Don’t Get Mad, Get Silly!

By Meghan Zeile

These days, life spins out of control for me. With a 3-year-old son, baby #2 on the way, a bathroom/laundry room remodel, and a husband working overtime, I rarely get to sit and take a breath. I am on a schedule, getting from here to there on time and with everything clean and organized and accomplished. Or so I’d like to think. I can no longer suck down the amount of caffeine necessary to take on the world due to baby #2, thus leaving me exhausted and ready for a nap when my son takes his (Thank goodness he still does take that midday nap!). Lagging behind on my to-do list leaves me cranky and frustrated and this filters into my attitude for the whole day. Sometime in June I realized that I was no longer fun. I no longer laughed when little things happened. Simple things like knocked over snacks, stepping on folded laundry piles, or toys being on the floor were really making me super frustrated and irritated.

I could blame it on pregnancy hormones, dust covering every surface of my house, tools and workers coming and going constantly, or my husband working so much. However, I just couldn’t point the finger at anyone but myself. I had lost perspective at how hilarious life is and should be. I know we should slow down and try to get to bed earlier and eat in more and relax, but we really don’t have time and we don’t necessarily want to. I work from home and my son and I are often itching to get out of the house most evenings and over the weekend. We don’t really want to stay at home when we don’t have to. This results in a myriad of irritating circumstances for both of us! I know that sounds terrible, but it’s a fact of life for us right now, just as it is the same for many families. Even though we couldn’t slow down and relax, I had to get the humor back in our lives. Here are a few things I try to do when I feel the stress coming on.

Fake Laughing

This is one way I lighten the mood at home when we’re all feeling kind of grumpy. It sounds ludicrous, but it seriously works. Just belt out your favorite fake laugh. C’mon, we’ve all got one so I know you do too. My sister and I used to do this when we were growing up. At first, you’ll feel ridiculous but those fake laughs will turn into real ones. My fake laugh really cracks me up so it doesn’t take long until I’m really laughing. Then when you hear everyone else’s fake laugh you’ll be laughing even harder. I’m laughing a little bit right now just thinking of my family’s last fake laugh session. Once everyone is laughing you’ll think, “Who cares that my son just crushed a week’s worth of Goldfish crackers into that rug I just vacuumed?” Ok, I won’t go that far, but seriously, a dirty rug really isn’t the end of the world.

Wearing a Wig

I got this idea from a great wedding my family attended in July. They had a photo booth with all sorts of fun props. You had to grab a wig, oversized glasses or a crazy hat and take a few pictures. It. Was. Awesome. I forgot all of my complaints and worries and just cracked up. I mean, how can you be worried when you have a pink Afro and your husband is wearing a sombrero? It was so fun to be all crazy and silly for a few minutes. This gave me the idea to purchase a few wigs and props for me to keep on hand when life just got too serious. I get overwhelmed thinking about changes in my family, politics, the moral and spiritual decline of society, and many other issues. Sometimes you just have to lighten up! I now own a box of wigs that we pull out to remind ourselves to calm down and smile. This is a good thing to do in the privacy of your own home (I’m not that brave). You can plop on a wig while vacuuming, folding laundry or cooking dinner. My mom and I recently wore our wigs while watching television and we just kept cracking up. I’d catch a glimpse of my neon green mullet in the mirror and just laugh and laugh. Plus, it’s a good time of year to be buying those types of things with Halloween coming up.

Dancing In the Car

My son and I are always running errands together and it takes forever to get out the door. Between making sure everyone has gone potty and grabbed a snack and all the stuff we drag with us (like books for Ayrton to make sure he doesn’t go too crazy in the store) I am sometimes a little frazzled before I even leave the driveway. Just yesterday I climbed into the passenger seat and just sat there. I was the driver!!! I was so distracted by the time we got to the car that I forgot I was supposed to be driving us. Anyway, we crank up the music, usually TobyMac, and have a little dance session. Busting a move feels so good and is hilarious! It’s impossible not laugh when you’re dancing! This totally lightens the mood and gets some of my frustrations out. My best moves are performed during red lights so maybe you’ll catch us in the act one of these days.

Holiday Fun

I was feeling super down a few weeks ago and was reaching for the Nutella to cheer me up when I spied my Christmas Cookie candle. A crazy thought ran through my head: What if I lit that candle? I love how it smells so I went ahead and lit it and turned on some Christmas music and in only a few minutes I was so much happier! I couldn’t believe it. I know it sounds ridiculous but it really did cheer me up. It was a much better choice than eating Nutella and feeling super guilty afterwards. Plus, it motivated me to clean up the kitchen! Most everyone has a favorite holiday due to the fun memories associated with it. If there is a certain holiday that brings back really great memories for you then do a few activities that are associated with it. Bake shamrock shaped cookies or eat a mini-Thanksgiving dinner. Turn on Christmas music or play an April Fool’s Day joke on someone. Who even cares that it’s the wrong time of year? It will only add humor and make your smile a little bit bigger.

Taking a Walk

I love being outside and walking through my neighborhood. It is really relaxing for me and my family. One of the biggest reasons we chose to live in Rochester was so we could have a great place to walk since the biggest reason our family gets stressed out is from being cooped up inside our house for too long. The other reason is from being too plugged into our technology. Taking a walk forces us to unplug and gives us the time we need outside of our home. If I haven’t had time to workout then I also get some exercise squeezed in. We often walk to the Rochester Park or North Hill Elementary School so my son can play. We also love just walking around town and seeing the changes our neighbors have made to their homes. We chat and just enjoy our time together. This time of year is really fun over at Van Hoosen Farm. We love walking along the creek and the trees changing color are so beautiful. We pass a giant oak tree on our way so we always stop to collect acorns. You can even get a scoop of history by the Stony Creek Cemetery on Letica Drive.

Life can be fun and interesting if we just readjust our attitudes. It can be so hard to do that, but it’s worth the effort. We get so caught up in the details of our daily lives that we forget that today is today, and we’ll never get it back. I’d rather spend today laughing than losing it over something that really is trivial. Take a step back during a stressful situation and think about how you can lighten the mood or break the tension. Often the problem will be easier to solve when everyone has a better attitude. Of course, there are situations when wearing a wig or doing a little dance just won’t help. Something silly won’t even be appropriate, but think about little times during your day when silly things will help the transition go smoother. Step outside the box and change things up a little. It will be worth your efforts!

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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