Being a mom is a never-ending journey of growth. It’s showing up even when you barely have the strength to. It’s an endless list of things to do that only a mother can understand. And most importantly, it is your heart being so full of love, it’s overwhelming. Sometimes, we may question how we can survive this while giving our kids the best possible life. The answer may be as simple as laughing your way through it all.

Thinking about the scope of motherhood brought to mind my husband’s great-grandma Florence Elizabeth Grimshaw, who had 12 kids, 56 grandkids, 114 great-grandkids, 23 great-great-grandkids, and one great-great-great-grandkid when she passed away shortly before her 100th birthday. Her first was born in 1929 and last in 1949. She raised all 12 kids in Kimmswick, Missouri, just a short drive south of St. Louis, with her husband George Louis Grimshaw in an old house in the corner of town. The house is still there and has a Grimshaw plaque on it.

When I asked her daughter Helen, now almost 84, how her mother did it, she said, “The thing I remember most about mom was that she had a great sense of humor. No matter what happened in life she could always laugh, and she never let us know how poor we were.” And when she says poor, she means poor. Florence raised 12 kids, along with caring for her mother-in-law, in a house without running water—no toilet, bath or shower.

“We were dirt poor, but we never knew it because mom and dad never acted like it,” Helen recalls. “They loved each other so much and were happy people. Whenever we would ask for something that they couldn’t afford, she would say, ‘When we get rich, I’ll get it for you.’ Of course, we never got rich, but we were always looking forward to it!”

Helen told me she thinks she got her sense of humor from her mom. She and her husband, John, went on to have six of their own kids, 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, with three more on the way. I was lucky enough to marry one of her grandsons and have called her grandma since the first day I met her. It’s hard for me to remember to laugh during the stressful day-to-day of my own life. I cannot imagine having 12 kids, no amenities and laughing every single day. Those are the priorities I want to have. They say laughter is the best medicine, but it seems like it’s also the answer to an incredibly happy home.

So looking back at moms across generations, I can see that laughter is contagious. It is an essential ingredient to motherhood and raising really amazing children. Medical studies confirm its benefits include enhancing oxygen intake, soothing tension, relieving stress, improving the immune system, easing pain and more.

The best way I can think to honor Florence, Helen and moms like them this Mother’s Day would be to stress a little less and laugh a lot more.

—XO Katelyn

Katelyn Young is a local mom of four (her #crumblycrew) who shares real moments o motherhood as it relates to fashion, food and fun! Follow her on Instagram @_katelynyoung_.