How to Get Along With Other Toddler Moms in Your Playgroup

How to Get Along With Other Toddler Moms in Your Playgroup

What to do when your toddler is feeling the love of playgroup -- but you’re not.

By Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Finding a great playgroup for your toddler is a process of trial and error. It can involve networking. Or a friend invites you, another mom, and your toddlers over for lunch, and before you know it, your similar-age kids are playing together and having fun.

But what if you’re not feeling the love for one or more of the moms in a playgroup? Do you have to be super friendly to moms you don’t like as much? Is there a better way to get along with the playgroup moms you dislike that you haven’t thought of?

These concerns are not uncommon, says Stacy Haynes, a therapist and CEO of Little Hands Family Services in Turnersville, New Jersey.

However, before you quit your playgroup, shifting your attention away from your feelings to your child’s can offset some of the negativity, says Haynes. Also, by trying to figure out what, specifically, bothers you about that mother, you can be aware of your negative feelings and what would trigger them.

“I would minimize interactions as best as possible to enjoy the outing,” says Haynes. “It is kind of like going to Thanksgiving, and you avoid certain family members. You are cordial … and keep it moving.”

More from P&G everyday: Mom Confessional: I Don’t Like Playdates

Another way to make interactions with a mom you’re not wild about is to think of being cordial and making it through a playdate as part of your “life training.”

“If you can make it through these groups, you are well on your way to handling these situations ongoing,” says Jennifer Kelman, a professional life coach who works with parents.

“The first thing is to know and allow for the possibility that just because you have children the same age does not mean you will get along with each parent or even develop a close relationship,” says Kelman. “If that is a foundational mindset, then dealing with the issues as they come up can be easier.”


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The worst thing to do would be to avoid playgroups altogether. “Take a deep breath and try and filter out the nonsense,” says Kelman. “Let the kids play if they connect, but keep your interaction with the other parent on the surface level, so that emotions don't flare. Things can get more difficult if parents blame another child for behaviors rather than looking at their own. Again, this is to be expected. … Deal with it all calmly.”

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If it helps, try to remind yourself what the point of playgroup should be, she adds.

“Ask yourself what the goal is, and that’s for you to make friends or to have your child have a fun playtime,” says Kelman. “If it is both, then ignore and engage less with the parent with whom connection doesn't work. Focus on your child and enjoy the wonder of watching them play and interact. Use it as practice for yourself to move through these experiences with grace. Rest assured that if you are struggling with a style of another parent, so are others. You are not alone.”

What’s your best tactic for making nice with a mom you’re not fond of?

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a freelance writer and guitar teacher who lives with her husband and two young sons in Fairfield, Connecticut.

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