A Field Guide to Spotting Sanctimommies

by Sarah Cottrell
Originally Published: 


A smug, self-congratulatory, know-it-all who broadcasts his or her parenting style through passive aggressive comments that point out the failures of other parents.

Synonyms: Asshole, Black Hole of Fun, Pearl Clutcher, Pretentious

Physical Description: While it is not possible to target a Sanctimommy by appearance since this extreme and hostile behavior is noted in many types of people across all races, genders, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds, there are 5 gestural similarities that can be distinguished:

1) Raised eyebrows

2) Puckered lips

3) Finger pointing

4) Audible sighs

5) Clenched buttocks

Habitats: Sanctimommies have several commonly known habitats where they produce their unique brand of suggestions, rebukes, and advertising of their perfection.

1) Parks

2) Playgroups

3) Grocery stores

4) Target (both parking lot and aisles)

5) Parenting websites (notably humor sites with comment sections)

6) Facebook

7) Day Care

8) Schools (most notably during pick up, drop off, recitals, or open houses)

9) Birthday parties

Social Behaviors: Sanctimommies are highly social beings that tend to gravitate toward the center of communal groups in order to monopolize conversations. It is not uncommon for Sanctimommies to flex their uncanny ability to take nearly any subject matter and make it about them specifically.

The following are 5 examples of obnoxious linguistic behavior as observed from the field:

1) You should feel SO BLESSED.

2) MY kids have never done this.

3) I didn’t even read the article because it is just so stupid.

4) I have never experienced this, this is stupid.

5) Ugh. This is stupid.

Known conversational topics that will trigger a Sanctimommy to broadcast his or her outrage and objection to an idea by inserting his or her parenting style, philosophy, and skills into a discussion include:

1) Anyone posting anything on the subject of parenting on the Internet.

2) Mentioning vaccines, organic food, screen time, or sleep training.

3) Suggesting that parenting is exhausting.

4) Hiring a babysitter.

5) Lamenting the freedom of pre-children days.

6) Suggesting that you do not always feel SO BLESSED.

7) Suggesting or mentioning that it is 2 p.m. can you please have some wine yet?

8) Having a sense of humor about parenting.

9) Daring to parent without a philosophy that has books and websites to back it up.

10) Posting e-cards that make fun of parenthood on Facebook.

CAUTION: Do not approach a Sanctimommy. Although not physically dangerous, they do exhibit unpredictable comportment when their views are challenged. Behavioral indicators include but are not limited to self-martyring, preaching, the use of ALL CAPS, citing celebrities in poorly formed arguments, and declaring the stupidity of the subject matter or situation at hand.

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