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Does anyone else find baby and toddler groups exhausting and stressful?

(36 Posts)
desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 11:30:03

Hi,
DS and I have not been to many groups together. We went to a breast feeding group and baby massage when he was younger but that's about it as I returned to work.
DS is now5mo and we have just moved into a new area. I'm on holiday from work and am due to begin maternity leave in Oct so I decided it would be a nice way to meet people and for DS to start socialising a bit more.
I have to say I have found the whole thing very stressful. I have been to three groups and only had two mums engage in any sort of conversation with me. DS has had tantrums and as I go about my way of ignoring the bad behaviour, I have had some filthy looks.
It's just so tiring chasing him round, stopping him from steeling toys from others. I don't think that at 15mo I should be worrying that he hasn't got the concept of sharing but some of the looks...
DH really wants me to persevere as he wants DS to socialise (as do I) and for me to get to meet new people, but to be honest it just feels like I'm hovering on the outside.
Is it just me??

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 11:30:47

Just to clarify DS is 15 mo

stupefy Thu 28-Jul-11 11:32:19

I did the couple of times I went with DC1 so I have never bothered with DC2.

PercyPigPie Thu 28-Jul-11 11:35:05

I would send your DH then ... I went to toddlers for many years, but in hindsight, I wouldn't do it again. I was usually too tired for sensible conversation and found them cliquey. There's always a judgy parent somewhere ready to throw you a dirty look!

Maybe limit it to once every six weeks or something. I found the organised sessions of things like Messy Monsters was more fun (as did DC).

gemsparkle Thu 28-Jul-11 11:40:08

I was in the same position as you when we moved to a new area and tried a couple of local toddler groups. In the end I only went a couple of times as like you I found the whole thing a bit of a nightmare and hardly anyone spoke to me despite me trying to make an effort!! I started DS1 in a weekly music group and an art group and we both made some good friends through there.

Lady1nTheRadiator Thu 28-Jul-11 11:40:36

They are difficult. I hated them when DS was that age but eventually found a good one and made a few friends - a few years later though and I'm only in touch with one of them - worth it but yes what a lot of work.

I now have a baby again and dread trying new groups again, maybe I just won't bother blush

Anyway, does your DH usually tell you what to do?

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 11:41:57

Oh, so glad its not just me. DH (and his mother!) are making me out to be some sort of a recluse. I am shy but I do want to make new friends, it's hard being in a new area, but I'm starting to think that these places are just so artificial and cliquey that they're not the place for me.

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 11:43:43

Not telling me what to do Lady, just heavily hints, pursuades.

Lady1nTheRadiator Thu 28-Jul-11 11:44:08

Seriously? What's it got to do with his mother?

Lady1nTheRadiator Thu 28-Jul-11 11:45:41

Don't you just tell him to STFU and let you make your own decisions?

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 11:47:56

Oh don't get me started. She took DS to a group when she was looking after him. Told me how much he had benefitted from it (basically making me feel totally crap for not taking him myself despite work). She once wrote down a whole big long list of groups with there phone numbers etc and FIL once said that DS would learn to walk/ talk quicker if I took him hmm

Lady1nTheRadiator Thu 28-Jul-11 11:51:27

shock

and how old was DS at the time?

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 11:52:51

I know i should Lady, to be fair, his (DH) intentions are good. He just has no idea what these places are really like (or what it's like looking after DS on his own for more than 3 hours). He has listened to his mother who makes out like they're the sort of places where all the mum's sit about drinking coffee and chatting and the children just play nicely together. So when I try to tell him he just thinks I'm being anti social and hormonal (because every thing is down to hormones when you're pregnant)

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 11:54:30

4 mo when they gave me the list
8 mo when they said he would be walking if he could see other children doing it
13 mo when they took him to the group (without permission)

glasscompletelybroken Thu 28-Jul-11 11:56:26

I think this is really sad - Toddler group was one of the highlights of my week when my kids were young and I have nothing but fond memories of it. Two of my daughters now go to toddler group with their own children and they love it too. I would persevere - it shouldn't be stressful. I doubt anyone is judging your childs tantrums - more likely they are just glad it's not theirs at that moment!

Iggly Thu 28-Jul-11 11:57:51

You've got to love MILs!

Yes I found groups horrid. I've found nice ones which don't require mingling. But much prefer organised classes - smaller groups and can disappear at the end if you don't want to chat grin

Woofsaidtheladybird Thu 28-Jul-11 12:01:50

I can't stand them. I have tried, and tried, and tried, and I too find them cliquey. I am making DH go to a Dads and toddlers group in a couple of Saturdays time. He keeps 'urging' - not telling me to go to groups to meet people etc. See how he likes it, going into some hall and grinning like a twat and say hello to people who look at you oddly and carry on talking to the person next to them.

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 12:02:05

Well i really enjoyed baby massage as it had a purpose IYSWIM. We were learning something that DS enjoyed. I chatted to people at the end, all fine.
Say that, I feel guilty as DS seems to enjoy himself (besides the tantrums) and feel I should just deal with not enjoying them for his sake.

munstersmum Thu 28-Jul-11 12:02:11

Agree with MudandM groups with a purpose are just about tolerable the rest are to be avoided unless you really enjoy them. I did baby massage for a little while. The only ones I stuck with for 12 mths were Music Time run in a village hall & mum & toddler swimming at the local pool.

Just wander to your local swings for a spot of informal socialising for your DS. Then you can just wander away again when you've had enough.

yellowsubmarine41 Thu 28-Jul-11 12:03:18

They vary a lot. There are LOTS in the area that I live and I do know some group-aholics who went to every one going with their first child, then go to the same groups with their younger children now that their older one(s) are in nursery/school.

<shudder>

I'm not a big fan of the 'sit on the floor and make insane chit chat' ones, but prefer something to do ie music, messy play. Although there have been periods with both of mine when a combination of their (age appropriate) behaviour and other snooty, cliquey mums made me give groups in all their glory a wide berth.

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 12:03:24

I think that's a great idea Woof. There is one every second sat for Dads so I think I'll suggest he goes along!

desperatelyseekingsolutions Thu 28-Jul-11 12:06:08

Thank you all so much. I no longer feel like a misserable recluse. I'm going to look out for a music or art class (I think that would suit us far better)
A swimming class would be good too.
Thanks

muminthemiddle Thu 28-Jul-11 12:12:15

Hi
I think your dh and in-laws are probably trying to be helpful. However I remember not loking them too! Lots of disapproving stares, being ignored, innane chat about rubbish etc.
I think taking your ds to the park is a better idea.
Remember you have nothing in common with these people except having had a child around the same time.

noviceoftheday Thu 28-Jul-11 12:20:01

Oh I hated them. I just used to go to lots of organised classes instead - although be aware that most people tend to do them and run so you need to gather up the courage to engage in conversation with the other mothers. I didn't for a long time and always felt a little lonely at the classes. However its all working out now and have made a couple of new friends as am on maternity leave again. Its a very good idea for dh to do a class with your ds. Mine does on a saturday morning and its their father/daughter time. He now also understands that its difficult to rock up at these things and make instant bosom buddies! Oh and your mil has a feckin cheek!

BranchingOut Thu 28-Jul-11 12:22:20

Agree that they are probably trying to be helpful.

Groups can be hit and miss, but they are all different so maybe it is a case of finding one that works for you...

I think the best option for you might be an activity or a group that is led or facilitated by someone other than a mum. The one I really enjoy going to is at a community pre-school and there is a lovely member of staff there who sets up the activities, leads the singing etc. If you are on your own you can always talk to the member of staff and they certainly won't be negative about toddler behaviour - they are likely to be a trained early years worker so know that it is all normal!

However, I have also been to a parent-run toddler group and didn't feel quite so comfortable. The age range of chidren was much broader, it was very busy and it felt a little chaotic. But that is not to say that I won't give it another try....

Look on Mumsnet local or Netmums to get opinions. Netmums do reviews of toddler groups - in their 'activities' section, I think.

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