I was already suspicious of the skinny jeans- and Lululemon-clad moms around the singing circle, but my skepticism shot through the roof when one mom proclaimed: “My six-week-old told me he loved me.” Later, at break time, a formula-feeding mom said, “My baby started holding her own bottle almost right away.” In my head I thought: My ?ve-week-old, Sidney, craps boulders, drools and cries a lot. Oh and also, get me the heck out of here.
Fresh off a round of postpartum depression, the prospect of hanging out with a bunch of baby braggers was as appealing as walking down a runway in a bikini. I already felt ripped off by the whole rainbows-and-butter?ies packaging of new motherhood, and now I was bumping into moms of “super babies” everywhere I went.
First I thought I was the problem. Why isn’t my infant rolling yet? Why isn’t he grabbing blocks? Why the hell can’t he work out calculus equations at the computer?
But then I turned my rage outward. Why are these moms lying?
Some wise words from my closet girlfriend resonated at that moment. “Tracy,” she said, “everyone lies.” At the time, we were talking about our university colleagues who often exaggerated their accomplishments to boost their own confidence. I realized many moms were doing the same thing, but extending the brag par to include their kids. Could it be for the same reason? To boost their confidence as parents?
I wasn’t certain why they were doing it but I soon found out it wasn’t just the habitually boastful types taking part. I found even humble folks didn’t hesitate to let anyone within earshot know their baby was sleeping through the night at two days old.
So if both the regular boasters and the non-boasters alike all felt the need to brag about their charges, my next question was… why?
I’ll just throw this out there, but we’ve never been a more educated, well-read, well-travelled bunch of baby-makers. So when we make those babies, we apply the same drive and competitiveness to our parenting as we do to our degrees and our jobs. And between you and me, the thing I remember most about my fellow political science majors is that I sort of hated them. I found them to be the type of arrogant, self-absorbed windbags who lived to hear their own voices in class. You can draw your own conclusion on how I feel about lying mommies.
I admit that part of my dislike stems from my own issues. Clearly I care way too much about what other people think (perhaps not the best attribute for a television host.) But my sensitivity aside, if you can’t stand the non-stop brag-fest that parenting can become, here’s a solution: Choose your mommy friends wisely. I stayed away from mommy groups in general, but if we did participate, I only hung with the ones I was sure wouldn’t judge me for having a non-sleeping, poop-wearing, no-veggie-eating, dir ty kid. I absolutely love the mommy friends I’ve ended up with — our friendships have nothing to do with how well their baby’s roll, and everything to do with their unabashed honesty.
A version of this article appeared in our November 2012 issue with the headline “Liar, liar,” p. 54.
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