When hanging out with other moms, invariably the conversation turns to how awesome your kids are. But not all of this bragging is equal. Some of it is direct, some is subtle, and some is just annoying as hell. Here are six different types of brags that you’ll likely hear at your next drinking, I mean “book” club meeting.
1. The Obvious Brag.
“James runs so fast that the coach said he’ll be a shoo-in for college track!” This mom is so direct it’s kind of cute. Just say something nice in response, like, “Madison is way faster, but I don’t know if Oxford has a track team, and that’s her #1.”
2. The Subtle Brag.
“Ella isn’t that great at school, she got two B’s this term.” Confound expectations by empathizing with poor Ella, who must have failed all her other classes. “Poor Ella! Some kids just aren’t cut out for academics.” Watch her mom squirm as she figures out how to directly state that she had originally meant that Ella got all A’s and the two B’s were outliers.
3. The Vicarious Brag.
“Ivy got asked to the prom by three different guys. I remember when that happened to me!” The only way to respond is by complimenting the child herself, and leaving Mom out in the cold. For example, “Ivy is gorgeous! Looks like a model! And you’re so normal looking. Gosh, genetics are funny!”
4. The Unique Snowflake Brag.
“Jonathan has five different species of bugs in jars in his room. That boy is a budding entomologist if I ever saw one!” Respond only with a higher level of unique snowflake comment, e.g., “Wow, and I thought Kieran was weird when he discovered the newest species of dung beetle and had his paper written up in Science! Guess our boys will work together at Harvard one day! And by together, I mean Jonathan can work in Kieran’s lab.”
5. The Heart Of Gold Brag.
“Pia insisted that the family spend Thanksgiving building homeless shelters in Mumbai this year. That girl, wow.” The best response is one which misses the point entirely. “And how was the weather in Mumbai? Here, it was pretty rainy.”
6. The Brag About Your Own Kid.
Yes, even you can be caught saying something totally modest like, “Fiona just killed it at the orchestra performance. I guess that my flautist genes carried on, or possibly the fact that I’ve encouraged her to practice—lovingly and totally not in a Tiger Mom way—every night since she was 7.” The only response you want from your friends, family, and Starbucks barista is, “What a girl. And beautiful and humble too, just like Mom.”