Motherhood is maddening.

It is exhausting.

It is frustrating.

It is overwhelming.

But, on the days that are less stressful, because of course there are none that are truly stress-free, motherhood is defining.

It is exhilarating.

It is growth-provoking.

It is exciting.

Be it on the easier days or the more challenging ones, the extremes of motherhood, and the unconditional love and worry that oozes out of your being for your children, can cause you to drift apart from your partner, at least in his eyes.

For many of us mothers we enjoy our children, but not so much the chaos that inevitably follows them around. For other moms, the chaos might be less bothersome because we are less present; we are distracted and not “all there”, a state in which chaos doesn’t faze us because we’re not paying all that much attention. Regardless of which camp you fall into, there is one thing that remains the same:

Motherhood, at one point or another, will make you feel crazy.

It feels crazy to be around people who deplete you, but also complete you.

It feels crazy to feel like you can’t catch your breath when your children are around, but also like you can’t breathe when they are not.

It feels crazy to physically ache when your children are born, and to then emotionally ache for them every minute thereafter.

It feels crazy to acknowledge you still have so many ways to improve, while at the same time you are the one teaching your children how to be.

It feels crazy to live for others while still craving to live for yourself.

It feels crazy to be a mom.

But, did you know this?

It feels crazy to be a dad, too.

Just like motherhood, fatherhood is maddening. It is exhausting, frustrating, and overwhelming. And, like motherhood, fatherhood is also defining, exhilarating, growth-provoking, and exciting.

At one point or another, fatherhood will make him feel crazy.

It feels crazy for him to be around people who need him, but need you more.

It feels crazy for him to feel like he needs all of you, but wonder if you really need him.

It feels crazy for him to want to spend every waking minute with you all, but then when he does, he wants those minutes to speed up because he’s f*cking exhausted.

It feels crazy for him to feel enamored with you and your children, but also drained by all of you.

It feels crazy to him that this is the life he has, when it is so far from the one he imagined for himself.

It feels crazy to be a dad.

Did you know that?

No, I don’t think that being crazy is a hallmark trait of parents in general, but feeling crazy, well, that sure is.

Parenthood is maddening, but contrary to popular belief the madness means that you both need each other more, not less.

The imperfect, very messy, and often ridiculous awesomeness of parenthood is very capable of driving two people closer together, not further apart.

I want my spouse to be crazy with me—it’s the best way to tackle this journey.

Nicole Merritt

Nicole Merritt is a mother of three and the Owner and Founder of jthreeNMe, an imperfectly authentic peek at real-life marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. jthreeNMe is raw, honest, empowering, inspiring, and entertaining; it’s like chicken soup for those that are exhausted, over-stressed and under-inebriated, yet still utterly happy. Nicole's work has been featured by Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, BLUNTmoms, Thought Catalog, Everyday Family, Motherly & many others. You can follow Nicole at jthreeNMe and on FacebookPinterestInstagram & Twitter!