Why I Joined A Mom’s Group With Social Anxiety

First of all, thanks to all the wonderful readers who had something to comment about on my last post. I appreciate all the kind words and encouragement. I definitely appreciate the stories you shared as well, it made me realize that in this vast web of internet, there are people out there who have been through what I have or at least can relate.

So, I joined a mom’s group on Facebook in our local community with the main motivation of meeting new mom friends. I don’t really have many friends in general, in fact, I have ONE friend that I work with and we hang out outside of work. She’s Punky’s godmother and she and her husband, Punky’s godfather are freaking awesome.

But they don’t have kids. They don’t really understand that it’s acceptable for a mom to talk about poop all day. They don’t get that it’s super cute when my kid says “No” to the side table drawer she’s not supposed to touch, because that’s the word she associates with the side table. She’s heard the word too much in relation to that darn thing! I’m quite sure she thinks that’s what you call a side table a “NO!”

I love them bunches and they love Punky. It’s just not the same when you don’t have ‘mom’ friends. This is why I sought out a mom’s group. Actually, I didn’t really seek it out, it sort of fell in my lap. I met a girl at Gymboree, who I swear just has to be my twin in so many ways – personality wise. She gave me a card for this group and invited me to join.

I wasn’t going to. I actually backed out of the first meetup with the moms. I made up some excuse for not being able to go. Then I kicked myself for it. I know I have to socialize with other people – I have to be able to show Punky how to socialize. I have to teach her that it’s ok to meet new people. I definitely wouldn’t wish the anxiety of social situations on anyone, especially my daughter.

So, I spent some time on the Facebook group, participating in discussions and learning about these ladies. I learned that we all parent differently, but in the end, I like to think that’s a great little friendship we have all developed. We don’t have to parent the same way, we don’t have to like the same things, we don’t have to believe in the same things. We can still support each other as moms and we can still have fun together and let our kids have fun together.

The rest of the post is pretty picture intense, since we have been on a lot of little play dates. My favorite so far was the concert at the park. Punky got right up there with the big kids and I was so out of breath chasing that kid around we had to leave early! She just danced her little heart out, she had free reign to toddle all over the place.

We go to the park every Tuesday, unless it rains of course, and she gets to play with a little girl that I will nickname Cheeky for the sake of this blog. She’s quite the little ham. We had a new mom and her sons join us last week and it looks like we are scheduled to have another mom join us at the park next week. I’m slowly getting out of my funk and I am making myself get ou there for Punky and for myself!

Waiting for the show to start.

Waiting for the show to start.

So we got to the park about 30 minutes early. That gave her time to eat dinner on the make-shift picnic blanket and hang out with Mommy before the show. I really expected her to just sit there and listen to the music.

Boy, was I wrong!

Rockin' Rob is talking with a puppet?! What?!

Rockin’ Rob is talking with a puppet?! What?!

That Rockin’ Rob show is awesome. My kid is the one shorter than most of the others and she’s headed towards the puppet in the blue and white tank and shorts!

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I was able to stop her from assaulting and probably stealing the puppet. But, at one point she made a beeline straight for the drums. I was absolutely sure she would embarrass me in front of the entire town sitting on the grass behind me! I was already chasing her squirrely butt all over the place!

I tried to give her space to do what she wanted, it’s a concert for kids after all and she is a kid. I also didn’t want to lose her in the crowd, she’s shorter than I thought! The last thing I needed was to try and explain to K just why I didn’t come home with the toddler I left with!

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Awkward attempt at social interaction.

So, K stays at home with Punky, so we are fortunate to have a stay-at-home Mama. It’s not easy by any means, and maybe someday I will get into the reasons why and how we are able to do that. But, that’s for another post. The reason I bring it up, is because Punky doesn’t go to daycare and isn’t really exposed to other kids her age. Well, other kids period.

I have begun to notice, that’s she’s not sure how to act around them. This last picture is her attempt to greet the other child. She walked right up to this little girl, whom we don’t know and have never met and proceeded to smack her a few times. It was more like “petting” and she was giggling, so I knew she wasn’t doing it maliciously, this was her way of saying Hello.

The little girl was not amused.

Needless to say, I removed Punky from the girl’s personal bubble and we went on dancing away.

In the end, I realized that I am going to be ok. I am going to teach my daughter better habits than I have. I can only hope that anxiety is not genetic, and in some ways she is probably predisposed to have some sort of mental illness – it runs in both sides of her genes. However, it’s all how you nurture a child as well and whether or not you help flip that switch.

So far, Punky and I are bonding over these play dates and these experiences, so in the end, it’s a great thing and I am so glad that I decided to do it. The more I get out, the more I meet new people, the less awkward I feel and the less anxious I am.

This weekend is a pool party for one of Punky’s cousins who is turning 1 and the baby shower we planned for a friend had to be postponed as she is currently in the hospital being induced due to some high blood pressure complications. So, as soon as we have the fantastic mustache and bowtie baby shower, I will be sure to post pictures of the awesomeness I helped to create!

Anyway, have a good weekend everyone! I have a few bloggers I follow and a couple ladies I know in person –  who are in the TTC cycles, so sending you lots of positive vibes and sticky notions. I am sending well wishes to those pregnant mommies who are getting ready to pop and those who have just recently started your sleepless nights, good luck to you as well! Babies and pregnancy all around me and I am loving every bit of it!

Parenting with Social Anxiety

We are officially a Gymboree mommy and baby. We went to open gym yesterday and Punky had more fun. She was able to crawl around and cruise on all the different ramps and mats. She was able to get out of her shell and play. I just let her explore the gym and she one minute I am talking to another mom and the next, I look back and Punky is WALKING.

She just took off. I was so surprised. She didn’t get very far before she fell over, but I cheered for her and told her out great it was and she just smiled and crawled back to where she started.

This struck up a few conversations with some of the other moms in the gym.

This is where things got sticky, in my head. I have a self-diagnosed social anxiety, a quirk really. I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but I know myself well enough to know that when I am in a public situation, with people I don’t know, I start to panic. My heart starts to race and I start to clam up. I do take a small dose of anxiety medication, but really I don’t see a therapist for it. It’s just something that I live with and deal with.

However, in that moment, I had to reason with myself that I had already taken myself out of my house, to go somewhere other than work or Walmart. I went to a social situation and I brought Punky with me. If I was already here, and it was the second time, that I just needed to relax and let Punky have fun. Let myself have fun.

So we started talking. Usually, once I get to know people, I am pretty much alright. I just have to get to that point. I have to get out of my house and I have to make myself not to make excuses or re-schedule the events. When I learned about Gymboree, I made an effort to go because I wanted to allow Punky the opportunity to socialize. So, that’s the first step.

I have paid the fee and set up a commitment for the the next two months to attend 1 class a week. I reason with myself that I can’t waste my money with reschedules and excuses that don’t really exist.

Once we started talking, one of the moms invited me to their mommy group. They have play dates and mommy date nights, nights out. I was flattered that this woman was inviting me, and she seemed nice enough for sure!  The problem is me.

We are not the most conventional of parents. We are parenting without religion, we are parenting without gender roles, we are parenting as a lesbian couple. I don’t know these women well enough to know if they would be alright with these things. I don’t want to be the whispered about mom either. I mean, I am sure these women are nice and in the back of my mind, I know my fears are irrational.

I don’t really have mommy friends outside of work. I think it would be awesome. I want, so badly, to get out of my shell and do this. Not just for Punky, but for myself. I have taken the first step and asked to join the Facebook group. I will try and get to know these women in a Gymboree and Facebook atmosphere.

I don’t know these women and they don’t know me. Maybe once I feel them out in a public setting, I might get around to stepping out and actually meeting them at their houses or in a more intimate setting.

Like everything else, this is something I hope to work on this year. I want to get out and do things. I want to take Punky places, I want her to experience things and I don’t want my anxiety to limit the things she is able to do!