Monday, 1 July 2013

Playground Wobbles...

I have never been one of those mummies who was comfortable going to baby groups.  In fact I avoided them at all costs.  I found them very cliquey and difficult for 'new' mums to break into.  I once ventured out to a church group with my mum and spent the whole time explaining that Meg and Eli were my children, not my mum's, at which point most people turned away from me.  Suffice to say it didn't leave me with the best impression!

I also struggle at Meg's gymnastics class.  The parents all migrate upstairs to watch through some perspex windows and I have always gone up with the rest of the group but somehow have failed to connect. I smile, I say hello, I ask how they are but the conversation just seems to trail off without any interest from the other parties.  The last time I went (before my holiday) I saw a group of the mums standing and talking to each other, buying each other coffees, holding each other's babies and I just thought "why can't I connect into a group like that?"  

I am a natural introvert but I like to think I at least know how to build friendships with people. 

That said I have been incredibly nervous about Meg starting school because, let's be honest, is the school playground going to be any different?  

I had shared a few tentative smiles with some of the mums at the parents evening we went to, so when Meg went for her first pre-visit last Wednesday I had geared myself up to make a beeline for those parents.  When we arrived, on time, actually, and went into the Early Years area, nearly all the mums had already formed little clusters.  I find that so off-putting; it's really intimidating to try and add yourself into an existing crowd of people when you don't know a soul there.

I ended up standing by myself for the majority of the session.  I did know a couple of parents there but they found themselves in other conversations, or migrated to people that they also knew so I didn't feel able to engage with them.

After about 45 minutes of standing on the sidelines watching like a lemon, I made the decision that I was going to go up to another parent and open a conversation with them.  I was not going to let them wriggle off the hook and answer a few questions and then sidle off.  I was going to do it!!

And I did!

I found another mum who was standing on her own, and I went up to her and struck up a conversation.  To be fair, she was probably the wrong mum to choose as she made a point of saying she was looking for parents with little boys as her son would most likely befriend them (which I thought was slightly stereotypical!) but I was proud of the fact that I had made the effort and done what is totally unnatural to me.

I hope that come September, I can somehow convince myself not to be the awkward loner standing to one side in the playground whilst all the other parents catch up whilst they wait for the children to come out.

Erm...has anyone got any tips!?!

Also linking this up with Monday Parenting PIN-IT Party which is being hosted this week at Mum Of One

Mum Of One

19 comments:

  1. It is hard but becomes easier especially if your child makes friends, then it is easy to be friends with their parents. Smiling always helps xxx

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    1. Thank you. I am hoping that when Meg starts to make friends that it will give me an inroad :)

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  2. I think this is every new mum's nightmare to be honest. I would suggest that you do what you CHOSE to do that day - be yourself, be friendly and make a bee-line for other people who are also standing on their own. They say that if you want a friend, be a friend. I can't recommend that enough. I would also suggest that (if you're feeling brave enough!) you sign up to help at a couple of PTA events or even join the committee - I decided to do that when my second daughter joined as I wanted to make friends and help out at the same time. I know it's not everyone's experience but mine was a good one. Just be yourself and you will find other like-minded mums, I promise! x

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    1. That's a good idea. I'm sure I got given some information on it, plus I do love any opportunity to organise things :)

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  3. I know exactly how you feel. I HATE group situations like that and can never think of anything to say...and am convinced whoever I do talk to will be instantly bored. I also avoided all baby groups like the plague. I am afraid I don't know what to advise as my son is not quite old enough for school yet but I do wish you luck and may be seeking advice from you in a years time! Thanks so much for sharing with the Pin It Party again this week :) x

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    1. Thank you :) Hopefully it won't be as awful as I'm worrying it will be!

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  4. Sorry to hear you feel like this, but I totally recognise it! We're coming to the end of our EIGTH year of school, I've had three kids at school and I've been a school governor for four years yet I am still that person! I'm on my own a lot of the time because I feel awkward invading groups and actually I'm sometimes happier on my own! Being a working parent is harder because you're not around as much and these bonds are formed without you. I wouldn't worry about it. Keep trying to talk to people. You will find you like some and not others and hopefully as Meg makes friends you will make friends with their parents. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Sarah. I think being an introvert doesn't help. I'm aware that I'm on my own but at the same time that doesn't always bother me...but then sometimes when it does I realise it's because I haven't made any effort. A rubbish catch 22.

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  5. No tips except to just get out there...and also wanted to let you know that you're not the only one who struggles with this. I've had the same sort of trouble my whole life and you'd think, now that I'm grown and have kids of my own, that I'd be over it. But I'm not. I just...don't seem to have much to say to a group of people that I don't know. It's not that I don't want to talk, it's that I genuinely can't think of anything to say! Ah...my only comfort there is that my daughter is so different from me. She's completely outgoing and has no problem making friends. I'm really glad she got that trait instead!

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    1. Sorry to hear you've felt the same. My daughter is fairly outgoing too so I'm hoping that will help!

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  6. Joining the PTFA and being involved in fundraising will help you naturally make friends as you work together. It really helped me make friends in my village when I joined the preschool committee.

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    1. Thank you, I'm going to look into this as it's the kind of thing I would enjoy doing.

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  7. Im going through the baby group trauma as we speak. I am a natural introvert and find it so hard. I wonder where they all find each other?! Well done for talking to someone next time it will be easier! X ps I have read this from the Monday Pin It Party x

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    1. That's what I always think...how do some people find it so easy to connect with others and I'm just stuck thinking of something interesting to say!! Oh well, fingers crossed!!

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  8. Woo, well done you for getting past your fear! I'm just like you to be honest. I'm such a naturally friendly person and I get on with pretty much everyone, but it's the initial getting to know people that's awkward. I've always hated baby groups and I've never really had a group of Mummy friends so I'm dreading the playground too. Hopefully people will take you by surprise and be much more friendly. As soon as Meg starts making friends, you'll have to speak to other parents! x

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    1. It wasn't as bad as I thought either! It seems like a lot of people feel the same which gives me hope that by me approaching them, I'm actually doing a good thing!

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  9. Wish I had some tips.... See, I'm where you are. I haven't gotten myself to start a conversation yet, though. My daughter is starting kindergarten, and she is so social! (I don't know where she gets it from!) I think she will be the one to break me out of my shell... for her sake.

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    1. I'm hoping this will happen too. My daughter is very outgoing so my biggest hope is that she will pull friends together and then I will become friends with their parents. We'll see!

      Thank you for commenting x

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  10. Well done you for making the effort. We have the same at school in that there are lots of little groups. I usually either stand and talk to my girls or find someone on their own to talk to.

    I'm hoping that when my daughter starts next year it will be easier as I know more of the mums in her year.

    Goos luck xxx

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