Last week while facilitating a support group for new mommies, I listened to a group of new moms vent about sleep deprivation, gassy babies, cranky husbands and stretch marks. I asked them to stop and “find the funny.” They looked at me with puzzled expressions. They were wondering why I would have the audacity to stop them from venting. As important as venting and support is to a new mommy, so too, I reminded them, is the ability to laugh at themselves and find humor. One mom, started to smile as she recounted a phone conversation she had with her husband while he was at work. She had been feeling so overwhelmed with her new baby and lack of sleep that she said she yelled at him for getting the wrong size diapers. She told how he lowered his voice ” Um, honey, I am in a meeting right now.” She replied; “Isn’t that nice that you get to talk to adults?” As she told the story she began to laugh. “That is exactly what I am talking about!” I said as I looked around the group of moms. They all dissolved into laughter as we imagined her voice trumpeting through the phone into a boardroom of her husband’s colleagues.
I could feel the group relax. Several of the moms started telling the group about the silly situations they had experienced. I looked around the circle and said; “My assignment for you this week is to find something funny each day. Find something that will really make you laugh. Just like the gratitude journals that Oprah talks about, I want you to jot down your “funny” for each day. As you accumulate these stories and memories, it will become a great thing to look back at and recall fondly the early days of your new baby.” They all agreed and left laughing and talking, hopefully with a tool to help them get through a time that many can take too seriously. We’ll see what great stories they have for me next week!