Palms sweating! Sat in the car psyching myself up! Quick hair and make up check and its time!
Previously this might have been the build up to an important interview but after having Rory this was me preparing myself to walk in to my first ever mother and baby group!! I was petrified!!
You may think that’s a little bit extreme but I really struggle with self confidence and the thought of walking in to a room full of mummies chatting away to each other genuinely did terrify me. In my head, the moment I walked in, they were all going to turn around and start judging me. They would be analysing my outfit, how my baby was dressed, whether I had managed to do my make up before leaving the house. I had visions of going flying as I walked in the room and making an absolute idiot of myself or of somehow managing to drop Rory during the session. Even worse imagine if he started crying and wouldn’t stop and they all thought I was a bad mum. As you can see my mind ran pretty wild with all the eventualities of what could go wrong!
I did eventually build myself up enough to walk in to the room. I even managed to make it over to the baby area without tripping, slipping or dropping Rory. Now I’m not going to pretend that once I was in there and sat down I slipped in to a conversation easily, my baby behaved impeccably and I met my best mummy friends at that very moment. The reality is I sat there quietly, answering questions when people asked me but not really fully getting involved in the conversation. But I survived!!! And the next group was that little bit easier, and the one after stressed me out even less. I still get that same feeling walking into each group – what if my friends haven’t arrived yet? What if there’s no room next to them and I have to sit next to other people? But then I remember just how far I’ve come since those first groups and that there are new mummy’s walking in who feel exactly the same as I did!
So with that in mind I thought I’d give a few tips on how to cope with those first baby groups for anyone who struggles with confidence in the same way I do!!
1. Every new mum has things she is finding easy and things she is struggling with.
Some mums might not talk about it and there’s bound to be one mummy who comes across as this perfect mummy who is finding it all easy peasy, but trust me there is something they aren’t finding quite so simple. They just hide it better!!
Quite often I have found that the mummy who talks the loudest about how perfect their baby is, all the milestones they’re hitting and how their baby has slept through the night since before they were even blooming born are often the ones who have other battles going on and are trying desperately to cover it by coming across as a perfect mummy!!
Just remember most mummies have been weed on, left the house with some indescribable stain on their clothes without realising and have felt lonely in the early hours of the morning when they have an inconsolable baby!
2. Don’t leave it too long.
Don’t wait for ages before going to your first group or class. The longer you wait the bigger a deal you’ll make it in to. With each week that passes you’ll be tempted to make another excuse as to why you can’t go and walking in to that room will become more and more of a scary prospect.
3. Remember you have something in common with every mummy there.
Your baby! No matter what your background, what you look like, your relationship status or what car you drive – all of you have a baby. So if you walk over to a group of mummies and can’t think of a single thing to say – why not throw a compliment out there, no mummy can resist being told how beautiful their baby is or how gorgeous their hair is etc. If your mind goes completely blank and you can’t even think of a compliment, it sounds stupid but ask the most basic questions. What’s your little one’s name? How old are they?
4. You only need a few kindred spirits.
I found that there were people who I spoke to at baby groups that I had a conversation with and never really spoke to again – we just never clicked! However there are a few people who, as soon as I started talking to them, I just knew we would get along. I knew that I would be able to be completely honest with them about how I was feeling, ask the questions you feel stupid asking anyone who isn’t in the same situation as you are and laugh when things don’t quite go to plan! You really do only need to find those couple of mummies that you really click with to get you through, so don’t worry about trying to talk to and get along with everyone you chat to.
So take a deep breath, stop panicking, walk in that room, scout out someone who looks friendly and head over and start up a conversation. Remember if you feign confidence – no one will even know how you’re feeling inside!