You might think moms are just women with children, and to some extent, you’d be right. Who you are after you have a child is usually not radically different than who you are beforehand. But sometimes, parenthood can throw certain traits into high relief. The seismic shift that comes along with becoming a parent can leave people feeling at a loss for an identity, leaving them grasping for ways to define themselves. Every mom is an individual, of course, but it does seem like certain types tend to emerge on the motherhood landscape.
Take, for example, the Sanctimommy. You may have already encountered her on the road to motherhood…She’s the mom at prenatal yoga who implies your wider circumference is the result of your bad eating habits. The one who says she’d never eat tuna because of the mercury risk—while you’re eating a tuna sandwich. She’s any mom who says her way of doing things is the right way, and doesn’t mind making you feel bad in the process.
Are Sanctimommies typically sanctimonious beforehand, or does motherhood bring it out in them? Probably a little of both, in most cases. If you’re a generally non-judgmental person, you’re unlikely to suddenly do a 180 when you have a baby. For some women, motherhood seems to give them the confidence to say what they really think, and their own need to communicate their opinions transcends concern for other people’s feelings. But often, these kinds of judgments actually stem from a lack of confidence, and a need to compensate for that with a constant reinforcement that her choices are the right ones— by cutting down anyone who does things differently.
Not all expressions of opinion are Sanctimommy-ish. And everybody can get a little judgy sometimes if they feel strongly about things. It’s the consistent need to tout her own superiority that makes the Sanctimommy who she is.
The Sanctimommy can be found with great regularity on the internet, where she can judge freely without having to be accountable for her actions in person. The comments section of the post I wrote recently about strollers features one of the best examples of sanctimommyishness I’ve ever seen.
For more about the Sanctimommy, and 10 other Mom Stereotypes, see A Newbie’s Guide To Other Mothers.