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Thread: What am I doing wrong?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Rural NSW near ACT
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    Default What am I doing wrong?

    I have been going to a local playgroup for a while with my DS.
    As he is my only living child he always enjoys time with other kids and enjoys the playgroup.
    I however struggle to attend. I find no one wants to chat to me and if I do chat to one of the other parents they tend to move to chat to someone else or quickly find something else to do.

    Today I found myself at one end of the large room with about 5 kids and watched the other parents chatting together but happily leaving me with the kids. When the kids went outdoors several of the parents stayed inside to pack up and I was outside on my own with about 7 kids at one stage. The one mum who came outside made the excuse that she had to help wash up just to go back in......there were plenty of people inside.

    I always try and keep an eye on my lad as he's a bit of a runner and tends to investigate inside cupboards and climb. So I guess I do tend to follow him about a bit.

    I feel as though I don't want to continue attending though as I feel really on the outer with the other parents in the group. I was on the verge of tears today as I felt so on the outer.

    I always make sure I bring the correct money and food and the one day I was supposed to run the activity I had to rush a horse to the vet, so I guess I let them down. I have not been game to run an activity since.

    We go to another group and I always feel very welcome there. Unfortunately this group is the best choice locally.



    Any ideas for how I can fit in better will be gratefully accepted as I'd like to keep going as my DS likes hanging with the kids.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Melbourne, VIC
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Hi Kate. Big hugs hun. Have you always felt like this in this local group? Were there already strong relationships formed when you started going? I felt a bit isolated in my son's playgroup as we started going later in the year and the other mums knew each other well. I did eventually make a couple of friends but it took a while. I would say that if you've given it a red hot go and the other mums are not welcoming/responding, go the the group that's welcoming hun. Even if it's out of the way a bit.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Playgroups and mothers' groups are like the first day of high school all over again. And don't worry, there are plenty of women out there who find they are just not their thing. I stopped going because I just found the whole thing stressful, and my son was just as happy at the park.

    But, if you feel like you want it to work, here are some thoughts:
    - read "how to win friends and influence people". An oldie but the wisdom is still valid today. One of the main points, which I find so true, is that if you want people to like you, ask them about their favourite topic - themselves!
    - I mean this really kindly... Sometimes when we find ourselves in a difficult social situation it's easy to start on the whole "nobody likes me, think I'll eat worms" track. But often what we need to do is to toughen up and realise it's not about us. If I was at playground I would be seeking the company of the other mums, not the kids. They are probably trying to have a break - not avoid you. You can almost guarantee that the other mums there feel very similarly to you - they are tired, overwhelmed at times, lonely and seeking adult company.
    - it sounds like you're unlikely to find your new best buddy there. So either walk away and do something else more fun at that time, or go but tell yourself it's for your son, and you will put up with it for his benefit, but don't have high expectations.
    - he will get plenty of socialising when he starts pre-school etc. So if it really upsets you, let it go. Your needs are just as valid as your son's.

    Hope that helps!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Albs, WA
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Im anti social too. Our local library is great, we do rhyme time, then I can sit there with a book while DS plays with the others, and not feel the need to small talk.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Victoria
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    First off, I don't think you are doing anything wrong I was in a similar situation with a playgroup I attended with my boys. There were close friendships within the group (only small) already and so I was on the outer from the get go. After feeling like you for awhile I did make an effort. Although I started to enjoy playgroup more, it still felt one sided and I still wasn't being included in anything the other girls organised on weekends etc. The deal breaker for me was that they would pop a status on FB about movie nights and dinners out or even just getting the kids together, and tag each other. I realised that if these women were comfortable enough to leave one person out and do it in a really obvious way, why would I want to be friends with people like that? So I found another playgroup who are very inclusive, not just at playgroup but anything organised outside the playgroup too.

  6. #6

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    Sep 2012
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Sometimes I have felt like this at playgroup too. It was a mothers group first and then they turned it into a playgroup as the babies got older so there were already strong friendships formed when I got there. Some things I did to help was offer to bring morning tea when I could, and sometimes (when I can) arrive before playgroup starts and help set up or help clean up afterwards. There's usually only a couple of ladies there then and it's easier to have a chat, settle in and feel more comfortable for when everyone else started pouring in.
    *hug*s for you.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks for all the good advice and understanding.
    I have done the "tell me about you" thing.
    I always help with clean up and set up.
    There doesn't seem to be an easy way to learn names of other mums. They seem to know each other as many of them have older children and have been going for longer.
    I have brought morning tea before but got the "it's not your day you didn't need to bring anything".
    I offered to help one mum with a new job she is going for as I'd done the job for a long time..........she talked to me a bit that day but has not asked for the info since.
    I really tried to go to a mothers group before this but found it waaaay too hard......all that complaining about normal baby stuff like sleepless nights and nappies.......arrrggghh!
    I was thrilled to have a live baby and didn't care that he was getting me up for feeds and stuff!
    I also make a real effort to welcome any new people but most of them seem to know others.
    I have lived in this region for 12 years but perhaps because I'm a little older I don't fit in.
    I am wondering if I should try another group but the only other one is on when my son has another activity so would go from one thing to the next........he'd be tired I reckon.
    I have a friend with a son about the age of mine who said she'd come along but so far she hasn't done so.
    DH says to just not go but my DS needs to hang out with other kids and his two friends (whose parents I know) live about an hour away and each in the opposite direction!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Gold Coast
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    I just want to give you big hugs. It's never nice to feel that way. FWIW, I think you're pretty fabulous!

  9. #9

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    Jul 2010
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    Rural NSW near ACT
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks forshelby
    Perhaps I'm too sensitive but I have never had this much difficulty joining in and meeting people properly.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Melbourne, Vic
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    In answer to your initial question, it really doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong

    We never know what is going on in other people's lives, even our close friends still might hide things from us. In a group like that, it can be hard to break down the existing barriers.

    I joined a playgroup recently and it was an existing mothers' group that had morphed into a playgroup. Fortunately they were extremely welcoming and friendly. But not all are - I hear stories like yours quite frequently. I think for a lot of us, if we have a group of friends that we see once a week, it can be easy to just stay in our comfort zone and chat with them. Maybe, like you, they struggle to build a new friendship? Aren't feeling up to building new friendships?

    I think you need to get back on the morning tea and activity roster. Our PG does the same thing, one mum does the activity and another the morning tea each week, and it has been a great way to get all the mums sitting with their kids and then chatting while the kids do the craft.

    I sympathise with following your DS around - my DS2 is the same, he needs constant supervision, so I often feel like I start a conversation with someone only to have to run off and chase DS2 before he disappears/falls off the slide/tips over the crazy coupe/whacks another child.

    I know that the other mums don't have that problem as their kids are older (mostly) and can be left to play independently and often end up sitting around and chatting. Could it be that is also affecting things? What ages are their kids?

    At the end of the day, as others have said, check out some other options. I totally understand wanting to do the local thing - I was travelling 30mins to a PG for a while and then went "This is really silly, there must be something closer to home" - but if it isn't working out for you, is it really worth taking DS?

    What about your local ABA group, do they run meetings? I have found most ABA groups to be very welcoming and open - regardless of your feeding status, by the way. Everyone is welcome, normally.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    I tried to get in touch with an ABA group when I was feeding........I've given that away now having done it for 2 1/2 years.
    I did find someone but I think they musta moved or something and I didn't hear back.
    The group I go to is about 15 mins away and the other one (that is friendlier and smaller) is about 50 mins away.
    I think some of it might be me feeling judged by other parents.
    I'll try doing a craft thing some time soon but the problem is my son doesn't stay with the craft activity for long and takes off and none of the other mothers seem to be concerned about kids going outside or getting into stuff like I am.
    Running craft would be hard if I ws trying to show kids what to do and chase him at the same time........
    Sounds like I am making excuses doesn't it?

  12. #12

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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Is there any other activity in your area to take DS? We have taken our 2 to different things over the years, Hey De Hoo or Gymbaroo for instance.

  13. #13

    Join Date
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    with the fairies and butterflies
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    It's not you it's them. And changing who you are in order to fit in will never end well.
    Change groups, I would go to the one where you feel more comfortable, even if it is harder to get to.

  14. #14

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    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Are you me? Or me from the future when I finally manage to join a playgroup? I'm 100% certain this is what's going to happen to me, even though I know I need to have my girls around other kids more often. (Once every couple of months doesn't exactly cut it.)

    So I'm drinking in all these tips as well. Sorry for the unhelpful post.

  15. #15

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    Jun 2005
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    It sounds like you and the other mothers just have a different focus on what you want to get out of the group. It doesn't make what you're doing "wrong". If you want to run an activity can you organise an outside game (like throwing balls) or something where you feel you can watch your son while doing the game?

    I wouldn't worry too much about the group if it's not working out. Sometimes you just don't gel with people and that's okay. Go to the other group and do other activities like go to busy playgrounds where other children are and visit the library storytime etc.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    I just found out there's going to be a thermomix demo at playgroup tomorrow. Got an email about 1/2 hour ago.
    I don't have a problem with thermomix but I thought playgroup was about the kids. What will be next Tupperware, linen parties?
    I certainly was not part of a conversation last week asking if we all thought this was appropriate.
    I think it might be a week we don't go.
    Am I being a grumpy old woman or is this normal?

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    453

    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Who will be watching the children while the Mums are watching the thermomix demo? If if were you, I would skip this week. I would hate for them to take advantage assuming you will be watching ALL the kids for them!

    And in regards to the original question from your first post, you aren't doing anything wrong. It's them, not you. I would find somewhere else - do you have a local library or recreation centre? They usually offer a weekly activity for the little ones.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

    Lol the kids will freak out because thermomixes are so loud! At playgroups I've been in, they actually make a point of telling you (in the short handbook) when you join that it's not an appropriate place to flog your new "I don't want to go back to work so I'm doing direct marketing" strategy. As you're finding, it's a great way to turn people off!

    Time to move on and stop letting it affect you.

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