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As I write this column I am sitting on my couch, opening Play-Doh for my 2- and 5-year-olds who currently have the flu and strep. It’s the start of Girl Scout cookie season and I’m the cookie mom. And I have family coming in from out of town this weekend.

This is where it gets real, y’all.

I haven’t slept in days. Two kids who can’t sleep for the amount of snot in their little sinus cavities make for no sleep for mom or dad, as we are tag-teaming who gets up with which kid. While sleep is elusive — the idea of things like showers and doing my hair are so far in left field they’re not even in the ballpark.

This is where you just have to laugh at life because otherwise you would be crying your eyes out. I stress out about everything. I have a very active anxiety problem. But I know that if I can keep a smile on my face, if I can find the joy in the little things, I will survive this short season of chaos.

So how does one keep laughing when all you want to do is cry?

Last night I ran to the store for cough medicine. I was beyond exhausted and near tears. So I cranked up some of my favorite 90s tunes (Spin Doctors and REM, anyone?) and belted them out at the top of my lungs. By the time I got home, I had perked up some and felt like maybe it wasn’t the end of the world as we know it.

I also try to extend myself some grace. So my kids are eating hot dogs, boxed mac and cheese, and wowbutter and jelly for lunches and dinners. It’s okay. They will survive. I’m not on top of the dishes or laundry right now. They aren’t going anywhere. This is why God invented paper plates and why my kids have two weeks worth of clothes in their closets.

And the best thing is a great support system. My mom comes and helps me wash the flu-infested sheets and blankets. My non-sick kids sweep the floor and sort the Girl Scout cookies. My friends offer words of encouragement and even drop off goodies for me. My husband holds down the fort while I sit in the pantry and stuff my face with those aforementioned Girl Scout cookies.

And in a few days we will all be okay again and I will have made it through — all because I laughed instead of cried. As the saying goes, “So far you’ve survived 100 percent of your worst days, you’re doing great!”

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