I started this feature to celebrate real mums. Mums are amazing and come in all shapes and sizes but sometimes we can feel alone, we can feel as though we are the only ones struggling to keep on top of things. I want to lift the lid on motherhood so we can all feel part of a sisterhood, to feel proud about our own achievements and know that we are doing the best we can!
Without further a do let me hand over to Amber!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Hi! I’m Amber. I’m 26 and I live in South East London with my partner of nearly eleven years, Kirsty, our dog Josephine and our newest additions to the family, baby twins Balthazar and Lysander. I’m the ‘nature’ part of our twins – they were conceived using my eggs and I carried the pregnancy – whereas Kirsty is the ‘nurture’ – she stays at home to raise them.
Describe a typical day in your life
I’m a working mum so my life is divided into two parts: at work (where I’m typically thinking about my children) and at home (where I’m thinking about work). A typical day for me involves plenty of coffee and my colleagues have started referring to biscuits as my ’emotional crutches’ – but only jokingly, I hope!
I’m fortunate to have a partner who is an excellent stay-at-home mother. It’s much easier to go into work knowing that the better stay-at-home parent is staying at home with the children. Often she sends me little photographs of them going about their day, which always makes me smile.
What is the best thing about being a mum?
Watching them grow into their little personalities is pretty cool. I think that having twins really highlights what is inherently THEM and what is how they’re being raised. Our boys are so different in themselves but both such quirky, funny, likeable little people. I love watching that develop.
What have you found hardest about motherhood?
It would certainly be easier if they came with an ‘off’ switch! Well – I suppose that nap time is the ‘off’ time, so I guess the hardest point for me is when we’re all geared up for them to Go The F- To Sleep and then they don’t, or they lull us into a false sense of security by dozing off but then promptly wake up five minutes later! We love having them about but also really value having some ‘couples time’ and it’s hard when that is interrupted.
How has your body changed?
Well – I have a caesarean scar that wasn’t there before! My birth experience was rather traumatic and the opposite of what I wanted; I ended up demanding a caesarean section because the state of the hospital meant that continuing to labour there felt extremely dangerous. I’m deeply resentful of the whole experience and will be livid if the caesarean damage impacts my ability to birth at home in the future.
Otherwise, my body withstood a twin pregnancy well. I carried the boys until thirty-eight weeks and was able to commute to my job in London until I got bored and started maternity leave at thirty-seven weeks. I do have a few stretch marks and a bit of extra flab but – eh. It’s to be expected, right? I’m mostly chuffed that I managed to carry twins to term, to be honest.
Do you wear makeup? If so what does your routine look like?
A tiny bit? I mostly just bung a touch of mascara and lipstick on and call it good! If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll rub some concealer under my eyes to try to lose the eye bags!
What’s in your handbag?
A good fiction book (right now it’s Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss), a notebook and a biro. Emergency lipstick. iPhone. Purse. Little baggies for the dog. A stash of receipts and old travel cards. Keys.
The twins have their own separate bag that lives by the front door so that whichever of us is leaving the house with them can grab it and go!
What is your relationship with housework?
When there’s housework to be done, disappear into the kitchen!
Joke. I’m well-aware that it’s easier to spend a day in the office than a day of taking care of multiple infants, so I try to do plenty of housework to help out. I do all of the cooking and prepare Kirsty’s lunch the day before so that she only has to warm it up. I tend to clean the kitchen whilst dinner is cooking and run the laundry at the same time.
The only chore that I really loathe and won’t do is vacuuming. Fortunately Kirsty doesn’t mind it else our home would be a dust-bunny sanctuary!
How do you relax?
Kirsty was my childhood best friend before she was my partner. I grew up having a LOT of daily, uninterrupted time with her and losing that has been my biggest parenting adjustment. To be honest there’s nothing I love more than tucking up on the sofa or in bed for a really good chat.
Also, we bundle the children into their wraps (we babywear) or the double pram and take the dog for lovely long rambles through the local woods or nature reserve. They are happy to have so much to look at, the dog is ECSTATIC to be out and about and we grown-ups get a chance to talk and laugh together. I love those times.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever been given?
This is hard. I don’t know that we received much ‘best advice’ – all families are so individual it’s really impossible to predict what will work best for somebody else. We followed a lot of attachment-parenting-for-adoptive-parents philosophies with regard to developing and re-enforcing Kirsty’s bond with the twins and these worked spectacularly – she’s always been more bonded to them than I am!
For any new mums out there, what would you like to tell them?
That it can be wonderful AND terrible interchangeably, I suppose, and that what is the status quo one minute might not be the next. Hold tight because change is always RIGHT around the corner.
What makes you happy?
Bright colours. Light filtering through the trees at sunset. Shopping online for baby clothes. Good coffee. Chocolate with a high cocoa percentage, preferably with lashes of sea salt. Riding a really excellent sitting trot. The way that my dog seems to purr through her nose when she’s happy. Photography. Staying up past midnight. Mulled wine at Christmas. Baby laughter. ‘Date nights’ or hours, these days, with Kirsty.
And finally, complete this sentence:
I am a great mum because….. I am a great mum because I am providing my children with a model of an alternative family that are absolutely making it work.
Haha an off switch! I think every mum reading this will have nodded along to that! Just loved reading this Amber, I love the way you describe you and Kirsty as being the nature and nurture. I am both to my girls …. not entirely sure of Mr F’s role… lol. x
You can find out more about Amber and her world over at her blog The Goblin Child
She is also on Twitter so go say hi
If you would like to take part in my Real Mums series then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. x