I'm about to blow your minds. Are you ready? Here it goes: there are times when all moms brag online. I know, right?! Literally no one could definitively say that before now, so this is a big and important revelation, concluded after decades of research. You're welcome.
Seriously though, of course moms brag on social media. For starters, that's basically why social media was invented: to brag. For another thing, we really love these tiny creatures and our lives with them. Maybe not all the time, but a good majority of the time, and we want to share that love with the world.
Maybe this is a controversial opinion, but I think some degree of mom-bragging online is not only fine, but should be encouraged. Of course there's a limit. Everyone rolls their eyes when they see yet another post from that one friend who is obviously hardcore overcompensating to try to convince herself (and others) that everything is perfect. Yes, there's a compassion and pity in those eye rolls, of course, but the eye rolls exist nonetheless. But in my experience, those moms are fewer and farther between than many would leave you to believe. Most parents I know online are open and honest about the fact that things can be tough sometimes, but when they're good they're really good. They know that bragging is fine as long as it is not constant, self-aware, earnest, and wonderfully entertaining.
I've provided some examples (with varying degrees of obnoxiousness) to illustrate the particular types of online bragging of which all moms have been guilty at some point.
It makes perfect sense that we would immortalize our children's milestones on social media, especially in the early days. To an outside party, especially a non-parent outside party, these may seem stupid events to brag about (how hard is it to smile or roll over?) but we moms have spent sleepless weeks and months watching these kids do nothing, so you'd better believe we're going to brag when something finally happens.
As they get older, their milestones (birthdays, first vacations, pre-school graduation, etc) are universally adorable and understood to be brag-worthy. Until then, people can deal with our being excited about baby's first hiccup.
Artsy Photo Presented With Caption "This Kid <3" Bragging
I would love to know when this started/became a popular way of expressing love for a child. The caption is almost always paired with a whimsically beautiful picture that you could reasonably find on a Pinterest board.
"I Actually Have A Social Life" Bragging
Generally speaking, moms get out so very infrequently that whenever we do we want it to appear as fun and/or fabulous as humanly as we can because LOOK YOU GUYS! I'M STILL FUN! I'M A COOL MOM!
Overcompensation? Abso-friggen-lutely, but there's a better than average chance that we've been dealing with some serious F.O.M.O. since our children were born and we need to join the party as enthusiastically as possible and whenever we get the chance. We see y'alls vacation/brunch/late-night-dive-bar pics and we are green with envy (and also, very likely, green bean-tinged spit up).
Again, this is pretty reasonable, right? We're proud of our little ones! Plus, watching a little kid try to do any sort of organized sport/activity is always a bit of a sh*tshow, but in a really cute way (they can't help it because, you know, they're kids), so why not share that adorable ineptitude with the world?
Posting More Adorable Pictures Than Is Necessary Bragging
Because we certainly can't choose which of the 700 pictures we took today to post, right? Can we really not post all of them? I just don't think that's fair to the pictures or the time I spent taking them, you guys.
Kids Say The Funniest Things Bragging
This is the only genuine screengrab of all the ones featured here. So, in a way, I'm double bragging because this was really damn funny and everyone should know about it. I mean, the fact that our kids can say anything at all is pretty impressive: they didn't speak a lick of English a few years ago! Now all of a sudden they're not only talking but they're talking up a storm and demonstrating humor and wit, or at the very least a level of WTF-ery that is worth sharing with the world.
"I Don't Hate How I Look Today But I Don't Want To Seem Vain" Bragging
Us women are socially trained not to like the way we look, so admitting you feel pretty on any given day is spurned as vanity. This goes double for moms, whose postpartum bodies are decried as gross and who likely do not have the time or energy to put into their appearance as they once did. Still, there are those magical days when the Patriarchy's power over you is weakened and you're like, "Hey! I'm not so bad! I need to share this with the world!" Of course you'd feel awkward just coming out and saying, "Look! I'm fabulous today!" so we disguise our self-contentment as self-deprecation.
Friends: everyone sees through this. Let's just drop the charade and celebrate ourselves with pride!
This could also be thought of as "elephant in the room bragging." In this example, I'm making no mention of the fact that my toddler is eating sushi. I don't want it to look like I'm saying, "Check out the amazing and adventurous palate on this child" but that's absolutely what I want you to notice. And you will, because it's obvious.
Usually within one or two comments, someone will point out whatever it is you want them to notice and then the you can go on pretending that wasn't the entire point of the picture. This also happens with videos of young children reading very well or pictures of particularly adept artwork.
Answering Someone's Publicly Posted Question With A Story About Your Brilliant And Developmentally Advanced Child
Well, I mean, you asked.
Genius Child Bragging
Everyone wants to believe their child is a genius. In fact, they want other people to know their child is a genius. A well-placed brag that serves as evidence of the fact, therefore, is totally understandable and only to be expected.
(No, my 2 year old doesn't read Hurston. She doesn't read. I would never attempt to make anyone believe otherwise, but I have bragged my face off when she's spelled her own name.)
Adorable Family Bragging
Look at us. Are we not precious? You would totally watch our reality show. When people would hate on us, you'd say, "Actually, I kind of like them. They seem like a genuinely loving family." When one of us inevitably attempts to break into the music business you would download our single, which would have some sort of pun-friendly title that made reference to the reality show origins and the individual's desire to distance themselves from it in some way, like "Fa-ME-ly (There's No "Me" In "Family")" or "Not Your Baby."
I think we're all over "#blessed." Like, seriously: done. In fact, if I never saw this hashtag again I would be delighted. On the other hand? Sometimes we parents are #blessed, and I don't think it's so absurd to let people know you know that.