Sunday, 15 April 2018

That Monday Morning Feeling...About Toddler Group

My thought process this evening: “Oh yay it’s Monday tomorrow, that means back to school and I get to see my big girl again after a week at her Dad’s.” My joy was short lived as I quickly realised that term time meant toddler group was back on. I love a good catch up with friends, but that is not toddler group for me. For me it is often dull, lonely and long.

A toddler sitting in front of a tray of coloured rice with a spoon, bowl and funnels


Toddler playgroup is 90 minutes of following Little around while she plays with a variety of toys, making sure she doesn’t push or bite any other children or, worse still, steal their biscuits. Little’s latest thing is roaring at other children. Just like a lion. A small, not very scary lion. I’m pretty sure she is doing it in a friendly, let’s be friends kinda way, but the small children on the receiving end tend to look somewhere between bemused and terrified.

A toddler building a not very stable tower with Mega Blocks

We go to a lovely playgroup. It is run by a nearby church and the volunteers and other parents are all really nice. I have known a few of the parents for a couple of years because we went to baby group in the same place. Some weeks I can spend a reasonable amount of time catching up with people, other weeks I don’t really know anyone and my only conversations are polite small talk with adults whose little people are briefly enjoying the same activity as mine.

I suck at small talk. I never know what to say. Once I know someone well I can often get them talking for hours, but I struggle with the social niceties required for talking to strangers and I am entirely lacking in the skills to turn acquaintances into friends.

A toddler sticking paper stars on to card with pritt stick

I spend much of the group on my phone each week which must look anti-social and neglectful. Little do they know I have perfected the art of effective toddler supervision while chatting on social media. The alternative would be tearing my hair out with boredom.

A toddler trying on a toy policeman's hat in front of a full length children's mirror

Why do I keep going you might be wondering? Why do I subject myself to an activity I dislike, to one which gives me that Monday morning anxiety I haven’t had since going on maternity leave 2.5 years ago? 

As a stay at home mum I feel I have to go to groups like this so Little can socialise with peers while I am there. It’s perhaps less important since she started Nursery, but there is still value in going for her. It is even more important for me to force myself out of the house on a Monday morning. My conversations may be strained, but they are of a higher quality than those I have at home with my toddler and my cat. I need to make myself socialise because life as a stay at home mum can easily become one void of adults. I need to be forced out of pyjamas, to have a shower and to wear make up. 

I dread going to playgroup but I go to stop myself becoming someone I might hate. And some weeks I even enjoy myself.

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