“You have to laugh or you’ll cry” is something my Grandmother was forever saying. As a child I never understood it. If something is funny, why would it make you upset?
Similarly, if something is sad, why would you laugh? It wasn’t until I was older that I understood what she meant. She was demonstrating that we have a choice in some situations to get annoyed, upset and frustrated or to see them as funny, memorable and laughable moments.
I have not found this more accurate and true than in Motherhood. Sometimes, my sleep-deprived and decaffeinated mum brain just wants me to snap at the slightest inconvenience my little darling gives me.
Whether she’s not eating her dinner, keeps taking her shoes off on our walk or simply insists on banging the same spoon and pot together, it can make anyone go crazy. These little moments are the ones I decide to take a step back and make the conscious choice of “am I going to laugh or cry?”
My most recent example of this was last week at my Mum’s house. We were invited to dinner in their recently new house (the one where the dog is not allowed in fear of dog hair and mischief left behind). As we sat in the living room watching TV after a delightful dinner, my darling daughter is running in and out of the room (hyped on chocolate).
We all think it’s very cute and amusing until she came running back in holding her hand out, trying to show Mummy something. Upon inspection, I see her hand is covered in a brown substance.
I know what you’re thinking, it was my first thought too. Thankfully, it wasn’t THAT brown substance. I walk into the kitchen to find my darling daughter had pulled the gravy jug off of the side, spilling it all over the floor. Her hands and tights were so covered, she might as well have done snow angels in the gravy on the kitchen floor.
Did I get angry with her? No. Was I annoyed that now she had to be taken home half naked? No. Was I stressing because she’d made a mess in my parent’s new home? No. Instead we all inputted to clean up the mess and we laughed.
All I could think is: another happy memory to look back on. Also, “note to self: toddler can reach kitchen sides now”.
Isn’t that what we all want? More happy memories than sad ones to look back on? The truth is, we can. We just need to create them and make a choice in the moment. Choose happiness. Obviously, if she is in danger or doing something specifically naughty, she’ll get an ear full!
Toddlers are toddlers. You’re doing your best as a Mum. Some days it’s harder to muster up the patience of a saint but we all have the choice to laugh or cry.
Yes, it’s irritating. Yes, it’s giving me a headache. Yes, sometimes I feel like I’m at breaking point and just want 5 minutes! But guess what? One day, it’ll be gone. That’s the reality check isn’t it? One day, she’ll be grown up, off to school and eventually starting her own life and I won’t have that toddler playing the drums with pots and pans.
She won’t be flicking paint around the room and all over the dog. She won’t be waking me up at 4am just for a cuddle. There will be no more gravy snow angels. Instantly, a switch goes off in my brain and I’m no longer resentful, stressed and at breaking point. I’m grateful. The messes, the noise, the clinginess, the attitudes, I will treasure them, always.
This is a Guest Post written by Lottie from the excellent blog "The Ramblings of Lottie". Make sure you check out Lottie's excellent blog where she writes about the adventures of Motherhood, recipes, and all things seasonal.