Some mornings it is harder to walk out of the house than others.
Some mornings they feed to sleep and I leave them stretched comfortably on my bed, all creamy skin and little toes, and I want so badly to slip back under the sheet, pull them into my arms and rest my face against their soft baby heads. Those mornings are hard.
Some mornings they are awake and crying, they have not fed enough. Em takes a bottle easily – in fact, she prefers it – and she is more easily comforted by Kirsty than she is by me. She needs Kirsty more than she needs me, in that pure instinctive way in which a small baby needs her mama. But Polly? Polly wants her mother. Polly needs me.
And those mornings, the mornings when I carefully, gently, put my baby down on the bed and try to deafen myself to her howls as I close the front door? Those are the worst.
The boys are always asleep when I leave, and asleep when I return. It is not painless but there is not that sudden wave of guilt, that stop-in-your-tracks what-am-I-doing? tsunami that leaves me standing, hesitant, in front of a door that I can’t quite bring myself to open. It is constant, it always hurts.
There are nine hundred and forty Saturdays between a child’s birth and their eighteenth birthday. One thousand, eight hundred and eighty weekend days. Throw in public holidays, annual leave. It’s not much. Not really. I do feel part-time. Or like two different people. Like one of those dolls with two faces, Amber-at-Work and Mother. That can be tiring. Sometimes I forget which one I am supposed to be.
But there are unexpected gifts to this lifestyle too. There was the time that I kicked off my shoes, picked up my baby, and BAM! her first smile. And the weekends with my little boys are always so exciting. What did I do with those Saturdays and Sundays before I had children? How did I ever haul myself out of bed without those eager little faces calling for me?
Saturday mornings are my time with the boys. If I rise enough to feed Polly and express for Em, early enough that the boys are still asleep, when they wake up I can dress them, bundle them into the double buggy and go. Our new Saturday mornings are all breakfast on the bus, croissants and coffee and crumbs in the buggy. We talk about mummy, how she is at home with the babies (“We’ll see her soon! We’re going to the PARK”), we talk about the bus, they point out every car and lorry and bike. We find new parks, new open spaces in which to run around. We take risks that Kirsty would never allow; we play beside unguarded ponds, we coax squirrels to nibble snacks right out of our hands (“Cat! they cry, voices trembling with excitement, “Cat!”). Saturday mornings are for adventure.
And then we come home. We sing on the bus so that they don’t fall asleep. Once or twice we’ve resorted to the ultimate bribe: chocolate chips. The most exhausted toddlers in the world will stay awake for chocolate chips.
The only thing more exciting than exiting the front door is coming back through it. Kisses for mummy, kisses for babies. Home is our favourite place to be.
In these pictures, the children are wearing Frugi and so am I. The girls’ dresses were gifted to them as ‘welcome to the world’ presents from Frugi, the boys’ tops were sent to us for review purposes, and we paid cold, hard cash for their trousers and for my dress. We are part of the #FrugiFamily, ambassadors for the brand, and as with all of our ambassadorships we won’t endorse a product unless we really believe in it and would buy it for ourselves.
Are you Frugi fans as well? I’d love to hear your comments and please do pop over to my friend Mum in a Nutshell to hear how she is getting on with her item from the new collection.