By: Diane Mendoza-Balatbat
I have never heard the term sanctimommy before but based on Wikipedia, a sanctimommy is defined as someone “who has very opinionated views on child rearing and presents them upfront without any sense of humility”. So I Googled this and the first to come up is a Facebook page called Sanctimommy. I am not sure if it is a satire or a real page that bash and verbally abuse other mom for not being “perfect”. The posts are horrible.
I can say I am not one but I have to admit that I am guilty of rolling my eyes over a screaming kid at church or at my daughter’s classmate showing off her acrylic nails. I think it’s natural to be a bit judgmental as that is how we make our choices credible. But how do we avoid being a sanctimommy? How do we deal with one who is?
1. It is easier to set an example than to criticize. If you see a kid in a stroller or car seat with the straps all wrong, let the mom know that the baby can choke and offer to show her how to put it on right. There is no need to shame someone for a mistake that can be easily corrected if you offer some help.
2. Do not presume. There is one baby in the daycare I volunteer at who comes in around lunch and looks so sullen while his mom recounts to me that he doesn’t eat. I tell her he eats a lot at the daycare. This goes on for 2 weeks and I think that maybe he just doesn’t like the food she prepares. I found out later on that his mom and dad have recently separated, and being with other kids make him happy – the primary reason why he’s eating at the daycare.
3. There are no “perfect” moms, but there are bad moms. I will justify myself that I did the right thing if I see a need to call out a mom who is obviously abusive or neglectful. I will not hesitate to call Child Protective Services to report her.
4. Parenting is not black or white only, there are grey areas too. I think breast is best but the formula is okay too. Working moms do not love their children any less than stay at home moms. One mom’s way may not be what works for their family or vice versa.
5. There is no need to argue. If you are being attacked by a sanctimommy, just smile gracefully and excuse yourself and find your exit. There is no point arguing over how good/bad your parenting is or doing a reverse sanctimommy (make the other parent feel like they’re parenting style is too much). You know your family better than anyone else, so be confident that you are doing what is best for your family.
Perfect parents and perfect kids do not exist. Parenting is not about competition. Let us support each other so we might raise good children and be good parents. Stop sanctimommy-ing now!
Diane Mendoza Balatbat is a wife and stay-at-home mom of 3 kids and 2 dogs. She is originally from Cebu, Philippines but is currently living in Utah with her family. She competes with her kids on Just Dance and annoys her husband when she intentionally murders Adele’s Rolling in the Deep at the top of her lungs.