Today on TalkMum we welcome a brand new blogger; Rachel, who writes over at Make a Long Story Short. She is a mum to two boys and a freelance copywriter.
Here’s Rachel with some words of wisdom on coping with the daunting situation of making new mum friends, when you’re not a natural extrovert. Does this sound familiar? (if so, let us know!)
I was eleven when I realised that making friends wasn’t my forte. In my first class at secondary school, enveloped by a hideous turd-brown blazer I made even heavier by stashing books in my pocket, I smiled at the girl next to me and she burst out laughing at my bright pink brace elastic. The buzz in the class that week was all about a girl called Anna, who may or may not have Done It in a ginnel. I, on the other hand, kept books in my pockets for emergencies, had neon brace elastic I had chosen myself, and I wasn’t even sure what a ginnel was, let alone the mechanics of Doing It in one: I was marked as a geek from the start.
While I did find wonderful likeminded souls eventually, it always seemed to take forever to move from awkward playground chat to laughing hysterically over Buffy in pyjamas. Shyness is a curse, isn’t it? The tongue too heavy for your mouth, the hopeful smile that actually looks more like a pained grimace, the constant full-body cringe. It was the same at university: the heart-stopping, life-changing friends I made there know a piece of me that no one else ever will, but it took ages for me to stop being reclusive enough to attract them. And now I find myself at 29, two tiny boys in tow, having to screw my courage to the sticking place all over again at baby groups and rhyme times everywhere, including in the blogosphere. Is it supposed to be easy, now I’m an adult? Because I’m much better now at appearing to be socially adept, but too often I still feel like an awkward eleven-year-old without a single cool thing to say, and have to suck my teeth to check for braces. HELLO, YOU PERSON THAT I THINK IS NICE, I want to say but (thankfully) don’t. LET’S BE CLOSE FRIENDS. YOUR HAIR IS GREAT, FYI.
Being a new(ish) mother can be Kryptonite for a shy person. No longer do you interact with adults between nine and five as a matter of course, swallowing your awkwardness until you find people you can connect with. If you wanted, you could stay indoors and never see anyone who didn’t think stuffing a baked bean up their nose was a brilliant idea. But you really mustn’t. Here’s the combined wisdom I’ve managed to gather from two-and-a-half years of excruciating Stay and Play afternoons: Some Advice for the Secretly Shy SAHM (shall I work on this title? Yes): Read more