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