mothering was of high value……Others said that they preferred leaving childcare to someone else because they found it to be too hard–it was easier to go to the office. Well, yeah—it is one of the hardest jobs you can do and one of the most important jobs in the world. When I see the kind of woman you are, I know I chose the right career. I am proud to be your mother!

    1. Thank you, Mom! I got teary-eyed reading this, but since I was reading it on my phone at the gas station, I’m pretty sure most people thought I was upset about gas prices. πŸ˜‰

      1. So glad your mom gets the “technology” and comments on your blog. What a sweetie!!

        My mom just calls me or sends me an email commenting on my various posts…lol. So not helpful when trying to create a discussion in the blogosphere.

  13. I totally agree that child-care is one of the hardest professions. I also read a study recently about the potential bad effects dual income (outside the home) family can have on young children and also how much extra money you are often NOT making since the expenses go for someone else to care for the child.

    I’d argue that most people don’t truly know what goes into caring for a young child unless they have done it themselves or were very close to someone who has. Which would explain why so many young couples think they are “ready” to have a baby, when others around them can clearly see differently. So also be aware that most people probably don’t know what a nanny does – I know I didn’t. Other than time, I wasn’t aware of what differentiated a nanny from a babysitter. (You’ve cleared up any remaining confusion there in this post)

    You and I have never talked about your job that I recall but I know now that if we had I might have offended you simply because of the questions I would have asked but then you might have offended me by the assumptions you made about why I asked those questions.

    I ask people all the time, “What do you do all day?” If I ever meet a brain surgeon, I’ll ask them the same question. I’m curious and by knowing what they go through each day helps me to understand them better – most likely operating on brains is just a small part of their day-to-day time wise. Granted, it sounds like you have been asked that question in a not so polite way too many times.

    Be confident (but not bitter) in your answer to “what do you do all day.” I think everyone can apply that regardless of their profession. Everyone should know the value that they give to their current job/position/profession. It’s the idea of being confident in one’s choices and if you aren’t where you want to be then have a plan to change it and make different choices. If sharing things about their daily activities or their job or whatever seems offensive then maybe they are subconsciously unhappy with their decisions.

    As far as nannying, I’d say that babysitting (caring for basic needs) is the lowest bar for a nanny. Teaching manners, teaching Spanish, cooking, cleaning around the house, taking pictures, socializing, etc. are all huge value-adds for the life of that child and that family, all of which probably differs from nanny to nanny and I would love to hear about the nuances of each nanny that I come across.

    I like your comment “I don’t think I need to feel better about what I do for a living.” Stay confident and keep educating people. Don’t be afraid to turn the questions right back around to them and see if they have half as good of an answer.

    1. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed my work. πŸ˜‰

      As for being offended by being asked, it’s all about the tone/attitude/implications. If someone said any of these:

      -How do you like nannying? What responsibilities does it entail?
      -What does a typical day look like for you, as a nanny?
      -What kinds of things are you expected to do as a nanny?
      -Is nannying what you thought it would be like? How/How not?

      Any of that would be fine. I don’t think anyone (in any profession) likes hearing “What do you do all day?” It implies that they can’t fathom that you are doing anything, or at least not enough to fill an entire day.

      I’m not bitter. But I do think it’s rude to talk down to people just because you don’t understand why they spend their day doing what they do, and I don’t feel bad asking for people to be more aware of how they speak, or, as you put it, “educating people.”

      Thanks for your encouragement!

  14. Meaghan,
    I can completely understand where you are coming from but I believe most people know my job is hard work (not that yours isn’t; I know it is because I have an 8 week old and that’s hard work and she can’t even walk yet) but they look at me as “the help” I guess you could say. When at his or her house making it spotless for them, THEY LOVE ME but seeing them out in public, THEY DON’T WANT TO ACT LIKE THEY KNOW WHO I AM. Granted, it’s not everyone I clean for that acts this way but it is 90%. And it’s not just the people I work for who I can feel this vibe from either. I can see it on other people’s faces when they ask “what are you doing now?” It is very disheartening and I’m glad you posted about it.

    1. That is really surprising to me! There is a very sweet lady named Loretta who helps my parents out by cleaning their house (for pay, not just because), and they love her to pieces. She started attending church with them, and my mom is really invested in her life. Loretta is awesome. She even helps look after the dog when they are out of town and has my cell number so she can call if there is an emergency. I can’t imagine treating her the way people are treating you.

      Gah, I’m getting mad just thinking about it! Well, the only thing I can think of is that they might sound like they are trying to sound “hoity-toity” if they tell someone what you do for them. One of the moms (who is really great) that I work for one day a week called me the babysitter the other day on the phone to a friend. After they hung up, she told me (without me bringing it up; I wasn’t going to say anything!) that she just felt like she sounded pretentious if she said “the nanny.” She said she didn’t want to come off the wrong way. So I get that. But she doesn’t act like she doesn’t know me or want to speak to me in public. That would be so offensive that I might just quit.

      On another note, how are things going for your business now that you have Macee? Are you still doing your business and bringing her with you? I bet you are exhausted anyway as a mom, then to add that in- I can only imagine!

      1. Oh yeah some people are just wonderful with me. For instance I clean for David and Becky Thompson and they are just wonderful!!!!!! I couldn’t ask for better clients. but I have encounter less than more of clients like them. I really just brush it off because I am really good at what I do and take pride in giving someone a clean healthy house to come home to. I know it makes most of them feel wonderful to come home to that “pine sol” smell πŸ™‚ lol

        I just take her with me, it’s rare that the people I work for are home. Since the drop of the economy though my business has dropped and DRASTICALLY. I went from @32 houses to 8 which hurt me a lot financially so I decided to go back to college. Then we found out Miss Macee would be here in 7 months. I kept going to college until we had a scare and had to be on bedrest for a while. I plan to start back but it’s so hard to think about being away from her πŸ™‚ Even though she wasn’t exactly planned she is my world now and it actually physically and emotionally hurts to think of not being there. But in order to do what’s best for our little family I have to go back to provide for her as best as we can.

        It’s so great to see you and Tom doing well! I can still see the same flare in you all’s eyes as high school and it’s amazing!! Congrats and God Bless you all πŸ™‚

        And in response to your curtain fiasco………If I can make them, you can make them. I just watched a video on how to make a simple lined curtain on youtube. The only problem I had was we have 7’x7′ windows!!! so I had to make the curtains 112″ long so they would reach the floor (REALLY old house).

        OH YEAH and mix a solution of part water and part dish soap in a spray bottle for your tomatoes and your big pre-butterfly surprise should stay away from yer maters……we have a huge garden each year and that trick seems to work on our tomatoes and cabbage but if it doesn’t try cayenne pepper ‘n’ water. That’ll definitely do it.

        I’m sorry lol but I have one more thing….I just wanted to know if your hydrangeas bloomed yet?

        1. Thanks for all those tips!! I will use those!

          My hydrangeas haven’t bloomed yet. They were just leafy last year. I’m hoping to get some blooms this year. I think I need to prune them more this year; that might help.

          Glad to hear that some people treat you the way they should. And that you get to bring Macee with you; I’m sure you will miss her when you’re back at school, but ultimately, you have to do what’s best for your family! I’m sure you’re a great mama!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *