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Parents should clown around. Sometimes.

Parents today are exhausted. Between keeping house, working jobs, carting kids to appointments and activities, paying bills, feeding, clothing and bathing (the parents as well as the kids!), there is barely enough time in a day to get it all done. It certainly is tough to get it all done and do it well. Some days we succeed; other days we fail miserably. Nine and a half times out of ten, the kids come first. The rest falls in line by the rules of a revolving door of priority. It does not take a genius to know that the key is balance.

And a balancing act it surely is. Every day is an exercise in logistics and Mom and Dad take turns wearing the hats of event planner, dispute mediator, disciplinarian, caregiver, cleaning specialist, educator, dietician and...clown. Yes, being a clown is a mandatory requirement of parenting. Because while most of the other roles are all about family business and day-to-day living, somebody has to bring the fun.

To find out how to up the fun factor, all a parent has to do is attend a party at one of those kids' gyms with organized play. After witnessing their over-exuberant, borderline maniacal, annoyingly super-happy employees jump up and down singing about froggies and monkeys and "pop" goes this or that while all the kids join in with delight, parents walk away thinking, "There is no way I can beat that." And then they go home, turn on the television for the kids and sit in the kitchen wallowing in their failures as parents.

Keeping up with a baby or toddler and the day-to-day routine is enough for parents to send the clown packing altogether. Parenting is work. Running a household requires work to get done. If parents spent their days acting like Mr. and Mrs. Bozo, the kids would never get a good meal or take a bath. The house would never get a once-over with the vacuum, let alone a good cleaning. Appointments would be missed and bills would not get paid. More importantly, parents would go insane.

Sure, go ahead and have fun with your kids. In fact, make time to have fun with your kids. We all should make the time, because when we do it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy and our kids thrive from the attention and love. But if we had to clown around 24/7 those warm fuzzies would fade. Be a clown sometimes. Just do not try to be like one of those employees at the fun gym. You have work to do and a household to run, and besides, they are just plain annoying.

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