Tackling Social Nervousness for the Sake of My Child

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Last week, my daughter Kaydence attended her first birthday party. You can probably imagine the excitement of a three year being invited to a play day with her preschool friends after three years of playing with her mommy. But just behind her excitement was my panic. The thought of spending an hour with other adults that I didn’t know was nearly crippling for me. I’m shy, I’m nervous and socially awkward … a horrible combination when trying to leave a first impression on people. Rather than seeing the shyness, they see arrogance, rather than seeing nervousness they see impatience, rather than seeing akwardness, they see someone that doesn’t want to fit in.

Assumptions about people can be painful.

Knowing that I couldn’t hold my daughter back from a social opportunity, I put a brave face on and went. I smiled, I shook hands, I had actual conversations with adults. While most quickly ended with me scurrying to a comfortable corner, I don’t think I left any bad impressions and my daughter had an incredibly fun afternoon.

And now, I want to take a leap and keep trying to pull myself out of my mommy cave and back into the real world by enrolling my daughter in a tumbling class. She’s excited, I’m excited … it’s a win win combination except for one small detail. The registration form for her age group clearly says “Parental Participation Required” … GULP! Me? Why in the world would I need to participate in a toddler tumbling class? If it means standing on the sidelines and cheering her on, I’m all for it. But surely they can’t expect me to really participate?

Either way, I need to put my big girl panties on, tackle my social nervousness and dive in. My daughter is worth it. She deserves a chance to be the social butterfly I see inside her and maybe teach me along the way.

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  1. Jessica says

    I am the same way. Normally, with my friends I’m really outgoing…but when I’m with strangers, I’m very awkward. It took half a school year for me to feel comfortable enough to make friends with some of the other mommies at my daughters preschool. But you’re right…for the sake of my daughters social well being, I have to suck it up! I find that by being honest up front and just saying something like, “sorry if I seem quiet or anything, I’m just a little shy at first…bla bla bla” helps to break the ice a lot.

  2. says

    That’s exactly what I did. I still find some birthday party’s awkward but I too put on that brave face. I think she will love the tumbling class, they probably just want you there. Potty breaks, help, as she’ll get older you won’t be allowed in. ;)

  3. says

    I know exactly how you feel. Social situations (especially with other parents) are often terrifying for me. First impressions are sometimes awkward because I’m often seen as stand-offish. It’s something I’ve been working on as well-I hope that we’re both able to at least partially overcome our fears though!

  4. says

    WTG on getting into that situation when it scares the heck out of you. I tend to be an introvert when I first meet people, especially if there’s no one in the group I know. Once I’m comfortable, I’m exactly the opposite, but it’s hard when you don’t really know anyone and you have a fear of it to begin with. So glad you signed her up for a tumbling class and that you get to participate. I bet after a class or two, you will make some friends. After all, you ARE very likeable :)

  5. angie says

    I know how you feel I have dealt with social anxiety for what seems forever but often when we put our selves out there we find some of our best friends

  6. Donna B. says

    I’m the same way, but it’ll be easier for you once you see how much fun your daughter is having :)

    They also put that on the forms so parents don’t use it as a form of babysitting. A lot of parents want to drop the kids off and use the time to run errands and such. Keep that in mind.

  7. says

    Good for you! I bet you’ll enjoy it the more you do it…and you’ll make some new friendships with other moms who “get” what you’re going through.

    As for the tumbling class…if it’s the same place we go, the parents are doing cartwheels and back flips! Just kidding! They just help their children along the way at each station. Very easy and fun!

  8. says

    I could have written this post myself. People, I don’t like them, lol, but as parents we have to get out there and put on our big girl (or boy) undies. Way to go! Try Theanine supplements. I’ve heard great things about them. They’re great for stress and anxiety. My order cannot come fast enough!

    • says

      LOL I love your honesty, truth be told, I don’t like very many people either which is why true friendships are so hard to find.

      • says

        Which is why the interwebs is a great place for getting over the initial ice breaking. Lay it all out there and like minds will connect. We both are not fond of people, we’re a perfect match! Score!

  9. Jennifer W says

    Congrats on overcoming this fear. I can totally relate to being stuck in the “mommy cave”. I’m not the type of person that goes out for lunch dates or get togethers per say. I feel like one of those fake plastic people that I so despise. I’d like to put on a brave face and pretend to have something in common with these women but the only thing I feel like I have in common with them is that we have kids. I’d like to “get out there” myself but geez it is hard! Good for you!

    • says

      I know that feeling all too well. I hate the fake smiles, it’s just not me but sometimes I just have to get over it so my kiddos can enjoy themselves, as hard as it can be.

  10. says

    I feel just as awkward taking the kids into places where I don’t know anyone. Sounds like you did the right thing. I know it’s hard but it is amazing what we can make ourselves do when it comes to our children and wanting them to be better than we are.
    I’m proud of you!!

  11. says

    LOL, I have to admit I don’t think I’d want to tumble around either. I’m embarrassed to admit Gavin has had no formal swimming lessons because they require parents to get in the pool with them at his age and his Dad is too busy to do it for me. My refusal to get in a bathing suit in public has cost my son some valuable learning experiences.

  12. says

    Aw, good for you Cat! Seriously, I think that’s wonderful you’re facing your parental fears for your daughter’s happiness. That just shows what a wonderful mother you are xD

    And like you said, it’s also good for you to get back out there! I honestly don’t think ‘participate’ means you got to throw on a leo and do somersaults. LOL I just think it means bring snacks if they have snack time, encourage your kids, volunteering at different activities, etc etc.

    Good luck with everything Cat!

  13. says

    If it means anything, I’m the same way. I’m shy until I know someone. I think it’s great that you’re taking the steps to pull out of your shell.

  14. Benny says

    social anxiety isn’t something easy to tackle. But practice helps for the next time. Just approach it as any goal!

  15. Liz P says

    Cat, glad you put on your brave face and took your daughter to the birthday party. I’m thinking you will eventually become a social butterfly, right along with your daughter! :)