For the Mamas 

This was written by my sister who works in the third sector…. she was born to be a mama! 

For many years I’ve been involved in running groups for mums and babies . I started when my own little ones were tiny and here I am today , definitely not young and my little ones now have 4 legs and wagging tails . Still I find myself surrounded by mums and babies , frankly it’s more wonderful than ive words to describe . At times it’s been a battle . Always , ALWAYS, my mums come first . Why ? Because happy mums , loved mums , cared for mums can more readily do the same for their little ones . Babies and toddlers will play happily with their own feet. They pay no heed to the fancy organic nature of their environment or the like . They just want to be surrounded by love and happiness . So many new mums are consumed by the pressures of life and motherhood that this aura of love and happiness seems like a impossible , unreachable dream . I don’t believe in ” waiting lists” , I cannot buy into structured, time pressured sessions . I don’t care if you eat half the cake table! If your toddler is a terrible two then I believe you need sympathy, support and a good sense of humour . Judgement has no place whatsoever . If they’re dressed to the nines or come in looking like a typhoon has brought them

 to me .. so what ? They’re there that’s all that matters . Relationships suffer when babies are born why should mums hide it, why not share and feel not only a burden lighter but a lot less alone. Life can be brutal regardless of where a person’s house is , what car they drive or how beautiful their baby is .. grief , loss , financial strains , health problems tend to be completely without prejudice or bias . All of this AND a tiny vulnerable human depending on them for love , nourishment , sustainment and attachments that will influence their whole lives . No pressure eh ? There’s many things that I love about my precious wee Nurture Group. The adorable tiny people , the lovely mums ..but mostly what I love is the absolute and unrelenting solidarity that exists between every person at nurture . I have NEVER heard anyone once be cruel , gossip or judge another. I’m serious not once . They constantly love and support each other, they sacrifice for each other and they care in ways that continue to astound me . It’s never just a Wednesday it’s much much much more than that . So to all my mums past present and those still to come , you have enriched my life in ways I cannot describe . I have been allowed to love and care for so many people over the years but on reality all of you have given me so much more than I can ever describe . In a world where women and girls are so often portrayed as a cruel , selfish , decisive and self seeking you girls are shining lights of love and joy . It matters not what you have financially , if your children become even a little of who I’ve seen you all to be then they will have wealth that money and ambition cannot ever attain . Our little Nurture Group is a family . It is everything this world endlessly seeks and often fails to be . It’s love , it is belonging .. it is home . Girls tonight I’m reflecting over a few little events that have reminded me just how amazing you all are and just how proud I am to be your mamma caZza xx


Am I Loved?

The world we live in can be so utterly cruel and isolating. Relationships are complicated, through social media we often have a distorted sense of how everyone else lives their lives. No one ever posts the bad days. The days where for the first time in months you wake up with a stomach like a washing machine. No one posts their loneliness and often if they do they are mocked for being “attention seeking”. So we go through life reading Facebook/instagram/twitter wondering how everyone is so happy, so on top of life and so loved.

I used to think the one thing that made everyone happy was money. Deep down it seemed that all most people wanted was enough money for food, clothes, labels, cars, houses, jet skis….. delete as appropriate when you get further up the food chain. Then you realise no money is ever enough, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone rich or poor who’s said “I have enough”. However, more than that, I’ve never gone through life meeting someone who’s said “I am loved enough, I don’t need any more”. Tell people you love them. 

We can feel happy with what we have, we can love our friends and family; but what the majority of us crave is the security of being loved regardless of our deepest flaws and our own sense of self worth. It’s so easy to put on a front and say “yeah I’m good, amazing, totally fab”. When inside our world can feel frightening and turbulent. I wonder if when someone asked “how’s you?” And we answered “you know something, not great”. Then maybe the honesty of it all would help with the atrocious numbers of people suffering with poor mental health. Honesty would prevail and the urge to compare our selves with the social media tinged rosie lives of others wouldn’t make us feel even worse.

I’m not saying for one minute we should constantly moan or we shouldn’t share our most joyous moment with our friends and family or John that was in your primary five class for four weeks, on Facebook. What I am saying is that it’s ok NOT to be ok. Mental health will only be de-stigmatised when we start talking about it and sharing about it like we would anything else. I’m never done seeing “I’ve got the worst cold” on status, but I rarely see “my heart is heavy and I want someone to reach out to me”. Why? Because we fear being mocked. So we put up selfies (Im the Queen of it) or photos of our kids, cars etc and hope after a few likes the answer to “am I loved?” Will be yes. It won’t. But you are loved.

So what’s the answer? I spend a lot of time wondering if I will get a boyfriend, husband and have the picture perfect family. Guess what I already do. Not the man part but I have a bloody amazing family. I fail to see it sometimes. I make the family amazing because I am the man and the woman and I do a damn fine job. My kids are funny and loved and cool and bad behaved and feisty and smart and amazing and I DID THAT. When people ask me why I don’t have a man I make jokes, laugh and make excuses but the reality is, I haven’t found my perfect fit and that’s ok. I just need to find my love in other things.

So what if you don’t feel loved.

1) Reach out to someone else. Even if you think you have no one there will be someone who feels just like you. Do you ever notice someone quiet or down on FB? Reach out to them and you’ll be amazed.

2) Look at what you already have. Good friends? Good family? A good boss? A nice neighbour? You’ll have something, or someone. You just have to look.

3) Dont be scared to ask someone who you know for sure loves you. Do you love me? If you need reassured then so what?? Get that reassurance and feel warmer.

4) Love you. Genuinely you are brilliant. Tell your washing machine tummy tonne still. Look in the mirror and just say I am loved. 

Last Day of De Depression

One of my favorite sights in the wide world is Airbles Road (bear with me) in spring. There is nothing more beautiful than when all the daffodils come out. They make everything which is so mundane and ordinary, look beautiful.

At the start of this diary I felt like a black fog had surrounded me, engulfed me and I couldn’t see a way out. All I could see was failing at council, kids who were suffering, pain, worry and chronic loneliness.

It was all consuming and I didn’t want to, nor feel able to leave my house. It took texts, calls, doctor, visits and a lot of encouragement to gradually come back to life. For my family and friends I will never ever take your love or patience for granted. I’ve gone from not being able to leave, to leaving with hair like candy floss and a lightness in my wee soul. I guess I realised I couldn’t fix everything, especially my kids, but I could love them and help them grow.

I remember one day after the snow was quite heavy I looked out my front window and saw a small daffodil had bloomed, I’ve picked it and put it in a book. I want to keep it forever. That day, for some reason, I remembered we all have dark periods but no one is ever gone forever in depression. My mum has suffered from this horrible illness most of her life and without her I would never got through this. Yesterday she said she wished she was better but if she had to pick one of us to get their health back she would always pick me first. I know that to be a hundred percent true, it’s such all consuming love which makes me me. She is everything that reminds me to come back.

I did this diary because social media is often very fake. Sometimes if we share, and I mean really share then we can help. There is a beautiful poem called Daffodils by William Wordsworth. I’ll leave the last verse below. If you are suffering from depression, remember the Daffodils, take a rest but remember spring always comes and you’ll be back too.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Day 29: The Last Hoorah

So today was an odd one. I had a scan (which was easier than I thought). New pink hair. A coffee with one of my best boy pals, which helps me put life into perspective. I also had my final full council meeting as Councillor Zambonini.

I thought I’d be emotional, upset, tears but I wasn’t; I had a sense of peace. I did more than I thought I ever would and I know in my heart I will serve again. I believe politics is my calling but my life is my children and now it’s time watch them.

I’m so lucky to have such a beautiful life and it’s not always easy but it’s mine. As I continue to take my tablets, make different choices and take a wee back seat in some areas; I can feel the depression slipping away.

I will never forget this period in my life and to be thankful for good mental health. I also want to thank every colleague, friend and my amazing family who have supported me in what was a baptism of fire in the political world, without their support, well who knows….

As for those glad to see the back of me; in the immortal words of Arnos “I’ll be back”

Day 29: Part 1

I need a happy post for this. I’ve realised not only has the Zoloft helped on my journey but my tones of friends and family.

I’ve been setting wee happy challenges. Post a photo of your relationship with me in the comments.

Old bad happy sad….. anything….. memories are my happiest place


Day 27: Mother’s Day

So on Mother’s Day It’s not always easy. Some people don’t have a mum and some don’t have kids. Memories and emotions are high, and maybe a wee bit sad. Some kids don’t have daddies that can take them card shopping or money for big bunches of flowers.

What they do have are big hearts which write wee notes which say “use this last £5 for anything, you give us everything. I’m sorry I can only give you this”. Yet by only giving me her last fiver Skye gave me the best present I’ve ever had.

Charlie also used all her pocket money to make sure I had my first ever card from my BIG daughter and lovely lush bombs. It reminded me once again that social media can make us feel so pressured to have the perfect mediafamilylife but what even is that? I’ve been doing my wee anxiety diary and I’ve learned through loads of DMs that we ALL have very unique and interesting lives.

Very few of the people on my Facebook have the perfect situation, including me; but what you should remember is sometimes what’s not perfect for others is perfect for you


Day 15: POP

One of the things about fibromyalgia is that your ligaments and joints aren’t as strong as everyone else’s. I lifted Skye the other day and my shoulder was a bit sore.

Yesterday I moaned and moaned to James about the pain in my shoulder and eventually he dispatches me to Edinburgh royal where a kindly nurse, then doctor tells me my shoulder has come out of the joint and gone back in, but just not properly. The doctor asks where I work and when I say Parliament he looks a bit funny, then he looks at my notes and says “Wishaw? I follow politics you’re not that Councillor who takes he selfies are you?”.

I decide a I want to die a little inside. Red neck. So they give me some nice injection and then put my shoulder back to where it belongs. The doctor looks at me and says “im guessing you won’t be taking a selfie of this”. Wrong!!!! If I’m getting a nice blue sling then I’m gonna show the world!

The up side of the mortification is that i went to the hospital all by myself and I wasn’t even nervous (much) I feel like a corner has been turned…. now remember troops, even when in pain, always be your best selfie 😉

ps: I have a lot on my plate etc etc but for some reason I actually decided to tell everyone in Holyrood about my injury like it was a badge of honour (such a child) so if you’ve heard the story eleventy million times then – sorry!