Last month, I went out with my daughters Eva (10) and Francesca (8) for a belated Birthday dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. On the five minute walk to the restaurant, my double-act daughters made me laugh out loud with some seriously hilarious banter.
Last week, my three children laughed at dinner until they could barely breathe.
Last night, my oldest daughter was telling us the story of her day and was struggling to finish her sentences because she was laughing so much.
I LOVE that laughter is such a vital part of my children’s lives. Although I might worry about some of the things I’m NOT doing “right” as a mother, I feel great satisfaction and pride that laughter and a sense of humour is valued so highly in our home.
“If I could live my life over, I would have laughed more.” ~ Erma Bombeck
There’s no down side to laughing more. Read that again. It’s obvious and yet it’s my observation that people – and especially mothers – aren’t laughing as much as they could be. Life has become so stressful – “having it all” has become “doing it all” and we’re exhausted, stressed and have lost touch with our senses of humour. When – in truth – we’ve never needed them more.
Last night, about 30 minutes after I’d put all 3 children to bed and I was catching up with work, I heard the dreaded sound of footsteps on the stairs. Francesca (8) was bringing Leo (3) downstairs as he was scared. Any mother will know the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when, after thinking that your day of taking care of little people was over, you’re suddenly thrust back into care-taking mode and your patience reservoir is at an all-time low.
Normally, this would bring out my least admirable mothering behavior.
However, as Leo and I sat down together on the sofa, I really looked at him – this 3 feet bundle of brown-eyed mischief in all-in-one PJs – and I realised how soon this time will pass. Rather than rushing the moment, I relished in it.
He asked me if he could watch TV. I said “no”. I told him that the TV was sleeping. He answered “But mommy, I heard the TV say that it wants us to watch it.” The earnest look in his eyes as he told me this made me laugh out loud. Which made him mad. Or, at least, he tried to be mad. Which made me determined to make him laugh. So, as I pulled faces at him and did funny voices, he tried so so so hard to stay mad but simply couldn’t. He finally cracked up and we had this lovely moment together. Which I would have missed had I not been spending more time of late being more mindful of how I want my life to be.
He still took some persuading to get back to bed but a moment that would normally have been SO stressful was transformed by laughter.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fun and frivolity in the Robertson-Burgos household. There are some evenings when it all turns quite ugly. Replace the word “quite” in that last sentence with “very”, “unbelievably” or “bloody” to get closer to the truth. Think Kate Gosselin on a bad day. Well, Kate Gosselin, on many days even.
I’ve realised though that, whatever the circumstances, I always have a choice how to respond to them. I’ve recognized that when I handle situations with humour, the stressful situations evaporate much more quickly and the good situations are enhanced. Win-win.
So my challenge this week is for you to write your daily life story from a comedic point of view. To intentionally bring more humour to your life. Especially in the situations where humour wouldn’t normally be your default reaction.
To see the funny side of situations. To show your children what a powerful tool humour is. To laugh out loud whenever you get the chance.
“Seven days without laughter makes one weak.” ~Mort Walker