I get incredibly overwhelmed in the school playgroup at pick up. I want to talk to other mums but I don’t know what to say and I’m anxious about them judging me.
First of all, I’d like to offer reassurance that you are not the only person who will be feeling this way. Everyone has insecurities and worries and even the most confident looking person will have times, where they worry about things we couldn’t possibly guess, are bothering them.
Having children and integrating them into playgroups and school can be an anxious time, and often is a little like going back to school ourselves! Not only are we worrying about our child, but we are being placed in a situation where socialising is, to a degree, imposed on us, and we can’t control who those people are.
Try and avoid putting pressure on yourself to ‘make friends’ and instead look for opportunities to simply break the ice and engage in conversation. Small talk like, ‘goodness it’s so warm today are your kids even sleeping at night at the moment?!’ open the channel for conversation and help you seem approachable. If talking feels too stressful, simply start with a smile and a hello. Or, instead of trying to think about what to say, perhaps instead just think about being kind and focus on this.
On a practical note, take some deep breaths before drop-off and focus on creating a slightly longer exhale than your inhale to calm yourself. Wearing something you feel comfortable and happy in can help to build confidence without trying to be something you’re not.
It’s easy to feel anxious about being judged and sadly motherhood can be one stage of our lives where we can feel this quite acutely. Remember that people are so concerned with what people think about them, they probably aren’t judging at all. And even if they are, that’s their concern.
Be your natural and authentic self and you will attract the mums you resonate with.