This is an issue we are dealing with here at Chez Podkayne lately.
For Lil'Bug it really started about two weeks ago at Park Day. Some kids were there (not from our group) and were playing pirate, her favourite! Unfortunately they yelled at her and threw sand, calling her a baby and a girl and telling her because of those two things she can't be a pirate.
Broke. Her. Heart.
Soon after the kids from our group started showing up, but they were the older kids. They tried to play with her but her mood had turned so dark that it was difficult to do and eventually they gave up, leaving her alone by a tree. That day was bleak.
Recently at playgroups I have noticed, as the kids get older maybe?, that the boys and the older kids seem less willing to play with her. Perhaps it is that she is less willing to play by their rules and wants to have input. I don't know. I do know that sometimes even when people come here to our home and play with her toys, she ends up being left out. This makes her cry, but also hit and kick and get mad which does not lead to kids wanting to play with her. THEN she is upset for days.
The girls that are her own age are few and far between. She does ok with them though if we are not at home, but she still prefers pirates over princesses and that seems to be a problem with that age group of girls.
This leads me to the other side of this. I know exactly how she feels. I don't fit in either. I don't try to, but there are certain things/rules I really didn't know until recently. I didn't know that it is polite to bring food to a playdate, a dish, a bread, a snack, some offering. I didn't realize how important the telephone still is to socializing with women. Big problem for me. Mostly, I don't know much of how to be a good friend. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I stick a big warty foot in my mouth.
It doesn't feel good to hear that many of the moms all get together and have girls night out, even though I couldn't go even if I wanted to. Why? Something else that separates me from them: I work. I stay home with my kid but I also teach college classes online. My "free time" is spent grading papers and communicating with students and filling out paperwork. I blog and read blogs when my grades are downloading. The rest of my time is spent with my family, tending house, or learning with Lil'Bug. My husband is attending classes online and working a lot to prepare for the time off he will take when June Bug arrives, so I take up the slack. But the not feeling good about it is not resentment for my life, it is feeling like I am being left out of that circle of friendship, something strong and good and rejuvenating, like the cool kids are sitting there with their back turned on the art geek. Been there, thought it sucked then too.
I actually had a friend recently tell me that she just doesn't click with me, when she thought she would. I like honesty, but ouch. That left me doubting myself, which was even worse. What about me was unlikable? (Plenty, is the answer. I am human and have personality flaws. I know this.) Still, pregnancy hormone fed emotions swelled up and left me bleak as well.
This is definitely an issue I will have to work out if I am going to help Lil'Bug. It was also an issue I thought I could ignore if we were moving to Ohio, but it looks like that won't happen for many years now, if ever. The important thing here is that Dearest Husband found out how I was feeling and boosted my self esteem. What a wonderful guy. :) He offered to rearrange things so I could have a night out, but that's not really what I want. I like spending time with my family. I don't need a night out.
Then there is this online wonderful circle of friends that I belong to. Perhaps that is why I come here daily now when before I simply checked email. I've actually avoided blogging about much this week because of how rotten I was feeling (also WAY busy!), but perhaps what I need to do is blog more and perhaps take up walking in the mornings or even with Lil'Bug in the afternoon.
(I sigh and lookout the window.....) Except......it is snowing. I thought that the thunderstorms this morning were rolling in with Spring, not bring one last dose of freaking Midwestern winter. Grrrrr.