Have you heard about the sanctimommy? It is a lovely species that inhabits the internet, mainly frequenting Facebook, various mommy blogs and parenting forums. A sanctimommy is a mother who is doing it all better than everyone else. Never fear, no matter what you’re doing, she’s doing it better. More than anything else, sanctimommies are sad. Why? Because their hearts are breaking for all the children who don’t have it as good as theirs. Tears well up in their eyes when they see a mom on her phone instead of hanging on her child’s every action. When they see a toddler tantruming in the grocery store, their arms ache to hold that neglected child. When they see an infant being fed formula, they want to shove their own breast into the baby’s mouth, rather then see it take in toxic “imitation breast milk.” They shame women who work outside the home by saying that their children are being raised by other people.
You get the picture.
A post I read today was a fine example. The title is “What Our Children Want Us to See,” from the Hands Free Mama Blog. In it, the author recalls, in rather hyperbolic terms, how when she was a teacher a child once told her that he wished she was his mom. The reasons aren’t that clear- apparently he said that he just wanted his mom “to see me.” Well, that’s a rather deep and existential statement from a child. Of course, her eyes fill with tears and she has to swallow past that lump in her throat as she tries with all her might to give that child everything that she assumes is lacking from his own mother. She then goes into a litany of things that we should “see” about our wonderful, special children.
After reading the post, I could no longer see, because my eyes had rolled too far back in my head. I’m blown away by the idea that anyone who actually has kids can take a statement like, “I wish you were my mommy” seriously. Kids say stuff like that and it means nothing. Not long ago, my son told me that he wanted to live with his friend’s family from now on. Why? Was it because I don’t “see” him? No. It’s because his friend has a trampoline. Kids say stupid stuff. All. The. Time. Get over yourself, Hands Free Mama.
So, here is what I want my children to see.
I want them to see that the world is a big place, filled with billions of individuals. Most of those people will approach life differently from them. Learn from them- don’t judge them.
I want them to see that they’ve been born into a privileged life in a privileged country. This does not give them the right to project their values onto others.
I want them to see that while they are the most important thing in my life, they are not the center of the universe.
I want my boys to see, and learn, that a woman’s worth is determined by more than motherhood.
I want my children to see that it really does take a village, and they need to be a part of their community.
That’s it. Let’s just all do the best we can.