to hate mother and baby groups?

(103 Posts)
Torfhinn Wed 25-Jun-14 15:27:26

I'm a first time mother with a beautiful 9 week old son. I have lost a very active and busy life and hate being stuck at home. I have been trying to 'put myself out there' to make some mum friends by going to different groups and meet-ups. So far I have found that I have superficial chats with some mums, have nothing in common with most except for babies (how long can we talk about babies for...?), they already have a groups of mum friends and are a bit clique-y, or are just plain unfriendly. I really can't be bothered to keep charming people in order to make friends, but if I don't I risk being very lonely. Should I put more effort in or give up and be content to hang out with my son and do stuff on our own?

UnderEstherMate Wed 25-Jun-14 15:30:59

YANBU. I found them horrible when DD was a baby. I was a young mum and the other mums would literally drag their babies away and giving each other "knowing" glances should mine dare crawl towards them. That happened in more than one place too.

I would try a few more as it could be different from you. If you still dislike it, doing things with just you won't hurt him!

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 25-Jun-14 15:31:23

Yanbu

I hate them too. Dd2 and I just do our own thing when she's not at nursery.

I can't say I've noticed any difference in abilities to share, play and interact or eat publicly compared to her sister who did get dragged to hell toddler groups.

MaloryArcher Wed 25-Jun-14 15:31:44

YANBU.

I hated them too. Threw myself in feet first in an effort to make friends (baby group/breastfeeding picnics/baby signing/coffee mornings). They were full of cliques and PFB obsessed baby bores and competitive parents. Eurgh.

I'm due with DC2 in the next few weeks and won't be bothering with baby groups of any description this time.

PrincessBabyCat Wed 25-Jun-14 15:32:22

I'd skip the mommy groups. The only thing you have in common is a physical experience of giving birth which isn't much to bond on. Why not go to a child friendly club? If you're into books or photography, I don't see why you couldn't just bring baby to those meetups.

defineme Wed 25-Jun-14 15:33:26

It takes a lot of time to move from superficial to friends. I suppose it depends how much you and your ds need the groups. If you are going back to work soon and your ds to nursery then don't bother.
However, if you are going to be at home for a long time both you and your ds will need to socialise. Unless you have extended family etc that you can do that with?
I am lucky enough to live somewhere with tons of baby groups. I was a sahm and needed company, but it took a while to make proper friends that I still see now years later. A couple live on my street and had babies at the same time, one I met at a baby swim thing, one was my dh's friend's wife and a few more from baby groups. It took a few months of feeling crap and lonely (all old friends at work) before I actually felt settled.

Don't even need to read the OP, yanbu grin

Hate the fucking things.

mrsbucketxx Wed 25-Jun-14 15:36:28

i didn't at first but i found that i enjoyed the groups that had more activities such as singing painting that sort of thing so that your not forced to talk to anyone and can spent quality time with your child too.

i am lucky where i live lots of really friendly groups near by.

stargirl1701 Wed 25-Jun-14 15:37:58

I don't enjoy the sit and chat ones but I do go to the baby groups where I am learning or exercising.

Rhymetime
Sing & Sign
Swimming
Yoga
Buggy Walks

Playthegameout Wed 25-Jun-14 15:39:33

Mum and baby groups can be a bit cliquey, how about a class instead? I made most of my mummy friends via baby massage or swimming. I have found having mummy friends pretty essential to guarding my sanity, and I'm lucky that we are good friends now aside from our babies. It's important for my Ds too as he loves other babies and from about 4 months he's seemed bored with just me every day for company!

They are awful when your baby isn't mobile. A bit pointless when they are still feeding/sleeping/staring at the ceiing.

Once they get crawling/walking etc they can be a really nice way of letting them go wild on all the toys and stuff while you take a deep breath and have a cup of tea. And you do find yourself making small talk when your just-toddlers bang into each other and start sharing toys a bit.

Sometimes you meet the same people at the same group over and over. Sometimes it leads to a wander back home via the ducks with other mums, occasionally that becomes a swap of numbers, an arrangement to meet at the local park later, an invite in for coffee.

And so a new friendship is born. It isn't instant. It isn't quick. It doesn't always happen. But those faltering chats in random village halls all over the land can become the basis for good friendships that take you and your children through primary school and onwards.

Everything starts somewhere.

numptieseverywhere Wed 25-Jun-14 15:40:46

I hate them too.
At the moment I only go to one a week and that's more than enough. dd gets her 15 free hours soon, so can't imagine having to do toddler groups on top of that.
I always have to approach others, start conversations at these groups. Luckily I'm quite happy to do that. Wouldn't hurt the longterm cliquey groups to introduce themselves to newbies though.
They can be horribly lonely places.
However, you soon forget them!
I've got older kids who were rarely taken to toddler groups and turned out fine.
They're not compulsory.

Torfhinn Wed 25-Jun-14 15:42:18

Glad to hear I'm not the only one! I don't want to wish away the early days but I'm hoping things will get better when he is a bit more interactive. I love him to bits and I feel a bit guilty saying this, but he is rather boring. Apart from a few smiles, there is not a lot I get from him. There is only so long I can talk to him (when I feel like I'm talking to myself like a mad woman).

For you guys who also hated the dreaded groups, what did you fill your time with in the early days, before they become fun to play with?

Swimming.

Torfhinn Wed 25-Jun-14 15:46:42

x post with a few there - seems like my experience is pretty common. Thanks for all the suggestions smile

I think part of my problem is I don't like to impose on people and assume I'm bothering them if I try to make friends. Keeping my own company is safe but cowardly.

Have started swimming lessons so hopefully will meet some people there. Got to watch the pennies tho, so can't do too many classes!

All I would say is that all friendships have to start as superficial acquaintances so it might be that you need to stick at it a bit longer to find some common ground other than babies. I went to quite a lot of groups and sometimes just sat on my own and felt awkward, at some I enjoyed meeting other mums, most of the people I met I never see now (my oldest is 10) but others have grown into strong and lasting friendships and it's brilliant having a circle of friends with DCs the same age as they grow up. We're still talking about our 10 year old babies (in terms of which secondary school they'll be going to etc) but we talk about plenty else besides and have seen each other through a lot of life's tricky times, plus we all babysit, help with school pickups and socialise as adults.

I would have been very lonely without them as we moved here shortly before DS arrived and we both worked 20+ miles away and didn't know anyone here apart from our neighbours.

DefiniteMaybe Wed 25-Jun-14 15:50:46

Have you got a local children's centre? I made all my mum friends there by getting involved with the parent forum and volunteering.

PrincessBabyCat Wed 25-Jun-14 15:59:16

For you guys who also hated the dreaded groups, what did you fill your time with in the early days, before they become fun to play with?

Personally, I worked on starting her baby book and taking photos of her for it. I have a pretty nice start on fluttershy that I update bit by bit as time goes by that I will probably print out just after her first birthday. smile

I also work from home, so I have that to keep me occupied. (and of course I do the dreaded house chores).

She is now 3 months, so I've been reading to her more so she can see my mouth movements and start developing her language skills. But even as a newborn she just liked hearing my voice. She also likes walks and being in new places.

There's still all sorts of things you can still do with a newborn who is quiet and no on the go yet. I think it's when they start moving that it gets harder because they'll want to be on the ground instead of being held which requires more energy than just holding them while sipping some coffee.

Torfhinn Wed 25-Jun-14 16:06:27

I should have titled this 'how to make friends when you're lonely' wink

It's good to hear positive stories of groups and making friends so I thank you for that. I think I'm feeling down today because I met a couple of people at a group I've been going to for a few weeks and we have been out for coffee. They are part of a larger group of new mums that met a few weeks before I came on the scene. I was added to their fb chat group by one of the girls. When I met the larger group they complained (in front of me) how too many people were being added to their chat and laughed about creating a group within the group just for them. That afternoon, the chat went silent so I think they have created another group and left me out. Last week after our group, the two I know met with the larger group and I wasn't invited. Photos went up on fb for me to see tho. It's so silly, but my confidence has been knocked.

I feel like I'm 12 years old again and the popular girls are being mean to me. Please tell me I am being a prat.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 25-Jun-14 16:08:12

Keep going.

Baby groups are often very cliquey but they also have a very short "half life" as membership changes fast as people go back to work / change nap times / have their baby grow out of the class.

I found that it usually took about 4 - 8 weeks of going pretty much every week before I suddenly found myself part of the clique.

I am also willing to admit that there was a point (when dd was about 9 months) when I probably came across as very unfriendly. What a newcomer to a baby group didn't know (and those who came regularly did) was that:-

1. I had some quite serious concerns about dd's development at that point
2. Dd was not sleeping for longer than 45 minutes at a time
3. The combination of (1) and (2) meant that not bursting into uncontrollable tears was taking up pretty much everything I had.

You do have something in common with the women - a few weeks / months ago someone took a sledgehammer to their life. Just like yours. The trick is to discover what their life was before the sledgehammer. As your babies get older and you start thinking about going back to work (or not) that will get easier.

I remember snobbishly thinking that the mum I met who worked in a local shop couldn't possibly understand how conflicted I felt about the whole career / kids / mummy track thing. Until I discovered that until she found out she was pregnant she had been a very successful professional dancer. And one day we ran into each other in town just after I'd gone back to work and she was visibly surprised to see me all dolled up in smart work gear. She obviously thought that jeans and a sick stained t-shirt was all I owned!

missmargot Wed 25-Jun-14 16:09:25

It is hard when they are tiny and it's also trial and error as to which groups you will enjoy and what sort of person you will meet.

To be honest I had to get out of the house to stop myself going insane and as I knew very few people locally classes have been my only option.

I did two baby massage classes when DS was 8 weeks, one was full of perfectly nice people that I had nothing in common with, at the other I sat next to a woman who I clicked with instantly and see regularly. I also really enjoyed the class and DS loved the massage.

I did a few weeks of Baby Signing which I didn't really enjoy, but again met a really nice woman who I see regularly. Now he is a few months older I do Baby Sensory and Baby Yoga which I enjoy a lot. I haven't met anyone new through them but DS and I both enjoy the activities so much it doesn't matter.

missmargot Wed 25-Jun-14 16:11:08

I should also have said that I hate large group of people and purposely didn't try to join in with any. Both the friends I have made feel the same and I am much happier seeing them one on one than trying to cope with the dynamics and politics of a larger group.

ApocalypseNowt Wed 25-Jun-14 16:13:29

If you are a prat then I am a prat too.

I keep going to a couple of groups because my DC like it there but there do seem to be some groups of mums that know each other really well. I try and chat and they answer me politely/nicely but that's as far as it goes.

I also talk to the mums who don't seem to be part of a 'group'. Again we have a nice superficial chat but that's it.

I'd love to make friends with a couple of local mums but i'm not having much luck!

Don't suppose you're in Leeds are you op....? <needy face>

Another thing which helps break the ice is offering to help whoever is running it, I don't mean volunteer to run the whole session, but arrive early and help to put stuff out, or stay at the end and help clear up, sometimes it is easier to get chatting when you are actually doing something and an extra pair of hands is always welcomed.

FreeSpirit89 Wed 25-Jun-14 16:16:07

Try your local sure start centre if you haven't already. There normally very friendly and welcoming

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