Social media has created a generation of women that are raising their children as ‘naturally’ as possible. They only use alternative medicine, eat organic foods, never use screens, and practice attachment and gentle parenting. These mothers are constantly pointing out your shortcomings and making ‘normal’ mothers feel bad for their choices.
Their stanch belief in all things natural means they love to shame other mothers for embracing technology, pharmaceuticals, and allowing processed foods in their homes. In the wild west of online, these mothers can be difficult to spot. They are subtly judgmental and condescending.
Sometimes their polite ability to insult you can go unnoticed. Here are four ways to spot a ‘crunchy’ or ‘natural’ sanctimonious mom online.
She’s Obsessed By What Children Eat
Sanctimommy, we will call Karen, is obsessed with what she feeds her children. Karen exclusively breastfed her kids for the first 54 months of their lives. While other mothers are running out the door and fighting with their kids to tie their shoes, Karen is making organic, free-range, gluten, dye-free, and sugar-free super food for her kids.
She only shops at the most expensive stores to ensure her products are 100% organic and non-GMO. Karen believes GMOs cause cancer and non-organic food contains too many pesticides.
Online she brags that she cooks everything from scratch to ensure her children don’t eat the ‘chemicals’ found in processed foods.
By combing through her favorite books written by Food Babe and google articles, Karen is confident she knows more than a certified dietician. When someone shares a random gripe online about their child’s picky eating or poor diet, she jumps on the opportunity to share her opinion.
She reminds parents to “try harder” to ensure their children eat a balanced diet. Then she shames the parent for allowing ‘junk’ food in their home. Karen also reminds her ‘friends’ that good moms don’t take the ‘easy way out’ and bring fast food into their homes.
She Doesn’t Believe in Modern Medicine
Since Karen is always so busy making her ‘from scratch’ food, she is convinced that nutrition and supplements are the best way to keep a child healthy.
At night, she goes online to read all about the ‘toxins’ and ‘chemicals’ in pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Through her research, Karen earns her Google M.D. and becomes an authority on alternative health.
After graduating with honors from Google Medical School, she fills her home with homeopathic remedies to treat all ailments. Her go-to for most minor issues is breastmilk. Breastmilk cures all!
Instead of antibiotics for ear infections, she drips garlic oil into her kid’s ears. When her children have a cold, she loads them up on vitamin C and shoves copious amounts of elderberry syrup down their throats.
Her children only see a naturopath, chiropractor, or ‘holistic pediatrician because she refuses to vaccinate. When she was pregnant with her first child, a documentary she watched on Netflix convinced her vaccines caused autism. Netflix also taught her pills are bad, ADHD isn’t real, and the food industry is corrupt.
When her children are in the middle of a medical emergency, Karen always goes online to ask for help. She posts photos of her child’s burns, poops, vomit, and cuts. Her other sanctimonious friends ensure her that her children can be treated naturally.
On her timeline, she shares memes about vaccine dangers and pharmaceutical conspiracies. She uses her time to protect everyone from ‘Big Pharma.’
Her Children Never Use Screens
After Karen finished her medical and nutrition degrees, she started an online psychology program through Google College of Psychology. After three nights of reading online articles, she learned all about the dangers of allowing children to use tablets, phones, and laptops.
As a result, her children never watch any programming or use digital learning apps. Karen’s kids use their time by using their imagination. She makes handmade crafts that she found on Pinterest.
When they are done with crafts, she starts her homeschool curriculum. Karen would never send her child to public school. She believes public schools kill the imagination and poison her children with ‘worldly thoughts.’ Her homeschool curriculum teaches six different languages, math, alternative health, yoga, and the magical healing of crystals.
By the time her kids are five years old, she goes online to brag about their intelligence. She attributes all of their achievements to not allowing screens in her homes. When other parents post about their children’s struggles, she reminds them that their ‘lazy parenting’ and ‘dependence’ on screens is to blame.
She Practices Attachment/Gentle Parenting
Since Karen is an expert in child development and psychology, her kids never act out or misbehave. Instead, they are allowed to live without rules or boundaries. Her online mommy group told her that children should never cry it out and never be told no.
She practices attachment parenting and never leaves her kid’s sides. At night she shares a king-sized bed with her husband and three gremlin children.
She allows her children to all take turns nursing themselves to sleep. By sleeping with her children every night, the kids never feel scared or unloved. Online she calls mothers that allow their children to sleep alone ‘heartless’ and ‘cruel.’
When her kids aren’t doing crafts or homeschool, she allows them to run free and be ‘kids.’ She has no house rules because they dimish the ‘spirit’ of her child. Karen is very concerned about her children never feeling bad because that would ruin their self-esteem.
With these thoughts in mind, she showers her children with compliments, hugs, kisses, and never, ever raises her voice. Her children are not just her kids; they are her friends. She believes all parents that yell or raise their voices at children are ‘violent’ and ‘out of control.’
Online she scolds any of her friends that jokingly refer to their children as ‘jerks’ or ‘brats.’ She judgementally comments that children should only ever hear non-violent and positive language in their homes. Karen has no sense of humor and doesn’t find jokes about children funny.
What to do when you spot Karen online
When you are sure you have located Karen online, there are a few things you must do to ensure your safety and well-being.
- Do not engage with her polite banter about processed food
- Do not open her links – I repeat do not open her links. They will send you down a rabbit hole that may swallow you whole.
- Politely decline her offers to help you ‘research’ vaccines and pharmaceuticals
- When she offers to bring you bone broth, elderberry syrup, or garlic oil, block, block, block!
- If she tells you to cook from scratch and only buy organic, immediately ignore her. Responding to Karen will only fuel her desire to teach you about ‘proper’ nutrition.
- When she offers to teach you about the benefits of attachment parenting, run as fast as you can. Like literally, put down your phone and run.
- If she tells you about the dangers of screentime, remind her that she’s talking to you on a screen.
Now that you know how to identify Karen and handle her judgemental suggestions, you are prepared to go online. Remember that even though Karen thinks you are a crappy parent, you are doing the best you can. Karen is the one that needs help not you.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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