Why I don't do play groups

Playgroup. A word that sends chills through my body. 

I get it. Giving your baby stimulation via sitting in a room filled with fellow littles, while nursery rhymes are sung in the midst of a galaxy of bubbles may be a baby’s idea of heaven. A display of complementary teas, coffees and cakes providing fuel to mums whose babies have not yet learned the art of the crawl (off he goes!) can be rather enticing. The chance to meet other mums who are possibly going through the same things as you can help you take that load off your shoulders.

But for an introverted mum like me, it’s a bit too much stimulation. The uncontrolled amount of noise; even if it’s a sea of happily shrieking babies. The snacks; well I can’t fault a piece of cake. But, the small talk; oh, the small talk. My head goes into spins just thinking about it. Baxter does’t even like bubbles anyway!

Yes, sometimes I feel like a failure for not having delved into the land of the playgroup. While my local “mum friends” attend weekly groups, little B man and I have yet to attend one. At all. 
But before I try to slap myself with a ‘crap mum’ comment, I just remind myself of the activities Bax and I enjoy. By ourselves. And then think well, maybe I’m not so crap at all.

To all my fellow introverts, here are a few activities you and your bubs can do alone:

Trips to the museum - The Natural History Museum is our favourite. I often wander around on autopilot, coffee in hand as we learn about animals, beautifully coloured minerals, dinosaurs,  earthquakes (hello earthquake room!), the planets…that place has enough wonderment to fill weeks.

looking at layers upon layers of laser cut materials in the science museum

Trips to the zoo - Over christmas my husband T and I invested in year-long passes to the zoo. Endless trips to see a real-life Sophie the Giraffe rates pretty damn high on Baxter’s list of favourite things to do.

spotting sophie for the first time

Walks through the park - Spend time pointing out the leaves on trees, the ever changing colour of the sky, dogs chasing balls, other families enjoying the fresh air, birds (Bax’s only known piece of sign language - oh how his face lights up when I pinch my index finger and thumb together and say ‘tweet tweet!’). 

enjoying the most brisk of days walking with my loves

Visits from family and friends - From day one, we’ve made sure Bax was handed over to every family member or friend who stopped by. Even one’s who don’t ‘get’ babies - Bax soon put a smile on their faces. This has always been important for his growth. Who doesn’t love a cuddle?

Cook - Enjoy your own cooking show as you have a show and tell of all the ingredients with your bub. Hold stronger smells like garlic or cinnamon up to their little noses and laugh at their reactions.

tiny baker in the making. i guess this counts as putting his palm in clay...which i never did. mum fail.

Dance and sing - With or without a couple of wooden spoons and a pan.
I have this vivid memory of a two week old Baxter fighting sleep during a 3-6am shift. A desperate me trying everything in my power to calm him back down. Vintage music telly quietly on in the background, helping to shade my fear of the dimly lit kitchen (I’ve never been one for the dark).
On came Hotel California. In hushed whispers I sang ‘On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair’ into his ear as I held out his little arm gently to full extension, and softly shifted around the room. 
It worked. He finally slept.
We now reenact that scene (albeit a little more rough and tumble) to his favourites: Coldplay, Michael Kiwanuka, anything on BBC 6 music…who says you need nursery rhymes?
(Unless it’s the itsy bitsy spider. There’s always room for the itsy bitsy spider.)

Read - Anything and everything. Out loud. Picture books, children books, magazines, blogs, the latest best seller (cough - Hold Back the Stars, out this month!). Babies are book nerds in the making. And they love the sound of your voice so it's okay to read something that stimulates you more than That's Not My Teddy over and over again.

bed time story time

I’d love to hear from my fellow introverted mamas! And you extroverted mamas too!

What are your favourite activities outside the playgroup?

Comments

  1. Ah, thanks for this. I've tried for years and finally I've accepted the fact that I'm just not a playgroup kind of mother. And I don't feel guilty about it anymore. Taking my little ones anywhere gives me anxiety - playgroup is like my worst nightmare. :)

    Helen
    Les Petits Gazette 

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    1. There's so much pressure to "be a good mother", but surely a happy child is evidence enough that we're good at what we do. No more guilt! thanks for stopping by.x

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  2. As merely a casual observer from across the pond, it seems like you and Tony are super hands on with Bax (he's your little buddy!) and that he's so socialized with your friends/loved ones, he's not missing out on anything by not doing play groups!

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    1. He IS missing out on Aunty Manda time.Xx

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  3. Rats! I wrote an epistle & then it got me to log in, deleting what I wrote. I'm clearly no gmailer. This blog is brilliant and I concur was the gist 👏🏼

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    1. I'm still trying to work out how to make commenting on this easier. Drat! So happy you stopped by and enjoyed the post.Xx

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  4. Joslin and I are the best dancers in our house, and she's loving learning the names of her dinosaurs. Bundling up and trudging through knee deep snow in the yard, or a sled ride around the block. Even she's an introvert though, so we're happiest in our little bubble home - Anjuli

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  5. You do not strike me as an introvert! You and Bax are super sociable and (you) lovely and chatty! I am sure he will be soon too! Hope to see you both soon xx - Hannah

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  6. We go to a couple of baby groups but honestly Tilly is happiest moving around in the fresh air, watching the world go by and smiling at the people that pass by. Sitting with her on my lap in a busy coffee shop entertains her more than lying her on a rug at home surrounded by tens of colourful plastic toys. Don't get me wrong, we love toy time and baby groups too, but I sometimes feel I try too hard to find things to stimulate her when the world around her already has plenty to offer.x - Jackeline

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  7. Beautiful write- up! - Binita

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  8. In the same boat. Mum groups filled me with dread. Instead I did lots of walks, zoo, aquarium - boy does she love the fishes!) daily trips to the beach which she could just run around like a loon, lots of swimming (with daddy) building forts with out couch pillows and then read a book together. The only time I went to mum group was for baby weaning as that freaked me out too! - Mel

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  9. Well this just made me wanna hang out with you real bad and watch out boys sit beside each other 😍 I miss you - Maggy

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  10. The playgroups are for the moms! I would have died of loneliness without them! - Emma

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