When my first daughter was born I was very nervous. I didn't want to leave the house or get to know other moms. Many people urged me to; but I always find it hard and awkward to meet new people. Quite often I say something wrong or weird and come off looking like a crazy person. If not crazy then at least terribly uncool. Plus, I never have anything to talk about. I'm awful at making small talk. I avoid hair cuts. Being held hostage in a chair and being forced to "chat" fills me with dread. I maybe get my hair cut twice a year. It takes me that long to gather enough interesting, "non-crazy" things to talk about for an hour. My point being it's easier to just stay home and avoid all that messiness.
My daughter was very nervous around anyone other than my husband and my self. Starting at four months mere eye contact with someone else would send her into tears. Even people she saw on a regular basis. This went on for for months and it got me to thinking. "What if she's never comfortable with anyone? What if she, like me, just finds it easier to avoid everyone altogether?" I thought about this and decided I didn't want her to be like me. It can be a very lonely and anxiety filled existance. I mean come on! You don't get your hair cut because it means talking to someone? That's ridiculous! As much as I personally hated doing it, I had to get out and take her with me.
The first time I ever took her grocery shopping she was over six months old. Hey, it was a start. Later we signed up for a music class with my sister-in-law and her son. That wasn't so bad, she actually enjoyed it. Feeling emboldened we later signed up for another music class when she was fourteen months old. She just watched at first, she's a watcher you know, but a few months in she started to come out of her shell. One class she entered the circle of kids and parents and started dancing! OMG! We stayed with that music class until she was two and a half years old. Later we went to art class, dance class, ballet, soccer, and later preschool.
She's now three years old and the most confident and outgoing person I've ever met. It might not have anything to do with the classes themselves. I think they were a great facilitator to get us both out and involved. You learn by doing. You learn A LOT by doing the things you're afraid of. She is fully booked up with playdates and parties. She has lots of friends at school and is in turn a good friend. Always encouraging and caring with those having trouble adjusting. I've learned to be more confident and have met some tremendous people. Not only do I leave the house, but I'm more comfortable with who I am. Still crazy, but I'm OK with it.