10 Top Strategies for Keeping Your Sense of Parenting Humor

Nov 14 2013

I won the Mother of the Year Award – the one for which my girlfriends and I rigorously train and compete – the year I took my son to his preschool graduation, stayed for the picnic at the beginning and then suddenly remembered I had to grocery shop, and took him away before the actual ceremony and concert. The ceremony and concert for which the class had practiced for 4 months. The ceremony and concert for which my son, the one who has massive expressive and receptive language disorder, had learned all the words. To perform. For me.

Yep. Mm hm. I did that.

It was a brain hiccup of massive proportions. Somewhere in my pregnant mommy brain, I’d already checked off the Attend Preschool Graduation box, and, despite evidence to the contrary, thought we were done. And so we left.

When I realized a few hours later what I’d done, well, it was the gasp of horror heard around the world.

IMG_2271YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT I JUST DID, I shouted to the Girlfriends in the phone. IF I DON’T WIN MOTHER OF THE YEAR FOR THIS, I QUIT!, I hollered. And they all agreed – yep; horrific enough for the sure win.

TOTAL Mombie Moment.

And as guilty as I felt (pretty darn), their knowing laughter and been-there sympathy was the first step toward forgiving myself.

Of course, it also helped knowing there had been other epic winners before me. Like the year Leanne took the prize for being so exhausted she slept through picking up her oldest from elementary school. And slept so deeply she didn’t hear the calls from the school. And so her husband had to leave work to get the kid to rush home to find out what was wrong with his wife to open the door to find their toddler cheerfully smearing feces on absolutely every surface of their home – walls, furniture, floors, herself – while his wife slept blissfully on. Heh heh heh. I love Leanne.

One of my favorite things we do here on the blog is 5 Quick Questions. You don’t know this, but I spend weeks reading and rereading your answers every time we play, because you are smart and funny and wise and inspiring and I learn something profound from each one of you. But I also read and reread for the mamaraderie. Because, oh, friends you so get me.

You’ll understand, then, why I laughed so loudly when I saw Elena‘s response to this question: But how do you keep your sense of humor during the tough patches of parenting? Elena wrote, “I call my girlfriend. We have an ongoing Mother of the Year award for when we royally screw things up. The other one deems if your screw-up is worthy of the award or if you need to keep trying!”


The Mother of the Year Award is one of my top strategies for keeping my sense of parenting humor.

Here are more, based on your awesome comments:

10 Top Strategies for Keeping Your Sense of Parenting Humor:
How do you keep laughing when the going gets rough?

  1. Institute a Mother of the Year Award – “I call my girlfriend. We have an ongoing Mother of the Year award for when we royally screw things up. The other one deems if your screw-up is worthy of the award or if you need to keep trying!” -Elena of Monkey Bear and Buddy 
  2. Look for the Story – “My grandmother taught me to look for the story in the situation. When dealing with hard things, I wrote the story to her in a way that would make her laugh. Now that she is gone, I do the same thing, but send it to a friend. In looking for the story to entertain someone else, I begin to see the humor in the midst of the difficulty.” -Dawn
  3. Hone Your Sense of Perspective – “I need to do better at this – I can spend hours thinking about my child’s future incarceration or how they will handle homelessness after just the smallest acts of crazy behavior. After I get tired or worrying then I take the time to recognize that most kids are crazy and it is likely that they will be fine and we will all laugh about this later.” -Laura
    “I don’t think I’ve mastered this one yet. But when I am able to keep a sense of humor, it’s because of Persepective. My grandmother used to frequently say “This is not a tragedy.” She was right.” -Audrey
  4. When It Is a Tragedy, Fall Apart First – “How do I keep laughing? I haven’t always. When we lost our fourth pregnancy in the second trimester I came unhinged for awhile. My husband would light a fire for me in our fireplace in the morning and then he’d take our son to preschool and go to work. I’d sit in the living room and watch the fire until it burnt out. Then I’d go crawl back into bed. That was my life for a couple weeks. But I came back from there, back to my husband and back to my kid. And we took time and healed and played and eventually I started laughing again. We built up our courage and a task force of specialists and tried again and held our breath for 9 months and had an amazing, perfect, beautiful boy. And I started laughing again. Now we find humor every day in our kids antics and if they’re being too ridiculous to be funny we turn to each other to find something worth smiling about. I guess my point is, you don’t have to keep your sense of humor all the time. You’re human. Shitty things might happen and you might have to fall apart a little bit before you can deal with it. You’ll be ok. Your family will be ok. It gets better.” -WhatsYourDamageHeather
  5. Rock Out, Rock On – “Air Guitar and Noise Cancelling headphones turned up full volume!” –Rachael of Life With Twins
  6. Keep a List of Likes – “I keep lists of things I like about each person in my family. I challenge myself to add to the list when I am angry with that person. Reminds me of the good things, so I can see and enjoy the small things I miss when I am seething with resentment.” -Rebekah
  7. Remember Kids Are Human, Fallible and Perfect, Like Us All – “I’ve taught middle school for 17 years. I was just saying at a parent night recently that you don’t make it that long in middle school unless you think kids are funny. Teaching has also taught me to keep coming back the next day, without holding grudges or negative expectations. Just because a kid screwed up nine times in a row doesn’t make them a screw-up. Kids are still growing and changing.” -Wendy of Linden and Oak
  8. Lose Some Control – “Having a sense of humor has shown up a lot more as I’ve let go of a lot of control. I’ve also just learned over time that most things are not as big a deal as they might seem. Stuff is replaceable, scrapes heal, and no one parenting choice alone has ever made a difference by itself. We do some stuff right and some stuff wrong and it’s easier to laugh off the mistakes when you realize that not a single one of them by itself is going to ruin anybody’s life.” -Jessica of This Quirky Family
  9. Let It Be Funny Now – “I tell myself that it will be funny in an hour/day/week/year so I might as well see the humor in it now. Sometimes I don’t listen to myself and that’s never as fun.” Kelsey of Baby Kautzi
  10. Foster Funny Family-Wide – “The sense of humor requires being surrounded by family and friends who see humor in everything, and being able to laugh at yourself while you teach your kids to do the same.” -Judy


Anyone need a group of friends to share your Mother of the Year story?
We are ALL EARS!