One of the things I love most about my kids is the way they make me laugh.
Whether it’s my little one’s cute voice saying “No boogies” or my older one licking my face, they make me laugh in a way that’s all their own. But in the almost four years since I’ve been a mom, I’ve realized that they either make me laugh every day, or I get so tied up in other things, I don’t laugh at all.
After I had my first daughter, I remember telling people all the time: “She makes me laugh every day.” Sometime after my second daughter was born, I lost that feeling. It took me almost a year to realize it was gone. It’s not because my second daughter doesn’t know how to make me laugh. She does. It was because of me. I stopped paying attention.
I was too busy worrying about everything a mom has to worry about to let go and let myself laugh with my kids.
When I realized this, I decided I didn’t want to be that mom anymore. I did a lot of work to stop being that overwhelmed mom who didn’t even enjoy her children. I got into productivity and time management, so that I could make the most of my time with my family. My husband supported me in this and helped me make changes to our schedule. I felt really productive and really good about where I was at, but recently I found myself back in a place where I wasn’t laughing anymore. Thankfully it didn’t take a year to realize it this time around. It was easier to notice. I know there’s something going on when I don’t belly laugh because of something one of my kids does or says, every day.
For me it’s a sign that something’s wrong…
What was wrong this time? Well, I hesitate to call it something “wrong” because it’s actually something good. You see I’m pregnant with baby #3. It’s just that during the first trimester, I literally didn’t have the energy to do it all. All the productivity and time management strategies I worked so hard on went out the window while I laid on the couch and fell asleep. It started me back on that downward spiral where all I had the energy to do was worry about what I wasn’t doing.
Now, in my second trimester, I have more energy (though not as much as when I’m not pregnant) and I realized that my mindset was keeping me from laughing with my girls. So I decided once again to make a change. To do my best to be in the moment with them and let them make me laugh everyday. To remember the funny things they do.
Of course, I don’t remember all of it. Even the next day I sometimes forget what they did that was so funny. But I know those times are there. Yes, they still frustrate me. I mean, I have an almost-2 year-old. She understands what you’re telling her, but she will basically never listen. It’s virtually impossible to get her to do what I ask her to do. But man, the words that come out of her mouth in that sweet little voice. Even when it’s something like “Hi birdies” when she sees geese flying in the sky. Or “Bye-bye puppy” when we’re leaving the park. Now the truth is, sometimes my kids make me really angry. They frustrate me on an almost-daily basis. When they don’t listen or don’t pay attention, I get really frustrated. But I love them so much. I guess the same could probably be said of most of the people we love. They sometimes make us angry and we get frustrated when the communication is not great.
But with my kids it’s different.
Even if it’s one of those days that starts out on the wrong note: You wake up late. Everything seems to take forever. Everyone is running late. Your toddler’s socks don’t feel right and she won’t put on her shoes. The little one drops her yogurt on the floor. On and on. Even on those days, they still say or do something to make me laugh. Now that they’re about to be 2 and 4, I’m also starting to realize how fast the time goes. As Gretchen Rubin says, the days are long, but the years are short. (If you haven’t seen her video, you should check it out here). I do my best to enjoy the days even when they’re long.
It’s still a struggle and I still get upset with myself for not enjoying it enough, but maybe it’s like Melissa says in her post, we get better at parenting as we go. We have phases or seasons where things are hard, where we’re getting stretched. We learn and grow and get back to a place where we’re more comfortable with where we’re at. Or maybe it’s just the adjustment to two kids, like Kelly wrote about here.
Either way, I think it’s important that your kids make you laugh. That you take joy in them. That you let yourself go a little.