The fine line between Pride and Bragging

March 8, 2010 Uncategorized 13

We all the know Mom Extreme………or more than one of her type.  She is beyond proud, beyond uber proud, she is telling you all about Suzy’s great grades, looks, job, college prospects, athletic ability etc, you name it, Suzy does it better!!!  Mom Extreme rarely complains about Suzy(or Sam because she has uber wonderful sons too).  M.E. is sly too, she doesn’t assault you with her glowing reviews of Suzy or Sam right off, she sort of worms her way into the conversation, and then she goes on and on about what her little off spring has accomplished, and my favorite zinger and deal breaker move?  M.E. ends her praise fest with, oh and how did your daughter or son do on so and so, and you know what…………she is really nosy and wants to know, so she can once again remind you that her little darling did better.

Last year I ended a friendship with one such toxic mom.  We met long ago when our daughters were in first grade and they were new to our town.   This M.E. also had another child the same age/grade as Nick.  We were thrown together by happenstance, and our kids were never best of friends, but in a smallish Catholic School, kids cross paths at birthday parties, activities, sports, you name it.  I liked M.E. and her husband was one of those people that most folks just enjoyed, he was likable.  They lived in a larger home, in an upscale neighborhood, and they took expensive vacations.  I admit I many times had to reign in my jealousy on those fronts.  But honestly I was never jealous of their children. 

M.E. loved to boast of her children’s stellar grades, and I always wondered at what cost.  Her oldest daughter was not socially adept, she had few friends, and had her own issues with bragging and belittling those not as “good” as she was.  I was often put on the spot when asked about grades, and I tried my best to change the subject, to say, oh great for your little Suzy etc(not her real name).  After a few years of getting closer, I ended the friendship, this was after some ups and downs when she believed that an adult should choose even a teen’s guest list for parties, and I did not and my daughters no longer included her girl.  I had also just had enough of the comparisons and the competition and an attitude of entitlement and knowing more than others.  Toxic it was, and for the most part I haven’t looked back.  It was also in my favor that they moved. 

Why do I write all this?  I’ve recently noticed a trend in some online and local friends.  I see this on facebook and in email discussions.  The over the top, my child is wonderful talk.  This is awful because every child is beautiful in their own way, but I find it difficult to agree, join in praise, “like” or comment on these talks.  I’m very torn.  I feel like some is less toxic, because I’m just not letting myself get drawn into those friendships.  Then you wonder……………..is this Mom Extreme thinking I’m rude because I’m not chiming in on how smart, cute, amazing, gifted her little Suzy or Sam is?

How do you handle moms like this?

Please note, I adore my own children, and while I think they are the bomb, they are flawed little humans, and growing and changing.  Teens have developing brains, and mine are very much still finding their way, so if I brag too much……….let me know, or better yet I could start blogging more about the bad days………….but who really wants to read that junk!?

13 Responses to “The fine line between Pride and Bragging”

  1. mama-face

    I’ve been in this situation. Well, I suppose I always will because I am related to the mom I am thinking of. But I have slowly backed away from her because the constant one up manship about her children and the constant comparing of her children to mine (honestly she does this, it’s not me) was not a good thing.

  2. Elizabeth

    I remember that toxic friendship ending for you. I’m glad you still see it in the same light because second guesses can come waaaay too easily :o)

    As far as those ME friends, I don’t have any!! Not on facebook anyway. My friends on there are more like me with our goofy “KID FOR SALE” posts when our days our rough. My kids ARE perfect—perfect little imperfections—and that’s exactly how I love them. I was just telling my neighbor the other day how grateful I am that my kids are messy, bossy, etc. Because that’s what makes life interesting! Who wants to live the same, perfect life every day? The shaved dog… the marker on the wall… my favorite flowers ripped up with roots and all (to give to me out of total love)… that’s what makes life interesting!! And those are the posts I like to read :o) I don’t care if your kid got straight As but I’d love to hear about how much fun she had at her team party! Or if she decided college can take a break, let’s backpack across Europe!

    I know the ME types even though I don’t associate with them. My aunt-in-law was an insane one and my more mother-in-law felt the same way you do and hated being put on the spot constantly. We are all VERY grateful that Jason and I are the only kids in the family with kids of our own so far because I know my aunt-in-law will become a VERY competitive grandmother and my poor mother-in-law doesn’t need that stress. We’re the only ones even close to ready to have a family and we’re all done building it so the other kids in the family can deal with the drama, not us! :o)

  3. Beth

    Oh Anita…please blog about the bad (lol) it makes me feel normal (lol)

    Most times I try to not respond to when people brag…and to be honest I haven’t been around it too much..except in one friend/not friend relationship. I just don’t buy into it… I say things like “must be nice” etc…sort of snotty but…I think it is what they want and need to hear…

    I sort of have the ups around most incidences right now because I have the experience that most don’t and I know better!

    I do tell others about our downers because it makes me feel more real.. not necessarly about the little things like grades…yes grades or test scores..but about life things..

    I am sure your toxic friend is more than aware of why her dd doesn’t get invited so she is over compensating! Thankfully in college you get to re-invent yourself

    this was a total ramble..but you know me…

  4. Crazy Mom of Three

    I have not really experienced these type of relationships (where I felt a need to end them). Maybe because I tend to be pretty open about my kids’ areas that are less than stellar and it doesn’t usually bother me if someone asks me about that stuff. It doesn’t bother me when others brag about their kids either. I figure we are all moms and somewhat bent that are own kids are our favorites (kind of hard to help this way of thinking). But if I like someone, then I feel their excitment about their child with them usually. I do wish people would be more open about the realistic things with their kids when they are friends of mine (beyond when they are just acquaintences). But I figure if they have no real problems to share, then good for them. I do get my times where I feel some tinges of jealousy. I would not say this is often. I remind myself that I would never want to trade my children in for anyone elses and that nobody is perfect (no matter how hard well-meaning parents would like to think their kids are sometimes).

  5. Mnmom

    I like Elizabeth’s comment – “perfect little imperfections”.

    Lord I hope I’m not an ME. I love my kids and I marvel at their accomplishments, mostly because I was such a slacker teen and I’m daily amazed that I gave birth to these kids.

    A friend of mine and I are constantly laughing at the amazingly stupid things our smart kids do. Her husband says “the dumbest smart kids ever”.

    I’d rather embrace life and all it’s imperfections and failures and the days I forget to plug in the crock pot. To love perfection is to hate life, and for sure it’s not funny!!!

  6. Terra

    OH boy, and I don’t have time to write a novel! I do boast my children online but I try to also carefully post the not so great parts of them as well. Why? Because I hope someday, if they become moms, they will be able to look back at all the good and the bad through this online journal of mine and see what being a mom is really like! That said, it is way more fun to boast and when I am not boasting I chose my words carefully so as to not hurt them and often focus on my own shortcomings…HOWEVER in the case of Mom Extremes…I tend to shy away slowly, stop being available, rarely answer the calls and eventually boost them right out of my life….

  7. Mommakin

    Publicly online I try to only post positive things about my kids – ONLY because they’re online too – I wouldn’t want them to come across some of the things I might think or say more privately.

    I’ve had to stay away from a few conversations, too. Recently one of my friends (who does NOT have kids) told another, who was worried about some issue with her daughter, that “everything will work out fine because you are a good mother and you have taught her to make good choices.” My daughter had – that very week – made some ridiculously bad choices. What did *I* have to add to that conversation. Bad mom, representin’ I guess…

  8. My name is PJ.

    Insecure people boast an brag. When they go on and on about their kids, it’s as if they’re taking credit…and I always think,
    ‘really?!’ Exactly how does that work? Little Johnny took the test, but you’re responsible for his A? Hmmm.

    This is how I handle it – I stay off face book. I don’t hang with people who aren’t my real friends. I avoid situations where I have to socialize with large groups of women. You know what? Men aren’t like that (unless they have small penises)

    These are some of the reasons I don’t like people anywhere as much as I like animals. True.

  9. Lauren

    When I was in middle school I danced and went to school with a girl whose mother acted just like you described. I was the better technically adept dancer, so my friend’s mom used every other aspect in her child’s life to upstage my mother’s daughter: me. Where I was better artistically and academically, my friend was better socially, and my friend’s mom used this to her advantage. Unfortunately, my friend fed off her mother’s actions and words and turned the Mom Extreme into Friend Extreme. It screwed up our friendship, which had completely been based on competition and upstaging each other. By high school I had nothing to do with her except for when we cheered together, and eventually by our senior year we were tolerable acquaintances. We were nice to each other and we liked each other, but that was as close as it was gonna get for us to being friends again. It’s really and awkward thing to think about now, because our families had stayed at many hotels together for dance competitions and even gone on several vacations together, and then suddenly because of the Mom Extreme bit, everything fell apart, and we were left with almost nothing. It’s a sad thing that happens sometimes, but such is life. My old friend and her mother are out of contact with my family now, but I try not to hold any hard feelings for them. They went through a very rough time when me and my old friend were in high school, so I try to have compassion for them.

  10. The Lucky Mrs. T

    Stoppin in from SITS.

    I have my bragadocious moments – and then there are those days when I would gladly sell my offspring to the highest bidder. (JoKiNg!)

    I think that people that continually need to booster their lives – children – jobs – clothing – vehicles – jewelry – are simply trying to make up for a void in their lives. Sad, but true.

    Celebrate the good things, vent over the bad. Let it roll off your back and move on to positive people. It’s been a hard lesson, but I am tired of the drama mongers in my life.

    Great post! (and great music!)

  11. Anita

    I haven’t seen too much on the blogs I read. Hmmm… But I’m quite sure it’s out there as you’ve pointed out.

    With neighbors, relatives, and community members, as soon as I recognize it, I limit my contact. It’s boring to be going on and on and on about how great someone’s child is.
    I do like to hear accomplishments, but then I like to move on to another topic.

  12. Acting Balanced Mom

    I try to stay away from Moms who one up… or even really compare kids… especially now that I am blessed with a little guy with special needs…and special talents – My fave line for the one-up mom is ‘i’m glad child x ate his/her wheaties this morning’

  13. Writing Without Periods!

    It’s so great you got rid of toxic friend. I always tell my daughter to trust her intuition. When someone makes you feel uncomfortable or more, your intuition is protecting you. I ditch people like you described. Who needs them. Obviously this woman has esteem problems and feels badly about herself and has to live through her kids; however, it’s not your job to fix her. Your job is to take care of yourself and by stepping away that is what you did.
    Congrats.
    Mary

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