It’s Monday, and I’m feeling it.
Baby lady got dropped off 15 minutes early (I’d been awake just long enough to stumble out of bed and find some pants).
My own five-year-old “baby” graced me with her groggy-eyed presence a mere 15 minutes later, demanding breakfast immediately, which I got out of with a banana… for now. The baby (aka my one-year-old niece who I watch during the week) is in a delightful phase of spontaneous screaming fits. They can strike at any moment without warning. It’s basically like a cold shower for your ear-holes, except since you don’t see it coming, it’s like being chucked into that shower with your clothes on in the middle of frying an egg.
Oh, and this mama right here? She can’t even drink coffee anymore. Cruel, isn’t it?
It’s not like I can really blame the universe for this one either, because instead of curling up in bed with the novel and peppermint tea that were calling my name last night (hello grandma), I opted to snuggle with my husband on the couch until some absurd hour while he watched a shoot-em-up movie that I had zero interest in. But alas, I love sitting next to him, and apparently I opt for cozy, warm, man snuggles over good life decisions.
So I’m schlepping around waiting for my eyeballs to wake up (and bracing myself for the next scream attack), when I hear giggling in the other room.
This isn’t completely unusual. My 5 year old just cannot get enough of her baby cousin. She lives and breathes to make this kid laugh, and every smile, wave, attempted new word or animal noise is enough to send her into hysterics. And it’s not like the baby is a novelty either. She’s been here everyday since she was 3 months old.
Watching them play on this particular Monday, triggers something in this already weary mama mind, and before I really know what I’m doing, I’m putting down my phone, my checklist, my mental to-do list, and joining them on the living room floor.
I pick that chubby little baby bod up into my lap and start acting completely ridiculous. I don’t mean just a little bit silly. No, no. This isn’t “mature adult talking in baby talk and making her clap” silly. This is full-on “mom is rolling on the floor like a nut and making crazy sounds for the baby to copy” sort of silly. I am being straight up immature.
And the girls are loving it.
My 7-year-old wakes up, and quickly sheds her grumpy morning voice because she can’t stop laughing at us.
By the time it’s over, all four of us are laughing so hard we’re actually crying and my sides ache in the best possible way.
And something opens up inside that is like a big, giant sigh of relief. It’s like my body, mind, and heart all shout (and maybe laugh a little): “YES, GIRL! You are ALIVE. Why not actually enjoy it?”
How many times has this very opportunity been happening right under my nose, and I just didn’t look down – didn’t get down on the floor – and I missed it.
All of this joy and life and fun has been going on one room away. How did I miss this?! I mean, yeah I’m the adult, but am I also a masochist?! Why in the heck would I not join in with these beautiful, giggly, play-experts every single time the opportunity presents itself?
And suddenly I realize that I have a choice presented to me hundreds of times throughout the day: I can keep moving through the tasks in front of me, with my gaze up here in grown-up land way above all the noise and chaos and silliness, or I can jump into the moment of joy already happening where the small people are. I can let go of my pride for five whole minutes and my whole entire world could shift because of it.
And for those of us who need a practical reason to do the impractical (I’m right there with you mamas) – guess what happens when Mama gets down on the living room floor and joins in the insanity?
Everyone feels instantly better. I kid you not, it is like a real life happy pill. Laughter is not only contagious, but infectious. There are endorphins bouncing off of the actual walls up in here. And when the dust settles and we get back to whatever life looks like for the day – I am more relaxed, my kids are more relaxed, everything that felt really major and super stressful falls back into it’s proper place- beneath the holy work of connecting with the tiny people in my home.
Even better? The grumpy toddler who is driving you bonkers, or the 7 year-old with a newly blossoming teen attitude? You now have an inside-joke that functions like an invisible thread tying her heart to yours. So when Daddy gets home from work tonight and I look at my big girl and say “Moo,” she’ll immediately fall out laughing and we’re transported back to that moment in time where we saw each other, walls down, and felt totally known and loved.
And just maybe- if we’re lucky- when our kids get their turn to “mom,” they’ll hand down the stealthy joy-hunting tactic to their own kids, and we’ll have a whole entire generation who knows how to choose five blissful minutes of connection over one more moment of silent planning or worry.
Ladies, we could start a straight up revolution this way.
C.S. Lewis once wrote that “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
What could happen if we were the kind of women who make joy the serious business of our homes?
JoLynn is a wife and homeschooling mama to two little girls. She enjoys learning side-by-side with her children daily. Together they enjoy time spent outdoors, reading good books and growing veggies. She is a Paleo dessert enthusiast, and lives for quiet moments spent with a mug cake, her Bible and a cup of chai. Read more about her here!