When was the last time you belly laughed? Like the deep down, “workout for your abs” kind of laughter? You know, where you have put forth a significant amount of effort not to pee yourself (#momproblems)?
Moms, despite the joys our babies bring us, its no secret that it can be a struggle to find the happy, laugher-filled moments between all of the meal-making, diaper changing, career, rushing around, cleaning, and oh so many more tasks.
And the proof is in the data. I was listening to a podcast recently and heard the statistic that children laugh an average of 300 times a day. Us adults…a depressing, 20 times a day!
When I stop to think about it, I’m not sure I laugh too often throughout my day (although I frequently respond to text messages with “hahahaha” or “LOL” – that counts, right?). So what is it during our transition from childhood to adulthood that decreases our laughter by 94%?
Ooh, Ooh, Ooh…I know! I know! Maybe its the bills! The constant-worrying about our off-spring! The chores! The exhaustion! To name just a few of the laughter-sucking tasks of adulthood.
The other morning after I dropped our 3 oldest off at school, my youngest (4) and I had a rare few minutes to sit outside Starbucks and just chill (aside from the mountain-size piles of laundry at home waiting for my undivided love and attention). As I sipped my life-giving caffeine, she chatted away about who-knows-what, sharing random stories, laughing, giggling, and skipping around. So carefree. So happy.
This precious girl, has no agenda, no next place to rush off to. She lives in the NOW, discovering those little bits and pieces of happiness that us adults have blurred from our lines of site.
With 4 kids, a business, and a to-do list I’m sure similar to yours…I won’t pretend not to have stress, chaos, and all sorts of rushing around to do. But that’s part of my life and it’s not changing anytime soon. So it made me think…
...how can I bring more happiness and laughter into my current chaos?
Well, I suppose there’s no better time than the Season of Lent. Honestly, I’m no champion of sacrificing things (ie, giving up cheese one year was pure torture!). So this year, rather than “sacrificing” I’m adding HAPPINESS and LAUGHTER. I’m pretty sure God would find great joy in looking down from the Heavens to find more happy people!
Mission: More Happiness, More Laughing
Being the planner that I am, I needed a strategy for my new mission. I’ve been inspired by one of my favorite bloggers Jenna Rammell of Jenna’s Kitchen, who recently made a list of what brings her joy. So I made a Happy List.
You’ll notice I focus on the “small stuff” rather than the big things (Yep, I’m sure a trip to the Caribbean would bring me great joy and laughter…but that’s not happening anytime soon). And in drawing inspiration from my kids…it really is the small moments and the simple events where they find happiness. So here it goes…
Katie’s Happy List
- Sipping a Starbuck’s Iced Green Tea with a “splash” of Passion Tea
- Listening to Podcasts (not the kid kind! Podcasts for me!) or audiobooks
- Alone time and eye contact with my husband
- Un-rushed hot showers
- Sunshine on my face
- Chasing or playing tag with my kids (I don’t do often, but when we do, there’s always laughter)
- Drinks or dinner with girlfriends
- Watching comedians on Netflix (Moms, halt your life right now and watch Amy Schumer’s Growing on Netflix!)
- Washing my face every night before bed and sticking with a good skincare routine (in my years of self-neglect as a Mom, I was often too exhausted and depressed for this simple task at the end of the night)
I’m sure some, if not all of these items, make little to no sense on your happiness-meter. But I imagine each of us Mamas will have very individual items on their lists.
I printed out my list and hung copies on my bathroom mirror, in my kitchen, and on the dashboard of my car. I need the list in front of my eyes several times a day to ensure I make it a priority to fit at least one or two items into my chaotic daily routine.
To me, this falls under the umbrella of self-care. But it trickles down to those I love most. When I’m in a good place mentally, caring for myself, and laughing; our entire family does better (my aunt used to have a magnet on her refrigerator that said “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Aunt Deb, I so get that now!).
I’m doing this for myself. But, as Moms we are each the center of our family circle – so I’m glad to know that in finding my own happiness and laughter, my 5 favorite people in the world can benefit too.
If you’re up for it, share your happy list in the comments below! I’d love to hear them!