7 ways to help combat nerves at new baby groups.
Even the most confident of people can feel intimidated by parent and baby groups. Just because you’ve pushed a baby or two out doesn’t mean you’re suddenly brilliant with strangers.
Yet it’s so important to feel normal again by getting out of the house, venting chatting to other Mums and Dads with babies a similar age, and eating cake.
I’ve moved away from the area where I did NCT classes, and my new local friends don’t have babies the same age as Little P so aren’t on maternity leave. So I’ve got stuck into some local groups, and I love it! But then I’m used to getting on with anyone and everyone as part of my job as a Producer/Director (where I basically rock up to someone’s house and make new best friends with them so they can talk to me relatively normally whilst pointing a big scary camera at them.)
So I thought I’d write some tips for those who feel a little nervous about going to baby groups.
1) Don’t worry about waltzing in and introducing yourself to everyone straight away. Go in, smile if someone smiles at you, but scope it out. Take your time, get some tea, find a space or chair or activity for your child and just crack on.
2) Most other people who are there for the first time will feel just as anxious as you, so remember you’re not alone.
3) Having your baby with you is the best conversation starter, so even if you feel self-conscious you can start with ‘how old is your little one?’ and be relatively happy that you can’t go wrong from there.
4) If there’s a group of parents who clearly know each other well, don’t feel intimidated. There’s always another newbie like you, or someone who will catch your eye over the coffee and say hello if you make eye contact and smile. These people have probably just been going to the group for ages, they’re not deliberately being unfriendly. Unless you’ve rocked up to Mean Mums instead of Dinky Dancers by mistake.
5) If your baby/toddler is fussy or has a meltdown, do not stress out. This should be a safe space for that exact thing to happen without fear of judgment or disturbing anyone! You will probably get empathetic comments from like-minded Mums anyway.
6) If you do get chatting to someone, try and remember to ask for their name as soon as you can – otherwise you end up talking all about the babies, then weeks later you realise you quite like this person and still don’t know what they’re called! Happens to me a lot, it feels a bit embarrassing so I end up doing detective work with other people whose names I don’t know either just to find out…
7) What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t get talking to anyone? As long as you and baby enjoy the time out of the house, surely that’s a good thing. You can decide whether to go back again or try a different class. It would be really rare to make great friends straight away so don’t put any pressure on yourself.
And if all else fails, just eat plenty of cake. You shouldn’t speak with your mouth full anyway…
Have you had any nerve-racking experiences at baby groups? I’d love you to share this post and your experiences.
Image credits (except for immediately above) SpeedKingz / Shutterstock