Playdates... when -you're- an introvert - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-19-2009, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Fellow introverted mamas, how do you do this?

Long story short, I have a preschooler who is out of school for the summer and a couple of his little friends' mothers have expressed interest in getting together. I won't leave my son at anybody else's home for a playdate, so any get togethers would involve socialization for me, too... and most likely with women with whom I have very little in common.

I think I need some reassurance or a pep talk or something. What are your experiences? How do you fulfill your children's needs to socialize without overwhelming yourself?

Gallifreyan nerdfighter :, doting partner to the sasquatch , mama to the boss : (10/05) and the new little one (4/14/09). :: and hoping to :
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#2 of 10 Old 06-19-2009, 09:35 PM
 
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It gets easier. I would say plan the first few visits to be on the short side. That will take some of the pressure off. I was going to say bring some knitting or something, that always helped me, gave me something to focus on so I didn't feel weird it I just wanted to go sit down alone. But I see you have a baby, that will keep you busy.

There have been many times I have had great conversations with people I thought I would feel awkward with. You just never know.

We are now lucky enough to be involved in a large homeschool group with many like minded mama.

Good luck!

Michelle , 20+ years with a wonderful DH
Mama to two boys, 12 and 10

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#3 of 10 Old 06-19-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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I just didn't at that age. Socialization is so overhyped these days. Remember too that socialization doesn't mean "with peers", just humans, any humans will do. The more variety the better.

We did parks, and of course I have my best friend with kids similar in ages so they played that way.

Set up "dates" to play with kids whose parents I didn't really know (or want to know) were just too anxiety inducing.

Neither of my kids have ever had a playdate as far as the official terminology goes.
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#4 of 10 Old 06-20-2009, 01:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post
I just didn't at that age. Socialization is so overhyped these days. Remember too that socialization doesn't mean "with peers", just humans, any humans will do. The more variety the better.

We did parks, and of course I have my best friend with kids similar in ages so they played that way.

Set up "dates" to play with kids whose parents I didn't really know (or want to know) were just too anxiety inducing.

Neither of my kids have ever had a playdate as far as the official terminology goes.
Yup. I don't set up playdates. We go to playgrounds a few times a week. DDs (3.75) may or may not find a new best friends for a couple hours. We see my (few) friends who have kids close to the same age sometimes. Kids on the street ride their bikes and my girls join in. This age, imo, is too young to need or get persistent/consistent friends.

If your worry is more of appearing antisocial to the other mothers rather than the socialization of your child, invite them 2 at a time to meet at a playground and then they have each other to make conversation with if they're people you end up have trouble talking with easily.
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#5 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 01:25 AM
 
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It could be that these mamas are reaching out looking for friends themselves. If you're at all interested, give it a shot. Honestly, I'm so thankful that my best friend overcame her own hesitation and invited me and ds out for a park playdate. My friendship with her has grown into a great blessing, and it's all because she was the first to step out of her comfort zone. Maybe you already have a close friend or two, but if not, you might be richly rewarded for taking that chance.

I agree that it's a great idea to meet on neutral territory. Something like a library event or berry picking is great, because you have a built-in focus, and there's not as much pressure to chit-chat for an hour.

Dawn - Mom to : Jack 11/04 and David 5/08
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#6 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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Does your city provide any activities during the summer? I'm a shy person myself but me and my DS have met great people while taking Parks & Recs kid/parent courses (like sculpting, soccer etc). These courses take the pressure off of parents having to socialize but it does the kids a chance to play with others his/her age. And you might just meet another mom who you get along with great.
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#7 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I just suck it up and do it. My son's friend has a playdate every week at their house. We go because the kids have fun. I don't have much in common with those mothers but we find enough to chit chat about. We also meet another friend at the pool every week. For smaller playdates, I just host at my house since the other mothers are ok with dropping their kids off here. Days that are really busy I usually need an hour alone in my room after dh gets home from work to recharge. Good luck, I know it is hard to be an introvert mothering little extroverts. I just have to make sure to get enough "alone time" to balance out all of the socialization.
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#8 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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I made myself go to AP friendly parenting groups like babywearing groups, LLL, Natural parenting group, etc I find it easier to be around other mothers who share similar parenting practices as me. I have made a few friends through those groups and one really good friend who I love and who has a daughter a year older then DS. We get together at least once a week and go to their house for tea and play, go to the park, attend AP parenting groups, etc. DS gets to socialize and it is easier to go to social places with my friend as I just talk to her if their is no one else that we mesh with and our children get to socialize with other kids and adults.

I made myself to go to a few groups/events that were not AP focused and those are always way harder I hate hearing about tiny babies left to CIO ) Anyway if I go someplace and I don't "fit" in then I just don't go back.

DS and I do spend a lot of time together alone at home or sometimes to the zoo, park, science centre, walking, etc but I don't talk to anyone I figure he still gets to watch how people interact with each other when we are out and about even if it is not me interacting (we people watch)

I have not had another mother and child to my house for a playdate yet for many reasons but I think the biggest is I really don't like having others in my house. Also my house is messy and disorganized, small and my dog is a bit crazy Anyway my goal is to get comfortable enough to have a playdate here as I have a feeling it will be inevitable on the future.

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#9 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 06:54 PM
 
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You be the one to plan the get together! That way you can select a location/activity that you will be more comfortable with.

Pick a local farm, or playground etc where you won't be stuck sitting at someone's kitchen table. Once you get to know the other moms better it's SO much easier.

I also prefer to host at my house because then I can get up to make coffee, get snacks etc, I can keep busy and I feel more in control.

You can also plan activities that involve you, a craft for instance so you are busy setting it up, helping the kids and then cleaning it up. That way you aren't stuck just making conversation.

I think it's great you are willing to put yourself out of your comfort zone for you child! It's not easy, but it does get easier with practice.

The most important thing to do for you is to plan the rest of the day to be quiet. That way you have time to recharge yourself.

Good luck!
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#10 of 10 Old 06-21-2009, 07:11 PM
 
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I have found that by forcing myself to go (by signing up to bring something, etc), I actually end up having fun and looking forward to the next, lol. It is hard because I am shy, but 'just do it' and you will get better at it!
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