Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I Don't Want to be the Awkward Mom on the Playground

There's a mom who goes to every single mom and baby group, laughs loudly with her baby, confidently dazzles with conversation, and then invites the other moms over for brunch or a cookout.

This mom is not me.

But I wish she were.

Instead, I'm the mom who shows up to the mom and baby groups with a little sweat in my armpits and a squadron of butterflies in my stomach. I'm the mom who tries to show up early so I don't have to go through the panic of deciding where to sit in an already full room (the worst!) and then insert myself into an already established conversation. I'm the mom who, on Monday can converse like my fantasy self, but by Tuesday, can't bear the thought of socializing. I'm the mom who talks a little more quietly to her baby in public than she does at home because what if how I talk to my baby is not the "right way" to talk to a baby? (Ridiculous.)

I can't pretend I know everything about social anxiety, but I'm pretty sure mine stems from insecurities and lies I've believed about myself from a very young age. Hence, why I refuse to call my son "shy."

I don't want to be the mom with social anxiety. Not just because walking into a full room is painful, but because I don't want to pass anxiety on to my son. I want to lead by example, so it doesn't make sense if I pump him up, tell him how awesome he is and that he should be himself, love himself, and put himself out there...if I can't do the same.


So what can I do? My baby is here, growing, watching, learning already. Am I totally screwing up when I walk into a room full of people, and my baby watches my lips tense and listens to my voice fill with self-doubt? Am I doomed to teach him all the wrong things about confidence, socializing, loving oneself?

No.

Sure, my baby will pick up on how uncomfortable I am trying to insert myself into a group conversation. But that's not all he's going to see. He's also going to see me try. And in trying, he'll see me fail and succeed. He'll watch and learn as I give myself grace and laugh off awkward encounters. If I cry after an uncomfortable interaction, he'll learn that moms have difficult, sad feelings too. He'll understand it's okay to stay home if you need a break from people. And then after that? He'll see me go out and try again. And again and again. He'll see me conquer fear with action. He'll notice there's a connection between how much love I have for myself and how much time I've spent in God's presence. He'll witness what a real difference it makes to bask in the love of our Creator.

None of that would be possible if I were the perfect, fantasy version of myself. So I guess being the awkward mom on the playground isn't the worst thing, after all. Not when it means my flawed son learns how to be brave by watching his flawed, brave momma.



 

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14 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! It is so many of us 😊 virtual hugs

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    1. Good to know other people can relate. :) Virtual hugs back at you, Greta!

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  2. I'm definitely an introverted person. And as much as I try (in person) to be "outgoing, it just doesn't happen. Thank you for sharing that it really is okay to be that mom!

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    1. Absolutely, it is! And we're awesome. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. I love this!! I am very similar! You are doing a great job!

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  4. I am you ! I was at the hairdresser today and they were all talking about horses ( I live in Cornwall, UK ) and I was seeing myself in the mirror look more and more awkward trying to join in- I just wanted to leave xxx

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    1. It's so hard to jump into conversations sometimes! I feel you.

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  5. I was one of the mother who is hiding in the corner too. I remember how lonely it felt when my husband relocated to England for 2 years so I decided to join those groups. But I end up hiding at one corner and worry people might not even understand my english anyway. I think its just my nature. My daughter has exactly the same nature with me. I don't blame her. But as you said..at least they see us trying. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Exactly, better to put ourselves out there and flop than not try at all. Because the world needs introverts too. :) My son is shaping out to be an introvert too, so I hope he learns to love his introverted self by watching me love myself. You and your daughter are awesome!

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  6. Thank you for sharing this! It's a great reminder that what our kids need is US - us being truly ourselves, and striving to be better (but loving ourselves through the process :)) I, too, have issues with social anxiety - I find the longer I'm a mom the less I care what others think. Haha! Hopefully as more kids come it'll just get easier and easier :)

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    1. Being "Mom" has helped me bloom in that way more than ever too!

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  7. I also have social anxiety and can relate to everything you have written. But yet we do it all again because it's important that we do. I don't want to be that awkward mum at the playground but with my oldest being 7 I have already been there and with my youngest being 2 I'm bound to be there again.

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    1. I agree--very important that we do! Your kiddos have such a great mum. :)

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