Three-Ring Circus by
(306 Stories)

Prompted By Stress

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Three-Ring Circus

A working woman who’s also a wife and mother can sometimes feel like a juggler in a three-ring circus.

I was working at a job I loved when I discovered I was  pregnant,  and I happily applied for a maternity leave to start two weeks before the baby was due.   (See My Brown-Eyed Girl)

My years on leave with my child were precious,  but all too soon it seemed he started nursery school and happily,  although with some trepidation about leaving him,  I went back to work.  (See Stay-at-Home Mom and Going Back to Work)

And then the juggling act would begin!

I’d come home from work and roll up my sleeves to more work –  caring for a toddler,  a household,  and a husband.  To be fair my husband was willing to help,  but his work schedule brought him home too late to do much,  so I was chief cook and bottle washer,  child bather,  and dinner maker.

And thinking back to those years I remember feeling so stressed and so exhausted that at times I seemed to be running on empty both at work and at home.  And I remember there were many tears,  and idle threats,  and much slamming of doors.

But in the grand scheme of things I realize my stressors were garden variety and manageable.   And in equal measure I remember a sense of pride and accomplishment in all I was doing.

And one lesson I’ve learned  –  a juggler in a three- ring circus may have a lion’s share of stress,  but she’ll never have a dull moment!

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: funny, moving


  1. Khati Hendry says:

    Good thing most moms are young enough to get through the circus years! Sometimes I wonder how people do all we do and survive. Your observation that you were just having “garden variety” stress reminds me to be mindful of the unthinkable stress of so many others around the world and through history—and wait, there’s always more on the way!

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    I can totally relate to this, Dana. I remember those days well!

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    I used to have long discussions with my mother-in-law about women “doing it all” in our era of liberation and how could we manage without household help (my husband traveled several days a week). I had thought I’d go right back to work after David was born (after a few months of unpaid leave), but just couldn’t do it. I stayed out 18 months, then hired a nanny, but it was STILL a juggling act, as she didn’t do household chores and Dan traveled several days a week. I did not go back to work after Vicki was born. I couldn’t juggle that much. I was in sales and traveled, my husband was a management consultant and traveled more. We couldn’t both be on the road. It wasn’t possible.

    I know these are “first world problems”, but they take a toll. Your stress was real and you were a great juggler, Dana.

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