It’s Tuesday! Are you in a braggy mood?
Bragging about kids seems to have become the scourge of social media, according to this New York Times column. Apparently everyone on earth agrees that parents brag too much and need to stop:
That’s right, apparently the civil rights issue of our age is that you have the right to remain silent — and I have the right not to hear about — how your daughter learned to read at 16 months, your son scored 12 goals in the soccer game, and your darling got into Brown, his first choice! (All these example were taken from actual, antibragging diatribes.)
So there were guidelines. Among them:
5. Don’t brag about something everyone else struggles with. Ms. Zigman says that she doesn’t want to hear that you’ve nailed some child-rearing problem she hasn’t. “I don’t want to know what ‘healthy eaters’ your kids are,” she said, “unless you’re posting photos of your kids stuffing their faces with Cheetos and Oreos. If you post photos or updates of how much they love kale chips — for real — I will hide you from my feed. #childkalebrag”
I know I’m guilty of bragging about my kids on occasion. But that’s because they’re so flippin’ special, cute and smart The way I see it, if it bothers any of my “friends,” they can ignore me. Or hide me. Or de-friend me. Because if they’re fellow parents, they will understand what’s at the root of it:
Most parents are quietly petrified that we don’t know what we’re doing or, worse, that we’re doing something ruinously wrong. As Ms. Trigiani said: “When a parent brags, part of it is pride. And part of it is relief, because this child is doing something wonderful in a world where a lot of bad things happen.”
Bragging about our children is a way of relieving our anxiety that we’re not total losers as parents. The opposite instinct, what we might call “reverse bragging” — “My kid’s more screwed up than yours”; “I’m such a bad mom, I never go to the playground without a martini”—comes out of the same place.
If there is to be a truce in the bragging wars, it’s because both sides want the same thing: reassurance that they’re doing a passable job at something that’s very hard.
Where do you stand on bragging? What else is on your mind today?