Smug mommy. Why is that a thing?
It’s one of those stereotypes you hear about all of the time when you’re pregnant, and you kind of think it’s exaggerated. People can’t really be like that. Strangers don’t honestly weigh in on your parenting in public. People don’t mom-shame you at the gym. You’re not really going to get backhanded remarks about your two-year-old acting like a two-year-old.
But holy bananas. Smug mommy is REAL.
Smug feeds her kids all of the right foods. She knows how to strike a balance between fun playtime partner and stern disciplinarian. Smug mommy would never do what you’re doing because what you’re doing is so obviously sub-optimal.
That’s probably the common theme with all the smugness. It’s not that Smug Mommy thinks you’re a bad parent. You’re just not a particularly good parent.
Smug Mommy wonders how any parent could possibly feel frustrated at five straight snow days. Don’t you want to soak up every extra moment with your children? Smug Mommy wonders if you’ve even bothered to google the long-term effects of what you’re feeding your kids. Smug Mommy hears you say you can’t afford to buy all local, organic, whatever. But she thinks you could probably make some sacrifices if it was really important to you. Like it is to her. She makes sacrifices because she cares about her family’s health. She can’t help but share the latest research with you about children watching television. She’s just concerned. Smug Mommy has not yet memorized every word to every song in Moana. She is pretty sure her child is actually quite verbally advanced for her age. Her child? Probably a gifted learner. Especially with all of the time spent on academics in her house.
Smug Mommy thinks well-behaved children are entirely her own accomplishment. In the battle of nature vs nurture, she believes nurture single-handedly wins. She has a lot of advice for you on how you can replicate her parenting preferences. Her children are wonderful. Everyone loves them. They are a joy to every teacher and caregiver and even the little old ladies at the grocery story. Why wouldn’t you want your children to be exactly like her children?
Smug Mommy won’t say that to you verbatim. But she implies it often. Her “helpful” tips and disapproving stares tell you everything you need to know about her opinion of your parenting. And actually? Sometimes she will say this stuff to you verbatim. Know better, do better, of course.
Don’t mistake Genuinely Awesome Mommy for Smug Mommy. Genuinely Awesome Mommy is your role model. She’s a crazy good parent and a wonderful friend. Her children are a delight, but she’ll tell you the occasional story of when her toddler painted the wall with poop and she cried in the pantry. She can sense when you need encouragement, and she’s all too happy to provide it. Genuinely Awesome Mommy has strong parenting preferences because she has discovered through trial-and-error and research and sheer dumb luck the perfect combination of parenting strategies for her child’s needs. She will share them with you if you ask, but she also recognizes that all children are different and reminds you that what works for her might not work for you. Genuinely Awesome Mommy is not smug at all. She’s just genuinely awesome.