AIBU to expect other Mums at toddler groups to at least smile or say hello??

(62 Posts)
Cakebaker35 Fri 03-May-13 14:21:27

Sorry for slight rant but I'm just so surprised by the rudeness of some other Mums. I always just say Hi or smile at people when going to groups or classes, I don't want to come across as a needy weirdo looking to attach myself to people instantly, but honestly isn't it just polite to say Hi and if that becomes a conversation then great? I'd like to make more Mum friends but I'm getting really put off some of these groups, I only go as my DD enjoys playing with the other children and as she doesn't go to nursery/childcare I think it's good for her socially. Should I just not bother?? Any tips on making friends? Starting to lose my confidence a bit.

rubyflipper Fri 03-May-13 15:45:25

How far outside Oxford are you?

needaholidaynow Fri 03-May-13 16:08:41

Wylye it's a shame that people exclude others based on their ages, or find it difficult to speak to someone older or younger than the others in the group. Like many others that get ignored, I just tell myself that I'm there for my son's benefit and not my own, apart from seeing my son have fun.

MiaowTheCat Fri 03-May-13 16:34:07

I've had worse than being ignored.

Been going to the local Children's Centre one since DD was tiny (she must have been about 4 weeks at the most)... so it's not as if I'm the newcomer either.

Group of mums started going a couple of weeks after me, and they've always been cliquey as fuck - but lately they've really taken it to new heights (and it's not just paranoia - I know other people have commented and complained about it and the staff are trying to find a solution).

They used to lay out about three mats with different activities on and parents would kind of make a circle around the one they fancied - and the clique would generally nab one and completely and totally blank out anyone else who dared to sit there and try to strike up a conversation (and we're talking complete total rudeness, not just an "I didn't hear what you were saying" type deal)... that was tolerable - just started trying to time when I arrived to see which area they'd laid claim to in order to sit elsewhere and praying they'd all run out of maternity leave.

Then for some reason it ramped up a bit - they moved the layout around so you had one central area of activities, plus a U shaped alcove where the bulk of the baby toys tended to be stored... and they decided they wanted to hog ALL the baby toys apart from the large focus activity in the centre of the room - and things got VERY unpleasant - in that, not only would they hog this area, and turn their backs physically on people they didn't like - but they'd glare at you if your child dared to crawl into that area, basically making it so you'd end up frantically distracting your child and praying they didn't go over as it was so uncomfortable.

I'm not the only one who's noticed this - it's pissing the staff off as well and they keep rearranging the room to try to stop it happening... plus half of the women I DID know who went there have stopped going as they've gradually driven all of them out - I'm one of the few remaining who hasn't given in yet, but I'm getting close to that point.

It's bloody pathetic - and, especially when it's a publicly funded children's centre, it's fucking wrong and it makes me very angry that grown women can behave like this - not so much the ignoring other mothers - that's their perogative - but when they're trying to make it so only THEIR babies can use the toys - that's when it gets too far.

Footface Fri 03-May-13 16:37:46

I went to a baby group, people were so rude, didn't even smile, but dc's liked it. There was this one mum who would look at me like I was a piece of shit on her shoe.

So I started to bit smile and now she wants to talk to me. Weird

Wylye Fri 03-May-13 16:41:02

Miaow shock Wow they've got some nerve.

needaholiday weird isn't it - I put it down to the younger women perhaps not being confident enough to approach a stranger, whereas at 35 and lots of public-facing jobs, frankly I'll speak to anyone!

At one group tho, a lovely new lady just came and plonked herself down next to us and struck up conversation, wish more did it! She was great, as were her DC.

needaholidaynow Fri 03-May-13 16:46:39

Miaow it sounds like those women need to learn the basic rules of SHARING. Not a good example to set their little ones at all. It baffles me how grown women choose to behave like children.

I find it odd that women are so rude to other women. I have only been to one toddler group which I now help to run and its always being said what a nice friendly group it is. If someone new comes along then we always say hi and introduce our selves and the mums are always having a chin wag. I just don't understand cliqueyness but must admit the baby group I went to when ds was under one had a lovely bunch of mums but I just knew I wasn't included. They'd always be talking about the different days out they'd gone on which I was never invited on though they were nice enough to my face.

I'm lucky in that the group I go to happens to be held in the community room of my older dcs' school, so alot of the mums and dads have children either in nursery with dd1 or in p1 with ds (or both) and I knew them anyway. I have been to groups in the past though that were extremely cliquey and some of the mums were just horrible.

I never cared either way as I am used to being the "different" one as I have piercings and tats and odd clothes and hair (I assume that's how they view me anyway grin) but I have always just introduced myself to everyone and if they aren't interested then that's their loss <shrug>

It's a shame that the parents (do you not have any men there? We have a few dads at our group) aren't making the effort to talk to you but perhaps they are shy? Why not just strike up a conversation and if they aren't interested then stuff 'em cos they will be missing out on the awesome friend that you could be to them smile

MiaowTheCat Fri 03-May-13 18:34:46

To be honest I've hit the point lately where I've been going purely to not be forced out and to see what they get up to next really!

HeffalumpTheFlump Fri 03-May-13 18:57:01

I'm pregnant with my first child and was really looking forward to meeting new mummy friends at baby groups... Now I'm not so sure!! I hope the ones near me are more friendly than the ones you have described!! I thought that having motherhood in common brought women together, I don't understand what someone achieves by excluding people and being cliquey! sad

The last one I tried, DS was playing with (well, smacking a ball with) a little girl about the same age quite happily. Het mum looked at us both, looked me up and down, then scooped her DD up and moved her away sad. No one spoke toe at all, or appeared to hear anything I said. They also completely blocked the snack table, so DS couldn't sit down and were rather arsey about moving enough for him to do so when I asked them to.

I gave up on them after that. We go to the park now. In 30 minutes I spoke to more people than I ever had at the groups

Bloody phone. Sorry. You can get the gist though...

Kasterborous Fri 03-May-13 19:13:43

Hi Cakebaker35 I live not far from Oxford and I'm 40 so an older Mum too.

Misspixietrix Fri 03-May-13 19:14:51

Oh YNBU! This put me off for a while with both DC's. Everytime I dared say Hi or to start a Conversation anyone would have thought I'd just asked them for their Bank details the looks I got! grin.

Hope you manage to find a nice non-cliquey one. I agree with PP's, is there a friend you can take with you? make it less intimidating as it were? ~

Misspixietrix Fri 03-May-13 19:17:46

Horrace that's so sad sad I think us Adults could sometimes learn a lot from how Children so easily make friends smile we mainly go to the Park nowadays, and Soft Play on my really brave days! ~

ChairmanWow Fri 03-May-13 19:30:15

Sorry but I don't buy the tiredness excuse. I've been on my knees with exhaustion and still managed to find the energy to at least crack a smile. I've sometimes used it as an icebreaker - 'I don't know about you but I'm knackered!'. It's just rude to ignore someone, tired or not. Also find it a bit weird that a pp said she didn't sometimes doesn't speak to new folks because of one too many comments about her being an older mum. Why go in the first place then? Btw I'm 40 and haven't had a single negative comment. Not everyone is weird about it. Again, not an excuse for rudeness unless someone actually makes an inappropriate comment

I'm on my second bout of mat leave and after going to a breastfeeding 'support' (hah!) group which was being treated as a coffee morning by a group of mums with 6 month olds, who blanked me and the one other woman there who were actually experiencing probs with breastfeeding I vowed not to go to any baby or toddler groups. I hated them last time.

Stuff I did find successful were buggyfit classes, swimming and baby massage. Made some great friends from those that I'm still in touch with 2 years on. Activity-based groups are absolutely the way forward.

buildingmycorestrength Fri 03-May-13 20:03:38

Do you live in my old village? I ended up moving, it got to me so much.

Now I live in a place where mums smile back and happily make inane chitchat because THAT IS NORMAL.

MrsRogerSterling Fri 03-May-13 20:21:04

I'm lucky in that the primary school my dd1 goes to has a playgroup on 2 mornings a week straight after drop off so when I take dd2 I recognise a lot of the other mums from the playground. I also go to one at a church but I go with a friend so have never felt uncomfortable even though people tend to stick in their own little groups at that one.

stopgap Fri 03-May-13 20:23:17

How odd (and unfortunate). I've made lots of mum friends at groups and classes (but I live in NYC, and people tend to be very, very outgoing).

Exhaustipated Fri 03-May-13 20:39:23

YANBU, but IME the key is just to keep showing your face. Just keep at it, and unless it is a very unusually unfriendly group you should either
A) find someone nicer than the non smilers or
B) discover that the non smilers were actually tired/stressed/depressed/shy and are actually quite nice after all (or at least willing to chat)

But this can never happen unless you keep plugging away for a good few weeks, whilst perhaps trying another group in case it really is as unfriendly as it seems!

Cuddlydragon Fri 03-May-13 20:48:10

Oh god, YANBU. It's as if defending their clique from incomers is all important. Grim. I kinda think if they're rude and impolite it probably means that's what they might be teaching their kids.

Chottie Fri 03-May-13 20:49:12

This is sad to read! I can't believe there are so many unfriendly,cliquey people around. But it is years since I went to a toddler group.

Would anyone consider setting up their own group? Now that summer is here, could you put up some notices and arrange to meet at such-and-such a time at a local park? or coffee shop? I'm just wondering how many other mums have been put off from attending toddler groups. Even if just a couple of people turn up, it would be better to have a couple of smiley, friendly people than a room full of ignorers.

SleepOhHowIMissYou Fri 03-May-13 20:50:17

So glad it wasn't just me excluded, can totally emphasise here.

Panic not though, it does get better once they start nursery/reception and the Mums realise that they're stuck with your company in the playground for a good few years to come; more effort is definitely made!

hokeycakey Fri 03-May-13 20:53:15

Yy exhaustipated I completely agree, I am preg with dc4 so have years of experience! You just have to keep on, smiling & chatting, I know it can feel like a massive effort sometimes but it also pays off.... Some people are just arseholes, I don't really know why with some people but on well.

Recently I also started volunteering to help out setting up/ making the teas or getting the toys out & that way you have to talk to people

Good luck it will get better, maybe try some different groups too

starlightloz Fri 03-May-13 21:10:28

I am sad so many toddler groups are so unfriendly. I run three groups a week and try really really hard to make sure every person is made to feel welcome and I try to get to know their children and include them in all the activities. There is often a change over of people who come along though so worth it to keep giving it a go. I have trawled through dozens of groups and definitely some are extremely hard work hence I started to run the ones I do, to try make sure other Mums didn't have such tough times.

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