One of my favorite websites is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary/Thesaurus site. I love to check out new words and look up synonyms and antonyms—I need to get a life, I know.
A recently featured word that caught my eye was “SANCTIMOMMY”, an obvious hybrid of the words “sanctimony” and “mommy”. By definition: “A mother who points out perceived faults in the parenting of others”.
The irony of my finding this word when I did is that I had just been called a “bad mom” by another mom! Now, granted, I can understand her viewpoint, I respect her opinion, but I don’t believe in unequivocal “good/bad” titles; I am a real “gray area” girl. I am certain that there are things that I do that some parents may consider inappropriate, in this case, letting my kids watch PG-13 movies before they are 13. I, for one, thought it was funny when my then 3 year-old son would greet people with his arms raised, show his muscles, kiss each bicep and exclaim “Two tickets to the gun show”. Or the time we were in a packed Wal-mart restroom and Daniel yelled from his stall, “I didn’t have corn!”
Inappropriate? Maybe. Harmful? I think not. I could understand if I were leaving my child unattended in a hot car or punishing my kids by burning them with lit cigarettes, but I guess it is all subjective.
I know that there have been times when I have passed judgment on other parents; only to find out I did not know the whole story. Or, I’ll hear from my kids about someone else’s child who was caught doing something, and I start to question his or her parents’ child-raising skills; only to find out my kid was involved, too!
I guess my whole issue with being a “Sanctimommy” is that, as parents, we all will make mistakes. There really isn’t any benefit to passing judgment on someone else’s child unless yours is named, well, JESUS CHRIST. I know that the friends that I grew up with, the ones that I have known since we were kids, we all made stupid choices, and it wasn’t necessarily our parent’s fault. All of our parents had different rearing “styles”, but all the children wound up making mistakes. Some were worse than others, but we all grew up knowing that our parents loved us unconditionally and supported us through good times and bad. I think that if we provide that unconditional support for our kids, regardless of the mistakes we make and they make, won’t that be what gets them through life’s every day hardships?
While letting Daniel watch “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” may not be every parent’s idea of a “good” choice, it is MY choice and I will have to deal with any ramifications that come of it. By locking kids in a tower, there is no guarantee that they will be locked away from the world’s bad influences but it is guaranteed that they will one day want out of that tower. It’s equipping them to deal with those bad outside influences that make the difference.
So call me a “bad” mom if you want. It is my belief that my children will prove you wrong.