Friday, January 20, 2012

The Dreaded Playdate

Every so often I see a mom sign up for a membership never to be seen or heard. They may lurk the board from time to time but never actually come out to any events. I encourage moms to come out to events and for various reasons it doesn't always work with their schedule. This I understand. We're all busy, and it's impossible to have events scheduled at times that will accommodate everyone.

What I do wonder is how many of these moms don't come out to an event because they are shy and nervous? Nervous of what you may ask? Well, of fitting in. Of acceptance. Of the unknown. See, I understand because I was a new member too at one time. 

My daughter when we just moved to Burlington. I spent a lot of time taking pictures of her to pass the time.

I'll take you back 2 years ago. We moved to Burlington, Ontario. Me, my husband and my 6 month old daughter. I didn't know anyone there. I was scared of being lonely but excited for our next adventure. I knew in order to survive I would have to join classes with my daughter. And lots! So I Googled mom and baby activities around the Burlington / Halton area. I was prepared to drive anywhere so I could get out of the house and keep busy. I joined swimming. I wasn't too nervous about this. It's swimming. We listen to the instructor but don't have to really worry if we aren't talking to other moms. We're there to to swim, not socialize. But when I arrived I felt the urge to talk to the other moms. I was so lonely I just needed to talk, to anyone! So I'd strike up a conversation and they'd talk back to me. We'd smile, say "I'll see you next week," and go on our day. After the last class I never saw those moms again. How do you pick up another mommy friend? It's not that easy. "Do you want to be my friend?"

So I Googled more activities. I stumbled upon momstown. It sounded like an interesting concept. So I signed up. $45! What do I have to lose. I signed up for a few events. I think I canceled the first few. I chickened out. Go to a playdate where I don't know anyone?!?! So I built up courage and I signed up for another. I clicked on each mom's profile who was signed up. I studied it like I was preparing for an exam. I didn't want to forget anyone's name or their kid's name. My first event was at Sharkey's. The Goldfish Playdate. It was a public place, so not as awkward as going into a strange mom's home. This I can handle. I chatted with the other moms. My daughter looked around and smiled at the other moms and babies. I went home and looked at their profiles again. I liked them. I think I may have found some friends. And I don't have to ask them to be my friend! I can see the next playdate they are signed up for and go. It will just come naturally.

Next up, a playdate at someone's home. I remember going to our first playdate at a mom's home. Ringing the doorbell and introducing myself. "Hi, I'm Ester. I'm here for your playdate." Again, another new and awkward situation. But I overcame it. Was I nervous? Yes! But each and every mom at that playdate had been new at one point too. They went through those same feelings I went through. You won't make friends unless you put yourself out there. It's like dating.  Mr. Right won't come along while you're sitting at home. 

A group of moms that I became friends with. All our kids turned 1 around the same time so we celebrated together.

I realized that it wasn't so bad to go to a playdate and not know anyone. I was nervous but I also wanted to teach my baby not to fear the unknown. To be sociable. I'm a pretty shy person but as I get out there, forcing myself to meet other moms, I am overcoming my shy nature. You probably won't hear me stop talking now. I also think reading the message board helped too. You start to feel like you know these moms before you even meet. It was nice to find a message board that was with local moms, not moms across the country.

Going to a playgroup is so much more valuable then we realize. It provides moms and their babies with activities that get them out of the house. You can make new friends and enjoy adult conversation. It helps moms from feeling isolated, which is essential in fighting postpartum depression. Socializing is important in order to be happy, healthy moms. Your baby is socializing too. Even if you think he or she is just lying there. They are watching other babies. Processing what is going on. These babies do get older. Eventually they'll be crawling and walking! Playing with the other babies that they have essentially grown up with. Making friends too!

So you shy moms, get out there! Come to a playdate. If you are lucky to have a mom group in your community like momstown, join! And come out to an event. Those heart racing, sweating palms will eventually go away. The dreaded playdate isn't as bad as you think it will be. And it sure beats trying to pick up a mom at the playground.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! Sometimes it's that first step. Sometimes I've taken it, other times I've been so glad someone else made the 'first move'!