“It was a normal morning for me, but not in the way I expected. When I opened my eyes, there was a baby curled up beside me in bed. Of course, it was my husband’s turn to wake up with the baby that night, and after the usual routine of changing diapers, feeding, and putting them down to sleep, he sneaked this candid shot of us both together.
When I used to share photos online, I would usually take a posed shot to make sure everything was in order before submitting it. This time, however, was different. Despite its lack of editing or preparation, this photograph had a unique quality that made it worth sharing. The last few weeks have been trying for me, as they have for many other mothers.
Physical and mental exhaustion are accurate, and the numerous responsibilities that come with having a new baby in your life can quickly overwhelm you, no matter how much you love them. Kids can be demanding, and it doesn’t help when you add two more to the mix, as we did recently. My daily responsibilities include changing diapers, comforting crying babies, cleaning up spills and messes, washing dishes, doing laundry, and snacking.
My appearance frequently reflects my long days and sleepless nights: my eyes are puffy, dark circles have formed beneath them, my clothes are stained with baby food or smeared with spit-up, and I tie my hair up in a bun to keep it out of the way of the chaos. This graphic depicts what many people consider to be a thankless job: parenting. A reminder that even in the midst of chaos, these are the memories that will be remembered fondly one day.
Because of the demands of caring for small children, I rarely have time for niceties like taking a daily shower or wearing makeup. Any parent’s exhausted expression can be seen at some point, but we get through the days. This photograph reminds us that, while we may appear to be trapped in an endless cycle, these moments will pass quickly and fondly.
Many people don’t realize that being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs because you’re constantly giving without expecting anything in return. Nonetheless, you wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Despite its difficulties, being a parent is extremely rewarding when you take the time to enjoy it all. Nothing beats the joy of seeing your children grow into unique individuals who bring laughter and light into your life.
The exhaustion of late nights pales in comparison to the pure joy of rocking and cuddling my babies to sleep, feeling their tiny fingers curl around mine as I watch their little chests rise and fall with each breath. It will never be the same as the satisfaction of simply holding them close and pressing a loving kiss onto their forehead during a tantrum.
The tedium of cleaning up every smear made by two tiny hands will never be able to compensate for all the beautiful moments spent drinking in their presence while snuggled up beside me in bed. Nothing beats waking up first thing in the morning to find those two cherubic faces right next to me, eagerly awaiting hugs and kisses before we start our day, even if my neck aches from being cramped up all night.
Despite the difficulties that can accompany parenthood, I want to remember this time with fondness and longing. Reminding your significant other how important it is to capture these moments so that they do not forget or ignore them. Take pride in your photos and feel confident and beautiful in them for your own sake, because they will stay with you forever as a reminder that you are growing and developing with your children.
These photographs capture special moments in your parenting journey and will be treasured for years to come. Documenting this aspect of life can also help to express the immense love that comes with being a parent, which can be difficult to express in words at times. Allow these images to serve as reminders of how much you have accomplished and grown as a person since taking on the role of parent.