Can you make your kids laugh?
Allow me to rephrase.
Do you make your kids laugh?
I am not widely considered to be a funny person, but I have found that making my kids laugh is one of the most underrated joys of parenthood.
It also happens to be the perfect antidote for my own bad moods.
We’re a little more than halfway through spring break and the kids are very PRESENT. With me 24-7. And I’m an introvert. I REALLY like my time alone.
You can see the potential for conflict here.
But lately, I’ve been reminded of a delightful truth: grace can even take the form of humor.
When I’m my most cranky and selfish – the moments when I want to go hide in a long bath, read my novel, and paint my toenails over and over again – those are the times when I find that humor helps the most.
And how does a non-funny woman become a comic for her kids?
I do something out of character.
A case in point: I have been known to dab for laughs.
I know, I know – it’s a 2015 move. (I think?) It’s not au courant. Cam Newton and the rest of the cool people have moved on. But that’s why it’s funny.
Do things your kids think you don’t know about in an untimely fashion (and out of the sight of their friends) and they’ll think you’re hilarious.
A few weeks back, it was just me and my two boys at dinner. The conversation was not award-winning and my mood could generally be described as testy, so to counter its effects I did the unthinkable – I dropped my fork and punctuated a sentence with a dab.
Four eyebrows were raised.
“Mom?!” they asked incredulously as I went back to eating.
“What’s up with you?!” I asked them, dropped the fork again, and jerked my arms back toward the ceiling.
They started to choke in fits of giggles. So I kept it up, telling them about something (I don’t even remember what), and ending each sentence with the trademark move.
Milk and water were snorted and tomato sauce spilled on the floor.
Silliness won the day.
And grace won too.
Like so many adults, I get caught up in my thoughts rather than allow myself to just move freely from one moment to the next, embracing the possible spark of joy that each moment holds.
I spend so much time considering the past or ruminating on the future that I miss the NOW.
So this spring break, I’m trying to allow humor to work its magic, because the joy I give to others bounces back and rejuvenates me.
My youngest is whining and says he’s bored, and man, I hate it when he does that. I tackle him as he walks by me, pin him to the floor, and tickle him until he shrieks in laughter.
My tween daughter is making a private Musically video to “Firework” AGAIN, and so I act it out with her, throwing myself in front of her iPad camera like I’m Katy Perry gone psycho.
Tired of the same-old, tired of yourself, and tired of your own foul mood?
Mix it up and and do something I’m sure you’ve done at some point before.
Surprise the ones you love with a move that’s hilariously out of (your) character. It’s a gesture of spiritual generosity you’re not likely to regret.