22 Images That Define Parenting: From the Sweet and Silly to the Sentimental

A Fine Mess!

When I close my eyes and ponder the word parenting, a flood of images rotates through my mind: images of smiles, messes, cuddles, cuteness, hugs, and holidays. All things that define parenting in my book.

Defining parenting in one picture is a challenge. There are the funny moments, the meaningful moments and the nostalgic moments. We asked Babble writers, other parenting bloggers and a few pals to see if they could define parenting for them in one single image. And they did it. They shared with us photos that were sweet, silly, and sentimental and all of them…wonderful.

Check out how these families define parenting in one image:

(at left: “It’s loud. It’s messy. It’s the end of white furniture. “— Amber Doty of The Daily Dot)

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  • They Need You To Grow Strong 1 of 21
    They Need You To Grow Strong
    "This is a picture of Kirby on the day she was born. she was so tiny -- 3lb, 5oz -- that she had to stay in the NICU for three weeks."

    Via John Cave Osborne

  • Love for Each Other 2 of 21
    Love for Each Other
    "I fought so hard to get that little one here, and this photo proves that it was all worth it. I know that if anything were to ever happen to me they have each other. The love these two have for each other has changed the way I see love and define family completely."

    Via Casey Mullins of Moosh in Indy

  • Mommy Look at Me! 3 of 21
    Mommy Look at Me!
    "My 3 year old son jo-Jo said, "Mommy look at me!" It's about letting him be silly and encouraging his silliness because he just may be the next great comedian, even though you KNOW he's being foolish. That's what being a parent is all about."

    Via Kia Morgan Smith from Cinco Mom.

  • A Natural Progression – Part One 4 of 21
    A Natural Progression - Part One
    Part One of Two:

    "Me holding my newborn, enraptured, glowing, in love."

  • A Natural Progression – Part Two 5 of 21
    A Natural Progression - Part Two
    "Me, pregnant at my brother's wedding, lugging a screaming 3-year-old to a family photo shoot. I'm trudging along in heels, teeth gritted, red-faced, sweating...It's the yin and the yang of parenthood!"

    Both via Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom

  • What We Do For Our Kids 6 of 21
    What We Do For Our Kids
    "Being a Parent: Spending an entire evening trying to de-tangle Rapunzel's hair by my 4-year-old daughter's request. It was a daunting task, needless to say."

    Via Joanna Mazewski of Babble's Famecrawler

  • Learning 7 of 21
    Learning
    "I raise my nephew and we're teaching him to ride a bike at 2 with a balance bike. I love this picture."

    Via Vanessa of The Queen of Swag

  • Laughing in the Face of Sadness 8 of 21
    Laughing in the Face of Sadness

    "It was two months after their little brother had died and everyone was crying and sad and I was besides myself, wondering how to make things right for my surviving kids. So I turned on the computer. Because sometimes being a parent means teaching your kids how to make funny faces and laugh even when they don't want to. Even when you don't feel like it yourself."

    Via Tanis Miller author of Attack of the Redneck Mommy

  • Hands 9 of 21
    Hands
    "This picture means trusts, comfort and the fact that we were holding hands in sleep said love in every way it could."

    Via Anissa of Free Anissa

  • The Little Moments 10 of 21
    The Little Moments
    "Photos tend to memorialize the big events, but for me, parenting is more about the little moments. The weekend mornings in PJs, the dinner table jokes, and the sometimes-magical conversations that happen as the kids are drifting off to sleep."

    Via Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks

  • Blooper 11 of 21
    Blooper
    "Otherwise perfect picture ruined by toddlers armpit"

    Via Mira Jacobs of Masala Mama.

  • Those Eyes! 12 of 21
    Those Eyes!
    "I would do anything and everything for these eyes, especially when she looks at me this way."

    Via Sunny Chanel of Babble's Strollerderby and Famecrawler

  • Superhero 13 of 21
    Superhero
    "It's messy, your kitchen will always be a disaster, and you have to be at least part Superhero. And even with your Superhero suit on you'll still do plenty of faceplants."

    Via Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie

  • The Scream 14 of 21
    The Scream
    "The perfect mix of frustration and silly."

    Via Cecily Kellogg of Upper Case Woman

  • Forever 15 of 21
    Forever
    "I'm not quite sure how to express my feelings in words. I know what I'm feeling, but it's hard to say it. The closest I can get out is: Loving with everything that I am, forever."

    Via Liz Mays of A Nut in a Nut Shell

  • The Goal 16 of 21
    The Goal
    "The goal: laugh with your small people at least three times a day"

    Via Danielle Smith of ">Extraordinary Mommy

  • That First Day 17 of 21
    That First Day
    "For me parenting is that first day where you realize what it's really all about."

    Via Lee Allport of My Sentiment Exact Lee

  • What is Parenting? 18 of 21
    What is Parenting?
    "Making time to have fun as a family! "

    Via Monique Pflager

  • Parenting of Three 19 of 21
    Parenting of Three
    "After mothering almost 16 years three children, I have had to learn from day one they are unique, distinct individuals. Comparing them, which as a mother is so tempting to do, is just wrong. They have their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. They look like polar opposites (and yes, despite people constantly asking, they come from same mom and dad), they think differently, have opposite personalities, and they learn differently. The one thing I have learned as a mom of three, as soon as you think you are doing it right with one, another comes along and makes your approach outlandish, outdated, and misapplied. Mothering is about flexibility and patience and understanding and isn't that universal everywhere?"

    Via Heather Murphy-Raines of The United States of Motherhood

  • Pride 20 of 21
    Pride
    When asked to describe this photo Lori had one word, "pride," and it says it all.

    Via Lori Garcia of Mommyfriend.

  • Childhood Joys 21 of 21
    Childhood Joys
    "Rediscovering childhood joys - like sledding!"

    Via Shana Aborn of Babble's Famecrawler

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