I was young 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. You might also imagine how I felt walking 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 an upholstery catastrophe of unspeakable proportions. This sofa would never be—or smell—the same. I was late for Bible study, so I dressed my tiny, furniture-murdering criminal and headed out the door.
When I arrived, an older, wiser friend 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—until the laughter became contagious. I found myself laughing through tears. 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 instead of cry. 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 (even if messy).
2. Reject your perfectionist tendencies and enjoy your imperfect life.
Many of the everyday disasters of parenting are made harder by the unrealistic expectations we bring to the job. So 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. 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 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.
4. Teach your kids to find the funny side of their mistakes.
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 OK 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 nine—stat.” 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.
Tell us! How do you manage to laugh instead of cry?