One of the things many moms hold most dear are the photos they have of themselves posing with their precious babies. They are cherished mementos to be looked back on with fondness and nostalgia. It's a monumental and wonderful thing to become a mother, and it's not uncommon for new mamas to go to great lengths to get the perfect pic of themselves with their babies.
With social media becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives, a new mom may bend over backwards in order to get the perfect shot of herself and her baby together--one that will garner a plethora of likes and gushing comments on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Unfortunately, babies don't always cooperate with their mother's wishes. In fact, little ones have been known to pee, poop, vomit and pull the ugliest of faces in photos. The nerve. Before we go blaming everything on the babes, it's also important to note that sometimes a photo fail is totally and completely mom's fault.
It doesn't matter if a photo of a mother with her baby is candid, posed or professionally taken, all instances are equally likely to turn out a laughable, or cringe-worthy, shot. The following mom/baby pics are awkward to say the least, and reveal the hilarious, overwhelming and often difficult sides of parenthood. The only thing that can ever be relied upon in parenthood is that things will rarely going according to plan, if ever.
Please enjoy the following 15 photos that prove just how awesome, and awful, parenting can be.
15 That Just Happened
The mother pictured above is attempting to lovingly cradle her precious newborn. Her child has other plans. One of the most heartwarming aspects of this disgusting shot is the fact that a woman, who we assume is the mother of this overwhelmed new mom is there with her, still holding her grown-up baby, and helping her through the tough parts of new parenthood. She's even happily taking some of the literal cr** off of her daughter's hands.
This photo captures what it means to be a parent. It isn't a glamorous or glorified role. Moms and dads are dealing with messes and tantrums and lack of sleep and lack of alone time over and over and over again.
In the article "All Joy And No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting", author Jennifer Senior describes parenting as a "high-amplitude, high-frequency sine curve along which we get the privilege of doing hourly surfs. Yet it’s something most of us choose. Indeed, it’s something most of us would say we’d be miserable without."
14 Two-Headed Monster
Awe, isn't the above photo sweet? No? It's going to give you nightmares? This moms is just taking baby wearing to a new and unprecedented level of awesome. Her baby is safe, secure and totally content in there. His mom seems pretty pleased about her current outfit choice as well. We'll see if she's still smiling after little Junior has a major blowout.
In 2004, Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist, Daniel Kahneman, surveyed 909 women in Texas. He asked them to rank nineteen different activities in the order of how much they enjoyed them. Some of the pastimes the women had to choose from included preparing food, watching TV, exercising, napping, shopping, talking on the phone and homework. Child care was also on the list. How did it rank? On average, the women ranked it as the sixteenth most enjoyable endeavor of the nineteen they had to choose from.
What does this tell us? Taking care of children is not always fun. What the study fails to show are the moments of glimmering joy that shine through the monotony of motherhood. The one where a child gives his mom the first slobbery kiss or the one when he gives her a wilted wildflower he picked for her all on his own.
13 Not Funny
Economist Andrew Oswald conducted a study that concluded, "The broad message is not that children make you less happy; it's just that children don't make you more happy." He also found that children "invariably reduce marital satisfaction."
Well that's depressing. The picture above is one example of how a relationship changes when a little one joins the party. The father in the pic is pretending to eat his son's head...a move he most likely thinks is absolutely hilarious. His baby mama is not amused, and is giving him a glare for the books. Their baby is caught in the middle of the spat, not loving the moment even one little bit.
So are new parents doomed to live a life void of happiness or contentment in their romantic relationships? Of course not. Sure, having a child makes things more challenging, but it also helps couples fall even more deeply in love as they get to know each other in a new way and discover beloved aspects of their partner in their treasured child.
12 Sh** Just Got Real
The mother of new twins pictured above is making one of the most genuine faces we've ever seen in a mom/baby pic, and we love her for it. The pressure to be happy and overcome with nothing but joy after little ones arrive causes many new moms wonder if something is wrong with them if they experience negative emotions along with the positive ones after childbirth.
Author Elisse Tan admitted, "I had imagined that we would be taking some amazing photos once our baby girl arrived, and we would have an instant connection. What I didn’t plan for was a long labor that left us completely exhausted. Don’t get me wrong...once they placed my daughter in my arms, I was overjoyed. But I was also dumbfounded. What the heck just happened? Did this tiny being in my arms actually come out of me?"
Tan continued, "And as for those amazing photos that I hoped we would take? Well I think that neither my husband or I had the energy to think that we needed to take any pictures. We were drained empty by, well, a laborious labor. As I cradled my daughter in those first few moments, I was having difficulty processing everything that had just happened in the moments before. Looking back, I think I was in a bit of shock."
11 Face Off
The mom/baby duo above is struggling a little bit in the make-your-face-serene department. Neither of them are gazing at the camera. They aren't even gazing at each other. They both appear to be taken a bit off-guard by their current situation. But the photo above captures what parenthood is like 99.9% of the time: kinda a hot mess, but somehow still wonderful every step of the way.
Tan struggled with the fact that her first moments with her daughter had been less than what she had expected them to be. She continued, "I sat in this cloud of guilt through the few weeks after giving birth. So much for those pictures of made-up women who were glowing mere moments after delivering their babies. I certainly didn’t fit the bill. As it turns out, my husband DID take photos of me and our daughter as soon as she was birthed."
Tan beautifully concluded, "No make up, or touch-ups needed. Even now I can feel how raw the moment was. But isn’t that how motherhood is? Raw, unedited, with no time for touch-ups. The moments of frustration and exhaustion are equally as beautiful and the ones of expected joy."
10 Mommy! Mommy!
The parents pictured above are just trying to take a nice picture together. Is that too much to ask? It appears their child couldn't wait for the split second it takes for a camera to flash before desperately needing his mommy, and Dad isn's amused. It's sweet how much children depend upon their parents for every little thing, but it can also get overwhelming, and take a toll on a relationship over time. Couples may find themselves giving all they have to their children, and ending up with nothing left to give to each other.
Another study gave hope to parents everywhere when it concluded, "Contrary to much of the literature, our results are consistent with an effect of children on life satisfaction that is positive, large and increasing in the number of children.”
Sound too good to be true? It was. Mere months later, the author of the study uncovered an error in his data collection, and changed his findings to the following depressing conclusion: "the main results of the paper no longer hold. The effect of children on the life satisfaction of married individuals is small, often negative, and never statistically significant.” Despite these findings, couples who work to reconnect on a regular basis will be just fine.
9 No Turning Back
The new mother pictured above has a look on her face that every mom can relate to. She appears to be exhausted, overwhelmed and feeling a little bit like, "What on Earth have I gotten myself into?" Before we feel too bad for her, though, let's remind ourselves that although new motherhood is filled with difficult moments, for most new mamas, it's also fraught with absolutely blissful ones.
Sure, this new mom is in for a wild ride, but she'll find along with the low valleys and dark tunnels she passes through, that the journey of parenthood is also filled with plenty of colorful vistas and vibrant rainbows.
New parents who are afraid they will never eat without rushing or sleep or go to the bathroom in peace again should take heart. Babies grow up much too quickly. While a new mom is in the throes of caring for a newborn, she may not believe this, but someday, she'll look back and miss the moments she suffered through, or at the very least, her tiny babe, like crazy.
8 Pucker Up
The mom pictured above is loving on her baby like mothers love to do. She's giving those squishy little cheeks a smooch filled with so much adoration the baby looks to be thinking, "Back off a little, Mom! I know I'm cute and all, but I have a personal bubble!"
Some folks who became parents in past generations warn the moms and dads of today to be careful not to spoil their babies. Many of them feel that if we snuggle, canoodle and love our babies too much, they may get the wrong impression, and think they're the center of the universe or something.
Recent research contradicts this fear, and has shown time and again that it's pretty much impossible to spoil a baby. Parents go about caring for their children in many different ways, and some are definitely more hands-on than others, but, according to experts, moms simply cannot love their babies too much, especially during their first few months of life. So grab a baby and love the heck out of it. No harm done.
7 What's Wrong With This Picture?
This sweet photo of a new mother and father with their new arrival and the doc who most likely brought him into the world was foiled by the guy who should know a thing or two about how to hold a freaking baby! The poor little man is being dangled upside down, and doesn't seem pleased about it.
Let's just hope the parents didn't think their doctor was demonstrating the way they were supposed to hold their baby after they witnessed him presenting their beautiful baby to the world with his head to the ground.
Babies are actually incredibly resilient, and are able to adapt to the many mistakes new parents, and even doctors, may make. The pressure to be the perfect parent has never been more intense. New mothers and fathers shouldn't stress too much. As long as they are doing their best, and giving their babies the love they need, all of the little mistakes they make along the way will be forgiven and forgotten.
6 Bad Hair Day
The mother pictured above is rocking her hair and makeup, but her daughter isn't so sure about her mama's big hair and plastic earrings. Parents in the 80's may have been lax about seat belts and stranger danger, but they were less stressed than today's parents.
According to sociologist Annette Lareau, "Parents [of today] spend much more time talking to children and treating each child's though as a special contribution...This is very tiring work." She continues that most parents feel they "put their children at risk by not giving them every advantage" if they fail to put enough effort into rearing their children.
A study conducted by Suzanne M. Bianchi, John P. Robinson and Melissa A. Milkie found that parents spend more time with their children than they did in 1975, even though more mothers work today than ever before. One interesting finding? According to Senior, "Today’s married mothers also have less leisure time (5.4 fewer hours per week); 71 percent say they crave more time for themselves (as do 57 percent of married fathers). Yet 85 percent of all parents still...still!...think they don’t spend enough time with their children."
5 Keep Your Chin Up, Mom
The picture above is a perfect metaphor for how many modern mothers feel. Their children are their worlds, their everything, but the little darlings don't seem very thankful for all their mamas do for them.
According to Senior, "Before urbanization, children were viewed as economic assets to their parents. If you had a farm, they toiled alongside you to maintain its upkeep; if you had a family business, the kids helped mind the store. But all of this dramatically changed with the moral and technological revolutions of modernity. As we gained in prosperity, childhood came increasingly to be viewed as a protected, privileged time, and once college degrees became essential to getting ahead, children became not only a great expense but subjects to be sculpted, stimulated, instructed, groomed."
Princeton sociologist Viviana Zelizer summed up the way children are viewed today as “economically worthless but emotionally priceless.” Senior concludes, "Kids, in short, went from being our staffs to being our bosses." Sound familiar?
4 Mom's Not Ready
The above selfie is so, so sad. The poor mom in the background of the shot is definitely not in the right state to be posing for pics. We hope the guy who snapped this shot didn't realize what he was doing, and rushed to his lady's aid as soon as he saw her current condition in the camera lens.
This picture is actually a pretty accurate depiction of how many new moms feel after their babies arrive. Sure, they are overjoyed, but they are also expected to figure things out just hours, or sometimes even minutes, after welcoming a child to the world. Ready or not.
No one is arguing that being a parent in the current day and age isn't really, really hard, but there are some silver linings to the dark clouds looming over today's parents. Many modern day fathers are stepping up and shouldering more of the responsibilities of childcare than ever before. Additionally, support groups for things like breastfeeding and postpartum depression are much more accessible thanks to social media.
One downside to the social media constantly at the fingertips of today's parents is the risk that narcissistic tendencies may be exacerbated. The mother and daughter duo pictured above is disturbing, and not because they are matching. Everyone loves a good matchy-matchy photo shoot now and then.
The frightening thing about the photo above is the fact that the mother appears to have attempted to turn her daughter into her little clone. The young girl's hairstyle, outfit and even her glasses aren't really age appropriate. There's a reason they don't make Elsa dresses in grown-up sizes or teeny tiny t-shirts that say "I need coffee."
According to Psychology Today, moms who attempt to turn their children into miniature versions of themselves are suffering from a type of narcissism known as engulfing. The website states, "The engulfing mother smothers, seemingly unaware of her daughter's unique needs or desires. She tries to dominate and control every aspect of her daughter's life, telling her what to wear, how to act, what to say, what to think and how to feel. The child has little room to grow and develop into her own person and find her own voice. She dictates the way it is to be and does not encourage the child's inner experience or self-development."
2 What Baby?
On the other end of the spectrum, there are narcissistic parents that are so into themselves, their children don't get the attention they need and deserve, and often suffer from neglect. New parents should realize that young ones, especially newborn babies, need nearly round-the clock care.
Psychology Today states, "The ignoring mother under-parents and does not provide guidance, support, or attention. These ignoring behaviors create deep emotional gaps in a child's life that can go undetected for years. This kind of mother is also not in touch with the emotional world of the child."
The mother pictured above may have just been caught on camera in the wrong moment, but it appears that she's a little more into whatever's happening on her phone than she is with meeting her new baby. Let's just hope this new mom has since realized that even the most epic of all memes do not compare to the amazing awesomeness of new life.
1 Proud Papa
The new parents pictured above are reacting to their baby's choice to mark his territory in the midst of their photo shoot in two very different ways. The dad's face seems to be saying, "That's my boy!" The mom's face? "That's what baby boys do?! Gross!"
Senior continues,"Most people assume that having children will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows that parents are not happier than their childless peers, and in many cases are less so."
Does this mean parents should throw in the towel, accept their miserable fate, and give up on hoping for happiness while in the midst of raising children? Absolutely not. Because what Senior is saying in a roundabout way is that parenting may be the hardest job out there, but it's also the most rewarding, and it's important to remember that moms and dads are privy to moments of indescribable joy while toiling in the trenches of child-rearing.