Hanging out on the couch with my husband and daughter the other day, I realized something.
I realized that I had forgotten how to laugh.
My husband and daughter were playing around, having fun, and giggling away. Yet there I was, worrying about the cup they might knock over during their horseplay, or the remote falling in between the couch cushions again, or that my daughter would fall and hurt herself.
Why was I constantly like this? Why was I so serious all the time? Why was it so hard for me to just have fun?
It’s because I forgot how to laugh, how to have fun, and how to just let go of worrying about absolutely everything.
I’m forever finding myself stressing out about things like the kids getting hurt, a mess being made, or the consequences of every single action.
When the rest of the family is having a grand old time I’m usually the one calculating the collateral damage of that fun. I’m imagining what needs to be cleaned up after, or how many things might get broken. I’m thinking about which kid is going to get grumpy first because they haven’t eaten yet, or which kid hasn’t done their homework.
I’m really the thief of my own joy sometimes. And I know I’m not alone.
In our intense dedication to being amazing moms, we sometimes lose sight of our own sense of humor. We get so caught up in the daily, mundane grind that we often become immune to spontaneous joy and laughter. We get stuck in the mud. We get lost in the shuffle. We stop laughing like we used to.
I’m sure I’m not the only mom who’s experiencing this…. right?
So I have a message for myself and for all of you other moms who may not remember that last time you simply let yourself enjoy a moment without contemplating the potentially catastrophic effects of that moment:
It’s OK to laugh.
It’s OK to have a good time. It’s OK to let a mess happen.
It’s also OK to ask for help from your family to clean up that mess later instead of feeling like you need to be the only one doing it all the time!
Because you don’t have to be the only one worrying all the time. Your kids can help. If you have a partner, they can help too.
It’s OK to just let go of being the mother, teacher, cleaner, nurse, organizer, and person who takes care of all things — for just enough time to really smile, laugh, and absorb the fun moments with your family.
There’s always going to be time to worry and freak out about things that need to get done. But there’s only limited time that we have to capture those sometimes rare, carefree, and joyous moments as mothers.
So laugh, moms. It’s OK.
And I’m going to try harder too.
More from Michelle: Why I'm Done With Happiness Shaming