I’ve Made It 10 Years As A Mom. Here’s What I Know.

I’ve Made It 10 Years As A Mom. Here’s What I Know.

I so vividly remember my best friend coming over 10 years ago to support me right after I had my first baby.

I was holding him while he napped, surrounded by diapers and burp cloths, desperately in need of some sleep and a hot meal. But when my friend asked me what she could do to help, I started to cry. I didn’t know where to start. I had a fussy baby I had no idea how to comfort, I had a filthy house I had no energy to clean, and I was in a massive amount of pain from pushing a nine-pound baby out of me. (No one told me that with the miracle of life comes stitches.)

All I knew was that three days ago I had walked into the hospital excited to meet my baby and return to my normal size, and instead I came home nowhere near my normal size with a baby I was having trouble connecting to.

My friend helped me put away some baby clothes, set up the baby monitor, gave me a hug and left. And I cried some more.

Fast forward 10 years, and my kid amazes me. He can give you a recap of any World Cup from the past 20 years. He’s surprisingly quick with a witty retort. He periodically pops into my room with a football in hand and asks if I want to play a quick game of catch or watch Monty Python after his siblings go to sleep. I’m amazed at how much fun I can have hanging out with a fourth grader.

But equally amazing is the realization that I did it. I made it 10 years. There was a time I didn’t think I was going to make it through 10 hours if my husband didn’t get home from work immediately and take the baby so I could get a shower and a nap. But I survived, and once we all got a little more sleep and my son got more interactive, I ended up enjoying him so much that we had three more kids in quick succession (thankfully none of them nine pounds).

It’s been the hardest job I’ve ever had. What other job has you on call literally 24/7, 365 days a year? I’m the CEO, but my directions often go ignored; I’m a cook, but people turn up their noses when I make a dish they loved last time I made it; I’m a chauffeur, who’s simultaneously breaking up arguments; and I’m a teacher, even though I do not have an education degree.

But I do all of those things. I don’t always do them to perfection, and I don’t always do them joyfully, but I do them, and I’ve been doing them for 10 years. Ten whole years.

And by most measurements, I’ve succeeded. My baby is healthy, as happy as a tween can be, and finding his own way in the world. A lot of times I’m still figuring things out as I go, but I’m lightyears away from where I imagined I ever could be when I brought a crying, tiny thing home 10 years ago.

There have been a lot of times over the past 10 years when I’ve thought to myself: I can’t do this. I don’t know how to do this. But I have living, breathing, proof right in front of me that I am, in fact, doing it. I’m no longer afraid I won’t be up to the challenge.

After all, look how good those first 10 years turned out?

Lauren Davidson is a Pittsburgh-based writer and editor focusing on parenting, arts and culture, and weddings. She has worked at newspapers and magazines in New England and western Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in English and French. She lives with her editor husband, four energetic kids, and one affectionate cat. Follow her on Twitter @laurenmylo.

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