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.