Oh god yes! I tried one and it was like everyone turned round to stare at me, obviously decided I wasn't worth the look and then ignored me. I just played with DD a bit then left. Villages round here are very 'local'. If you haven't lived there for ever you don't belong.
Avoided them too - not into small talk. I only started going to one when ds was about 9 months and mobile. It was activity based so had to supervise him closely and sometimes ran into other mums I knew anyway but allowed him to distract me enought not to interact too much with others. That sounds emabarrassingly awful in retrospect.
Seriously, I preferred structured groups with a focus, such as swimming, music etc than the coffee-drinking, one upmanship groups. How old is ds/dd ? Does your local library do story sessions where you could run into others with kids similar ages. That might also be a starting point for finding out what else operates in your area.
have to say i'm not terribly keen on them, but am going to a couple cos we've just moved to the sticks from London and know not a soul. i'm also hoping ds will benefit in terms of getting used to being around other people.
they are a bit awkward, but not as awkward as making small talk with potential clients at godawful networking events when i was working, iykwim.
I agree with lizs that structured ones are easier, and LOs (toddlers at least) seem to enjoy them a bit more i think, esp singing.
i got a list of local ones from my HV, or you could try the NCT to see if they do anything locally.
It's a lottery - just because you all have kids the same age, doesn't mean you'll have anything else in common. You've got just as much chance of meeting people you like there as anywhere else I reckon.
I and 4 other mums who used to attend postnatal babycare classes at our doctor's surgery formed a group. We just happened to all like each other so in our case it worked. The 'babies' are all 4 now and we still meet once or twice a month. More babies have come along since then too!
But we certainly don't sit around talking about nappies and breast milk all the time!
well i worked full time until ds was 18 months old then switched to part time work but ds was at nursery (and dd had also been at nursery). I met one of my better friends at ante natal class plus I kept my pre-kids friends
like jampot, I very fortuitously made one good friend through ante-natal groups, rest of mummy friends via MN/babycentre local meet ups.
MN meet ups are probably a better bet than M & T for making friends, as MNetters are more highly motivated for making friends IYSWIM than mums at M & T necessarily are.
some M & Ts are better than others as well - the M & T i go to is very well run, v friendly organisers.
other thing with M & T group is not to have too high expectations of ending up with new best friends; if you end up with "nodding" acquaintances/coffee after baby cinema type acquaintances that is still a result in itself.
yhou might find baby swimming or other "activity" based groups less fraught - being in your swimmers in a pool holding your baby up is a great social leveler!
I would have sunk without trace when DD1 was a toddler without M & T groups, but I was lucky that we had moved to a new place at the same time as lots of other non-locals who all had kids the same age. The proper locals weren't particularly welcoming but it didn't matter.
dabihp, what is your HV like? Mine actually steered me towards some of these other incomers, she helped a lot. Might yours do that for you?
Have a look at netmums too, there may be one for your area. Good luck, it is awful being new and lonely.