walked away from toddler group this afternoon

(16 Posts)
Mouseymum Tue 19-May-15 14:56:18

Hi all,

Just thought I could post here in case anyone can relate. I used to go fairly regularly to my local children's centre last year with DD and was starting to make tentative friendships (though not close enough to exchange phone numbers, and I don't have Facebook). However, due to family illness etc, I have only been there about twice this year. I was planning to go this afternoon. I was feeling a bit anxious beforehand, and then it started raining really hard when I was due to leave. I ended up leaving home about ten minutes later, and by that time was really stressed, as I'd be walking into a room full of people who know each other fairly well, with me left on the outside. I just couldn't face it. I walked to the children's centre anyway but was in tears by the tine I arrived (I still am) so I just walked home again and now feel so useless and ashamed for not being able to go. I have no mummy friends in my town (the only friends I do have here go to my church and are double my age), and no chance of having any. It hurts even more as I know some of the people at the group only live a couple of streets away, and if I was a normal person, I'd be able to have people round for tea etc sad
I know I'm probably not doing DD any harm by not going to stuff at this stage, as she's only 1, but I worry about the future. I don't want to try other groups really - too overwhelming.
Can anyone relate? Please don't suggest counselling/ADs, as those are both no gos for me.

TIA

Mouseymum Tue 19-May-15 14:57:05

Sorry for paragraphing fail

Happyyellowcar Tue 19-May-15 15:01:26

Hiya just wanted to say that it's fine not to know anyone at these places - I go to stuff Al the time with my DC and don't particularly know anyone either. Just concentrate on having a nice time with your DD and it will be fine! If you do get to have a chat then that's a bonus if course but not always the point in going. Also the staff are usually friendly and welcoming in children's centres and they would be happy to chat and maybe introduce you to some "regulars" too! X

Followtheyellowsicktoad Tue 19-May-15 15:13:23

These toddler things can be really intimidating!

But I found that going with the attitude that you'll have fun playing with your child without making a tip of your own house was pretty motivating. Then after a few weeks you may get chatting but it doesn't matter if you don't.

Maybe trying a few different venues or activities might help. I'm sorry I can't give solid gold advice, but you are definitely not alone finding these things hard work.

sahdad2 Tue 19-May-15 18:31:46

i went to a local one for the first time today. i've never felt quite so invisible before - it was as if i wasn't there (as far as the adults were concerned - the children were very friendly actually). i'm quite glad to hear others - presumably mums - find them socially tricky. i'm a man (never written or said that before) so up to now i've put the coolness of other parents down to gender issues. i get cross because parents should realize that our children learn how friendly and nice to be through our example. so i max-out the friendly vibe with other adults just like i max-out the playful vibe with the kids .
i think focusing on making things nice for the wee one is the way to go.

mummytime Tue 19-May-15 18:51:38

Maybe try a class instead? Then it's not about knowing the other Mums but about the activity. Try a different one or even a different day, some are more friendly than others. Try an activity at the library, or just going to the library regularly.

Nolim Tue 19-May-15 18:59:33

Its a playgroup, not a popularity contest. Nobody cares if you are 10 mins late. And dont assume that those mums are bffs, just go and see how it goes.

Fwiw i didnt make a single friend at playgroups, but still it was good to get out of the house and have small talk with adults, even if it was about nappies.

Molotov Tue 19-May-15 19:55:20

Don't worry about it, OP. Some of us just aren't particularly cut out for this sort of thing smile

I agree with another PP who advised trying a baby/toddler class, where the focus is upon the activity. Libraries are your friend as are the park, soft play, large garden centres, swimming classes, etc.

I hate baby/toddler groups. All it feels like to me are impenetrable groups who stand around gossiping about all sorts <shudders> I hate the intrigue.

I have my DH, my children and my DM. I have a few other people I can rely upon who habe come into my life when I've least expected it. Try not to worry about this smile

Ilovenannyplum Tue 19-May-15 20:00:35

Where are you OP? I hate going into groups on my own too, maybe I could be your wingman if you're near me? smile

Mouseymum Wed 20-May-15 00:34:14

Thanks all. Reading the OP back, I feel a bit wussy (doesn't help I have awful pmt today)!

Sahdad2, yes I empathise with the feeling invisible. I don't think people necessarily mean to exclude - they just get stuck in their same little friendship groups and sort of forget about people on the fringes. That's why the getting there on time is so important to me - it gives me a chance to grab a seat more in the middle of things, so I can try and nudge my way into conversations....I just knew today that being late, I'd be at the edge, and people pretend not to notice you've arrived, they're so wrapped up in their own conversations.

The consensus seems to be that activity based groups might be a better bet, which makes sense. The current group really is more focused on mothers chatting than the children's fun, which is why I'm getting so stressed about the socialising. It also helps to know that others don't necessarily make friends out of these groups but go anyway. I guess if I could find a pay as you go type group that might work.

Ilovenannyplum - I'm in Oxfordshire. I could so use a wingman smile

Thanks again all for your replies.

Ilovenannyplum Wed 20-May-15 12:52:09

Oh bugger, I'm in Kent. Little bit too far wink

Doje Wed 20-May-15 13:15:41

Try volunteering for a group. Your local NCT branch will probably welcome any help if it's like mine.

This is what I did as it made me go (I'm on the volunteer rota 1-2 times a month), you get to know at least some of the other volunteers and if it gets a bit stressy you can potter around collecting mugs or just 'look busy'.

squizita Wed 20-May-15 17:11:07

YY this is me to a tee.

As PP said I forced myself by helping out. I have to go and I help with tea etc so I have ice breaking iyswim.

If you didn't know me you'd think I was normal but I find it daunting and scary really.

kathybump Wed 20-May-15 21:07:23

Another NCT volunteer here for exactly the same reasons! I struggled in the beginning and eventually pushed myself to an NCT organised event. I got to talking to one of the volunteers and ended up putting myself forward to help out. It keeps me going even when inside I'm falling apart. I still take meds for anxiety, but did on and off before having DD.

Singleandproud Wed 20-May-15 21:15:59

Do the childrens centre run any classes that you have to book onto? Often there is only a handful of people and you get to know each other quite well and then it's often the same people who turn up to other groups and you can pass the time of day with them.

I went to Baby/toddler groups all the time with my DD and didn't become 'friends' with anyone but enough to chat to for an hour at a time. Sometimes it's useful to just look at it like you're going to the park, no time limit just somewhere to sit and chill with your DD.

Lots of people feel daunted about going to groups alone, you could get In touch with Homestart and see if someone will buddy up with you.

Mouseymum Thu 21-May-15 11:42:44

Thanks for the voluntering ideas, I hadn't thought of that.

Can anyone use homestart? I had thought of using them for maybe someone coming to take DD for a walk for an hour but I thought you had to have a gp referral or be on a low income to use them.

Shame you live so far away, ilovenannyplum!

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