“why don’t you laugh much, mom?”

Well, maybe not why they need to laugh, but more of why moms should laugh.

Once my now five year old who was then four years old looked at me and asked me why I didn’t laugh much.

I didn’t realize he would notice that.


I thought being the busy mom, the doing, the cleaning, the making sure he had his peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into triangles and not squares, the getting him dressed and trying to get that colic of hair in the back of his head to stay down – all of that – I thought that was enough, in a way. And yet, he didn’t see that.

He saw that I hadn’t laughed in a while.

All the other stuff was there, but the laughter part?

It just must have been missing.

You know, our kids need to see us laugh. They need to see us smile. They need to see us find joy in the simple, little, everyday things that they do. They need to see us loving them. Watching them play. Enjoying being their mother. They need to know that despite the crazy and how much we have to do and how so often we just want a break that what we get to do also makes us happy. And smile.

It’s so easy to get caught in the busy and to forget about the power of that smile.

About laughter.

It’s often about releasing the to-do list and getting on the floor with them and playing with them. Driving that matchbox car around and building towers with wood blocks and ignoring the fact that you are sitting in a room that is a mess. It’s about knowing that life isn’t perfect, and honestly will never be perfect, and being willing to embrace little nuggets of time with them.


And sometimes, especially for me, it’s about letting your guard down a bit and allowing yourself to laugh.

Sometimes I just have so many defenses up and it takes so much energy to just get through my day that I get caught up in the busy of finishing and forget the busy of just needing to be.

Laughter is contagious.

Our kids need to see us laugh. And for many of us, and sometimes especially for me, this will take work. It might mean be willing to looking at our life with a different lens – a lens that perhaps sees that our days are finite and that the days with our children are temporary and keeping that perspective even when we are exasperated beyond belief.

Let me ask you this – When have you laughed with your kids? When have you delighted in what they are simply doing?

Not in what they’ve done right, or the chores completed, or the accomplishments, but rather in just them?

They need us to love them.

To laugh with them.

They need to see us happy. If even for a brief simple moment.

We need it for us too.

So today, today that’s my challenge for you.


Not only will your kids be blessed, but you, too, will be blessed beyond measure.

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13 Responses to ““why don’t you laugh much, mom?””

  1. June 20, 2013

    megan graham Reply

    i find myself not laughing…then my 3 year old, wise beyond her years, gets in my face and asks, “mommy, you happy?” makes me smile every time. even just thinking about her sweet voice asking me that, makes me smile. it’s amazing how we forget so fast how to be a kid, and sometimes we just need to let go and forget how to be an adult around them. thank you for this post, i am working on this right now.

  2. June 20, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    Yes, Megan! It is those little moments and those times when they see us not looking happy. They see. So now, now I’m working that they know I love being their mother.

    Blessings to you today. May it be a day of joy.


  3. June 20, 2013

    Micarol Reply

    A guy in Greece once said to me and my mom that we were a happy family and I asked how he could see that and he answered “Because you always smile”.

  4. June 20, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    Blessings Micarol. That is simply powerful and beautiful.


  5. June 20, 2013

    Jessica Watson Reply

    So true, after losing our daughter I didn’t laugh for a long, long time. It’s taken a lot of work but I can laugh again and it’s definitely contagious. I read once that you should make your kids belly-laugh at least once a day… the best advice I’ve ever heard.

  6. June 20, 2013

    Jessie Reply

    And why is this one so hard? My kids notice this too and I try so hard to not be so serious but the to-do’s yell so loud.

    I am getting better and thankfully summer is here and it’s a great time to play!

  7. June 21, 2013

    Lori Reply

    Truly, laughter does the heart good, like a medicine. Did you know you can even subscribe to receive a joke every day in your email box? http://www.ajokeaday.com It helps start the day off on the right foot. And they’re clean! This is my first visit from Hungry for God. . . Starving for God and glad I stopped by 🙂

  8. June 21, 2013

    Helene Smith Reply

    I get hugged into submission. My 11 year old sees me not smiling and then comes up and hugs me till I laugh. She’s really good at it!

  9. June 21, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Know that you’re always in my prayers. Praying especially for your trip and the family that’s left behind.
    Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (8) And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
    My email address

  10. June 21, 2013

    Elizabeth Reply

    This hits home with me too. I hardly ever laugh. Not that I don’t find things funny, but I don’t laugh out loud. There for I look unhappy more times then not. I need to work on showing my happy feelings better so the kids see that I’m not just crabby or unhappy all the time. Great post!

  11. June 24, 2013

    Meleakua Reply

    so true! just this evening my son & i were sitting on the back porch swing nursing and just got a case of the giggles.. i think my son started it (he usually does! 🙂 he must see that i need to laugh more too) but then i just couldn’t stop laughing! it felt great to just be in the moment with him and enjoy ourselves. thanks for all the beautiful & hearwarming comments, too! my heart goes out to you, Jessica- it’s nice to hear that you are laughing again!

  12. July 20, 2013

    A.L.P. Reply

    I would like to repost this in my non-commercial blog: healinghamlet(dot)com with credit to you and link back to this blog. Please let me know if you have any concerns at phoenix(at)healinghamlet.com

  13. March 2, 2016

    Jill Reply

    I wish I would have seen this message years ago. A couple weeks ago, my almost 15 year old commented to me he’s only seen me laugh “2 times”. My first thought was that he was exaggerating things (as usual), but as I thought of it, that was probably not exaggerated. I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed with my kids. Between work, running kids here and there, etc. I forgot. This feedback he gave me was my wake up call. To all the moms with little ones, take this advice…have FUN with your kids! Before long, they are grown. Thanks for the great post.

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