Health, Mama Life

The fear of toddler groups…

Yesterday I did something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time but always end up avoiding. I took Clem to a toddler music class. For some of you that may seem like nothing, you do it all the time. But for someone like me who suffers from social anxiety it’s a big deal. I even spoke to one or two of the other mums there. Admittedly it was nothing more than a hello but that’s a start. Yes we go to the park or we go to the local soft play in the leisure centre but I always try and pick times when I know it will be quiet. I’m sure that makes me a terrible mother. Clem loves other kids and playing with them. She was going to nursery twice a week which I admit made me happy because then I wouldn’t have to take her to toddler groups/classes. She was getting time to play with other kids and have fun. Just writing that makes me feel awful. She recently stopped going due to changes with the nursery and we decided that although it was nice to have a few hours to myself twice a week we will wait a while before finding her a new one. So I promised I would take her to some groups.

                                                    fear

It took me a while but I joined a local children’s club, they do all sorts of different things and today we went along to our first class – toddler music. Clem absolutely loved it and seeing her play with the instruments, dance and sing was great. Before we went in I stopped outside, looked at my phone pretending I was waiting for someone. I know how silly that sounds but it gave me a few seconds to calm myself down, breath and take that step through the door. Once we were in there it was ok, everyone pretty much knew everyone else which was a little awkward but Clem is such a great girl that she was soon playing with all the other kids and making the parents laugh with her dance moves. Once the class was actually going there isn’t really much chance to talk to the other mums as everyone is too busy clapping or singing. Still, I spent most of the class worrying about how Clem was behaving – absolutely fine or what everyone else was thinking about us – probably nothing.

I’ve written so many posts talking about mental health and deleted them. I haven’t told a lot of people about what I’m dealing with. I guess it’s a bit weird blogging about it but I’ve suffered from depression in the past (my late teens/early twenties) which resulted in me self harming as well. Back then I found talking about things really helped. Most of the time I am fine but I can have my moments. I also have hypothyroidism and one of the symptoms/effects that can cause is depression. I can also get incredibly tired which isn’t ideal with a very active 19 month old. I’ve always been a bit ‘shy’. I was never one to ask questions in school, I didn’t really take part in any activities other than netball. I’ve always had a small group of friends, I sometimes struggle going out. If it’s with people I already know I’m ok but with new people I sometimes turn into a mess.

anxiety

Anxiety is a horrible thing to deal with, I’m sat here right now thinking I shouldn’t be writing/posting this but it’s something that a lot of people have and deal with on a daily basis. I’m lucky in that I’ve never had a full blown panic attack but I’ve certainly had my moments where my heart races, I get all sweaty which has resulted in me having to drop my shopping and run from a shop. One of the things I do a lot is take photos, which to me is like a mini achievement point, something I can look at and think – well done you got out of the house today.

I don’t want Clem to miss out on experiences and things because of me. I will get there, slowly but I will. Next week we are going to try an art class followed by a dance one. I hope I can make it through the door for them.

 

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24 Comments

  1. Sarah Rooftops

    31st March 2016 at 9:36 pm

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been scared of almost every baby/toddler group or class I’ve taken Matilda to! They’ve always been fine – they’re full of other parents who understand that babies cry and parents don’t always brush their hair and we’re all paranoid that we’re being judged on how we tackle kids’ inability to share – but they’re definitely out of my comfort zone.

  2. Leanne

    4th April 2016 at 10:56 am

    Well done you on being so brave and talking about it… something I haven’t yet managed to do. 😉 Good on you for going and I think it’s a good thing that you stopped to ‘check your phone’; it means you took control of the situation and took the time you needed to take a deep breath and feel ready to go into something scary. xxx

  3. Kaye

    4th April 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Oh, you should so write this post! I also suffer with being totally socially awkward and I didn’t go to any baby groups until A was about 18 months. I was so chuffed to finally go and have been to a couple since. Anxiety is awful, my Mum has suffered badly her whole life so well done for writing this. I feel like I know you that much more. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    1. Ky

      6th April 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Thank you. I went to a few classes when Clem was a baby but the class was 30 mins long and by the time everyone arrived, got settled it was pretty much time to leave so I didn’t bother going to them until now. It really is awful and I know that lots of people suffer with it. x

  4. Jaylan - Diapers at Dawn

    4th April 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Well done for writing this as hard as it is for you it shows a lot of courage to write a post like this as I’m sure that there are plenty of other people out there that feel the same as you. It isn’t silly that you stopped to check your phone at all because it gave you the opportunity to prepare yourself for the big step you was about to take. An inspiring post x #MarvMondays

    1. Ky

      6th April 2016 at 9:44 pm

      Aw thank you. I almost deleted it but I’m glad I posted it in the end.

  5. Hayley McLean

    12th June 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Well done for writing about it. Do you find it helps? I have social anxiety (and a thyroid condition too actually – mine is Graves disease so it fluctuates between hyper and hypo) and I regularly write about it on my blog, and honestly find it so therapeutic!
    I dread toddler classes for the same reasons but getting yourself there is a HUGE achievement, well done! 🙂 xx

      1. Ky

        18th June 2016 at 12:02 am

        Yes I find writing about it does help. It’s better than keeping it stored away in my mind. It’s also nice when others reply and they are going through similar problems. It’s nice to know that you aren’t alone. x

  6. Yummyblogger

    13th June 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Well done you! It’s great for Clem that you did it… And great for you too! Fab that you wrote about it, you will help many other people in the same boat! #KCACOLS

    1. Ky

      18th June 2016 at 12:03 am

      Thank you. Yes, I find that writing about it does help to find others that feel the same. x

  7. themotherhubblog

    14th June 2016 at 11:46 am

    Youre not alone., I found baby /toddler groups so intimidating. Not so much through anxiety , just the fact that im quite introverted and not very good at making friends. It was something I made myself do with my first, but actually didnt bother with me second. Good for you for getting out there and being honest in your post. So many of us our suffering one way or another and the more we talk about it the more it helps #kcacols

    1. Ky

      18th June 2016 at 12:05 am

      My anxiety makes it difficult to make friends and I’m also quite introverted, that’s why blogging is so good. Thank you, there definitely does seem to be a lot of us. x

  8. sarah

    14th June 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I have a duffed up thyroid too. Sucks to be us! But in seriousness, well done. Each one will get easier. xx #KCACOLS #tribe

    1. Ky

      18th June 2016 at 12:06 am

      Yay for rubbish thyroids!

  9. Sarah@teammomlife

    17th June 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I know how you feel with the social anxiety. It’s something I’ve been dealing with since my early 20’s. It’s hard when you want to let your child get out and experience new things when it’s so hard for you to handle. I also find detailed myself on my phone avoiding conversations some times. Well done to you for taking her to a group I know how much he courage that had to take. #KCACOLS

    1. Ky

      18th June 2016 at 12:07 am

      Thank you. Seeing her enjoying the class certainly helped with going.

  10. bread

    17th June 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I suffer from anxiety, depression and BPD, social phobias and have self harmed in the past too. I’m not sure how good a mum I’ll be with all this stuff going on in my head, but I know I’ll manage somehow, just like you. Now you’ve been to one toddler group, hopefully the next one will be easier. Good luck to you. #kcacols

    1. Ky

      18th June 2016 at 12:09 am

      I used to think the exact same thing. You will be a good mum, as someone who has also previously self harmed and had depression, you can do it. x

  11. Mother Hermit

    17th June 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Well done for plucking up the courage to not only write this post but attend the group too. Those kinds of situations are awful, I hate them, but seeing how happy Violet is at the groups and how much fun she has I keep taking her to them as much as I can face. It does get easier though- even if you just hide in a corner on occasion and don’t speak to the other mummies (I do this a lot!) xx #KCACOLS

    1. Ky

      18th June 2016 at 12:09 am

      Thank you, yes I’m the same. Clem absolutely loves going. She is such a people person, and it’s lovely to see. I definitely go for her and not me. x

  12. Bridie By The Sea

    18th June 2016 at 10:11 am

    Well done you for writing this post – so brave but something I’m sure a lot of mums can relate to. Personally I found it pretty awkward going to groups but like Clem, Emma loves it so I kept going. It has got easier though now she’s a bit older – the mums seem to have settled down a bit more and are friendlier! #KCACOLS

    1. Ky

      22nd June 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Thank you. That’s good that the mums have got friendlier. I find the mums at the groups I go to either change or don’t talk to new people so it’s difficult.

  13. A Moment With Franca

    18th June 2016 at 11:47 pm

    This is so interesting as I do feel a little bit of anxiety when I have to meet too many people I don’t know. I’m also shy at the beginning and it takes a little bit of time for me to feel comfortable. Then when I feel more comfortable all is fine and I can be more social but the first steps are always hard. I think I never took my first daughter to any of these classes because of that reason. But I’m different with my second daughter. I have done more activities with her. I guess when you have 2 kids you feel more confident as you can always hide behind them. LOL my youngest daughter is too social. She will say hi to everybody. She will stop and make herself notice for sure. So different than me. It is so strange but that is helping me to be more social with estrangers. Well done for taking your daughter to her music lessons. I’m sure it will get better every day, The more you do it, the better. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. It is great to have you for the first time, I hope that you like it, 🙂 xx

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