Jesus notwithstanding, we all find our own children to be perfection personified. Spend two minutes talking to any parent and it’s clear that they are smitten. Of course they are! That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Our hearts have been completely captured by these little people, and raising them is the most significant and rewarding thing we have accomplished to date. Yes, we are proud!
In fact, let me tell you about my little Conlan. I think he is the cutest, sweetest, and most hilarious 5-year-old around. He is compassionate, empathetic, well-mannered, and well-behaved. And not that it matters, but I think he’s pretty brilliant, too. Rusty and I think we really hit the jackpot with this one.
I say this with a heart of honesty but also a level of sarcasm. I do believe all these things, but that’s because he is mine. Though they may agree on some points, I don’t expect anyone else to feel the same – and I know full well that they believe the exact same things about their own children.
Here’s one thing I’ve noticed about parents (myself ABSOLUTELY included here): we take every single opportunity to talk about or brag on our little one. Which is fine much of the time, but it can also get pretty annoying.
Telling your labor story? I bet in return you’ve heard plenty of stories about how much more unpleasant or dramatic someone else’s was.
Thrilled that your ten-month-old is walking? Then you probably know someone whose kid started at eight months.
Ecstatic that your five-week-old slept through the night? “Don’t get used to it, it won’t last. My daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was THREE!”
It seems there are three responses to parental bragging. We either have to beat it (My kid is better/smarter/more advanced!), deflate it (My kid did that, too! See? Yours isn’t so special after all.), or disregard it (That won’t last! It was a fluke.)
I propose a fourth: silence. Not necessarily silence per se (that would be awkward, really), but silence about our own kids coupled with a kind response of “That’s great!” or “What a neat story!” or “You must be so proud!” A moment when we don’t do any comparing, advising, or quite frankly, competing. A moment to evaluate the situation and respond appropriately. Are we swapping cute kid stories right now? Or is this mommy so excited about a new milestone that she wants to celebrate it?
As moms, we need to give each other those proud moments. Those victories.
We need to stop being so wrapped up in ourselves that we try to steal victories from our friends. Again, myself included. This is a commitment that I will start choosing silence. I want to hear about your cute, brilliant, funny, amazing kids! 🙂 And I won’t bore you with mine. Even though I think that he, too, is cute, brilliant, funny, and amazing.
Because he’s mine.
Have you ever had your victories stolen by another mom? Or have you accidentally stolen someone else’s? How did you handle it?