Why laughter is the perfect antidote for perfectionism


Kinda hard to admit, but it’s true: I’m a recovering perfectionist.

Thankfully, life has its ways of helping me truly see and laugh at the futility that comes with perfectionism. So often, we moms find ourselves wading through self-imposed, impossible-to-meet perfectionist tendencies.

While not our usual intent, moms often compare ourselves to each other. And, of course, social media doesn’t help: We see (the edited versions of) other moms online and think, “Heaven, help me! I am so not _____ (you can fill in the blank).”

It’s so easy to forget that folks often sanitize online postings before posting. As a result, moms can feel and internalize frustration, jealousy and even sadness over FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The truth is: None of us can claim perfection, and we all make mistakes.

A most recent, personal example: School morning routines can be brutal some days. Throw in a forgotten homework assignment or unsigned permission slip and your morning can go left. Quickly.

I thought I finally nailed down a solid system to streamline our household’s routine – i.e., wake up 30 minutes early to avoid the last-minute rush out the door. Kids’ lunches packed? Check. Clothes ironed and ready to wear? Check-check. Backpacks packed? Check-check-check.

I glanced at the clock on the oven – and patted myself on the back for saving a whopping eight minutes on the clock. Because, let’s face it: Eight minutes in Mom time is like eight hours in regular time.

Humming a merry tune, I sashayed into my restroom to shower and get dressed for the day. Saving eight minutes felt like winning the lottery. I smiled as I grabbed my hair products, wondering how luxurious it felt not to rush. And as I did, I mistakenly put foaming blue soap in my hair instead of my foaming blue hair mousse. Twice. In four minutes.

Eight minutes lost. Back to square one.

The irony of it sidled up next to me, tickling my funny bone. And all I could do was laugh.

The gift of eight extra minutes was lovely while it lasted. But, the gift of laughing at myself – not taking myself so seriously – was way better, by a long shot.

Photo credit: Joseph Phillips

This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.


  1. Perfect example of how things don’t work out no matter how much we plan & schedule! Proof that God has a sense of humor. Reminds me that I need to have one too sometimes! Great read.

    • Michelle, I must agree with you on all counts – ESPECIALLY God having a sense of humor! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. Best for a great week!

  2. This was an awesome read and totally relatable! I cant help but be stuck on the fact that you make time to iron! That makes you a Shero!!! Lol

    • Kisha, thank YOU for reading! You’re MY Shero for even having time to read – with 4 boys in tow! 🙂 And, confession: I’m totally teaching both kids how to iron this summer … not a joke. 😉 Thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂

    • Michael, thank YOU for reading! I’m definitely learning that humor can go a long way – perhaps especially as we look inward to learn and grow. 🙂

  3. I so needed this today and everyday. I am that mom who’s trying to balance multiple routines and teach the lesson also : get the kids ready, get me ready, deal with 3 year old tantrum and independence (I don’t want to wear this), trying to teach the 7 year old responsibility ( Get your bookbag, make up your bed, brush teeth, do what you NEED to do before you do what you WANT to do). Whew. I am that perfectionist who needs a serious chill and laugb. Thank You Karin

    • Velice, if it’s any consolation at all: I’m with you. And guess what? We’re not alone. 🙂 I so appreciate your reading and sharing your own perspective. One day at a time, as the wise often say, yes? 🙂 Thanks again!

  4. Such a delightful read! While I may not be a mother, I was with you every step of the way… rushing about, cheering you on, and of course, laughing right along with you. I appreciate your intimate and insightful perspective on all that you explore. It’s refreshing, honest, and I for one, am thankful for that. You never disappoint. 🙂

  5. Love this my dear friend!!!! As I was reading I’m thinking “YES YES YES… then wait a minute what we forget:)”!!!!
    Laughter soothes the soul as this article did as well!!!!
    Keep up the great work my friend, you are a great Mom!!!! AND oh yeah, writing is def your calling:)!!!!!

    • Sarah, YOU ROCK as a mom-extraordinaire! 🙂 Many, many sincere thanks to you for always reading and for your encouragement. 🙂

  6. I would have paid money to see you with the foaming blue soap in your hair. Actually, the blue hair would have been very fashion forward. (smile) Moms of young children are some of the hardest working people on this earth. Whenever I can hold a door, grab a tiny hand, or carry a bag, I do just that as I bask in the glory of knowing I am through that stage and so glad I’m now the helper. However, I’m still a little baffled when an unfamiliar little voice pats my backside and says, “Grandma, can you tie my shoe?” (When did I become the lady who looks like everyone’s grandmother?)

    • Giggles and hugs of thanks for sharing, Nancy! 🙂 And no worries: You don’t look like a grandma … everyone TALLER than the little ones look like grandmas and grandpas to them! 🙂

  7. All so true, especially the ability to laugh at yourself and keep moving. Awesome job Rin. Thanks also for the reminder not to take life so seriously.

  8. Great read! I am just giggling thinking about the foaming blue soap :). I can relate to having those extra 8 minutes, I feel so accomplished whenever I am able to do that. Signed, Hairsplitting Perfectionist (I have to take it one day at a time.)

    • Hi Latoya! I’m so happy you landed on CharlotteFive’s website and read the article. 🙂 Yes, our conversations over the past few years have been comforting – for me, at least! – to know I’m not the only recovering perfectionist in the QC! 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting – hugs to you.


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