January is over which means I can finally talk about what I’ve been trying to accomplish all month and, more importantly, stop being so flipping nice.
But before I talk about what happened, I’ll first address your burning questions and vigorous finger pointing. Like, why is being a great wife on your bucket list and how could you possibly “accomplish” that in one month and what is wrong with you?
When I looked ahead 50 years and thought about what I want to have done before I die, I noticed that all my top priorities had to do with family. Having a good marriage and happy children is far higher on the list than seeing the Brazilian beaches or owning a pig. As I was putting together my 2012 challenge and choosing goals for each month, I considered January and what I would be capable of.
January is a rough month for me. Winter is not my forte and every year I find myself slumping into a hibernative state just to survive the snow-down-the-boots feeling of dark days, darker nights, and having to put on socks. I thought, what if I really focused on my marriage this month; worked on avoiding fights, being selfless, and taking out the trash myself. What if I tried to be the great wife that is on my list? Maybe it would cheer me up. Maybe I would learn something.
In short, I pictured myself baking a lot of Austin’s favorite meals and showering him with praise and adoration each day.
This did not happen.
Keep The House Clean
Look Nice (brush your hair, woman!)
Act Nice (even if it’s pretend)
Be Nice (say nice things)
My Kid Is A Monster
I Am Tired
How It Actually Went
There were some successes.
When he said he didn’t like the potato soup I spent two hours making, I did not cut him.
When he woke the baby up by singing “I wanna be a millionaire,” I did not scream YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE and flee the house.
When he said “I don’t like these green grapes,” I went and bought red grapes.
When he complained there was nothing good to eat in the house, I bought him a hamloaf.
When I really wanted to go to the movies with friends, but he didn’t feel like babysitting, I stayed home without complaining.
When he asked me to go into the glove compartment and look up the fuel tank capacity of the Subaru in the owners manual, I did not pretend not to hear him.
When he did the dishes because otherwise “it would never get done,” I did not stand up on the dining room table and tell him exactly how many times I’ve done the dishes since he started medical school (every time).
It was hard; really, really hard. In fact, one day I was so sick of being nice to him that I almost changed the goal completely. But then an hour later he came home with a vanilla chai from Starbucks, a very uncharacteristic move for Mr. Baer, and I thought, “maybe it’s working.”
Truthfully though, I believe this month was a bust. Not only did I get my special cramp-inducing, hormone-raging friend for the first time in almost two years, we were in a sleep battle with the baby, resulting in frustration and exhaustion for both of us. I snapped, I snarked, and least of all did I keep up with the housework. I did manage to throw on some makeup and put on real clothes every day (a feat in itself), but I’m pretty sure it was overshadowed by the unbelievable amount of wonderful meals I did not make.
Last night I told Austin what my January goal was and he responded exactly how I predicted. He laughed, told me I’m always a great wife, and then pointed out how I’ve been my mean old self all month.
Okay, but I did learn a few things. I learned that dedicating your life to one goal each month is hard, especially if it’s being nice to someone who is specially trained in pushing your buttons (a spouse). I learned that pretending to be nice is just as good as actually being nice, because eventually you forget that you’re pretending. Mostly I learned something again that I already knew before: marriage is hard, especially when you feel like you’re being graded.
“A” for effort, “B” for results, and a toast to better luck next month.
Did you have a goal for January? How did it go?
Stay tuned to the first and last weekday of every month for more updates on the 2012 Challenge.
Click HERE for more details.