So you've had a baby, huh? Well, welcome to parenthood! As a member of the New Parents Club, you're going to be talking about parenthood a lot and with everyone, mainly because raising a child is taking more or less all your time. A lot of that talk is going to be bragging, because of course it is! The shameless bragging you do when you're a new parent is only to be expected. Moreover, it is right and proper that you should!
Bragging about babies and parenting is basically a simple strategy new parents in particular use to get through the trials and tribulations of having a child. It's also, believe it or not, a way to maintain social connections to others. Because if you spent your time diving into the minutiae of what it's like to raise a baby every time someone asked how you are, your friends would slink slowly down into their chairs and then run away before you came back to regale them with another diaper story. So bragging is a succinct, nice way to highlight the good things that are going on. That's, of course, not to say you can't bemoan the tough times, but it's all about balance. A little bragging, a little kvetching, all best served over a glass of pinot noir will get you far, my friends.
What kind of bragging can you expect to engage in? Well, for one, it's largely going to be on social media (because you're not going to get out of the house very often) with the exception of work, and they actually expect you to work there. Ugh. Specifically, though, you can assume any new parent will shamelessly bring up any of the following boasts:
The "My Baby's Going To Love Their Nursery" Brag
Despite the fact that babies are developmentally incapable of caring all that much about the precise aesthetic choices of their surroundings (they can only start out seeing about 8 inches in front of them and they won't be able to tell the difference between lavender and sky blue until they're about five months) many new parents put a tremendous amount of thought, work, and detail into their child's nursery. While it's not strictly speaking necessary, it makes sense. What parent doesn't want their beautiful new little one to live somewhere beautiful? (Yes, even if they're going to wind up pooping all over those beautiful pale pink sheets). Also, who doesn't like a good interior decoration project? (Hint: me.)
It also makes sense that you would want to share the fruit of your labors on social media. Because if it took you 10 hours and two gallons of "Japanese Fern" of course you're going to share.
The "All The Pictures" Brag
This is the chief means of new parent bragging, mainly because being cute is an infant's only real skill for a while. Fortunately, and for everyone involved, it is a mighty and powerful skill indeed. But this on top of the fact that you as a new parent are completely smitten (and preoccupied) with this small new creature means that everyone in your social media feeds are getting all the pictures. The images are constant and bountiful.
Sure, there are those who would complain about this barrage of baby pictures, but don't listen to those people. Keep posting! Social media is the new Baby Book! And unlike actual baby books, you'll actually fill this one out!
The "Look! I'm Still Cute!" Brag
After you have a baby it can be hard to feel physically yourself let alone like the way you look. As such, on days where you actually look in the mirror and think to yourself, "Oh wow. I inexplicably don't have those dark circles under my eyes and my hair isn't matted. Maybe I'll put on some eyeliner." Then you do and you're basically thinking, "This is the most beautiful I have ever looked or will ever look again."
Obviously you have to take a picture to both memorialize this blessed event, and because it's nice to have other people to validate the fact that motherhood hasn't robbed you of your beauteous glow.
The "Flashing The Momgear" Brag
New parenthood comes with so much stuff. It's actually absurd that such little people require so much equipment. Cribs, strollers, clothes, bottles, diapers, wipes, assorted creams, pastes, and lotions, the list goes on. While it can be annoying to purchase and schlep all of this new stuff, it's also sort of fun because so much of it helpful, and/or smells terrific (I'm looking at you, coconut oil). These items can also often reflect the kind of parent you want to be, and running, say, your babywearing wrap up the flagpole to see who salutes can be a helpful way to build your like-minded mom community. Also baby things are adorable, sowho doesn't want to squeal over them a little bit?
The "Meeting The Pet For The First Time" Brag
Look at me! I have an adorable baby and an adorable kitty. (OK: in this picture he looks like a suspicious Skesis who wants nothing to do with my child, but in real life he was pretty cute.)
Answer me honestly: who wouldn't brag about such an accomplishment? And you're keeping the assorted factions of your social media feed happy, from the people who smugly declare "Your pet is not a baby" to the people who insist "My pet means as much to me as your baby means to you!" Worlds are colliding here, people!
The "Baby's First Outing" Brag
Before you have a baby, getting out of your house or apartment isn't such a big deal. You do it all the time, in fact. You grab your bag, your keys, and you walk out the door.
The baby is a real game changer in this regard, because leaving the house with an infant takes intention, commitment, and strength. So when you finally venture out the door it's a feat. More than that, it's thrilling because you're actually seeing people for the first time in however long. It's also exciting because there's the sense that you're introducing your child to your world which, not to be schmaltzy here, never stops being pretty fun.
The "Baby In Cute Outfits" Brag
Take all the pictures you can, because they're going to outgrow all of these precious vestments in about five minutes.
(True story: my daughter wore this dress four times tops.)
The "First Time Away From The Baby" Brag
It's basically a federal law that new parents have to post their first outing away from their baby, and it's an unofficial statute that they have to express feeling bad about that fact for some reason, as though to prove that they're really a good parent.
Yes, it's strange to be away from your baby for the first time and it's totally normal to get anxious or even sad. But there's something bordering on obligatorily performative about the "first time out" post that chafes me. Just have fun, you guys! We know you love your baby. Trust me, if we doubted it,I'm sure we will know tomorrow morning, when you post a million and seven more picture of said baby before 8 A.M.
The "Back From The Pediatrician" Brag
Social media is the baby book of the future, so you have to keep those stats up to date and as current as possible. Besides, like I said, your baby doesn't do too much yet so any little thing is pretty exciting, including growing. It doesn't matter that they have absolutely no control over this whatsoever, because it feels like an accomplishment.
The "OMG A MILESTONE" Brag
Look, if you're going to brag about the developmental changes your child is undergoing just sitting there, can you imagine the brag levels you are entitled to when they actually do something? Even if it's something boring like hold their head up or rolling over.
(Yeah: it's boring, you guys. I hold my head up all the time and can roll over whenever I feel like it.)
The "Adorable Motherhood" Brag
Post these to your heart's content. Not only is this something beautiful to be celebrated, but you're going to need the IG-perfect pictures to get you through the days when everything is horrible. Think of it as a rainy day fund for bragging.