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Feel the odd one out at baby groups

(9 Posts)
Milfandonesugar Sat 13-Sep-08 16:04:58

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SmugColditz Sat 13-Sep-08 16:14:24

Awww I know. I do know.

Join Gingerbread, or start going to a surestart toddler group if you can possibly find one. I find the one I go to invaluable

where are you?

ninah Sat 13-Sep-08 16:35:32

How long have you lived there? I found this a lot at first, in village where we are possibly the only lone parent family. Starting to meet some less Stepford mums now, although, yes, in the main they rush off at five ... arrange to do things daytime, weekdays in the main.
But things are definitely improving, esp as we are happier as a family and less prone to care about being judged anyway. School helps.
Let's face it, these kind of mums judge each other too, not just us as lone ps. And I bet they do envy you! life behind the picket fence isn't always enviable ...
One mum said to me, social do, is there anything I can do to help, let me know, and I said yes, actually, let's get a group of girls together for a drink ... needless to say it never happened.

Green7 Sat 13-Sep-08 21:47:41

Hi, I'm new here and thought I'd reply. I totally identify with you. I'm a single mum to my 16 month old daughter and do find it challenging sometimes. It's the lack of adult conversation and me-time that's the hardest. I attend mum and baby groups but have also found it hard to forge friendships as like you most are married and have their own lives. My social life disappeared when I had my daughter along with all my single friends but I'm positive things will get easier though - you've just got to count your blessings and keep attending groups and events in the area. That new group of friends will come...x.

Milfandonesugar Sat 13-Sep-08 22:05:49

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SmugColditz Sun 14-Sep-08 09:25:36

God, no, you're not alone, but it's a shame about their being no Gingerbread groups near you!

Ring your health visitor. She will know where the other single mothers go, if she's anything like earning her pay. I feel out with mine for unrelated reasons but she was very very hot on baby groups

Pity you aren't closer, I'm in the MIdlands!

Milfandonesugar Sun 14-Sep-08 09:34:29

That is a shame!

Thanks for the tip. My health visitor gave me a list of baby groups in my area but there are none for single parents - maybe I should found one! I'll get in contact with gingerbread and see whether they can franchise me a group! Hehe.

gillybean2 Sun 14-Sep-08 10:10:52

I do know exactly how you feel. Been on my own since before ds was born. We live in a rural village and everyone is coupled up. I didn't know anyone when we moved here. I find it really really hard to make friends and yes I feel exactly as you do that everyone looks at me in an odd way because i'm different and threatening in some way to them (except I don't bother with the taking care of myself bit).

There is no gingerbread in this area, and I had a useless health visitor who I barely saw.

It's been 9 years and I can still count the number of friends I have on one hand, and even those I have to be proactive in foisting myself on them (which I've got better at doing recently).

There are now a couple of families at school who have separated, so people are starting to see how hard it is. But even those mums I really struggle to connect with and despite my best attempts at suggesting they pop over of an evening they always seem to have other things to do.

I thought working would get me a better social life, but I have not been able to attend a single social or afterwork drink even because I have to rush home to school pick up and then can't afford a babysitter or the petrol for the 1 hour journey back to where I work, let alone any drinks or a meal somewhere! Again everyone there is either coupled up or young free and single still.

The two closest friends I have here took a long time to include me in their circle. One has children, the other does not but both are married. Even now I feel excluded a lot of times when they go round each others for dinner and stuff. I get invited occassionally, but when they say things like 'oh we didn't think you'd be able to get a babysitter' it still hurts that they didn't even ask. And when I am there I'm always the odd one out on my own. It does upset me at times when they're being lovey dovey and doing silly couple things and those things really get to me sometimes because I don't have those things and really would love to have someone to share my life with and be close to like that too.

I joined a new lone parent group in a town about 30 mins away last year. That has really helped with getting me out the house, but it is still quite hard. Have to ignore the happy clappy church side of it though and just get on with the lone parent side. Have made one good friend through that and I have really gone out of my way to ensure that friendship grows. Our sons get on really well. She on the other hand has lots of friends. When I was speaking to her about it she did say that most of her friends are in the same position as her, ie lone parents. She lives in a bigger town than we do and also her ex has her ds every other weekend so she gets that alone time that I simply do not. In fact she was recently talking about possibly persuing him through the CSA as he pays her no maintenance, but she hasn't ever done so because he has threaten to cut all contact if she does (and he did it with his oldest two so she knows he would) and she says she doesn't know how she'd cope if she didn't get that break and free time which is more valuable to her than the money.

All I can suggest to you is keep going with the baby groups and stuff. In time some of those friendships may grow, but also some of those couples might not be couples in a couple of years time and people will turn to you for advice and sympathy because they will suddenly see just how hard it is and suddenly realise just what you have been dealing with.

See if you can find any kind of lone parent group, even if it's too far away for you to attend. Ask for help from your health visitor and those around you (I was too proud to do this for far too long, now I realise how important it is). This group in MN is invaluable for someone to turn to as well.

And no, you are certainly not alone. I think the never getting a break is the hardest thing and people simply don't understand and can't comprehend how exhausting it is. To not even be able to have an hour to yourself just popping to the shops or anything is so hard. Unless you are in that situation i don't think anyone else can really understand just what it means. I had to ask three people yesterday if they could have my ds for a couple of hours so I could go buy a new suit for an interview. One didn't get back to me, one didn't reply until i had asked the third person and the third person said she couldn't but to see if her husband would. Luckily he did. Otherwise my only option (as usual) would be to drag my son out with me and have to deal with him being bored and fed up and getting stressed over that as well as trying to sort out finding a suit!

Don't be afraid to tell people you need help and how you feel. If they can't help or don't want to know then they're not friends worth persuing. Move on to friendships that are worth persuing. Also don't worry about these people who have loads of friends. Just one or two really good friends are worth far more than 20 so-so friends.

Oh and noone ever comes to my house because it's in a dire state! Have no idea how other people manage to keep such a spotless house. Butthen like you i'd rather be spending time with my child than cleaning. Housework can wait, but your children are grown before you even realise it. I know which is more important in reality. Glad you do too.

Debra1981 Sun 14-Sep-08 23:48:02

When I go to toddler groups I get so self-conscious about my situation that I'm embarrassed to tell most people I meet- only when I've got to know them a little and decided that they're not totally judgemental. One group is in my parents' quite affluent dormer village where I feel inadequate imagewise dd and me, surrounded by 'yummy mummies' who seem to exude confidence, the other is run by childminders in my town, and I've noticed that some members like whispering about getting social services involved behind other mums' backs which makes me feel uncomfortable and even more liable to be harshly judged, as I'm no supermum. So I wouldn't class any of the people there as friends at all. My only real friends are 2 girls who have known me since a teenager. I'm happy enough like that but worry sometimes that dd is going to pick up my extremely guarded attitude towards others.

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