5 Things Parents Brag About That Actually Have Nothing to Do With Parenting

PSA: Don't compare your baby's progress to the progress of others. It's more than OK—and normal!—for them to go at their own pace.

Another day, another set of unrealistic expectations set on parents. This time, though, it's a mom on Reddit sharing some wisdom that, hopefully, can help put an end to some of the mom-shaming and constant comparisons that make up parenthood today.

"FYI - a lot of baby things parents brag about have nothing or little to do with parenting," u/MEd_Mama_ wrote on Reddit's Parenting subreddit. "I heard this from my therapist recently and think it needs to be shouted from the mountain tops."

The first-time mom noted that she "was inundated with questions and comments" from well-meaning friends and co-workers when she had her baby that, ultimately, "made [her] feel like a sh***y mom and like something was wrong with [her] beautiful baby."

But she soon realized something: The things other parents were bragging about actually had nothing to do with true parenting prowess. Instead, they were all "things that parents LOVE to brag about [that] are honestly beyond your control and they have more to do with the personality of your baby."

An image of a mother playing with her son.
Getty Images.

Here are a few things parents always brag about that—spoiler alert—don't have much to do with your parenting style or abilities, according to Reddit.

Having a Baby Who Sleeps Through the Night

If you weren't already aware, some babies really are better sleepers than others. And perhaps even more worrisome, if a parent is bragging about what a "great" sleeper their barely-weeks old baby is, they probably have no idea what is coming.

"You can't parent your child to sleep through the night," the first-time mom wrote. "Yes, you can establish good sleep habits and work on sleep training when it is age-appropriate, but some babies are just better sleepers than others," the original poster (OP) added.

Having a Great Eater

"You can't parent them to be a better nurser," OP wrote. "There isn't really anything you can do about it. Yes, you can see a lactation specialist and work to help your baby be a better nurser, but at the end of the day, their breastfeeding ability is their own. There's nothing you can do about it."

Having a Baby Who Reaches Milestones Early

Just like how some babies sleep well from day one and others prefer staying awake through the night, all babies develop at different paces too. There is, quite literally, no point in comparing babies' developmental milestones unless you have a medical concern you want to bring up with your doctor.

"You can do tummy time and exercises and everything you're supposed to do and still have a baby who lags behind developmentally," OP pointed out. "You can't parent them to be advanced developmentally. All you can do is the best you can in conjunction with research and your doctor."

"Don't feel sh***y about things you can't control!" she continued. "I'm not saying to give up or to not try to reach those goals, but give yourself and your baby some grace. I needed this today. I hope someone else does too."

Having a Baby Who Is Potty Trained Early

Just as with other big milestones, readiness for potty training—you guessed it—is different for every child. Some are more than ready to potty train before age 2, while others may extend well past 3 years old.

There is no "right" or "wrong" when it comes to potty training and some children will have toileting needs far beyond the toddler years, so there's no reason to get too proud about those potty habits (unless you're praising your child, of course, because in that case, it's cause for all the celebration!).

Having an 'Easy' Baby

Nothing says you're asking for trouble more than bragging about your "easy" baby (Read: a convenient baby). Be proud of the family you have formed, certainly, and take pride in your growth and changes as a parent, but definitely be prepared for the one universal truth of parenthood: As soon as you feel like you know what you are doing, your kid will grow into the next stage of life. And that's a lesson that will never, ever end.

The Bottom Line

While you might want to hold your tongue when it comes to bragging about these five things, there are plenty of things you can be proud of like a kind and respectful child; reading with your toddler; or a kid with good manners. These are things that your parenting can directly contribute to. Meeting certain benchmarks or developing on a timeline, however, are less in your control as a parent. One Redditor even shared their own parenting wisdom: "Comparison is the thief of joy."

The moral of the story: Don't compare your baby's progress to the progress of others—and take unwarranted advice and comments with a grain of salt. The other parent probably means well and is just curious about your child, and it's important to remember that you're the best parent for your kid. Any real concerns you have about developmental delays or milestones your baby may or may not be hitting can be brought up with their pediatrician who can be the one to help come up with an action plan—not that friend of a friend whose toddler is a certified genius.

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