My husband took this photo of me while I was asleep

“It was a typical morning for me, but not in the way I had anticipated. When I opened my eyes, I was welcomed by a baby curled up alongside me in bed. Of course, it was my husband’s time to wake up with the baby that night, and after going through all of the usual steps—changing diapers, feeding, and putting them down to sleep—he sneaked this candid photo of us both together.

When I used to share images online, I usually took a posed shot to ensure everything was right before submitting it. But this time was different. Despite its lack of editing or preparation, this photo had something special about it that made it worth sharing.

The last several weeks have been difficult for me, as they have been for many other mothers. Physical and mental tiredness is accurate, and the numerous duties of having a new baby in your life can rapidly overwhelm you no matter how much you love them. Kids may be demanding, and it doesn’t help when you throw two more into the mix, as we recently did at our house.

My daily tasks include changing diapers, comforting teary-eyed babies, cleaning up spills and messes, washing dishes, doing laundry, and taking snack breaks. My appearance often reflects my long days and sleepless nights – my eyes are puffy, dark circles have formed underneath, my clothes are stained with baby food or smeared with spit-up, and I tie my hair in a bun to get it away from the chaos.

This graphic depicts what many people regard to be an unglamorous role: parenthood. A reminder that even during the chaos, these are the moments that will be recalled fondly one day.

Due to the rigors of caring for little children, I rarely have time for niceties such as having a daily shower or wearing makeup. Any parent’s exhausted expression can be observed at some point, but we somehow manage to get through the days.

This photograph reminds us that, while we may seem trapped in an unending cycle, these moments will pass swiftly and be remembered fondly.

Many people don’t understand that parenthood is one of the most challenging jobs – you’re constantly giving without expectation of anything in return. Yet, you wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. Despite its challenges, being a parent is incredibly gratifying when you take the time to enjoy it all. There is no greater joy than watching your children develop into unique individuals who bring laughter and brightness into your life.

The exhaustion of late nights won’t compare to the utter joy of cuddling and rocking my babies to sleep, feeling their tiny fingers curl around mine as I watch their little chests steadily rise and fall with each breath. It will never be the same as the satisfaction of comforting them during a tantrum simply by holding them close and pressing a loving kiss onto their forehead.

The tediousness of washing off every mess made by two tiny hands will never come close to replacing all those beautiful moments spent drinking in their presence while they snuggled up beside me in bed. Even though my neck might ache from being cramped up all night, nothing can match that feeling of waking up first thing in the morning to find those two cherubic faces right next to me, eagerly awaiting hugs and kisses before starting our day.

I want to look back on this period of parenthood with fondness and remember it longingly, despite the struggles that can come with it. Reminding your significant other how important capturing these moments is so they don’t forget or neglect them.

For your own sake, take pride in your photos – feel confident and beautiful in them – because they will remain with you forever as a reminder that you are growing and developing with your children. These pictures capture special times throughout your journey as a parent and will be cherished for years to come.

Documenting this part of life can also help to express the great love that comes from being a parent, which can sometimes be challenging to articulate in words. Let these images be reminders of just how much you have accomplished and evolved as a person since taking on the role of parenting.