The Greatest Show On Earth

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to The Greatest Show on Earth. Dancing bears, jugglers, clowns, rings of fire, flying trapeze and lion taming;  all suspended over a sea of wine! But, enough about me…

Parenting is a circus. A big, loud circus. Popcorn everywhere and the Bearded Lady is you. Juggling bowling pins on fire, cramming small people in cars as quickly as possible, incessant  roaring, money flying out of your pants, parade routes of wild animals and a lifetime supply of spandex.

“What about the Ferris Wheel?”, you say. Sorry, that’s the Carnival. I see where you’re coming from, but, entirely different. The carnival is all about rides and developing diabetes in one day. The circus is about death-defying feats, bravery and general stupidity in the face of certain death. Circus. Death. Mayhem. Hi-jinx. Soaring through the air hoping your partner catches the shit filled diaper you flung across the room.

People are more than happy to buy a ticket. Take every extreme parenting show on television. We crave to see parenting in all of its ludicrous excess. It’s entertaining, dangerous and laughable and, because watching someone else’s shit-show makes Mom riding around the block on the tiny tricycle appear more normal. We all want to believe in normalcy, but, parenting is the tin foil hat proudly propped on the forehead of life.

I am always working to embrace the pie in the face, bear in a tutu, unicycle riding through the fiery, cardboard high-rise facade of normal. Nothing about parenting is normal. A lifetime of equal parts love and fear and the ever rotating carousel of power – constantly taking turns with our small people on the ringleader platform.

It’s not easy. Sometimes, it’s not fun. Most of the time, your heart is pounding in your chest as you soar above reality, cringing at the mistakes you’ve made. With every day of practice, hoping that when the time comes to finally let go, you’re able to release your white-knuckled grip with minimal fear. Praying the safety net you’ve created is strong enough to catch all of you in the event of a fall. Hoping the kegels you’ve done for 18 years have finally paid off and that your socks are still dry.

After all is said and done and, when the tent starts to comes down, we all leave the circus dazed, confused, mesmerized, changed and awed. Drunk on the magic of people who survived another day of reckless, brave, selfless and entirely abnormal feats.

Parenting. Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth.

Learning to let go.


  1. Perfect perfect analogy.

  2. Marianne took my comment! 🙂 But it really is – the whirlwind of crazy, and eventually being willing to trust the net and let go. The description, “dazed, confused, mesmerized, changed and awed” – so right on.

    And to top it off, your labels. How can I NOT go steady with a woman who blogs under categories like “trapeze kegels?” Promise me that’ll be our band name.

  3. I truly couldn’t have said it better myself and so true that parenting can be compared to the circus, because it is very much the greatest show on earth, but just as crazy and insane as the circus, too!! Thanks for sharing and could totally relate.

  4. Love this!!

  5. My wife is definitely the ring leader in our family. Unfortunately for me I’m probably a monkey in your parenting analogy.

  6. “parenting is the tin foil hat proudly propped on the forehead of life”–one of the BEST LINES EVER!!

  7. totally second fishducky’s statement – i read that line, went back and read it again and moving my lips, like, the line was so good i wanted to taste the words. now i’m gonna cross stitch it onto a sampler for my teenagers bed…

  8. Trapeze Kegels? Hysterical.

  9. Can someone get me out of the water dunk tank? On second thought, it’s quiet in here — maybe I’ll stay a while. It can also double as bathing.

  10. This is an EXCELLENT post, but what I’d like to know is how I can so quickly go from being the ringmaster to being the guy picking up elephant poop.

    • It’s all the “magic” of the show. It makes us…oh, what’s that term that sounds nice, but, is generally reserved for people who do the crap work with little credit? Oh yeah…well rounded. Here’s to being well rounded, my friend. Cheers! xo

  11. Truth teller story weaver…I love this:)

  12. Newest follower here! I found you through the Friday link up! Cute blog, I can’t wait to read more!

  13. “Nothing about parenting is normal.” Great line. It’s funny how the most “natural” things (eg. breastfeeding, caring for small children, exercising) are often the hardest things in life.

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