Sunday, March 29

Why Playgroups Suck & How To Survive Them

You can call me grumpy, unsociable, unadventurous, a hermit, anything you like. I didn't like going out when I had my son. We stuck to one or two groups a week in a Children's Centre, a safe little bubble where I could feed and eat toasties to my hearts content. Then came the time we needed more to do. We were climbing the walls at home and A needed entertaining and socialising. We couldn't afford nursery, I needed to be with him - so it was time for playgroups. 

(Plan B)
I always had an image in my head of what play groups would be like. Happy mothers and fathers proud and happy playing with their little angels, amongst cups of tea, coffee and juice with home made biscuits. Children playing nicely while everyone chats away with some soft bumpity music beating away in the background, me looking presentable with my children busily making friends.

Well that image was totally shot out the water and play groups are far from the idyllic scene I had first imagined. They do in fact suck, for want of a better word and here is why.

  • The parents aren't happy and nobody seems to play with their kids. Mostly what you walk in on are a bunch of angry looking ladies giving you the evil eye like they want to kill you. If you make it past this bit, then you (well done you) get to sit amongst them.  Joy of joys - there is no happy conversation, its mostly doom and gloom. Why can't we talk about normal things like 'Do dogs go into comas?' or 'A put a penny in his bum today', like I can talk to my husband about? There are the few nice ones, some will open up and allow you to enter the clique, but you can bet most will continue with that evil eye for the foreseeable future .
    Picture this lot but less glam, 15 years older and your'e just about there.
  • There is tea and coffee - its hotter than hell and tastes like crap. If you don't really drink those like me, you can ask for juice which you either get given in a baby beaker or a glass so small I can only imagine they give them out as a joke or punishment for not drinking like a grown up. If play groups were any longer we would probably die of dehydration. There is a suspicious looking box of biscuits, mostly broken and fingered already by a dozen dirty handed toddlers.

  • The children don't play happily. There is usually one decent dolls pram for everyone to fight over, they won't wait their turn for the slide, they moan and cry and snatch their way till the end. They usually leave in tears for one reason or another, whilst secretly harboring some new bug that they have caught from the snot drizzling child that shouldn't have been out the house.
  • There is no soft bumpity music, and thank God. The already deafening sounds of thirty unsupervised Pre-schoolers trying to kill each other or pretend they are lawnmowers is punishment enough. Add to that some music, parents moaning, phones bleeping, and you my friend, are in my own personal hell.
  • I don't look presentable and if I did I'd be lynched. As it is I feel a right fancy pants just for treating myself to a hair brush, bit of lippy and a quick once over with a lint roller! I'm that behind on the washing that things get a sniff test some days but I soon wonder why I bother when I'm created each week by onion woman. She Smell's more like an onion that's been eaten, digested and fallen out the other end, but I'd hate to be so rude.
  • They are mostly far from fun for us parents unless you get stuck in and play with some toys or set yourself up at the play doh table (yes that's me sat their making a worm family, as usual). Am I the only one that still wants to play? I'll save the ailment chat for retirement and make my Lego tower instead thank you.
If you want to survive the dreaded groups and turn them good,  I'd recommend getting there early to choose your seat and let people come to you. 

If you don't really drink hot drinks take your own people sized drink in protest of their thimble sized juice. Screw you borrowers!
Watch your kids, most people don't seem to and its just total carnage.
Wear what you like, chances are you'll feel like the belle of the ball anyway as long as you're wearing pants and wash your Marmite moustache away from breakfast.

I hope this helps some of you get through the playgroup days. I have recently found one lovely group, suspiciously lovely ladies, kids, snacks and surroundings, so good ones do exist. 

But mostly people, playgroups suck - it's all about survival!

Thanks for reading.


1 comment:

  1. Love this! I found them daunting as well... partly because I really wanted adult friendship and conversation, and talking about anything beyond kids got me looked at oddly. That and my daughter really struggled to play away from me which complicated my attempts to get to know people :S


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