Am I The Only One?

Am I The Only One… Who Hates Playgroups?

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Before I had my daughter I was pretty anti children. Yep. I’d always managed to avoid children as much as possible. I am not really a fan to be honest. When I was younger, I was more into cars and playing outside in the woods than I was babysitting or wanting dolls. It just wasn’t me.

Just because I now have a daughter (who by the way, I love more than life itself), doesn’t mean I have to suddenly love children and all that comes with that “mum” lifestyle. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with all that – if it’s your thing, then great. It’s just not mine.

When my daughter was around 10 months old, I figured I should at least try a playgroup.

When my daughter was around 10 months old, I figured I should at least try a playgroup. I thought, well, it can’t be that bad. Let’s do it for her – see if she enjoys it. I spoke to my other half about it and we decided I’d try the local playgroup which is held in the church hall near us.

Luckily, I’d managed to find a group that was held in the afternoon. Why all other baby groups are held at stupid o’clock in the morning, I just don’t know, but that’s a whole other subject. Am I the only one who doesn’t follow a strict 7pm bedtime routine?!

So, off I went with my daughter, with my £2 which paid our entry as well as a drink and a snack for my daughter. I was apparently welcome to tea and coffee – great, except I don’t drink either and there was no offer of anything else.

I was apparently welcome to tea and coffee – great, except I don’t drink either and there was no offer of anything else.

Yet more reasons I don’t fit in with this whole “mum” world, I’ve avoided for so long. Don’t even get me started on coffee mornings.

At first, it wasn’t so bad. It was held in a large hall with separate areas for different age groups. Well, a baby area and a manic toddler area. The baby area was one side, with foam mats and a box of toys as well as bouncers for smaller, less mobile babies.

The other side was all larger toys for bigger children – bearing in my that most playgroups are held for babies and children ranging from birth up to 4 years old. I’ve always found this annoying. At 10 months old my daughter was somewhere in between a baby and a toddler – not mobile in terms of walking, but not a baby lump either. She could crawl as fast as any walker, but she still had to stay in the baby area.

At 10 months old my daughter was somewhere in between a baby and a toddler – not mobile in terms of walking, but not a baby lump either. She could crawl as fast as any walker, but she still had to stay in the baby area.

So, I sat down on the floor on the mats in the baby area and my daughter started to play with the toys. She had just started pulling up on things as well and was beginning to cruise, so I had to keep an eye on her while she walked around the chairs which were in a semi-circle around the baby area (ready for the oh so cringy sing along part at the end).

Well, I sat there. The ladies who ran the playgroup came up and said hello. There was the usual birth story, sleep questions and general intrusiveness that seems to come with these things too. Why do people think it’s OK to ask all this stuff?

Isn’t the idea of getting out of the house to get away from all the “baby talk”?!

There was one other mum who had a daughter who was 7 months old… quite a difference in development at 7 and 10 months so not really someone my daughter could play with. She also had a 4 year old. There were probably around 10-12 mums there. Not one came and said hello or spoke to me, or made me feel welcome at all other than the mum with the 7 month old, and even that was a brief awkward hello. All the other children were at least 3 years old.

Including the child who had quite a bad case of conjunctivitis and found it absolutely necessary to keep coming up to my daughter, taking her dummy from it’s clip and trying to place it in her mouth. A sweet gesture. Not so much when her crusty eye was dribbling down her face and she felt the need to keep placing her hands round my daughters face and try and kiss her.

A sweet gesture. Not so much when her crusty eye was dribbling down her face and she felt the need to keep placing her hands round my daughters face and try and kiss her.

Forgive me for desperately wanting to say “get your diseased face away from my child right now!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am aware that life goes on, even when your kids are sick. However, is it just me who thinks this is totally irresponsible?

Not only have you bought your 4 year old daughter (guessing age) to a playgroup with one of the most contagious illnesses around (yes, I’m aware the advice is to carry on as normal and not stay home from nursery, but this is a playgroup!)… that… that, I might be willing to overlook – but to let her run around touching babies seems a tad off.

Her mother basically had no clue what she was doing because she spent her entire time gossiping with the other mums in the corner with their cups of tea, while their children ran around like lunatics. She only looked for her when it was time for the snack. Which by the way was chocolate biscuits… not really suitable for a 10 month old baby.

The only interaction I had from the mother was to say “oh she’s baby mad at the moment!”

I’m sorry but that’s no bloody excuse!

I’m probably just a miserable cow but for a first time visit to a playgroup, the last thing you want is your 10 month old baby being touched, and kissed, by a child with quite a contagious illness. I already wasn’t a big fan of this type of thing and now I’m completely put off for life. Does anyone actually like these places?! Am I the only one who thinks they’re awful?! And to be honest, a complete waste of time?!

Yes, I’m aware this was a particularly bad experience, and I know it’s probably a case of “finding the right one for you” and no doubt I’ll have plenty of “there are loads of great playgroups in my area” comments…. but to be honest, I don’t care. I don’t like them – I tried… but no thanks.

At just 10 months old, my daughter wouldn’t have been interested in playing with anyone other than me anyway, and to be quite honest, there was nothing at this playgroup that she couldn’t have done at home… might I add, in a much less conjunctivitis-ridden environment.

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