“Sanctimommy” v. “Sancti-childless”

I’ve read the site STFU Parents enough times to know that it’s caused a belly laugh once in awhile. Yet there’s no real passion from me on whether or not STFU Parents recently outed author Blair Koenig is mean, cruel or right. Upon seeing her photo spread in the New York Post, I simply shrugged it off as an Internet phenomenon that has hit mainstream. Cool. Well, color my surprise upon reading a post by Cecily Kellogg in Babble’s Mom Crunch where Blair Koenig was referred to as “sancti-childless” for having the audacity to complain about how much parents share or over-share their child’s lives on social media.

Though none of my friends came immediately to mind when I chuckled my way through STFU Parents, I couldn’t helped be miffed by Cecily’s comment, “As nice as she seemed, I still am not a fan of the site. While she may call some of us moms “sanctimommy,” she definitely qualifies as “sancti-childless”. Ouch. I automatically was on edge when I read that. Everything tensed up as I prepared for the inevitable Haves v. Have Nots conversation between women. Those with progeny and those without and who made the right decisions (when, why, how) and who didn’t. The thought of which makes me rock back and forth thinking Pollyannaish thoughts as to why women – as a whole – are incapable of supporting each other.

Kids, no kids, we all do and say things that are self-righteous and sanctimonious. We are humans therefore judgmental creatures and to respond to Ms. Koenig’s blog with a “HA! I hope she has children” comment that insinuates that she’ll finally ‘get it’ when she has children. To which I give a hearty eye roll and  Gob Bluth-esque ‘COME ON!’.

I am beyond thankful that I have never been forced into having the “you don’t have kids, you don’t understand life” conversation with my friends. Then again, they wouldn’t be my friends if they did. But! I have had such conversations with utter strangers who tell me that I don’t know how hard life is or what tired is or that I cannot possibly be busy. For me to prattle on about career difficulties or dating isn’t a real problem because I am not caring for another human being. P.S. I do not know what love is. It’s gonna be a big surprise once that future child comes along. Now that? THAT is sanctimonious right there.

I attempt to make light of it because it’s a longstanding problem that I wish we could fix and reading the comment of ‘sancti-childless’ in response to Blair Koenig saying ‘sanctimommy’ (which, by the way, is a term that mothers themselves use to describe other moms who try to one up their fellow parent. But correct me if I’m wrong) makes the rift between women grow larger and wider. And I, for one, hate it. Then again this conversation/discussion/one upmanship on who does life right and who didn’t is a tale as old as time and so are the side-eyes that come when the ‘it’ isn’t to our liking. For a woman who thrives on political debate but also on bringing women into the political fold I look at myself in times like these and question my own responses and behaviors to life situations different than my own. This is just not something I enjoy getting into. That said, I hope that one day, if I am lucky enough to become a parent, instead of rolling my eyes at the non-parent next door, I smile inwardly and remember being in that exact childless position five, ten, 15 years before and am happy enough with my choices to move on.

Keep the conversation going with Heather Barmore at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue, Twitter and Facebook.

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