November Challenge

novemberchallengeIt should be no surprise to anyone that the Man and I are a very sarcastic couple.  We make jokes all the time about everything.  If he wasn’t so easy on the eyes, I’d say it was his sexiest quality, that incredible sense of humor.  He has me laughing to the point of tears, to the point of not being able to breathe, to the point of peeing a little.  But when is a joke more than a joke?  Is sarcasm always funny?  Is laughter the best medicine?

No.  Sometimes you’re just being a bitch.  Or a douche.  I said it.  In fact, sometimes the Man and I call a twenty-four hour joke-free truce.  No sarcasm, no poking fun, no actual jokes either.  We reset a little bit just to make sure that under all that teasing, we still think the world of each other.  Afterward, we find that we definitely still do, but sometimes it can be hard to tell.  The good gets lost in the unintentional bad.

So here’s my challenge for you (and me) for November, the month of giving thanks and showing gratitude and being kind: don’t be a bitch (or a douche).

You know you have those less-than-perfect moments.  I do too!  Honestly, I try to be a good person most of the time, but I have caught myself being bitchy.  I gossip.  I complain.  I tease.  I give judgmental looks.  I even lie on occasion (that’s not true…it’s more often than that.).  I’m not looking down on you from on high telling you that I’m better than all of that nonsense.  I do all of that nonsense.  Hell, I may have done all of that nonsense just today!   What I’m saying is that I’m going to own the fact that it’s nonsense and try to do less of it starting this November.

You know that quote?  About raising good kids?  Here it is again, in case you missed it:

“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.  It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” – L.R. Knost

Don’t be cynical for a moment (I know.  I can’t believe I wrote that either.), and think of how lovely the world would be if everyone focused solely on raising children who were always loving.  Not being a bully, playing fair, sharing, taking turns, lending a helping hand, standing up for what is right, showing kindness, caring, and love.  Wouldn’t you be thrilled if even one of your children had these abilities and kept them all the way through life?  Our babies come to us completely blank and absolutely adorable.  The rest comes from their world…and their world starts with their parents.

So don’t be a bitch (or a douche).

Does it sound a little harsh?  Maybe it is.  But I’m getting kind of sick of all the nonsense.  That’s another lie.  I’m way past sick of it.  I would ask for the challenge to be actually going out and being nice to everyone you meet, but I know that’s like asking the girl to eat a whole meal of food without any bribery.  Still, erasing the ugly is a fine place to start in making the world more beautiful.  So I’ll happily start there.

When you see a lady at work in an outfit that is completely unflattering to her body type, stop laughing.  Don’t point her out to colleagues.  Just look away, and move on with your day.

When you see a man checking the score of the game on his phone while out with his kids, don’t give him a dirty look.  Don’t tell him what he’s missing his kids doing.  Just look away, and move on with your day.

When a family member offers you unasked for advice on, well, everything you’re doing, don’t snap back.  Nod and smile.  Then walk away, and move on with your day.

When a child is having a tantrum in the park, don’t feel awkward and uncomfortable.  Don’t whisper what you could do better under your breath.  Don’t stare while pretending not to stare.  Just look away, and move on with your day.

Just for this month (or for every month forever after), when you catch yourself doing something bitchy (or douchy), just stop it, and move on with your day.  We can do better!  We should do better.  There are thousands of blog posts on being nice to each other.  Giving out compliments to strangers.   Sharing a knowing glance with an overwhelmed parent.  Writing random emails or (gasp!) handwritten notes to loved ones.  Dropping off flowers, gift cards, or meals to people in need.  You don’t have the time, patience, or money to do all that stuff.  I get it (kind of).  But stopping your own unkind behavior doesn’t take effort.  Just stop it, and move on with your day.  It cannot get any easier!

An investment in your behavior is an investment in your children’s future.  You know that, don’t you?  It’s not just about you anymore.  You are their first teacher and their most influential presence.  They are learning from you even when you think that aren’t listening, watching, or paying attention (so, you know, all the time).

So don’t be a bitch (or a douche).

After our lack of teasing for twenty-four hours, I can tell you that I am always more in love with this foolish man who constantly forgets everything, is forever falling asleep on me, and frustrates me more than any human alive.  I’m pretty sure my flaws are also blurred a bit for him.  Instead, all his remarkable characteristics, of which there are many, come to the forefront.  Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could do that for our whole world?  If we didn’t take note of what to make fun of, wouldn’t the positive come more clearly into focus?  The lady who is up early and working hard no matter what she’s wearing.  The man who took his kids grocery shopping, so his lady could get more than a prison shower for once.  The family member who loves your babes so much that they want to help and be involved in their lives in whatever small way they can.  The parent who manages to get out of the house to play with a kid smack in the middle of terrible twos instead of hiding at home for a year…or more.  They’re all out there just waiting to be noticed.

So when you catch your inner bitch (or douche) coming out of your mouth, your eyes, or your body this November, just shut it down.  Lock it in.  And move on with your day.

4 thoughts on “November Challenge

  1. Michelle DiCrecchio

    Amen, Lady!!!!!! We should know these things, but sometimes we need someone to point them out—- thanks for pointing them out to me!!

  2. Sara H

    I started thinking about this when I had kids. For some reason, I always think about one pre-mom Sara moment in the Philadelphia Art Museum with my (then pre-teen) niece and nephew. I had pointed out a uniquely dressed older couple in which the man was carrying a leopard-print tote. I invited my niece and nephew to laugh at them along with me, proposing the questions: Was it his tote? Was he carrying his wife’s tote? Based on the colorful attire of them both, you really couldn’t tell. It was hysterical. I like to think I am a nice person. For some reason I always think of this example because, as well meaning as I was with that commentary, would I want Marley and Julian to learn to laugh at others in this way. If that old guy wanted to carry a leopard-print tote, let him do so in peace goddamn it. And one day Marley might grow up and find himself wanting to carry such a bag and I want him to feel like I won’t laugh. So, yes. Good Challenge Miss Lady.

    1. TheLady Post author

      Thanks for sharing, Sara. I agree that I look at myself and my actions differently now that there are more eyes and ears paying close attention. I don’t think I’m that bad…but then I catch myself doing something not so great and realize I could do better. Because, you know, there isn’t enough involved in parenting, so why not throw another log on the fire? Thanks for joining the challenge!


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