My first year of gardening, I learned that if I wanted red bell peppers, I would have to leave the green peppers on the vine longer. Turns out, green peppers are peppers that haven’t fully matured yet. When they are allowed to ripen, they will (usually) turn yellow and then into sweet, delicious red.
Spring is coming, which means I will be planting peppers in the garden again soon. It has me thinking about sanctiparents. See, these “perfect” parents are a lot like the unripened green peppers, only green peppers are delightful, and sanctiparents make you feel bad about your life choices.
Sanctiparents are the people who believe that their way of parenting is the only way, and anyone who strays from their ridiculous sancti-standards is guilty of endangering a child.
In other words, these people just haven’t ripened yet.
There has been some hilarious backlash against sanctiparents, like this post from Mommyish and this page on Facebook. The animosity could be viewed as justified, because sanctiparents make us flawed parents feel like garbage.
I’m wondering, though, if we need to cut the sanctiparents some slack.
Hear me out.
I was once a sanctimommy.
I had an unmedicated birth, as all sanctimommies do. I believed that doing so would mean my child would have no problems in life (again, as all sanctimommies do). When my son was three weeks old, we spent a long weekend with our extended family. My niece, then three months old, was there, and she was screaming her head off.
“Why does she cry all the time?” my husband asked.
I, in true sanctimommy bitch mode, rolled my eyes and said, “C-section.”
Yes, I said that.
Fortunately, life soon handed me a dose of WAKE THE F UP. I quickly learned that despite your good intentions, Bradley laboring and non-GMO pantry, your kids will cry, eat junk food, break bones, break hearts, talk back, use curse words, hate you, then love you, then hate you again, bite, hit, whine and be ungrateful.
Sanctiparents just haven’t caught on yet. Their idyllic take on parenting is so far fetched, it’s cute. It’s endearing, really, like when my son tells me that he’s going to the moon one day (oh, sweetie, not with the way you do math).
These sweet little sancti-cisms can really sneak up on you. During a play date, a fellow parent asked me why I had a gate around our Christmas tree.
“Why, to keep the kids from climbing it, of course,” I replied.
He looked at me incredulously and said, “Can’t you just tell them not to climb the tree, and then they won’t?”
He was totally serious. He has two adorable little girls who always obey their parents. He couldn’t fathom that other children don’t work that way.
Isn’t that totally stinkin’ adorable? It took everything in me not to pat his pretty little head.
He’ll eventually get it. I don’t think sanctiparents stay that way forever. And if they do, no one knows about it because there is no way anyone would associate with them.
We need to leave the sanctiparents alone. Let their snarky comments roll right over you. Responding to them just feeds their sancti-thinking. If you leave them alone to tend to their children, they will hit a point when they realize that parenting is hard and no one is perfect and maybe wine at 2 in the afternoon IS the solution after all.
This whole sanctiparents thing is going to resolve itself. Leave them alone on the vine, and they’ll eventually ripen.