You deserve a laugh: 8 unexpected ways parenthood plays like timeless comedy from Seth Rogan to Lucille Ball

When it comes to parenthood, we tend to take things very seriously. Part of it is a lifelong side effect from the first day we drive our newborns home, hearts pounding as we promise our wriggling, innocent bundles (and terrified selves) that we will do everything in our power to keep them safe, even as we wonder if we'll make it through that first night. Some days, we find ourselves over-analyzing the journey, wondering if we're doing it right. We care deeply, and sometimes we care so much that we can worry and exhaust ourselves right into a pretzel (a really loving pretzel).


When those exhausting days come, please remember this: you are already a comic genius. Your life has many of the great hallmarks of classic comedies and although you may not know it, you give a standup routine every day. Wherever you go, there is an audience, even if it is only you. And your everyday reality is hilarious. On the days things seem the most sleep-deprived and deadly serious, there is still a joke hiding just under the pile of laundry or the stack of bills. Becoming aware of this joke might help you relax a bit as you remember that you really are quite lovable and all the quirkiness of your household and kids is lovable too.

We take our parenthood seriously and the world is a better place because we do. But on behalf of the knots in our shoulders trying to loosen (ever notice the word SHOULD is hiding right there in our shoulders? It's no wonder that's where our tension goes!), here's to all the moments that we let go of the worries and just laugh. Today, let's find time to turn off the SHOULDS for a little while as we relax. The more we find kind-spirited humor in our life and ourselves, the more our children will learn to follow our example. We don't want them to feel that they need to be perfect all the time to be lovable, so why should we? Besides, not much gets closer to perfect than a good belly laugh. The next time craziness ensues, play a little game of deciding which classic comedy you're channeling. Hey, you're already a comedian. Own it. It just might help you give yourself a break.

So without further ado, here's 8 unexpected ways parenthood plays like classic comedy:

1. The Desperation for Peace and Quiet: Rose Byrne and Seth Rogan in “The Neighbors”

Our baby is finally asleep. The kids have finally settled in for a nap. We have a few precious minutes of quiet. And then... it happens. Our neighbors make themselves known.

2.The Switch-Flip Emotions of Our Kids (and Sometimes Ourselves!): Stan Laurel as Laurel & Hardy's “Stan”

We witness our toddlers, and sometimes even our kids go from blissfully happy to desperately sad in seconds. Next time a switch flips and your cherub wails, pat yourself on the back for raising the next king or queen of comedy. Or maybe it's your face going from placid to pathos. Then, guess what? That seismic mood shift might just be comedy gold.

3)The Nonstop Conveyor-Belt Pace of Our Lives: Lucille Ball as “Lucy”

Sometimes all the soaring demands of parenthood leave us flying in a tailspin, with a hundred more things to do than the hours in the day allow. If only the minutes were made of spandex and we could stuff even more fat seconds into the already chock-full day. Next time you feel overwhelmed and life feels like a conveyor belt racing by with more to sort than you can manage, don't be ashamed to stash a piece of chocolate in your mouth.

4) The Compromised Social Life: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as “Elaine Benes”

Let's face it, sometimes having kids can mean missing out on a few parties. When you finally get out and strut your stuff again, you may go a little crazy or overdo it a bit with a smile as big as a plastic bag's cartoon smiley face looming over the phrase, “Thank you for shopping!” You feel giddy, like an escapee from middle school detention, dancing like a dry-heaving hitchhiker and loving every minute of it:

5)The “We've Been At Home Too Many Nights” Date Night: Tina Fey and Steve Carell

Sure, the risotto tastes amazing. But try to stay cool.

6)The Exhausted Drift-Off at Work: Ben Stiller as “Walter Mitty”

Having kids means not getting sleep on any given night. Whether it's sitting up with a wailing newborn, comforting a teething toddler, soothing a sick child or laying awake waiting for the sound of a teenager's car pulling in the driveway, chances are the next day at work is more of a blur than usual. Whether or not we nod off at our desk, the mind will have a greater propensity for drifting off. Enjoy the trip.

7) Household Chores Plus Toy Obstacle Course Equals Hijinks: Rowan Atkinson as “Mr. Bean”

You've been there. You open a cabinet during your tot's nap only to find your sweetie stashed the Mozart musical cube in there, and you've just pressed the Orchestra panel. Bye-bye, peace and quiet. But sometimes, rogue toys are the perfect props for a skit, and you go from Mom to Mr. Bean. After all, the piano is begging for a dusting, and you're all out of dry sweeping cloths. But the stuffed pig is right there... and you know he won't squeal.

8)That Nagging Feeling That Your Friends Without Kids Don't Get It: Michael McIntyre

The first time my husband and I saw this clip, we laughed until our stomachs hurt, which felt great.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

    One out of six.

    To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

    (And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)


    Rarely at a loss for words, I find myself almost unable to speak.

    I am a midwife, and I am disgusted.

    Keep reading Show less