Congrats! You’re a mama! Now it’s time to go out and make some mummy friends. What is that I sense? A bit of hesitation? Fear? Dread? As someone who has dealt with social anxiety her entire life, I know all too well that the struggle is real.
I was the kid that was afraid to raise my hand in school and stayed by myself during recess time. I turned crimson red when singled out of a group. Painfully shy, I sought to be invisible.
With age, I have slowly become more comfortable in public settings. It doesn’t mean that I am no longer shy, but I am definitely more confident in conquering my fears.
As a mum, being “out and about” is unavoidable. For the introvert, it is not an easy process. We are constantly in situations where we must interact with people including: the pediatrician, school staff, and other mums at the playground. The term “other mums” may make you want to break out into hives. As I have been doing this parenting thing for over six years now, I will gladly pass on what I have found to be particularly helpful:
1. Start off with a smile and greeting.
If you are awkward, this can be a hard task. As I spent most of my school years just staring at my shoes, I completely understand.
As I have gotten older, I realise that a pleasant demeanor goes a long way; even if you have to fake it at first. You do not necessarily have to tell your whole life story- just share a bit of what you feel comfortable with. People tend to be drawn to those with a sunny disposition. It also proves quite effective in breaking the ice.
I know that I was especially intimated in a setting with a “clique” of mums. I was always unsure of joining the conversation as I felt not part of the “club”. It made me feel like I was back in high school.
“Am I allowed to join in?” I would think to myself.
The answer is yes. The members of the “clique” were at one time strangers as well. Besides, you might just find out that you are cooler than all of them.
2. Compliments and more compliments.
You run into a fellow mum and her baby just happens to have the most beautiful hair color that you have ever seen. Tell her! People, especially females, love compliments. Mum may also look perfect; even though she gave birth yesterday. Resist the urge to throw rotten tomatoes at her, and let her know that! She may have had a difficult morning and needed to hear the praise.
3. Find common ground.
You run into a mum at playgroup with a similarly aged child. There are so many things to discuss: milestones, preschools, and potty training to name a few. Bonding with this mum may also result in later play dates. Who knows? You may have met your new best friend.