I used to be part of a pretty active mothers group two-and-a-half years ago initiated by the local Early Childhood Centre. Even before Miss T was born, developing a new social network with other mothers was something I really looked forward too. But the year came and went and one-by-one, we either returned to work, moved house or moved overseas. I was the one organising our social activities but also the one that returned to full-time work so event planning went out the window.
Now that I have a second baby, I really miss it. It was rammed home to me this week because I had the rare chance to catch up with two of those original mothers in the park we used to frequent.
It was really humanising to have face-to-face contact. And I was very surprised to see no less than three other groups of mothers floating around near the play equipment, on the park benches or on picnic rugs on the grass.
Why didn’t the Early Childhood Centre invite me to join a group for subsequent babies? I asked but they seemed rather surprised by my question. Was it because I’d already had a go? Was it because they assumed I didn’t need the moral and practical support? I think all mothers appreciate the support wherever they can get it. Why else would mummy blogging be so prolific?
I’m not the most extroverted of people but I’ve learnt to put myself out there a little. In my job, I’ve had to meet lots of people so that has helped me learn to socialise professionally, but personally, it’s a little trickier. Looking at these groups of mothers, I thought, how could I join in? They’ve formed connections since their bub’s were born. Who am I, a strange lady with a seven month old baby, to pull up the pram and plop myself down on their picnic blanket or bench?
I think breaking into a group is a bit easier if you have a toddler with you, running about the playground. You’re all dashing left, right and centre to keep an eye on your child. Sometimes you need to break up fights, return a lost child, retrieve a dropped toy, and these can provide openings for conversations. I guess I’ll have to come with Miss T next time she’s not in Childcare.
What was your experience with mother’s groups? Do you stay in touch? Did you make some close friends?
How do you break the ice at a park? Do you just politely barge into an obviously established group and ask for a spot on that picnic blanket? What if it didn’t work out? Would you boycott that park forevermore?
I’m linking with Where’s My Glow for FlogYoBlogFriday (FYBF).