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Sunday, 1 June 2014

I hate being the new kid...

My youngest started school this year, at a new school. Knowing already how great it can be to have a support network at the school, I set about making friends. I have to race off at pick up so I can't stay and chat. Sometimes it seems very hard to break into conversations. Often, I just play on my phone because I'm not up for it.

Now the fundraiser approached, and we need a table of 10. I put it out in an email to the class, and gradually spots are filling.

I accept that my attitude is part of the problem - I've got my friends, I'm older than everyone, I've got a high school kid and I might just be a little over this school business (shh!).  I just hate being the new kid. I hate trying to make friends. You can't help taking on a little rejection, that may not even be there. I hate that awkward outsider feeling. For my youngest, however, it is a task I must take on, whether I want to or not.

Every four years, I organise a sweep for the World Cup, and this morning I sent off the email to my usual crowd I harass for my schemes, and was pondering whether to ask the new school parents too, or whether that would just make me look sad and desperate....I figured I'd see how I was going for numbers and then maybe, casually, mention it to one or two...

I returned home after the 2 drop offs to discover - BAM - all 32 spots taken in less than an hour! In fact, it's over subscribed so I'll need to work something out (After I sent out notice the sweep was closed, I got complaints from people who'd missed out! Never fear, the Dakar is only 7 months away! ). That's what happens when you turn off your phone...it's a crazy hive of activity in the interwebs! A lot of these people have never been in a sweep before, and have no interest in soccer, but they like me, and humour my eccentricities.

How are these two stories connected? This enthusiastic response has worked as a wake up call, that in fact I'm not some lonely, weirdo reject (well, maybe a little, but in a good way that I'm totally comfortable with), I'm just new and I don't know anyone. All of it, of course, is probably my perception.

What I need to do, is remind myself that a lot of the other parents are also feeling that. Maybe their aloofness is to do with them and not me.

I read an article by a woman saying the clique-y mothers were making her kid sad, because her child was being left out. While I hear her pain, at no point did she say she was inviting kids over, or organising a get together. Maybe start by taking those difficult steps yourself. Maybe the 'clique-y' mums won't be interested, but there will be some shy wallflowers who will appreciate it. Maybe the clique really isn't in your head, and they don't like you - but does it matter, if you're making other friends along the way?

And for all my money, I'd rather be known as inclusive than exclusive....

Linking up with The Lounge, on school stories - because in a week I'll be a new kid yet again with a whole new class!

20 comments:

  1. I'm hearing you! I really struggle at the kinder gate, I'm still not sure how to progress, hopefully I'll work it out and be ready for Prep mums next year.

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  2. I so hear you and am happy those days (for me anyway) are over !!!
    If they have over subscribed, why not run two - that way you could maybe ask some new parents if they wanted to join in ?
    Have a great day !
    Me

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  3. Great insight, my dear. Since being a SAHM I've found that my attitude is a little "it's them, not me…" It's a very dark and unnecessarily unpleasant way to look at things at times. Most of it is me...

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  4. Love your take on this, as I have another one starting school next year and will be hard to get between two classrooms but I will need to make new school mum friends for my 2nd (and later) 3rd child's sake. Yay for everyone getting on board with your event! Em - also visiting as part of #teamIBOT x

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  5. I'm not so good at it either. Even now with my son in grade 1, I still talk to the mums from last year's class. I did step outside my comfort zone last year and ask one of them if she played tennis (she was in tennis clothes) and now we play on a team together! You never know if you never ask! Have fun with that world cup sweep!

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  6. I'd rather be inclusive than exclusive too! I can't help but get upset when I run into some of those aloof, cliquey types. I do try to stop and think why they act like that though. Perhaps they are even shyer or more introverted than I am and that aloofness is just a front. That's awesome you sold out. Woo woo! Sounds like fun!

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  7. I am terrible at making friends, at least in the 'real' world. It's one part of D starting school next year that I am dreading.

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  8. I'm a bit of a chatter and John's always having a dig at me for collecting friends. But I just can't stand it if I see someone standing by themselves and looking like they wish they weren't.
    Sounds like you're a champion sweep organizer Lydia!

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  9. I kind of wrote about this for my #ibot post. I know it's me, mostly (although, there are a couple of mums who actually do not like me) and I struggle badly with making the moves.

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  10. My second child started school this year and I'm finding it takes a bit more effort the second time around to get to know the other mums... and it's definitely me, not them, I just feel like I've done it once before, so I'm less interested. Even so I got there eventually.

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  11. I will talk to anyone and everyone, though I admit, some people are not so approachable. Good for you for being yourself. I admire that you did something you always do and feel comfortable with to spread your wings.

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  12. I had a terrible time at Kindy a few years ago and those mothers went on to he the school mothers too. I have only just found out that they all started off together in a mothers group too so no wonder I was feeling out of it! Off to a new town and a new school next year... to start all over again! Fun.

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  13. It is a weird set up at the kinder door and the school gate. And you are right, you have to be proactive to become a part of the community. In my experience people only ever seem aloof. Once you get to know them they are lovely. I also love that you recognised that you actually already have friends, you don't need to make more. You are no alone. Love it, xS.

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  14. I had a weird experience at my sons pre K where all the mums were talking about au pairs and holiday homes abroad. The kindy was in a really hippie ish part of town and I just wasn't expecting it. In the end it was actually fine. I don't really let people be snobby and exclusive. If they are that keen to be I figure it's their loss!

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    1. I had a similar experience at antenatal classes with my oldest - I was a 21-year old soon to be single mum still trying to get through uni and the others in our group were all married, in their 30s and talking house renos and honeymoons. It was surreal and a little intimidating!

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  15. Lonely, weirdo and reject are not words that come through in your writing! But yes, self-doubt is a powerful thing. I shied away from getting to know the other parents when my girls first started school here, but the girls kind of pushed me into it by wanting playdates and to go to birthday parties and you know what, I'm kinda glad I did. It's nice having more people on my team :)

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  16. I can totally feel where you are going with this. I have made a point of forcing myself to make eye contact and say 'hello' at the start of this year. You never know who may need my smile, or is made to feel more comfortable because I said hello. I know I appreciate it when it happens to me. Sometimes I think I come across as a snob, when I am just so unsure about myself I don't engage.

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  17. It is hard, I found getting involved in the school helped (if you have time). I don't make friends easily and give off an aura of being aloof (even though I'm not) and actually having a purpose and a reason to have to talk to people really helped me make friends.

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  18. I'm still feeling a bit apprehensive about Mr 5 starting school next week but I do know one of the mums so at least I will have a friendly face. I not so good at making friends though and tend to over think interactions. Definitely something that I am working on though.

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  19. I joined a couple of the committees at school but I'm not on a very friendly basis with any of the mums. I'll happily chat to anyone but I have noticed cliques - a bit like high school really. I'm kinda glad I only do the pick-up from time to time.

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