Maria Rushe looks at judgement between parents - and why no one likes a sanctimammy.
Noun – A Mammy who believes that her way of parenting is the correct and proper way; judging and dismissing other Mums who do not parent as she parents.
Adj – Sanctimammious
‘Live and Let live’ they say. But once you dip your toe into the world of Parenthood, that seems to change for some people. It becomes ‘Do as I do, Think as I think’. There is no area in our lives which can cause heightened levels of self-doubt and self-criticism as parenting. And often, it is the outright self-righteousness and shared opinions of other parents which makes us doubt ourselves.
Have you ever been asked something about your child, only to have an eyebrow raised, or a lip pursed at your reply? Have you ever been nervous about telling someone how YOU do things, because you know that they do it differently?
We all have. We’ve all been there.
Parenting styles and beliefs and practices vary, not just in countries, or counties or communities, but within homes. For twenty houses in an estate or on a road, there will be twenty different parenting styles happening at once. But here’s the thing.
Just because you do things differently, doesn’t make you better.
Just because you work AND have kids, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who is working her ass off at home.
Just because you’re able to stay at home with your Puking minion, doesn’t make you a better Mum than the Mum who had no choice but to leave hers with Granny, because she couldn’t get off work.
Just because you Breastfeed your baby, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who, for WHATEVER reason, has to (or choses to) Bottle feed. You don’t know why they can’t (or don’t) breastfeed. You don’t have to. It’s none of your business.
Just because you use organic, reusable nappies, you are not superior to the Mammy who stocks up on Packets.
Just because your Baby sleeps well, does not mean that the Mum who hasn’t slept for 14 months is less brilliant than you.
Just because you’ve decided to wean your Baby by the guidance of some book, feeding Quinoa and avocado and peppers, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who feeds her kid mashed potato and gravy, or (shock horror!) fishfingers and waffles.
Just because your little Japonica goes to 5 activities a week at 11 months old, does not make you a better Mum than Jacinta next door, who can just about leave the house to do the shopping, because her PND is so crippling that she can’t breath.
Just because you gave birth without drugs, in a calm and wonderful experience, does not make you a better Mum than the lady who has had 3 sections.
Now, I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t make an effort to do what’s best and what’s healthy for your baby. What I am saying is that what YOU deem right and important, might not be the same as another Mum. Our priorities are all different. And that’s OK
Every Mum does what SHE has to do for HER family. ANd the only person who knows what is right for your family is YOU.
You don’t know another Mum’s circumstance. You don’t know her. You don’t know if she’s happy, or watching you getting into your car to go to work, longing to be you.
You don’t know if she’s driving to work in tears because her Baby cried again as she was dropping him off.
You don’t know how many times a day the Mammy in the office feels a gutwrenching guilt at being away.
You don’t know how the Mum in her kitchen is longing for a conversation.
You don’t know how much the Mum who has to pay bills rather than pay for Baby swim classes longs to be able to sign her baby up.
You don’t know how much time and effort that Mum, looks fab at the school gate, took to just get out the door this morning because she cried all night.
You don’t know how much the Mum who seems to have it all, wishes that she had something else.
You don’t know how much the Mum who is mixing up formula berates herself.
You don’t know Jack sh*t.
As long as your children are fed, and loved and looked after, you’re doing great.
How we parent our children, is nobody’s business but our own. And what other Mums think of your parenting, is absolutely none of YOUR business.
And if you EVER hear yourself dismissing or tutting at another Mammy because she’s doing it differently to you, lift your hand, grab a wooden spoon and hit yourself a good hard slap on the arse with it.
No one likes a Sanctimammy.
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