Attack of the Sanctimommies

One of my biggest pet peeves in life has to be the “Sanctimommy”.  You know, the mom who has to “do it all” and then humblebrag how perfect they are.  My eyes simply can’t roll into my skull fast enough.  “My kids eat only organic”.  “My kids never leave my side”.  “My snookums would never do anything wrong because I have raised them to be practically perfect, just like me.”  Type A women frantically trying to be pinterest perfect so they can appear like they have it all together.  Like if they are just perfect enough, their child will never have a hardship or challenge.  You know what? It’s all horseshit.

As women, there is this huge push to “do it all”.  How we “do it all” depends on the woman.  Some of us work full time, so we juggle work and home life, trying to keep all the balls in motion.  Some women are stay at home moms, trying to run a household and take care of kids.  We’re all fighting our own battles.  We’re all trying to figure this thing called motherhood out. At least, that’s the slack I try to cut myself and other mothers I meet.  I recognize we all make mistakes, we’re all doing the best we can.  We don’t get a manual when we get kids.  Hell, they take more precautions letting us drive a car that they do with sending us home with a baby.  Isn’t that INSANE? I like to think we all started this motherhood thing with a smidge of fear, some trepidation, and all the good intentions.  What happens is that life happens, and we do our best to get our groove thing going and get a handle on this motherhood thing.  Some women take to it like they were born to be mothers.  Some women take a little longer to pull it all together.

People don’t always agree with my parenting.  That’s ok.  I probably wouldn’t necessarily agree with theirs either.  It took me a while not to take every critique personally and feel hurt by it.  I used to struggle if someone disagreed with my parenting choices.  I’d second guess myself.  I beat myself up a lot.  Now it’s different.  Time, practice, and a comfort with who I am  has really helped.  Now I have goals for what I want for my kids (Happiness, independent, free thinking, kind, loving kids with a sense of humor and good self esteem).  Those are most of my big goals.  Now, instead of trying to be perfect, I just aim to get them to reach those goals.  I won’t do it all right, but maybe I can do some things right, or in other words, get the right things right.  I’d like to think that we’re all doing our very best.  I’m far from the perfect mom.  I swear too much, I’m often overwhelmed, I’m domestically challenged.  The kids think I’m good though, so I’m happy and I’ll continue to try to do better. Now granted, if your kid acts like an asshole, I’m probably stepping away.  I’m just trying to raise kids to not be assholes.  You know who raises asshole kids?  Assholes.  I’m a little bit of an asshole myself, so I have to try extra hard to dust any asshole behavior off them and raise them on the straight and narrow.

But then there are the sanctimommies, who are just out there to show you up, dress you down, and point out how very superior they are.  You use formula? Well, don’t you know breast is best? Don’t you know all they have sacrificed to give their baby the best? And how you might love your kid less?  I had lots of those surrounding my formula fed babies and I.  I checked out of the hospital early because I had  a breast nazi nurse who was borderline cruel. You know what? I had a baby with a full belly, who is extremely smart, well behaved, rarely ever got sick, and who did JUST FINE on formula. Those helicopter moms who hover over their child’s every move? That won’t work for my family.  The type A on top of everything moms?  I salute you, but it’s just not me.  When I try that life, my kids and I are miserable because it all just too much. I’ll do me, and you do you, just don’t shame me that I’m not as “perfect” as you.  Some of these same “perfect” moms have kids that turn out to be heroin addicts. Why? because life isn’t perfect.  It twists and turns, and even with the perfect choices made, all it takes is one bad decision for everything to change. One decision can make or break a life.

Today I saw a post about parents who have accidentally left kids in the car.  I also had a big discussion about this a while ago.  The sanctimommies lost their goddamned minds over this.  “Those people should never breed”, “I could NEVER forget I had a child in the car!” “I live to be a mom, this would never happen to me!”  The comments kept coming.  You know what? I bet the families that had this happen felt the exact same way….until it happened.  My mom never thought she’d get lung cancer either…until it happened.  People who get in car accidents on the way to their job probably never expected it to happen, until it did.  The fact is, life is wildly unpredictable.  Even when it IS predictable, we are human, we make mistakes.  Some of these mistakes are small, and some are HUGE.  Some honest mistakes can destroy lives, literally and figuratively.

I’d like to think I’m a good mom.  If asked, I am pretty confident my kids would consider me a good mom, if not a great mom.  Am I the best mom in the world? Nope.  I have happy, healthy kids who are well looked after.  They also eat a ton of ice cream, play a lot of video games, and sometimes they’re fresh.  They are getting older, so I get more backtalk, more fights for independence, more eye rolling, and more fighting against the rules.  They aren’t perfect, those kids.  But they’re perfect for me, and we make it work.  When I had them, I got baby brain…real bad.  I would leave my keys in the front door and go to bed.  I got out of my car and left it running on the street one day…totally didn’t realize it was running.  This was likely partly due to sleep deprivation, perhaps some hormones, and just being overwhelmed at having a new baby in the house.  I also have been known to head to drive them to school or camp and have instead gotten on the highway to head to work.  It’s as if my brain just went on autopilot.  I’ve driven places and then realized I wasn’t sure how I got there.  Now take the case of a couple where one parent always drops the baby or kid off at daycare.  One day, the sleep deprived, stressed out parent has to do the daycare run, which isn’t the usual plan.  They leave, the baby falls asleep in the car, and the parent drives.  It’s not unfathomable that the brain goes on a bit of auto mode, and before you know it, the parent didn’t go to daycare, but goes to work. They get out of the car and the child is silently sleeping.  I can understand how this could happen.  There are scientific explanations of how the brain works, and how this can happen.  Nobody thinks it will happen to them.  BUT IT DOES.

It’s horrific and a tragedy, and every other horrible description you can think of.  But it happens.  It happens every year.  These parents made a horrible, stupid decision, lose their child, and then have to live with everyone’s judgement.  Companies tried to come up with solutions on how to prevent this.  Know what everyone on social media did?  Announced what an amazing mom they are and how this could never, ever happen to them.  Instead of saying….this is a real tragic problem, how do we make a positive move to fix it, everyone laid their judgemental stank on it.  Imagine if we all stopped grandstanding and made a choice to stop judging and start fixing?

What if we gave other moms a break?  What if we said….you do you, boo, and I’ll do me, and we’ll just do the best we can?  What if we stopped comparing?  What if we stopped trying to convince ourselves we are doing a good job, and just did our best?  What if we banded together to help each other instead of tearing each other down?  What if we came together as a village to help each other?  What if we stopped announcing how things could NEVER happen to us, when statistics show that clearly these things DO happen? What if we looked for a solution to this horrible problem?

One mistake.  One choice.  One decision.

Any of the three can destroy a life.  Let’s be positively proactive and help this to stop.



2 thoughts on “Attack of the Sanctimommies

  1. Great post!

    I can’t stand sanctimommies!
    I personally think most of them are pretending to be perfect, which simultaneously makes me angry and makes me wonder who or what in their past hurt them so much to that it causes them to develop such a need to impress.
    As for those who actually are perfect; they needn’t rub it in our faces!

    I tried to breastfeed, but my supply mysteriously began drying up within a couple of months, and I had to switch to formula. I hate that I had to feel so much shame every time I fed my child in public, and people I barely knew felt the need to ask “Aren’t you breastfeeding?” when they could obviously see that I was not. I even had a former “friend” say loudly and pointedly in front of me, “I would NEVER give formula to MY baby.”

    As for the babies left in cars, I am fortunate to have not had this happen to me, nor has it happened to anyone I know, but I’ve read the stories and seen enough of the science to believe that it is truly a tragic accident that can happen to anyone. And those who have had a child die this way, who bravely reach out to the rest of the parenting world to try to warn them, and try to help others not experience the same loss, instead of being thanked and comforted, get berated by sanctimommies, who might themselves do well to listen to some of the advice.

    I’ll never be a mom with a perfectly clean home, always perfectly attentive to my child, who cooks organic, healthy meals every day, but I like to think that kids grow up better adjusted with imperfect parents. Those who were raised in perfection must experience unbelievable shock when they get out into the real world!

    1. Omg yes! All of it! Yes! When I had my son I knew right away breastfeeding wasn’t going to be the plan. The nurses tried to help but he was screaming, I was crying, and I just felt it wasn’t working. Some of the nurses tried to shame me! It was awful. My mom, who was terminally ill with cancer at the time, and who had traveled up for his birth, ended up telling the nurses off. She told them I was a new first time mother, who was losing her own mother, and that they should make the process the least stressful they could. She kicked one nurse out of the room who made me cry. I tried breastfeeding with my daughter and it just didn’t click. By then I was more hardened and resolved that I would do what worked best for us. I applaud those mamas that can do it, and I lift up those who can’t. Really, we’re all just doing our best.
      With the car situation, I agree. I’ll take words of wisdom from those who learned the hard way. I am open to understanding. If we don’t learn from history it will repeat. The more you learn, the better you are.

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