Social Anxiety and Being Mum to “that” Child…

Those who know Eden know what a chatty, happy little girl she is. Eden is “that” child. You know the one. You’re on the bus, minding your own business and you notice a baby looking at you from their pushchair. Then they smile at you. Then they start babbling at you. You look away after engaging for a bit and then you hear “eh” or some similar “look at me” noise, which doesn’t stop until you engage with them again. Never mind their poor parents who are trying their hardest to distract the world’s friendliest child so that you can go on with your day. Eden is that child.

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Then there’s me. I would rather use the self checkout at stores so I don’t have to talk to people. Same with automated ticket machines, drinks machines etc etc. In an ideal world I would go through my day without having to make idle conversation with people who I don’t know. I always feel like I look a prat for some reason – probably comes from being bullied as a child. I tend to always think I’ve said the wrong thing or people are laughing, which makes me stumble over my words. I also constantly worry about being judged, which probably comes from the judgemental world that we live in. I characterise it as mild social anxiety, although it has never been diagnosed as such.

blog2I’ve always worried about Eden copying how I am in social situations, so I try to put it to the side around her. Having kids is a great way to pull you out of your own shell, but MAN is it hard work! Eden literally wants to chat to EVERYONE and has been that way since she’s been able to smile. We always get told “what a happy baby!” and “oh look at that smile!” and I often wonder what exactly I’m supposed to say to that? When she keeps talking to people and they’re trying to ignore her I almost want to jump into a hole and not come out. Then comes the bazillion questions – how old is she? Can she walk yet? Can she say mum? etc etc and the whole time I’m just thinking “can I go now?” It’s not rudeness, it’s anxiety.

I’m slowly learning to follow Eden’s lead. If she wants to chat, I let her get on with it. If blog3someone wants to talk to me about her, I answer their questions and such. It did get worse after Eden was born because people just assume you know what you’re doing, whereas I was very much still caught in the headlights thinking “what is going on?” We’ve started organising playdates with other mummies and babies, partly to kick my socially anxious butt out of the house and into somewhere that there are other people! I’ve tried to start talking to other parents at softplay while Eden plays with their little ones, I chat to old ladies on the bus and I’ve started saying “SHUT UP!” to the anxiety in my head.

It’s a part of parenting that I didn’t expect to be such a learning curve. As I’ve put other parts of me aside for Eden, I’m finding I have to push away the socially anxious side too, because more than anything I don’t want to dull her flame. I don’t want her to be socially anxious or overly worried about silly things. I’m getting better at it and I have Eden to thank for that, but I’ve a long way to go before I’m as chatty and confident as the world’s happiest baby!ย blog4

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8 Responses to Social Anxiety and Being Mum to “that” Child…

  1. Kitten says:

    That sounds really hard! I’m definitely an introvert, but I’m not really sure how to characterize my two year old yet. She has a lot of introvert traits, but when it’s something or someone she really wants to take a closer look at, she doesn’t hesitate to march on over. The other day, she drug me across the street to play with the neighborhood kids, all older, too old for her to play with. There were two other parents keeping an eye on them, so I awkwardly strode up to them and tried to make small talk. It felt like a disaster! I felt unwanted, even though they were welcoming to my daughter, and even brought out a few toddler toys for her to play with, I just felt like I was intruding. It’s hard for me to go up to strangers and start a conversation. I mean, it’s painful! I don’t want my daughter to be the same way, but I’m pretty sure being an introvert isn’t a learned thing, so she’ll either be the same, or not.

  2. I’ve really embraced finding new mum friends since having Ella. I would class myself as historically socially not bothered that lead to anxiety – I had few friends before through choice , because I found it tedious – I’m not great at conversation, I constantly used to think ‘what am I going to say or ask next?’ Which would lead to me being panicky, which would lead to me looking like a bit of a muppet, which eventually made me too nervous to try and speak to anyone. I consciously tried to make friends from my antenatal group, because I want Ella to know how to be around people and never feel nervous – I thought it was going to be hard, but turns out, as a mum with a constant common ground with other mums, I’m quite sociable!!! keep it up; it’ll slowly start feeling normal and will do Eden so much good X

    • That’s exactly it! I’m a bit of a planner so I’m constantly trying to think of what to say to not sound like a twonk.
      I’m glad putting yourself out there helped you. Fingers crossed I will have similar success ๐Ÿ™‚

      • It wasn’t a start off success , I remember turning up to a bumps and babies walk, there was about 20 people with prams, I was a bit late, the group started moving off before I’d got the pram up and going (though they saw me getting out the car – so obviously my head told me they didn’t want me to join) I walked behind them all about 30m behind for a bit too long, like a weird stalker. I eventually plucked up the courage to catch up and just awkwardly walked beside a group of three women with babies too old for my needs, (lol I was on the look out for newborn mother friends) , I walked oddly
        Beside them untill one of them felt sorry for me and spoke to me – but I quickly moved on.
        I did make a newborn mum friend at the cafe stop though in the end X

      • That sounds like something I would do!

  3. gsmwc02 says:

    You got this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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