The word “sanctimommy” has become popularized in recent years due to the fact that more parents are indulging in their “sassy side.” You know how success is often defined as “luck meets hard work”? Well, sanctimommies can be defined as “good intentions meets condescension.” I truly believe that some sanctimommies are not purely out for themselves, as the name implies, but rather think they’re being helpful, or educational, or not annoying. Sadly, most of the time sanctimommies are the opposite of those things, but they just don’t know it. Part of me pities them, but the other part wishes it wasn’t so passé to tell people to their face (or their avatar) that they’re being smug or even hurtful.
Since it is rude, though, I tend to receive a LOT of Sanctimommy submissions for the blog, and every time I ask readers what their favorite categories are, they list Sanctimommy in the top three. We’ve all dealt with sanctimommies, whether at work, at family functions, or at a birthday party for a 1-year-old. They’re like a virus. Whenever you least expect it, a sanctimommy shall appear.
With that in mind, I wanted to identify different types of sanctimommies for today’s column. There are many varieties out there, especially on social media, but for today, we’ll take a look at just five. Here they are in no particular order of self-righteousness:
1. The Hyperbolic Sanctimommy
We’ve already seen several examples of what not to say to your child-free friend, but what about parents who post simple quotes like this about how great it is to have kids? Trinity was just posting a quote that resonates with her in order to share her feelings with her friends. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, I guess, if you’re the type who thinks that saying “you haven’t lived until you have a child” is inoffensive. But to those people who don’t want kids, can’t have kids, or are struggling to have kids, it’s actually incredibly demeaning — something I’m guessing Trinity didn’t think (or care) about.
2. The SAHM Sanctimommy
Today many women went to their 60-hour per week jobs to earn 75% of what men doing the exact same job earn, and they didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. We all do what we have to do for our families, and while it’s noble of you to raise the next generation with attention and care, it doesn’t make you a martyr. Oh, and it’s “you’re welcome,” not “your.” You’re welcome for that grammar lesson that I just gave you for free!
3. The Judgmental Sanctimommy
This is one of those instances where I understand why R. is affected, even upset, by what she’s seeing at a children’s museum, but she didn’t simply “move away” from the scene of the “crime.” She opted to write about it on Facebook, as well. What may have been a reasonable discussion to have with a friend in person is now a pile-on mompetition by seemingly perfect mothers on the Internet. What’s the point of perpetuating the mommy wars by throwing shade at a total stranger via Facebook? R.’s veiled sympathy comes across more as an excuse to gossip than anything else. After all, if she was really concerned for the child, she could just talk to his mother and explain that she noticed the mother ignoring her son. (If you just said to yourself, “But that would be rude,” well, yes, you’re absolutely right.)
4. The SanctiMommyjacker
Edie’s second comment almost reads like a do-over. “Whoops, did I just say that first comment out loud? Ha ha, well it’s true! Seems like I just told you a week ago that his crib needs to be lowered! That cute, cute boy!” Thanks for chiming in, Edie.
5. The Facebook Sanctimommy
Finally, we have the most quintessential STFU, Parents sanctimommy: The Facebook Sanctimommy. This is the type of person who goes on Facebook to explain that she simply does NOT have time for Facebook while managing to throw in a little Woe Is Mom for good measure. And this time, we got a special treat with the added use of the word “gay.” Here’s what the submitter had to say about all that:
“H., who is a stay at home mom, spends all day on Facebook while her two girls are in school and has plenty of time to protest gay marriage (on Facebook), impose her religious beliefs on others (on Facebook), post half-naked pictures of herself then claim God made her sexy so she has every right to pose for such things (on Facebook), openly bash people on welfare and make gross generalizations about certain demographics in general (on Facebook), post multiple albums of either A) the same cell phone camera self-portraits over and over, or B) ALL of her daughters’ cheerleading photos and videos…. but just doesn’t have QUITE enough time to play Farmville. Wow, that sucks.”
It’s hard to be a sanctimommy these days.