5 Ways to Laugh Instead of Cry

laugh instead of cry

We were newly married and money was tight, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to win a beautiful new sofa during the grand opening of the upscale furniture store in town! I got to pick out the color and everything. It was sofa heaven…

You might also imagine how I felt to walk into the living room a few weeks later to find my naked toddler rubbing the contents of his dirty diaper all…over…the…sofa. It was a disaster. An upholstery catastrophe of unspeakable proportions. This sofa would never be—or smell—the same.

I was late for Bible study, so I picked up and dressed my tiny, furniture-murdering criminal, cleaned up as much as I could, and headed out the door. When I arrived at bible study obviously rattled, an older, wiser friend named Pat asked what was wrong. I burst into tears and told her about my personal tragedy. After a brief pause, she threw her head back and literally cackled. Stunned, I just stared at her…then the laughter became contagious and I found myself laughing through tears, too.

Are you a stressed out mom? Sometimes it’s laugh or cry. Parenting is tough, life has ups and downs, and how you cope with them is often a choice. You’ll be a happier person if you learn to laugh at yourself sometimes, laugh with your children when they face challenges or disappointments that are also a little funny, and just not take everything so seriously. Here are 5 ways to laugh instead of cry in parenting!

1. Remember—it’s just stuff.

Whether it’s a desecrated sofa, or an entire section of white kitchen cabinetry “decorated”with Sharpie marker (another true story), always remember that disasters involving things are fixable. It’s just stuff—replaceable, can’t-take-it-with-you stuff. Your kids, on the other hand, are irreplaceable…if messy.

2. Reject your perfectionist tendencies and enjoy your imperfect life. [Click to Tweet]

Many of the everyday disasters of parenting are made harder by the unrealistic expectations we bring to the job. Lay down your silly notions of always-clean, always well-behaved kids. Lay down your notion of a house that’s magazine-worthy around the clock. Stop looking at Pinterest to establish your idea of what a child’s birthday party should involve. Quit staging your family’s life and just…live it. [Click to Tweet] When things go awry, it will seem like less of a calamity and more of a humorous, almost expected detour.

3. Allow yourself a few mistakes.

You’re only human, Mom. That means that, even with good organization and great intentions, you’ll eventually drop the ball on something. You’ll forget to send the cupcakes for the class Valentine’s Day party. You’ll forget that today was Crazy Sock Day and send your kid to school in tragically normal socks. You know what? It’s okay. Even great moms have “off”days. Forget about it and try again tomorrow. [Click to Tweet]

4. Teach your kids to find the funny side of their mistakes. [Click to Tweet]

When you tell your family about falling in front of countless onlookers at the mall, laugh at yourself and how crazy you must have looked wiping out. It will show your kids that it’s okay to laugh at themselves, and that it takes the pressure off of otherwise embarrassing or disappointing events.

5. Even the stuff you don’t feel like laughing about now will be funny…one day.

It’s true. Even the time your baby projectile vomited all over the priest during her christening, and the time your toddler had a blow-out that had the grocery store staff paging “clean-up on aisle ninestat.”In the moment, you may be flustered and trying to figure out what to do, but trust us: you will be doubled over telling this story one day.

In The Comments

What was your favorite laugh or cry moment? We want to laugh with you!


  • ibupam

    Dan was four, and Tim was two. They had a bath, and then it was time for Tim to get out and get jammied. He didn’t want to. Too bad; it’s time. Then it was Dan’s turn to get out and get jammied. While I was superintending that, Tim got back in the tub… jammies and all. Should I cry or take a picture? The picture won out, and it is one of the family’s favorites!

  • Debbie

    First week back to work after maternity leave. Dog decides it’s time for a bath. In she walks covered with mud. Good Morning!

  • resar

    Two kids (aged 3 and 5) plus one bottle of shampoo plus one smooth linoleum floor equals an AWESOME sliding rink! They were having a ball!

  • AmySchu

    A trip to the library with my three boys. The two younger (7&4) were slowly turning the spinning paperback book rack. My middle child (it’s always the middle one) says, “Jake just a minute, watch this.” As I’m saying, “No! Don’t!” He spins the rack hard and books fly everywhere. I didn’t get mad (on the outside) and he hustled to pick up the books. It wasn’t until I told the story to my mom and she was laughing so hard she cried that I allowed myself to laugh about it.

  • my son has and still does provide us with lots of things to laugh at… starting young – he decided to decorate our bathroom with pen, the bath, the tiles, the toilet all beautifully draw on! then within a week, William decided to play “feeding the animals” he got the Readybrek (very fine porridge) and sprinkle where the pretend animals were… the stairs, the hall, all around the kitchen floor…on the floor, in the wellies by the back door, the cat basket, my workroom…there was the a trail everywhere – and the first i knew of this… when he walked into the lounge with an empty box and said “Mummy, all gone!”

  • payal

    Thanks Dana Hall McCain… I badly require such article 🙂

  • Rk

    I just started to read this article this morning as I was sitting on my sofa. My kids are on fall break, I don’t have to work today & I was enjoying my cofee “having a moment”. Just as I started to read about how to laugh and not cry my dog came over to the cofee table and grabbed a cup full of water (left by my precious children) spilling it all over the floor. As I bent over to stop him my hot cup of coffee spilled down my pants and all over ! Wow! What great timing about learning to laugh not cry. I guess this idealistic morning is now over. 🙂

  • Kristi

    There are 5 girls in my family and me? I’m the poor, deprived middle child. Hahaha You know the one, who always had to sit on the “hump” in the car, had to babysit, blah, blah, blah. At least I wasn’t the “naughty” one. She knows who she is. This is the sister who my mom would say…”I hope you have a half dozen children JUST LIKE YOU.” Well, she had 2 JUST LIKE HER.” I’m sure she laughs about the stuff she wanted to cry about then. We grew up in a home where we laughed much more than we cried. Although, I was the child (remember the poor middle child-thing) my mother said “You’re laughing now but you’ll be crying before long.” And I was most of the time! We’ve had our share of hardships but we got through/get through them by finding something to laugh about.

  • Debbie

    One of the first days I was returning to work from maternity leave. I’m dressed, my baby is in his car seat and then I see our poodle covered in black clay/mud. I nearly burst into tears. Today, 11 years later, it is my favorite picture of her.