We parents love a good circus metaphor, and it’s easy to see why. Circuses are sticky and stinky and filled with animals you’re pretty sure you didn’t agree to. Sadly, we rarely get to relax and watch the plates spin without having to worry about who’s going to clean up the mess when it all comes crashing down. Nope. We’re too busy keeping track of the trapeze artists and tightrope walkers, making sure the safety nets and sparkly costumes don’t have any holes, and getting all the clowns in the car when it’s time to go.

I actually don’t love the circus/ringmaster metaphor for two reasons: 1) It reinforces the idea that parenting is performative (which wouldn’t be so bad if we could actually sell tickets and make a little money off the deal, but apparently that’s frowned upon), and 2) it implies that we need to be in control of the chaos at every moment.

You can read the rest of this excerpt from my new book, You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent, on Motherly.