I have absolutely no clue what forum this should go in but here goes! I have a 2 year old DD and a 4 month old DS and we just moved to a new community. I really want to make some new friends here since we just moved from a very isolated place and I really need some adult interaction in my life with someone other than DH. I joined meetup.com and found an area moms group and we just went to our first playdate this week.
To make a long story short, it didn't go all that well. DD had a pretty hard time.......we do the same stuff that many of you mamas do I'm sure, AP, TV free, Waldorf-y toys, no sugar/junk food, lots of music at home and reading, crafts, nature activities, etc. Our house is pretty calm and peaceful and as a result so are our kids. Well anyway, the playdate was at a local indoor play place and it was packed with screaming kids, loud music, flashing lights, loud toys, etc. DD was obviously overwhelmed the minute we got there and clung to my leg for the first 20 minutes. She did let go and wandered around a bit but mostly sat in a quiet corner with a pile of books. I tried to bring her over to meet some other kids her age and she had a complete meltdown and begged to be picked up. The rest of the time she alternated between clinging to my leg and crying to be held. When I finally got her off my leg and brought her to a craft table, another kid grabbed a tube of glitter out of her hand and pushed her onto the floor....she looked totally bewildered and got back up only to be pushed down again and hit in the face by this kid. The boy's mother was sitting right there and did absolutely nothing. DD was inconsolable so we left - as soon as we got back in the car she was totally fine and asked to go home.
I'm sitting here looking at the meetup calendar for the moms group and, with the exception of maybe one or two outings, I'm seeing a lot of things that are probably going to be equally overstimulating and too much for DD. While I do want to try again and see how she does, a bigger part of me knows that this is who she is and she is this way because of our parenting style......am I doing the right thing here? Am I raising my kids to be loners? I love who she is and how intelligent and creative she is and her love of books and nature warms my heart and brings me so much happiness, but am I setting her up to be a social failure? All the other kids at the play place were running around and screaming and acting wild and, well, like kids. There were pitchers of kool aid and cheetos and cookies and all that crap, and DD asked for some and I said no......should I have let her?
I think the hardest part of parenting our children this way is just how alone we feel in doing so........as right as it feels to us it is dramatically different than what we see others doing. My best friend puts her kid in front of Nickelodeon all day so she can run her etsy shop. My husband's friends just posted a pic on Facebook of their one year old happily plowing through a bag of french fries at Burger King. I cannot begin to tell you how much crap we've gotten from both our families for not vaccinating and for taking our kids to a homeopathic doctor instead of a pediatrician.
How do you cope with your choice of parenting style? Are you loners like us or have you found other families in your communities like you? I am considering starting my own meetup group in the hopes of finding other parents like us.....I know they have to be out there! How have you made friends that share your views? I feel so desperate for other moms to talk to and commiserate with, and I genuinely want my kids to have someone to play with. Where do we begin?
~ Sarah ~ Living the mountain life with DH Dan & DD Lillian 1.6.10 and DS Jack 10.22.11 Trying to find time to !!
I found like minded mamas on the internet mostly, look and see if your area has an AP (or UP or whatever) playgroup nearby. Even if you're not into attachment parenting per se, you'll probably fit much better with the other moms there. I found public playgroups and Early years centres, library programs and such were great for meeting other moms too. There's no pressure to get along since you didn't arrange to get together with them specifically, but you get to meet a lot of different people. If you've got a cloth diaper shop, an eco friendly 2nd hand store or something similar near by check their bulletin board or ask the staff where a good place to meet is - sometimes shops near us have strollercize or coffee club groups as well. Mom and me yoga or anything else is good too. Once you find a couple people with similar aged kids, it will get easier as they will introduce you to more people too. Keep looking, you'll find them!
Library story times and just hanging out at the park during the mornings were when I met some good stay at home mama friends. My kids are very easily overstimulated in the environment you described, and so am I! Outdoor play, little hikes, mommy and me gymnastics at the city rec center work better for us. And really, you don't need a huge group of friends, just a few good ones! Have you checked MOMS Club or LLL groups? Also search yahoo groups for some local stuff. Montessori schools sometimes have afternoon activities you may be able to join in on. Also, maybe contact some local homeschool groups if your 4 year old is not doing preschool? They may be able to hook you up with some families with similar aged kids. Good luck! It's hard moving to a new place and getting connected, but give it some time!
Moving to a new pace and meeting new people can be tough and take time and can really depend on the type of community you live in. When I moved to a new place with my then two year old, it took awhile for us to meet people I felt like continuing a relationship with. We tried out a play group that really didn't work for my son, so I stopped going. The library ended up being a great place for us. Not consistently, but we met others at story time often enough. Starting your own group sounds like a good idea as well. I don't think that you need to compromise your values to socialize. Don't give up! Other places that have worked well for us over time are: open gymnastics for young ones at a nearby gymnastics studio, other community library story times, science centers that have specific times for childrens activities. Good Luck!
Just me, my DH, DS and DD Homeschooling
I went to library story times, free events in the community, and to the park. When I hung out with friends we sometimes went to noisy places and I let my dd approach these situations on her own terms. Sometimes that meant she cuddled with me while I talked to other adults until she was ready to play. We used to meet a friend at our local McDonald's once a week to play in the playland (you only have to buy coffee to stay for a long time) and she never did want to venture into the tunnels much even though they were geared towards preschool age children. This really seems to have less to do with overall parenting choices. My friend and I both meet your description but we are also fine going to a noisy play place from time to time. It sounds like she just needs more time to get used to playing in areas where there are lots of kids.
Many two year olds have a hard time entering a new setting no matter what their personality is, especially one that is noisy, has strangers all over the place, and contains a rough kid. Maybe you could go back to the play place during an off time in the middle of the week and slowly build up to the busier times. If you do go to something during a busy time walk around with her or sit and watch what is going on and allow her to interact on her own terms. If somebody pushes her model what you want her to do so she sees that she can stand up for herself even in a new and somewhat nerve wracking situation. Short time periods work at first and you should leave when the fun is gone and she can't be redirected to genuine fun.
You might have success finding people who want to meet exclusively in a home or in nature by posting an invite for like minded people. A lot of playgroups tend to happen in places where many kids like to play though because once kids get used to them they run off and play in a safe setting while the adults get some time to meet their need for social interaction with other adults.