doc

I REMEMBER the first time I went to a toddler group.

My little girl was eight-weeks-old and I was starting to go slightly insane staying at home so despite my anxiety, dragged myself out to my nearest baby and toddler group.

Nobody spoke to me. Not a single person.

Nobody said 'oh hello, are you new?' Nobody commented on my baby, or sat with me, or even made eye contact. I felt utterly invisible.

Everyone obviously already knew each other, and were settled in their little groups, chatting away.

I stuck it out to the end then left feeling tearful.

Was this what mummy socialising was like?! I knew I 'should' be taking my daughter out to socialise, but was it worth this hell?!

I had a big think at home, and decided to give it another go.

The following week, nobody had a chance not to talk to me, as I just brave-faced it and inanely chatted to everyone I could.

It turns out that most mums are just knackered, too knackered and wrapped up in the sleep-deprived zombie fug of babyhood to notice someone new, let alone think of something to say to them.

Once I got chatting and opened up, it got a lot easier.

Sometimes my anxiety still gets the better of me.

I have been to groups where I've still felt a bit lonely and rubbish, but largely, baby and toddler groups are friendly and full of other mums in exactly the same position, with exactly the same fears and anxieties – once you start making eye contact, smiling, TALKING – it gets easier.

We're all in the same boat.

If you see a scared looking newbie mum at a group, go and say hello. I guarantee it'll make her day.