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Friendless Mum worried about effects on kids

(27 Posts)
lonelymom Wed 10-Sep-08 00:24:25

I have 3 kids, (DD age 11, Twin DS age 6) and I have not had any friends (except work colleagues)since leaving school! My DD has just started sec school and it has hit me that she has spent all of her life never knowing me having any friends and it has surely had an effect on her. My kids are very happy and confident and don't seem to have had any probs making friends themselves and my DD has had friends over for sleepovers etc, and they all get invited to birthday parties but I have never been able to build any friendships with their parents. We moved to our current area almost 2 years ago and because I work fulltime, the kids have been going to the afterschool club so I have not been there at picking up time. My DH works shifts until late in the evening (so I can't join any clubs in the evening to meet people) so he normally does the school drop offs and the other parents normally talk to him but on the times that I have been there, I stand there like a lemon while the other mums have a good goss. I know it's my fault as I am a shy person and normally avoid eye contact and keep my head down and find it difficult to speak to people unless they start a conversation but my DSs are now asking for their friends to come over for tea and I don't know how to broach the subject to the mums as they don't know me. I have taken this month off work so my DD can settle into sec school and I can pick her up at finish time (when I go back to work she will have to stay in the library or go to an afterschool activity until I finish work at 5pm so I want her to get used to it first) and as I will also be able to pick up my DSs when they finish school, I wanted to start talking to the other mums but as the kids have been there for 2 years and I have never said more than 'Hi' to anyone before now, I don't know how to start talking to them. Failing putting a sticker on my forehead saying 'Please be my friend' I don't know what to do! When I had my DD, I put on a lot of weight and have been very self conscious about it and I think maybe they don't want to talk to me because I'm a fat B** but I see other women a lot bigger than me happily chatting so I know it's not that. I mean, I look normal (so my husband says), I am not a monster but my sister says I look hard faced! I continued working when I had my DD so did not get to any mum & tot groups and when I had my DSs, I quit work for 5 years and did try going but stopped as again I found it difficult to talk to anyone and one of my DSs is challenging to put it politely and was a biter/hair puller etc. and one time after a biting incident, one of the other mums screamed at me in front everybody that I needed to keep him under control (difficult when you have twins running about in opposite directions)so I did'nt bother anymore and spent a very lonely 5 years at home with them. It seems that most people of my age have made their friends and are not really interested in making any more so I am at a bit of a loss. I would just to be able to have someone over for a coffee now and again and my kids to be able to get to know other people before they are old enough to realise what a lonely sad person their mum is! I don't have any family nearby either. I grew up in a large family and there were always people in and out of the house so I definitely feel that my kids are missing out. Any advice would be appreciated?

S1ur Wed 10-Sep-08 00:32:08

Oh dear you sound like you have had a tough time.

You are not alone, I think many people find making friedns hard work.

Mums and tots places are just too hard to break into and fraught with hidden rules and heirarchies.

I think build your confidence in yourself a bit.

Know you are actually someone not awful to chat to! And then maybe look at other places (not necessarily child related) to make friends. Book clubs (see local library) local choirs/pta/scout,guide groups/wine clubs/local community committees/volunteer groups/pub quiz appeals for members!

Point beng if you make friends then good stuff will follow. In the meantime, your children are fine, concentrate on helping yourself find friends and you'll be able to teach your children how to overcome loneliness smile

Uriel Wed 10-Sep-08 00:40:30

Write out a note inviting child X for tea on such and such a date (few days in advance) and tell your ds to give it to X at school. X can give it to their mum and they can ring you.

One of the mums at school sent me a note this way before as she didn't know me.

junkcollector Wed 10-Sep-08 11:52:50

I don't think the kids will be affected at all. My mum was quite shy and didn't have many friends, but it never bothered me and my sister.

I agree with Slur. It does sound like you have a problem with your own self confidence though. If you start feeling confident about yourself you'll probably find that you just make friends without trying.

Found this website on the net, but bound to be loads more www.self-confidence.co.uk

groovychick2 Wed 10-Sep-08 14:59:14

I have twin boys and an older son.I have 2 really good friends whom I met because they have older sons too. However, I have not really "bonded" with anyone new since the birth of my twins and feel somewhat of an outsider because parenting twins is different, I feel. I did enjoy the local twins club as I felt people at least understood this. However, as the boys are now in year one at school I no longer attend. I think people feel awkward as well if they want to only invite one twin. Do you have a hobby you could persue? I really enjoy working out at the gym and meet people that way who are there because they obviously enjoy it too! I dont think your children will suffer- I too am shy and it amazes me how outgoing all mine are!!-Must be doing something right!Hope this cheers you up!!smile ps; I had to move to my current area with my husbands work & dont think I have ever really come to terms with that! Do you like it where you are?

groovychick2 Wed 10-Sep-08 14:59:15

I have twin boys and an older son.I have 2 really good friends whom I met because they have older sons too. However, I have not really "bonded" with anyone new since the birth of my twins and feel somewhat of an outsider because parenting twins is different, I feel. I did enjoy the local twins club as I felt people at least understood this. However, as the boys are now in year one at school I no longer attend. I think people feel awkward as well if they want to only invite one twin. Do you have a hobby you could persue? I really enjoy working out at the gym and meet people that way who are there because they obviously enjoy it too! I dont think your children will suffer- I too am shy and it amazes me how outgoing all mine are!!-Must be doing something right!Hope this cheers you up!!smile ps; I had to move to my current area with my husbands work & dont think I have ever really come to terms with that! Do you like it where you are?

groovychick2 Wed 10-Sep-08 14:59:17

I have twin boys and an older son.I have 2 really good friends whom I met because they have older sons too. However, I have not really "bonded" with anyone new since the birth of my twins and feel somewhat of an outsider because parenting twins is different, I feel. I did enjoy the local twins club as I felt people at least understood this. However, as the boys are now in year one at school I no longer attend. I think people feel awkward as well if they want to only invite one twin. Do you have a hobby you could persue? I really enjoy working out at the gym and meet people that way who are there because they obviously enjoy it too! I dont think your children will suffer- I too am shy and it amazes me how outgoing all mine are!!-Must be doing something right!Hope this cheers you up!!smile ps; I had to move to my current area with my husbands work & dont think I have ever really come to terms with that! Do you like it where you are?

groovychick2 Wed 10-Sep-08 15:00:14

Posted message 3 times!!! How did that happen????? grin

cupsoftea Wed 10-Sep-08 15:01:46

Could you help out at school - offer to help with a fete or sports day?

bitsnbobs Wed 10-Sep-08 19:49:03

I am shy and worried it would affect my ds's but to be honest they seem really outgoing (more than me grin )

I think it helps that you have got more than one child, I had no brothers or sisters and my parents were both reserved and it did effect me.

I am in the same situation as you regarding the playground, I HATE the drop off/pick up everday. My ds has just started at a new school and I don't know anyone. Its so hard to break the ice when everyone seems to have their group of friends already.

Will be watching this post for any useful suggestions!

AbbeyA Wed 10-Sep-08 22:26:31

The best thing is to join in something at school. If you don't want to join the PTA then just volunteer to help at something like a fete. I find it much easier to chat if I have something to do. When you have helped it is much easier to go up to the person that you were working with and say hello in the playground.
If you don't want to help at school try an after school activity and again volunteer for something.

TheCrackFox Wed 10-Sep-08 22:41:40

My mum doesn't have any friends (apart from work) and I am one of those annoying people that makes friends really easily.

Please don't beat yourself up about this. Your DCs will be just fine. They will know you are shy and will love you just the way you are.

PTA does seem a great way of making friends.

struwellpeter Wed 10-Sep-08 23:13:07

School gates can be very frightening places for parents! The other parents may not mean to ignore you, they are just wrapped up in their own worlds. Volunteering to help out is always a good start. How about asking the teacher if there is a class rep in your dt's class? Perhaps s/he could introduce you to some other mums/dads then at least you would have people to talk to when you do go to the school. But don't worry if you don't hit it off immediately. Just because you have children in the same class doesn't mean you are bound to be bosom buddies. That's a bit like saying, 'you're both 35, you'll get on well'.

I think it's easier to make friends doing a hobby or pastime that interests you. Children can be useful to break the ice but at the end of the day you're only going to stay friends with people you get on with yourself.

Don't worry about your children. They will love you as you are.

vilgax Thu 11-Sep-08 09:48:45

Hi
Lonelymom I have felt like you for years and I have posted on here just recently about my inability to make friends.
I have suffered from shyness all my life and have never got a clue on how to start a conversation with anyone.
My ds is an only and I really regret that as I feel that perhaps my shyness would not have got to me so much if he had of had siblings.
I have never really managed to make close freinds at the school gates just people who I may say hello to or the odd littel bit of conversation.
My ds has now started at a new school and is the only new one there, although he seems generally okay its me who is struggling I don,t of course know a soul and still don,t know anybody. After 2 weeks I still don,t know who the parents are of his new classmates with the exception of one.
I am standing at the school gates every day looking like a freek on my own while everyone else is having a good gossip.
I know that I need to start breaking in somehow but I feel it would be easier if I knew who they all were.
I am really worried agbout it and its stressing me out as I don,t want to be like this forever.
It just feels so awkward and I have tried asking my ds to point out his classmates so that I can get to see who they are and their parents when they are with each other.
So far this has not been easy its a large school that is very crowded and half the times you don,t get to see people properly.
I am so depressed about this my ds did have a fair few playdates at his old school but like you I never managed to make close friends with the parents.
I know exactly where you are coming from and your not alone.

unhappy Thu 11-Sep-08 14:54:49

Hi lonelymum - I worry about the same thing too - not because I am shy - my lack of friends is more about my depressioin than anything else - I have cut myself off from my bf (long story) as I began to feel used by her. I dont make friends at school either as I work full time and only pick up once a week - lots of other reasons too long and boring to go into - lack of trust after dp's affair etc etc. But in saying that both my dcs make friends really easily - we dont have people over very much but I'm sure that will change as they get a bit older - try not to worry and perhaps take some of the suggestions on this thread if indeed you want to make friends - sometimes I find friends intrusive (but thats probably my depression talking) good luck smile

downwiththatsortofthing Thu 11-Sep-08 15:21:06

I'm a bit of a 'before and after' case! I've been horribly shy all my life and had no idea how to talk to most people - some people (not many btw) I seemed to feel a connection with but had no idea how to turn a quick hello at the shops or nursery into a friendship, so I pretended it didn't matter to me. I was also worried that it would affect ds1 as I spent the first 2 years of his life basically not leaving the house.

This all changed when my dh got a job abroad and we moved halfway round the world. We've been here for nearly 4 years now, and although the first 2 were tough, it really made me get out and force myself to meet people and forge friendships, even if I was terrified and couldn't think of a thing to say, I though just smiling and sending off a 'nice' vibe would be better than nothing!

The reason I made myself do it is because without family to fall back on as a social measure I couldn't stand the thought of my ds growing up as socially isolated and awkward as I was as a kid. Being shy has really affected my life and robbed me of a lot of chances and I just don't want that for him.

Anyway, after a while I found that over here it was easier to make friends than in the UK. Maybe because we all have this huge thing in common - being uprooted and making a new life for our children - I found it was not as hard as I'd thought to connect with people, although it does take a lot of practice! Sometimes just showing up and looking friendly is enough to make others want to approach you, and lots of people don't mind if you're quiet and shy.

By the way OP, I also got told when I was younger that I walked around looking 'stroppy'..this upset me so much that I trained myself into smiling constantly, which in retrospect probably made me look a bit deranged!

Obviously what worked for me is not really an option for you - moving abroad is quite drastic! - but two things I would recommend to make it easier. One, asking people questions is an easy way to talk, especially if you plan some in your head first, and two, realise that you don't have to be the life and soul - a lot of people really like quiet listening types to be friends with.

HarryPottersGlasses Thu 11-Sep-08 16:16:10

I am a really unsociable person. I much prefer my own company and as a result, have no friends! But I'm happy this way.

DS1 is a bit like me, he has friends but also likes his own company and often brushes kids off in favour of being left alone.

DS2 is a complete party animals and is really popular at school and has lots of friends so I don't think it matters that much.

lonelymom Thu 11-Sep-08 17:46:52

Thanks for your replies, I will try your suggestions. It is good to know that I am not alone and therefore not totally abnormal as I sometimes think I am! 'downwiththatsortofthing' - we also moved abroad (Canada) 4 years ago and lasted out there for two years before we can back in 2006. One of the main reasons we came back was my isolation (DH had to be working away for large amounts of time) and this was due to my old problem of not being able to talk to new people . My DTs were at home with me all day (there was no pre-school provision where we were and kids don't start school until they are age 7
) and I thought I was going mad (and probably driving my DCs mad too!). So we had to come back so my DTs could start school and I could go out to work. I regret so much that my shyness caused this as my DD was so happy over there (she had a lot more freedom that I give her here) and I feel like I have cheated them all of a good life that we could have had (the fact that we went from a massive 5 bed det house with a half acre garden to a tiny 3 bed rented house over here and will probably never be able to own our own home again due to the fact we came back destitute(long story)just adds to that!!). That is why I am trying to change now as I have had enough of it ruling my life. I get so jealous when I take my kids to the zoo or something and see groups of friends with their kids.

lonelymom Thu 11-Sep-08 17:50:23

Thanks for your replies, I will try your suggestions. It is good to know that I am not alone and therefore not totally abnormal as I sometimes think I am! 'downwiththatsortofthing' - we also moved abroad (Canada) 4 years ago and lasted out there for two years before we came back in 2006. One of the main reasons we came back was my isolation (DH had to be working away for large amounts of time) and this was due to my old problem of not being able to talk to new people. My DTs were at home with me all day (there was no pre-school provision where we were and kids don't start school until they are age 7)and I thought I was going mad (and probably driving my DCs mad too!). So we had to come back so my DTs could start school and I could go out to work. I regret so much that my shyness caused this as my DD was so happy over there (she had a lot more freedom that I give her here) and I feel like I have cheated them all of a good life that we could have had (the fact that we went from a massive 5 bed det house with a half acre garden to a tiny 3 bed rented house over here and will probably never be able to own our own home again due to the fact we came back destitute(long story)just adds to that!!). That is why I am trying to change now as I have had enough of it ruling my life. I get so jealous when I take my kids to the zoo or something and see groups of friends with their kids, and all the kids having fun together.

lonelymom Thu 11-Sep-08 17:53:27

Oops saw some typo's in the 1st post and thought I'd correct them but I can't delete the 1st one!

oneplusone Thu 11-Sep-08 18:12:48

I don't think your kids will even notice whether you have friends or not. My mum never had any friends and i only really noticed once i was an adult myself. Kids are all 'me, me, me' I think.....in a good way! They don't notice their mum's or dad's lives as such. (If they have lives which i don't!)

regularlyoverwhelmed Thu 11-Sep-08 18:29:21

do th enote thing - that's a good idea, and maybe when you pseak to mum (or dad) on phone to sort it out suggest they might like to com eto collect a half hour early or so to have a cuppa or glass of wine with you. You could even say over the phone about how youve been working so much that you've not had time to meet people. Might be easier than face to face.

Also, SMILE, LOTs, when picking up and dropping off. And say HELLO. Soem folk will loook right through you, but some will respond really positively.

Do the classes have a class rep? do you know who they are? have their phone no or whatever? if so call them and ask have they thought about setting up an evening out for parents. This can be a pain in teh neck but a good way to meet folk too.

Good luck. It's atough situation.

groovychick2 Thu 11-Sep-08 20:04:34

lonelymom I do understand how you feel! I only moved 160 miles South and feel like I'm in a different country!! I think if you relax and try and fake some confidence in yourself things will improve. I think some people might sense your insecurity and almost make you feel worse on purpose. I try hard to be friendly but some people seem to delight in ignoring me I'm sure just to wind me up. When I have then done it back to them they bend over backwards to be friendly!!grin So...try and think s*d em and concentrate on being happy in yourself. You seem really down.Dont take this the wrong way but what about talking to you GP? I have no family here and my Mum died 5 years ago & a couple of times have found confiding in the doc helpful when I have felt down.

lonelymom Thu 11-Sep-08 21:10:44

Thanks groovychick. I have been to my GP (he actually signed me off work for a month - coincidentally tied in with my DD needing me a bit more while she starts sec school! - a bit sneaky but hey!). That's why I thought I should use this time to try to come up with some ideas to meet more people. When I'm working (Mon-Fri 9-5), I really do not have time to think about it as my hubby works long hours (no choice in that unfortunately, like a lot of people) so in the eves by the time I have picked the kids up , done homework, cooked dinner, bath & story, then cleaning up, it about 10pm! My DH has to work some weekends as well, which is why it would be lovely to have someone to go out with , with the kids, for days out etc. I also feel that talking to a friend about things and listening to them would probably help me feel better about myself as we all have our own probs. Ah well, will put on some lipgloss tomorrow morning and smile my widest smile!

regularlyoverwhelmed Thu 11-Sep-08 21:25:29

don't get put off if they don't respond - just keep doing it, and saying HI too

and then keep doing it again

I've been there, I've been horrendously shy. Now I'm not. And I did it all by pretending not to be shy, even while it freakin' killed me.

Goo dluck

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