My spouse had snapped this photo on my phone while I was sleeping, and I discovered it when I awoke.

“I spotted this image on my phone the other morning when I got up.”

I’m currently in the thick of things. That is how the baby trenches appear. But it was my husband’s turn to wake up with the baby that night. He stole this photo of my daughter and me after changing, feeding, and putting the baby down (who crawled into bed with us at some point during the night).

I never post a picture of myself that I haven’t “posed” for. But this time is different. This photograph was unique.

“The last few weeks have been quite trying. It’s easy to underestimate how demanding a newborn is. How exhausted you become—physically, mentally, and emotionally. You’re already exhausted when two more children are added to the mix. Every single time.”

“Some of my everyday responsibilities include changing diapers, holding infants, wiping tears, cleaning spills, doing laundry, washing dishes, and taking frequent snack breaks.”

“I don’t wash my hair every day. My eyes are puffy and have bags under them due to my lack of sleep. My clothes are almost certainly spit-up or food-stained. My hair is always in a mother bun. My makeup has entirely vanished.”

“And everything is depicted in this image. Although it isn’t attractive, it depicts one of the most difficult tasks in the world: parenting.”

“I want to reflect on this time in my life. It’s easy to forget that you’ll eventually miss something in the trenches, so I needed this picture as a reminder.”

“Sleepless evenings will not upset me as much as rocking and hugging my babies to sleep. I can feel their tiny chests breathing in and out as their tiny fingers wrap mine.”

“The crying outbursts won’t bother me as much as the ability to calm my kids down with a hug and a kiss on the forehead.”

“I’ll miss being able to wipe up their messes with soap and water more than I’ll miss cleaning up the spilled milk.”

“I will not miss having a painful neck and back from sharing a bed with my children. However, I’ll miss seeing their faces when I wake up. Those morning cuddles are going to be missed.”

“I want to look back on this period of my life.”

“Despite how hard and overwhelming this period of parenthood can be, I don’t want to forget it.”

“Therefore, don’t forget to remind your husband or romantic partner. They must take these pictures of you, so remind them to do so.”

“Be proud of these pictures.”