I saw a post on Facebook for BUBS and brought Mason along to it. It was 2016. I was very quiet and reserved in those days. I was like Oh my goodness! What am I doing here? After a few weeks I felt like I had settled in. We enjoyed it. That was the main thing. I had been to one other playgroup. When I came along to BUBS it was completely different – it was about me and Mason not just about Mason. So, the post was a six-week plan, and the stuff that was being promoted sounded really good. I liked what was advertised. I didn’t have mum friends. I didn’t know anyone other than my sister who had a young child. I didn’t know any other mums my age. So, I just had to get on with it if I wanted Mason to socialise with other kids his age.
"I decided to take the plunge. In that time, I have learned so much."
Front Lounge is built on the foundation of helping people. It’s a safe space to be yourself – there’s no need to put on your mum face, we can relax and let the guard drop. Everyone is in a similar situation. No one was looked down on because they were the youngest there or they were only pregnant rather than having had a baby. I remember my first session: Mason was tiny, not crawling. Someone came up to me and asked me if they could hold Mason. Instantly I felt like I was not in a room with a group of strangers. I went back to work after a year of going to BUBS, but came back when Kindred Clothing had just started in 2018. I volunteered as a play worker for a bit but that stopped when I moved to Perthshire.
On 23 March 2020 the UK went into lockdown. At first, I loved it. As a mum with 2 young children, a business and a partner who was working anywhere between 30-50 hours a week, a break from it all seemed like exactly what we needed. It wasn’t until a month later I realised how many things I had taken for granted from ‘normal life’. I quickly got swallowed up by the loneliness and began longing for some routine and normality back in our lives. It was at that point that I decided to try to make the most of the once in a lifetime experience and promised myself I would try to use the time to better myself and create opportunities for my family.
When Chika first invited me to join the Kindred Clothing online pilot, I wasn’t overly keen. I had never as much as sewn a button on so making a whole dress seemed impossible. But, remembering my earlier promise to myself, I decided to take the plunge. In that time, I have learned so much. I have designed, made and altered my own dress but more importantly I have learned life skills, grown in confidence and found something to enjoy that was about me and not the children. With the help of Samantha Paton and all the other girls I have learned things about myself and achieved things I never thought I could.
I met Chika on Christmas Eve morning in 2020. It showed me that there is always a door open for me with Front Lounge. The support isn’t gone. I have made lasting friendships with the people that I met there. Getting involved in Kindred Clothing online gave a big push for me to go college, a stepping stone to the Community Education course in Dundee University. It showed me that I could do it and I thought: what other things have I told myself I couldn’t do?