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As I smile at another mum as we cross pram-pushing paths at the shops or catch the gaze of a fellow park-going mum with a hello on my lips before she casts her head to the ground, I’ve got to wonder … am I an alien on planet mum?
Are we so caught up in our own orbit that we can’t spare a simple smile or greeting?
I actually dread taking my son to the park some days, knowing that I’ll be entering this weird playground planet where the children all interact while their parents quite often never address one another. Does this happen everywhere? I must admit I notice it more often in inner-city suburbs, but I’ve encountered it everywhere.
It’s happened at daycare drop offs, where I’ve uttered a cheery hello and been met with a bemused look and silence in return. From a mother whose child has been attending alongside my son for almost two years. Was a hello really that hard?
I’m a pretty shy person around strangers, so for my part I don’t often initiate conversations in these realms but I do smile at everyone and am ready with a hello. Is this the wrong approach? I’m not looking for ‘BFFs’ at the park, just a little sense of camaraderie or community spirit.
The times when my smile is returned or some small talk ensues, I go home feeling that little bit lighter but when it’s not reciprocated I feel stuck on planet idiot, isolated. However, at the same time I feel grateful I’m not stuck on planet sourpuss like some of these mothers.
There, I’ve said it! Am I being too harsh? Do you spare a smile or hello to other mothers or am I a bit of a weirdo?