Does the Playground Thing really start this early?
Before I went back to work I used to take H boy along to a free local activity called Paint and Play. It is run at a local disused preschool and is full of fun activities for kids. It provided a great opportunity for wearing them out!
I took hubby along with us on week so that he could see what we do while he is at work.
The deal is that when you arrive you sign the child in and give them a name tag. Some of the mums wear name tags also. Call me a snob or perhaps just introverted – I never made myself a name tag. Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking to anyone – you understand right?
Hubby asked me why I didn’t and proceeded to point out to me all of the opportunities for mother to mother conversations that I missed out on every week.
So the next week I made a deal with him that I would wear a name tag and see what happened.
Sure enough one other mum stuck up a conversation with me.
Interestingly this girl is also someone whom I see around the place quite a bit. She looks like the kind of person I would get along with well – we have similarly aged children, clearly both enjoy shopping (the shops is often where I see her), and have similar taste in clothes.
The thing is, she is often with one of those imposing groups of well put together mums who in their ‘uniform’ of leggings, knee high boots and tunic tops with their designer baby kit bags and fancy prams completely intimidate me and I don’t feel like I can strike up a conversation with them. I don’t know how to take it from playgroup idle conversation to opportunities for friendship building. Kind of like the cool girls at school – I would LOVE to be friends with these people – they totally look like the kind of people I would get along with.
The kind of people I was friends with when I lived Brisbane but hadn’t met here in Canberra yet.
I guess that some people call these ‘cool’ groups the “Mummy Mafia” – but I don’t always see them as the cool girls at school who will trip you in the hall (although if their child was in competition with yours for whatever reason I think I would be watching my back!) – lets face it women are always competing whether it be for good or bad.
But really – it doesn’t matter how far we come from school – we always seem to revert back to what we wanted then – to fit in and be part of the crowd. To be normal and to have it all together – despite what goes on under the surface.
I know that I fit right back into the mold that I created for myself in high school – the one where I didn’t have very much money and always had slightly awkward social skills. The one where I was slightly individual and for this I was ridiculed. I know I am not this person anymore but it does stop the old feelings from resurfacing. I read somewhere once that in neurological circles they call this the ‘child’ brain versus the ‘adult’ brain.
I never did get to make friends with those girls – and you know what – I may not have found them to be as interesting as I thought I might have. It is all part of growing as a mother I think. I decided that it was important to be true to my values and to make sure that I surround myself with people who have chosen a similar path. I knew that I wanted to send my kids to an alternative school, to practice extended breastfeeding and carry them in a sling well past their first birthday. I realized that in order to make friends with people in the long term that you need to have these similar values – especially when it comes to parenting. Its not only important for your own friendships but also those of your children – as you want them to experience a similar environment at their friends homes as they do at their own.
So much to learn when we become a parent that before hand we just didn’t even know was part of the deal – it is so fascinating!
::Daily Meditation:: How are you showing up within yourself today? Take the time to notice.