09/18/2014 01:33 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Practice Humor. Because Crying and Eating Is Funny.

Have you ever tried to cry and eat at the same time? It's difficult, but possible. Recently, I watched a sad Internet video and I cried... while continuing to eat my delicious Oats N' More directly from the box. Soon I was crying, eating and also laughing -- all while trying to not to choke on my No Brand Oat Bunches. Who stops eating to cry? By chomping away you tell that sadness OK, sadness, you have the exact quotient of sad to give me tears and a lump in my throat, but not enough sad to merit interruption of semi-delectable oat clusters passing through my esophagus.


Which brings me to my point: Finding the humor and laughing at myself reduces my stress level and provides me with free entertainment. Humoring myself makes my life better. Well, first slightly more irritating, but then much better. Let me explain: Practicing funny is another form of mindfulness. You have to observe yourself/the environment in the moment, to then reflect upon it. Like sitting in meditation or focusing on gratitude, you get better at finding humor when you make it a habit.

I try to write something funny nearly every day, whether a tweet or something long form. The result is that I'm usually quicker to find the humor even in the midst of misery, because I'm observing the moment from a bird's eye view and already writing it out in my head. As mentioned, this can prove annoying when you're trying to be mad at your husband, but you simultaneously know how ridiculous you're both acting. Then the only choice becomes whether to acknowledge your asinine behavior and surrender to it, or dig in and continue to stay irritated all the while knowing you have food in your teeth, and that your poor life mate was only trying to tell you (and he swears he didn't buy you the beautiful compact for your 40th because you always have food in your teeth. Which you do. Usually something green).

For example, when Husband and I exasperate each other, we have a handy phrase we employ: YOU again. This usually makes us at least half-smile, or brings an ounce of levity to the aggravation. YOU again refers to a whole catalog of conduct that bugs the crap out of us about each other, that we also know will never change, and that we shall endure for the rest of our legally-bound lives.

We never agree on temperature, ever. I always chew gum too loud, and he always bounces his knee while seated, shaking the entire house. We cannot hear 80% of what the other says. He routinely starts drilling in his shop or vacuuming when I'm trying to settle the kids (but dude, he builds stuff and vacuums), and I bust out cringe-inducing British Harry Potter accents when I read to the boys at bedtime. We can fume and curse under our breath, adding toxicity to our home, or take a moment to throw our hands up with YOU again.

And this is why so many of my tweets are about parenting. Because when you frowny-face yell, "If you want me to continue reading, take off that mankini,* remove your underwear from your head, and get your filthy feet off my pillow," but the first five words accidentally come out in Hagrid's cockney dialect? Frowny-faced cockney man-kini discipline is like crying eating and laughing. It's funny. Your kids will already be laughing. Hard. You might as well join them.

*Mankini = What kids these days call it when you twist your t-shirt up through the neck and it looks like a bra. See also: Exactly what I used to do as a kid when I tried to look like Daisy Duke.