How New Parenthood Is Slowly Making Me Crazy

Wishing Well

There’s an old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” So true.

That’s why I’m excited to contribute to the Wishing Well, a community of authors, bloggers, musicians, moms, dads, and medical professionals all talking  about the trials and triumphs of raising a child.

As both a new dad and writer, it’s fun to read and share stories of this wild ride called parenthood.

This is a conversation facilitated by the  Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt here in Nashville and something I’m doing on a quarterly basis.

I’ll post excerpts here, but if you’re interested in following along more closely, I suggest you check out their website and subscribe to the new posts.

This first piece I wrote is about the craziness of being a new parent, which isn’t, I’m learning, an altogether bad thing.

Musings on new parenthood

Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from the piece:

I caught my wife rocking in place the other day — for no apparent reason.

Often, I find myself habitually humming lullabies without realizing it. Everywhere I turn, there are receiving blankets. We now own more plush toys than I ever would have imagined.

Yes, we are new parents. And yes, we’re a little crazy. But so are most new mommies and daddies, I’ve learned.

Read the rest here: New Parenthood Musings

More on being a (crazy) dad

The question I most often hear as a new dad is, “Do you just LOVE being a dad?!”

Um, well, yes… if I’m awake for it. Truth is it’s good, but not always easy. And I had no idea how much lack of sleep would wear me down emotionally, physically, even spiritually.

I have a newfound empathy for those “crazy parents” I used to see at the grocery store or out walking the dog. They were droopy-eyed and disheveled and a little unnerved.

Now, I realize: I am that crazy parent. I’m the guy who doesn’t shower for days or says crazy things in the middle of the night — out of sheer exhaustion.

I’m the guy who gets lullabies stuck in his head and can’t help but want to sway in public — without even noticing it.

And frankly, I’m okay with all of that. Because one look at this little guy makes it all worth it.

Aiden Goins
My son, Aiden.

What’s something that drives you crazy but is totally worth it? Share in the comments.

65 thoughts on “How New Parenthood Is Slowly Making Me Crazy

  1. love this post! 🙂 Something that drives me crazy but that is totally worth it? Well a small thing as a parent is this: Missing out on lots of events and gatherings after 7pm because I want my kids asleep by 7:30 so that we don’t have any Grumpelstiltskins in the morning? TOTALLY WORTH IT. Haha! People have always laughed at how early my kids go to bed even when it’s daylight in the summer at 7:30pm (sometimes 7pm!) here in Nashville, but I stick with it and my children are almost always pleasant beings. Chalk one up to Mama Rules! 🙂

    1. Amanda, we were the same way with out kids. We missed out on lots of things so that our kids could be put to bed at 7pm. I think a lot of friends thought that we did that just to get them out of our hair, but that is so not true. We did it because when they were well-rested they were fun and well-behaved, while their tired “lets-put-them-to-bed-at-eleven” children were always crabby and throwing tantrums. Even now at 15, 12, and 9 they go to bed earlier than their peers – 9pm. A well-rested child is going to have a better temperment, in my opinion. If I could go back and do it again, I would do it exactly the same way. I love being with my children.

  2. Something that drives me crazy, but is totally worth it: reading the same stories to my 2 year old. over. and over. and over. I do it because they bring her joy–even if I feel like I’m mentally degenerating. 

  3. I’m not a mother but I do find myself swaying (with or without child in arms) and lullabies get stuck in my head. I guess I’m just excited for parenthood someday. 🙂

    Katie

  4.  I have three high schoolers and the craziness hasn’t stopped!  Be prepared to stay crazy for a long while yet!

  5. My husband and I had our 3rd child a month ago and it doesn’t change. We are experienced parents and we still get that frazzled, I-haven’t-slept-in-2-days look. Congratulations!

  6. I found myself smiling at the picture of your gorgeous boy too. I’m a parent – but less crazy these days, I’m happy to report. And the smile’s are still so precious. Thinking of you!

  7. Hi, I’m Michelle, a writer and nanny new to blogging and am looking for good blogs to follow! This one seems right up my street. Any more recommendations? Thanks, Michelle

    1. Hey Michelle,
      This is definitely the place to be. Jeff is awesome. Seriously! It depends on the kind of stuff you’re looking for but allow me some selfishness – check out my blog too: https://josephiregbu.com

  8. I totally get it.  Both my kids didn’t sleep well for a long time.  For years it was just a daze of survival.  People ask me what it was like and I say ‘um… not sure I can remember much… didn’t get much sleep and can’t function without it’.  

    So yes, totally worth it, but it will be so much better when you can get a decent chunk of sleep in without getting woken up 🙂

  9. Yup. I remember those days as if it were yesterday. Unfortunately, both my sons were colic. Let me just say, you want to talk about lack of sleep and crazy? Oh.my.gosh. I thought I was going to lose my mind. No matter what we did we couldn’t get them to stop screeching. I can truly say it was the absolute best and worst time in my life. I definitely do not miss the broken sleep. I was working full time and nursing. Nuts. But today I look at my two boys and am thankful for them. Nothing changed my character and taught me more about being less selfish than having children. I pray adorable Aiden sleeps and you will get more rest in the days ahead.

  10. Oh My, Aiden is handsome…fresh off the shelf! Thanks for sharing the “Jeff” version of fatherhood.

  11. I remember thinking when my first son was Aiden’s age, “You are so perfect.  If you ever do anything wrong it will be all my fault.”  My two boys are both teenagers now.  While nurturing has helped them become terrific young men, at other times nature wins out.  When my 16-year-old told me he had inadvertently knocked the wind out of another player on the soccer field at a game I hadn’t attended, I asked if he had helped the other player up.  He looked at me incredulously and replied with full honesty, “Mom, he’s a competitor, he’s not a person.”  My blog at marthabrettschneider.com explores the adventure and challenges of parenting teenagers while trying to maintain spiritual balance and presence.  I’m writing a book about it all called Feng Shui Animal House: Raking Sand in the Midst of the Chaos.

  12. Thanks for this article. Kids definitely drive you crazy. The best way to describe the parenting process from my perspective would be “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” (to pinch a quote from Dickens). Raising three boys has been, and still is, the challenge of my life. 

    The joys and trials of raising children fluctuate inconsistently from week to week. There are so many variables that you can’t control. To survive the wildly random nature of parenting requires two things: acceptance and perseverance. Acceptance of the fact that it WILL be difficult at times and that you won’t be an instant pro, despite all your preconceived notions. Perseverance to keep going even at your lowest moment when you feel like a complete and utter failure as a parent. 

    It’s a humbling process. Soon after the birth of your first child there’s usually a rude awakening that brings every ounce of hidden selfishness to the surface which reveals a side of you that you didn’t think existed. (This can be pretty scary, when you used to view yourself as a laid back, reasonable, well-rounded person.)

    But there is joy. And laughter. And awe and amazement at these little beings that resemble your likeness and make your life so much richer. And as you try to bring them up right and influence them for good, you realize that they are changing you – your priorities, your perspective, your character, your future. These are the incredible aspects of that crazy thing called ‘parenthood’. 

  13. Oh My Gosh! Aiden is so adorable. I have two boys, 6 and 8. Something that drives me crazy but that doesn’t bother me any more, are those sticky hands. Love can overcome anything! Best wishes to you as you engage in the most trying, rewarding, and self-actuallizing experience of your lifetime. jana

  14. Jeff, wait till you have more kids! We just had our 3rd and to be completely honest it is the other two kids that are keeping us up at night! Praise God for the gift of sleepless nights and joyful days. 

  15. Oh – those eyes! Enjoy!

    “Being crazy isn’t enough . . . In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!” Love that Dr Seuss.    

  16. Parenting?

     I am going to quote myself here: It’s like being at a banquet and eating the best dessert ever topped with bits of jalepanos and drops of vinegar. Sweet, and oh, so very snappy. And also sometimes unpleasantly sour. 

    Bites of deliciously delightful love roll smoothly around on your tongue, but are layered with occasional bites of hot anger. Sometimes, too, there is a nasty bite of deep shame at being impatient and imperfect.

    That being said, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I will enjoy these treats—sweet, snappy, sour and all—for as long as God wills, and may you as well!

  17. I wasn’t going to comment, but that baby is just too cute not to say something.  He is flat out adorable.
     
    One of my fondest memories of parenthood was holding my new baby girl in the wee hours of the morning, sitting in a rocking chair and watching the sun rise.  She had finished feeding and was snuggling in as she went back to sleep.  It was a magical feeling of peace and love.  That feeling came often, and I considered it one of the spiritual perks of parenthood.
     
    So yes, Jeff, I would say that your new child is worth the craziness. 🙂

  18. He is beautiful Jeff, what a blessing!  Congrats, enjoy the amazing ride of parenthood.

    Waiting… that is what makes me crazy.  I somehow expect others to be as driven as I am but God is teaching me the value of patience as I wait. 

  19. Loved the picture of Aiden.  Just sent my son off to his first day of high school this morning.  Seems like yesterday I was in your shoes.  Enjoy the ride.  You will get sleep again one day!

  20. Answering your question – when you tell God you need to grow and He answers your request.  It is 100% guaranteed to be the opposite of what you expect.

  21. Jeff, I have ten kids. Savor and store these memories, these days go by so fast. Write all you can about Aiden’s first six months because you will forget, you don’t think you will, but you will. In five years, you will look back at these days like a whimsical dream. Congrats. 

  22. Writing drives me crazy. But it’s totally worth it when someone says, “That was exactly what I needed to read today.”

    Enjoy your precious son. You will get sleep again, and you will begin to find a new balance in the coming months. So will your wife. Just be patient with each other. That was probably the hardest part in our first few months with our babe.

  23. Hmmm… I’d say the Neanderthal stage.  My littlest one is 22 months and these days it’s like we’re riding a rollercoaster in the dark… we never know what the next moment will bring – toy cars/food/etc. flung at our heads; being kicked; him running at us to give us wonderful, full-fledged hugs; his infectious laughter; his screams – just that we need to hold on (to our patience) for dear life.  He’s amazing and it’s so worth it, but I won’t mind too much when we’re past this stage…

  24. My first child did not sleep all night even once until after her seventh birthday. The first six months of her life are a big haze in my mind. At the time, I was pretty sure I was not cut out to be a mother. But now, I would not change a minute of it. My beautiful daughter, now in her forties, recently came to visit for a week, and she still has more energy and enthusiasm for life than any two other people. She still hardly sleeps all night. But what she accomplishes! Every kid comes with gifts, and the things about them that make us crazy in the first six months will almost certainly bear rich fruit in the years to come.
    Your son is a adorable, and that, of course, is how they get us trained so well. Anybody who ever saw six adults in a house fall all over themselves doing what the newborn baby wants knows that babies are not helpless. Enjoy these days while you have them, if you have the strength.

  25. Not meaning to lob a conversation stopper, but Monday we learned that our seven-year-old daughter has a life-threatening spinal tumor. This was the child I carried in the night, who frustrated my life professionally and stunted my learning of the German language. (We were serving internationally.) I served her with love, but sometimes I complained…

    Now, parents, know something: Those small-hour times of rocking and pacing and carrying will become in your memories the dearest moments of your lives. Skip work. Change your jobs. Do what you have to. But love those little ones. Make it draw you together as husband and wife. Build on those rich, deep hours in the night. 

    And, may God bless you in this work, knowing that those quiet hours shared in secret with your babies are dear to the Father’s heart and count for more than you could ever imagine at the moment. 

    1. Bryan:   All of the parents who read your post can feel the pain in your words.  Your daughter could belong to any of us — we really sent warm prayers and hugs for you all.  I hope the tumor can be removed with safety and she will be fine.  So many prayers will be said for your daughter and the whole family. 

      Stay close to God now – and we are all continuing to pray for you…..

      1. Ms Savarese: So kind of you! Wow! Just read my own post. I really went over the top there; probably broke some publishing rules in the doing. But I was moved by Jeff’s article. Those night do make a young parent crazy, but they take on meaning through the years. Thanks for responding(: 

  26. Jeff, your son is beautiful.  Enjoy these years. Watching your son grow up and guiding him to be a wonderful human being will be your greatest accomplishment.  I have 3 daughters, all grown, with wonderful children of their own, but I still miss their growing up years.  
    They have now become my best friends, and as I watch them guide their own children, I see how often they emulate me when they were growing up in guiding their own children. Just enjoy every moment with your son.

    Jeff, I am a Tesol English teacher, and I teach on Skype.  You may want to read my blog, and if you know of anyone who is interested in learning to speak English, please pass on my blog link to them.

    Englishteachertesol.wordpress.com

    I enjoy your e-mails and you have a good sense of humor.

    Best regards,
    Corinne

  27. I love the cuddly stage of little babies. Take pictures, and write down stories of the things they do, then when they are 5 and they see what little sister or brother is doing, you can tell them stories about when they were young. They will feel you love and you will remember with fondness the best blessing in life. Family!

  28. The one thing that drives me crazy but is way beyond worth it–homeschooling. The sacrifices are endless, frustrating at times, and painful. The work is never done especially when you have multiple children. And you are tested to your very limits in creativity and patience. But I wouldn’t give up the enormity of time I get to spend with my children and the amazing transparent relationship I have with each of them.

  29. What use to drive me crazy was?
    I had a Day Care for over six years;  They were all two year olds.
    All but one he was six months old.
    I love them all like they were my own children.
    It use to drive me crazy; when a few of the parents would come to pick up
    their children; and let them do what ever they wanted to do.
    They would not listen to their parents.
    I would have to talk to the children even if the parents were there.
    When a few parents would try to get them ready; The children would just run
    all over the place.
    But it was all worth it because each child was special in their own little way.
    When it was time for them to start school they already knew their shapes
    colors, and numbers, the Months, so on and so on.
    It was the best thing I have ever did was to have my very own  Day Care.
    The children and parents and myself we bonded so well.
    Now they are around twelve years old.

    Jeff,
    Thank You for sharing your picture of your beautiful baby boy.
    God Bless You, and Your Family.

    Loretta,

    1.  Adam:  Watch your baby being born – its truly one of the miracles in life!!  Truly incomparable to anything I can possibly imagine.  To see your own child born is a gift from God — and give your wife lots of support and love. Labor REALLY is hard labor!!  

      Be an involved father from Day One – they need YOU to get their ‘man-card’ — and you are very, very important to your child… and that includes cheering your little girl in the specialness of being female and how beautiful she is.  You are an important person, just as MOM is… and the babies need you both to love each other and them.

      What drove me crazy as a new parent?  Pure exhaustion for 3 months when he had colic and screamed hours.  First time mom and NO experience with babies.  My suggestion, with my head on the table, crying, :”Just take him back to the hospital!”  … I just needed rest.  So elusive during the first 3 months.  But he is a wonderful 40  yr old now.. and I would truly love to have that little boy back again.  I miss him so much — he lives cross country and I don’t see him often.  

      Btw, your boy is a doll!!!

  30. Aiden is adorable! What drives me crazy sometimes but is completely worth it? Answering certain questions over and over for our daughter because I know it is a gift and a honor she values my opinion…well at least for now 😉

  31. We just took our youngest to college for his freshman year, so this is a good time for me to look back and try to remember when our sons were as tiny as your son.  I like Kim’s description of parenting.  It is mostly very good, with some very bittersweet (and sometimes bitter) times mixed in with the good.  The no-sleep phase of infancy is one of the hardest.  I found that with boys the younger ages were very hard (mostly exhausting) but the teenage years were not nearly as hard as I expected.  I can truly say that my husband and I enjoy both of are sons and are happy with the young men they are becoming.  Which is not to say that we ever stop worrying about them.

  32. Hi Jeff
    Hey Little Aiden is looking like you!!!  What is something that drives me crazy but is totally worth it? STUDY and learning new things. I am presently working on a Masters- finding it challenging but oh when I am writing and assignment essay I actually get on a high! Just created that way I guess.

    Best to you, your wife, Aiden and your dog, 
    Rhonda

  33. Welcome to the wacky world of parenthood.  it never ends, Jeff.  from that beautiful little boy to a grown man with babes of his own, it never ends.  enjoy the ride

  34. Being a dad is great, overwhelming, scary and rewarding all rolled into one.  Until I was a dad, though I didn’t realize how selfish of a person I was. 

    That’s probably the thing that drives me the most crazy- my lack of time, cause hey I’m selfish.  But with lots and lots of prayer, I’m working through that.  One way I get time back is wake up earlier.

    Another thing that helps is to know that, “This too shall pass.”  My kids are only with me for a short period of time and I’m trying to enjoy that time as much as possible.

  35. My boys are in their late teens now. Constantly having to remind them to do the things they know they should be doing (chores, homework…)is annoying but not the end of the world stuff. I know I’m very lucky because they are both smart, generous, and caring people. Seeing the evidence of what I’m trying to teach them about life  sync with their own personalities is worth it.

  36. Spot on Jeff, half the time I feel like a mindless zombie.  Stealing sleep wherever I can get it has lead to crazy talking in my sleep (which I’ve never done before) and some pretty weird dreams.  

    But when that little boy smiles, I truly feel alive.

  37. What drives this dad crazy is remembering how bad I wanted my children to grow up so I could do things with them, like hike, play ball, talk about what’s in their heart. Now that the oldest of the four is in college and the youngest is thirteen, I long to hold them, rock them and sing them lullabies again… I’m sure you’ve already heard it 10 million times, but it’s worth saying again: They grow up way to fast; cherish these crazy times! Blessings, Jeff!

  38. The funniest goof was when my daughter was a week or two old, and we got up in the night to feed her. I took off her wet/dirty diaper and handed her to her mama to nurse. Except I forgot to put a new diaper on her. So here it was, 1 in the morning, and my wife suddenly needed a shower. Which she probably didn’t get for 2 more days…

  39. Jeff, I have ten kids. Savor and store these memories, these days go by so fast. Write all you can about Aiden’s first six months because you will forget, you don’t think you will, but you will. In five years, you will look back at these days like a whimsical dream. Congrats. 

  40. Welcome Aiden! Bring your parents to a new level of awareness … of you, of themselves, of the entire relationship. There was never one before you and there will never be another. Jeff, I am going to pass on to you what was said to me at the birth of my first child, “Congratulations Sucker!” Both words are correct. I am so happy for you, for the discoveries you will make about your wife, yourself, Aiden, and the relationship itself. I am also glad you are the latest sucker who has surrendered in faith to the will of an unknown (yet accepted) Supreme Being who will have Aiden take you ever closer to yourself and Him. Keep surrendering and the victory will be yours.

  41. I have 4 kids that I have been the stay at home dad for most of their lives.  My youngest just turned 2.  I have tons of sleep deprived ideas and a how to be a stay at home dad post in the works.  It takes a lot of time and sleepless nights.  I am going to start a stay at home dad podcast called “Asleep on the toilet”….inspired by real events.  you will get through it Jeff!  It is everything you read it to be and yet your own unique and special experience.  Enjoy it, pretty soon your little one will be climbing the bookshelves and smearing bananas all over the couch.  And you will love every minute of it, after  the adrenaline wears off.
    Take care, Justin.

  42. Jeff,

    As your child grows, if you are Christian, you will want him to know the Lord.  Please you or your wife e-mail me so I can tell you my book idea.  jessicaannbooks@gmail.com  
    It will take two minutes, the house will be a mess for the first year anyway 🙂

Comments are closed.