Do you know Sanctimommy? She’s the mom with a license to judge and an eagerness to do so. She’s not a bad person. She is the product of a system in which parents aren’t allowed to feel freedom in their parenting. Afraid and insecure, Sanctimommy feels as though she must champion her opinion and ways of doing things to the death, leaving behind weary, confused, and scared mothers. She feeds her insecurities on judgement, and oh, what a killer judgement is. Judgement. It kills confidence and robs mothers of their power.

Confidence, empowerment, and the freedom to simply live and ENJOY life with your children lie in Sanctimommy’s wake. She’s the devil in disguise, sporting a look of disdain and a placating smile instead of those little red horns.

Sanctimommy hasn’t quite figured out that YOUR children do not belong to HER. Your decisions and parenting choices are not hers to make. It’s not up to her how you feed, discipline, educate, and interact with your child. Yet, she not only offers her opinions and ideas, she makes certain to degrade yours. She will put you down to lift herself up.

Sanctimommy is crafty, and will make comments and statements not directed specifically at you, but within earshot of you, on her facebook wall, in forums, in the nursery at church, etc. She desires to spread her judgements to everyone, and wishes to shame those who don’t fall in line with the “correct” way of doing things.

“I can’t believe anyone would ever use a bottle!”

“Ugh! That two year old looks absolutely ridiculous with a pacifier!”

“Parents who let their child watch tv obviously don’t care about their child’s development.”

“Why would anyone homeschool? Do they want their kids to be awkward?”

“I ALWAYS serve organic food. I would NEVER feed something that wasn’t 100% organic to my kids!”

Ever heard any of these little gems or something like them? If so, you’ve been face to face with Sanctimommy, and I’m guessing you have a few choice words for her. Here’s the thing..her opinions do not matter. So why are we listening? Why do we continue to give Sanctimommy power? Instead of engaging her in an argument or letting her plant seeds of guilt in your head, agree to disagree.

If we could all simply come together and decide to let each other parent in the way that works best for US, I think our world would start to look brighter. Parents would no longer question each and every decision they made. We would parent with OUR CHILDREN in mind, and not some snarky mom just waiting to comment on our choices. Wouldn’t it be an amazing world if we could parent with confidence, unafraid to make the choices that make our family happy?

I have a dream that one day moms will sit on park benches, bottles in hand, and not face the demonizing stare of another mother. I dream that one day, homeschooling moms will be able to link arms with public schooling moms, celebrating the fact that their children are learning! I see women chatting over coffee, one munching on organic kale chips, the other on a Krispy Kreme, enjoying the moment without a passing thought on the other’s meal. I have a dream that one day, a woman can tell her birthing story without fear of judgement. I see moms and dads working together to support the varied interests and activities of children. I see women coming alongside each other, championing the decisions each other are making. Shouts of, “I’m so glad you found something that works for you!” and “You are a terrific parent!” ring forth. I have a dream that parents who make choices on opposite sides of the spectrum can value, respect, and appreciate each other, recognizing the bravery it takes to parent a child. Yes, I have a dream.

Let’s rise to the challenge. Let’s make this dream come true. Let’s put aside our differences and recognize that THERE IS MORE THAN ONE CORRECT WAY TO PARENT A CHILD. For every decision you make, there is another parent making the opposite choice…and it’s working for them. Parenting isn’t about right and wrong…it’s about finding what works for each individual family. You are an amazing parent. The next time Sanctimommy pipes up, plug your ears! Don’t let her get to you! Put on a polite smile, and make the choice that works for YOU. Live the dream.