I realized something a few weeks ago – I don't know how to laugh with my son.
It's not that I don't know how to laugh it's more like I don't let myself laugh enough. Yet, laughter and joy are biblical. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. The Bible talks about laughter and joy in many places.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
This one hits home for me. The proverbial woman know the value of laughter. Why can this woman laugh? Because she has strength, dignity that comes from God. She can be joyful and even laugh at “the days to come” because she knows her God's got her back.
Joyful when the dishes need done.
Joyful when the laundry is piled high.
Joyful when the bills aren't getting paid.
In Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 4 we see there is, “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
Do you believe there is a time to laugh? I do, and I believe the time presents itself more often than we realize because we not focused on the right things.
Joy in God's Presence
Joy comes from living a life in God's presence. It has nothing to do with what is going on around you. This is why a joy-filled home is a place of refuge from the storms of life. When Christ is the center of our home joy will abound there.
Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Laughter is a bi-product of joy. I don't know about you but I want a joyful home where laughter fills the rooms and echoes off the trees.
The Responsible Mom
If you're like me, you likely spend much of your day in the Parent Ego State. This state of mind, according to Amy McCready, is the state of mind we're in when we're directing and correcting our children.
“Please pick up your toys.”
“Stop hitting the dog.”
“You need to brush your teeth.”
This is the Parent Ego State.
There's nothing wrong with this, we need to be parents and we need to direct our children. The problem is the amount of time we spend in such a state. We reason that we must be the authority figure at all times. After all, we have to the a responsible mom.
But let's face it. There's no joy in this state. And for many children, especially the Wild Ones, this is the state of minds that causes the most conflict with them.
I see this in my life every week. I wake up in Parent Mode, as I call it, and it is all business: breakfast, school, chores, lunch, phone calls, more chores, errands, dinner, evening chores, bed. And any deviation from this makes me mad. “There's no time to play dumb games,” I say to myself and yet there stands my wild child wanting to play tickle-pits or go to the pond and catch crayfish.
Where is the spontaneity? Where is the joy?
More Mommy Mode
It is called the Child Ego State.
I call it Mommy Mode.
Mommy – she's the fun one who plays games, laughs, tickles, splashes in the creek, and doesn't flip out when there's flour all over the counter when her son feeds the sourdough starter without her.
This is where you should spend much of your day when you're with your kids.
I know, I know. It goes against everything you think it means to be a responsible parent. But think about the times you and your children have laughed, been silly, or done crazy things. How did you feel? How did they feel? Did you form a bond together during those times?
Laughter and joy form bonds in the home that are hard to break.
When your child goes out into the world and needs a safe place to run will they run home to the chore charts and daily duties or will they run to the safety of a joy-filled, happy home?
6 Ways to Lighten Up and Laugh More
I'm on this journey with you mama. I need more joy and our home needs more laughter. Here are some ways to laugh more in your home.
#1 – Pray, Ask, Seek
Pray to God and ask Him to give you a download of joy. Ask Him to help you express that joy with your children. Seek joy. Look for it, around every corner. Seek out joy as if it were as valuable as the breath you're breathing.
As I write this my family is in the midst of a stressful situation that has me in knots. It was keeping me up at night, I was falling back into worry, and crying every time I thought of it. I found myself taking it out on our son.
As soon as I recognized this I began to seek joy. I prayed, a friend prayed over me, I asked the Lord to take me sorry and give me joy and I made the choice to be intentional about joy every day with our son despite this very real unpleasant situation.
#2 – Tell Jokes
If this child state of mind seems awkward you're not alone. It can be hard for me to go from Parent Mode to Mommy Mode. I've found that jokes are a great way to break the ice for me or for a tense moment with my son. Need a joke, how about this one:
What do you give a sick bird?
That joke is courtesy of the Funny Mom Joke Pack. You can find jokes for every season and holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day.
I have been telling two jokes a day from this pack for the past three weeks and we have had many good chuckles because of it.
#3 – Play Games
If you're family isn't too competitive games are a great way to add laughter. A simple game of charades costs nothing but can produce loads of laughs.
#4 – Sing and Dance
This is one of our favorite things to do. We both love to sing and we might not be good at it but we know Daddy loves to listen to us belt out worship songs and twirl around the camper. Here's our favorite playlist:
#5 – Laugh At Yourself
We all do things that are funny and even slightly embarrassing. Don't be afraid to let your hair down and laugh a little even at your own expense. The added benefit, you can teach your children when it is okay to laugh with others and not okay to laugh at them.
#6 – Reminisce With Your Family
“Remember that time when….”
A great way to learn to laugh is by remembering the joyous, funny, and down right hilarious events of the past. I don't get to see my cousins very often but the last time we gather at my Grandmother's house we laughed and laughed over stories of old.
Your own family has stories that can make everyone chuckle. Share them with your kids!
It's okay to laugh mama. Let go and enjoy your kids. Run with them barefoot in the yard, tickle them, laugh at your spilled milk, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Learn how to laugh and bring the joy back into your home.