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Here’s why silly families are strong families

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Give me two enthusiastic thumbs up if you believe that a sense of humor is a must in motherhood. I can’t see you, but I have a feeling you are all with me on this one. Over and over again I have to remind myself to cut myself some slack and stop taking myself (and my 7 kids) so seriously. I can get so caught up in getting through to do lists and homework and chores that I can forget to have fun!

Never mind that we are living through a global pandemic! In all of my parenting books I’ve read or podcasts I’ve listened to, nothing quite prepared me for parenting through this uncharted territory. But I’m learning as I go along and one thing I know for sure is that a little laughter goes a long way. Here are my 5 expert tips on how to find the funny in motherhood…

Silliness diffuses tense situations.

Call me crazy, but in our family, speaking in a foreign accent or breaking out into song totally relieves tension when stresses are high. I’ll even bust out a little unprompted jig in the kitchen to get my angsty 16-year-old to crack a smile. If I can diffuse any kind of meltdown, I consider that a huge mom win!

Laugh at your mistakes.

As a perfectionist, this one doesn’t come easy to me. Recognizing my missteps, finding the humor in my mistakes, and then committing to do better next time is something that I work hard at. The key is lightning up and giving ourselves a little grace. We all need to hide in the pantry every once in a while. Learn to let go of that mom guilt!. Make a practice of sharing your highs and lows with your family and you can laugh and learn together. I promise you’ll feel better!

Rally with your partner.

If you have a significant other, shake off your parenting shortcomings together. Make some time after the kids go to bed to just vent and laugh about ridiculous things that go on at home. If you’re a single parent, have a weekly Zoom chat with a family member or friend who gets you. Start your conversation off with the prompt: “The funniest thing that happened this week was…” Framing a mistake or meltdown as a funny moment shifts your thinking towards the positive rather than the negative.

Make a YAY list.

“Gratitude is transformative,” according to my friend and Woman’s Day content director Meaghan Murphy who I interviewed for The MomForce Podcast. In her upcoming book A Fully Charged Life: A Radically Simple Guide to Having Endless Energy and Finding the Yay in Every Day, she talks about her favorite gratitude practice and I have adopted her “YAY list” in my daily life. It’s just a short list of things that make me smile each day--the cheerful UPS driver, my daughter’s latest song, and my cute cred reading glasses. I love looking for the quickie and fun in my day that makes me say YAY!

Encourage your kids to laugh at their conflicts with each other.

It’s tempting to intervene when you see your kids having a disagreement, but Ralphie Jacobs of Simply on Purpose advises parents to let children work out these disagreements on their own. “Over 90% of sibling conflict is inconsequential,” she said during my podcast interview with her. Getting involved only validates the argument and can turn those minor discrepancies into bigger issues. As you take a step back, not only will it teach your kids to solve problems on their own but it will also encourage them to learn to laugh at their mistakes together!

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