Stella & Rose MustachesI was inspired these past weeks to write in the #WholeMama series about my mamas and the way they mothered me, and how I in turn mother my children. Thinking about our theme this week, silly, I realize that I don’t have many memories of my mamas being silly. They were both many things, but I would not describe either of them as silly people. I must have inherited the silly gene from someone, though. And my children got it honest, from both their daddy and me.

Silly is my bread and butter. When I’m with my people, the ones who know me and all of my faults and idiosyncrasies and love me despite my neurosis, silly is my default behavior. Good food gets a shoulder bump and a good pun gets told on repeat. I like to be surrounded by happy laughing people, so I work to create a happy laughable life.

I think I must have adapted the sillies as a coping tool. And I like it. I think my family likes it. They must prefer the sillies over yelling or crying. Not to say we never yell or cry. But we try very hard not to yell, and we save our tears for those unavoidably teary times.

When Stella doesn’t want to clean up or pull her 8 year old’s worth of weight in household responsibilities, I get super silly and annoy the poop out of her until she gives in and gets it done. We both prefer this method of torture. I think she especially loves when I do my impersonation of any Molly Shannon Saturday Night Live character (and that’s sarcasm, friends – When I pull out “Superstar” and I cross my arms and put my hands in my armpits, Stella knows things are real serious and she moves faster to get things done). She laughs though, and we both have a better time cleaning or doing whatever task she didn’t want to do.

Adam as Weyland
Adam as Weyland Smith, the Shire blacksmith, in the Blackfryar cast at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Photo by Michael Ulrich

Sometimes when Adam and I have to talk about something that neither of us wants to talk about, we both get silly. It helps us. It works for us. I believe that’s one of those important parts of being happily married – finding a more fair way to discuss things without so much pain or discomfort. And we play off of each other pretty well, so one silly quickly turns into two sillies, and those sillies multiply until the whole family is singing a song about pooping out the window – in harmony.

When things get stupid stressful at work, I do silly dances and tell silly jokes. My coworkers prefer me this way. I’m easier to work with when I’m funny than when I’m devastated and hating everybody else. Hate is just a bummer, so I choose silly instead. It helps me forgive the tiny work related transgressions of those other people – the ones who didn’t respond to my email or do what they needed to do for the committee we’re both serving.

I’m thankful for the silly I inherited and even more thankful for the silly I learn from my husband and children. They are all excellent teachers in the art of silly. I’m taking notes.

2015-03-29 17.59.51

Ya’ll, I really just don’t like a lot of people, but I’m working on it. Dealing with people is hard. Nice people, mean people, friendly people, snooty people – they’re all difficult for me to deal with. I pray for myself to be more forgiving of others, more accepting, more loving. Silly is my favorite form of active prayer. As a recovering misanthrope, being silly saves me.

This is week eight of the #WholeMama series with Esther Emery and Erika Shirk. You can Link Up if you want to write your own thoughts on silly.

4 thoughts on “When the #WholeMama Gets Silly

  1. My husband commented on my use of humor in correcting my daughters when they were in their late teens. He and I have only been married 7 years, so he had a fresh perspective on my parenting “style,” and I agree with you that for the most part it works. It seemed to as well with my stepdaughter. Of course, their behavior was never anything egregious either. Maybe being a little silly during more serious interactions also helped me to not lose patience or to keep in mind the actual size of the “battle.” Your post resonated with me and also made me wonder anew if some of my humor is also a defense mechanism at times….although silly being an active form of prayer is a much more lovely way to think of it!


  2. Silly as a form of art and active prayer. I love that! I’m taking notes from my husband and children, too. Most of the time I love being silly, but I do have some curmudgeonly phases here and there. My family is great at pulling me out of it, after all, laughter is irresistible!


  3. I’m convinced that we all need laughter and silliness. How dull our world would be without it! It really helps to diffuse tense situations and help us loosen up. Sounds like your family has a lot of fun! I loved your pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do what we can. 🙂 I’ve found that humor and silliness makes a big difference in crisis management at my job, also. And I just received a book about using humor on the pulpit, I’m looking forward to seeing what it says.


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