Let Baby Braggers Have Their Moment (Because It Won't Last)

Mom Moment 11

"Our circle of friends has babies born within a few days/weeks of our child. The only negative is one couple who are obsessed with trying to compete with the rest of us. Now that the babies are here, it’s about the weight of the babies/who has teeth first/who rolled over first, etc. What is the best way to handle such silliness?" This advice column question is probably familiar to anyone who's been in the awkward -- yet bizarrely inevitable -- position of comparing their infant to someone else's baby.

Here's the posted answer: "A good response (for competitive anything) is to smile serenely and say, 'You win.' If they don’t get a clue and grow up, eventually they’ll get so miffed they’ll stop hanging around."

Yeah, okay. That works, assuming you enjoy dishing out passive-aggressive snark when faced with a perceived my-baby-is-smarter-than-yours situation. But I have a better idea.

The thing is, raising babies is a hell of a lot of work, but it's not exactly rocket science. Not to diminish the effort it takes ... but come on, you know what I'm saying? That first year is mostly about keeping them alive and strategizing how to dial their cry-holes down a notch or two. It feels hideously complicated when you're in the midst of it, though, and it's wildly consuming -- which is why parents of young babies have brains comprised of three main subjects:

• BABY

• Do I have barf on my shirt?

• $%@& BABY

That's why they talk incessantly about their child and the child's milestones. Because they can't help it. Because their world is made up of poop, teeth, well-baby stats, and whether or not Junior is sleeping through the night.

Eventually, they'll realize that stuff isn't important in the long run. At some point, almost every parent feels a little silly for obsessing over milestones, because the reality is it doesn't matter if Baby Gourmet loved garlic-avocado hummus and sushi when she was 10 months old, she'll inevitably hit the maddening stage of surviving on crackers and oxygen. Just because one baby looks like a juicy Stay-Puft shortly after birth doesn't mean she's any healthier than her friend, the human string bean. And who gets excited about early walkers, anyway? FIRST-TIME PARENTS, that's who.

Point is, let 'em brag to their hearts' content. Don't bother snarking a fellow mom with a withering "You win," just smile and wait. Sooner or later, Braggy VonMensaOffspring will emerge from the baby fog ... and life will be a little less metric-based.

Did you know any baby braggers when your kids were little? How did you deal?

Image via Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr

baby development, baby first year, milestones

11 Comments

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nonmember avatar HeatherRK

I'll agree that it's best to just ignore the competitive parents to an extent. But there are some (and we all know these too) that constantly comparing everything and do it no matter how old the kids are. My sister is one of these, it went from when our boys rolled over or walked to could my 4yo crack an egg to what's his math grade. I'm so thankful our boys have different interests now so I can ask smugly how well her boy plays guitar when she starts in. Sometimes that passive aggressive snarkiness is all you have left :)

nonmember avatar Cee

At first I do let them indulge in this, but when it gets very annoying or competitive I just say "You know what? I work in a school and for the life of me I cannot tell who was breast fed or formula fed, who walked or talked early, who likes sushi or who likes pizza, most children place in the average when it comes to learning, VERY few are gifted and it has to do little with any of those things, so let it go."

Karen... Karen_Dover

Ugh, I worry that I AM one of those moms, and the thought of someone saying "You win" like that makes me want to die. So thanks for that. My baby has generally been slightly behind other babies her age physically, which makes me obsess over other milestones.

IMO IMO

You know, those moms might not be trying to one up everyone else and may actually be trying to make sure that their baby is keeping up with the others.  Perhaps they see something about their baby that worries them.  It might not ALWAYS be about you.

nonmember avatar OHBABY

Some parents don't grow out of this...and while I would never dream of saying anything, it can totally make you roll your eyes. I have a friend whose son is the same age (4) and in the SAME CLASS as my daughter and she will still tell anyone who listens that the teacher TOLD her her kid is the brightest in the class and she's "never seen anything like it"...I just smile and nod.

rcapo... rcaposella

I like the comment above and I totally agree.

Heath... HeatherMazzone

So some parents are really proud of their kids. I'm sorry, I fail to see the harm in that. People's children ARE a big deal to THEM and so what if they like to brag? If it bothers you that bad I think YOU have the problem, not them.

MomLi... MomLily67

Bragging in a way that  is intended to belittle others is totally not acceptable. When you do it out of pride for your kids it's Ok, as long as it does not get annoying.  Lets be proud but prudent. hahaha.

Nancy... NancyJ422

There's a fine line between sharing and bragging and some parents don't know where that line is. I used to just smile and usually not share. It's tough and someone else mentioned it - some people do it as a means of checking to see if their child is measuring up to the others.

Bastinne Simon

I roll my eyes at the one-uppers. the parents that when you have a nice, not belittling comment about your own c hild child always have to say "Oh, mine can do that too plus this and this and this..." its super annoying. But you can't run from those parents. I just nod and smile. :)

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