The pot, the kettle, and me.

I shop at yard sales. I enjoy it. I shop at thrift stores. I enjoy it. I shop at department stores, I tolerate it. I don’t shop at expensive stores. I hate them.

Yes, hate is a strong word. A little too strong, it turns out.

Yesterday during a kids’ event I was talking to the moms there and one of them, who I usually get along great with, kept mentioning the expensive brand of clothes she “has to buy” for her children before school starts. If she said it once, she said it a dozen times. I wanted to sock her in the jaw.

Instead, I mentioned something about my kids not being “brand aware”- when what I really wanted to say was “brand slave” or “so insecure that they need somebody else’s name on their clothes.” Can you feel my rage growing?

And that’s when the alarm bells started going off. Why was her name dropping making me so angry? Usually I can laugh those things off in the privacy of my head, but this time it was like an IV searching for a vein. She needled me.

Again, why? I’m very happy with my style of dress and what my kids wear. I’m super thrilled that they don’t give a hoot about brand names. Why was I so threatened by my friend’s boasts?

Three words: I’m a snob. (Four if you count the contraction). You see, before my friend started going on about how much she spends for her children, one of the other moms mentioned she liked my purse. And my reaction was, “Isn’t it great! I got it for 50 cents at a yard sale!”

I have non-brand dependency pride. (Trust me, it’s a thing.)

I am just as prideful about NOT spending a lot of money on clothes as my friend is on spending a lot of money on clothes. Yet I felt superior to her – and how dare she try to feel superior to me! Couldn’t she see that I had clearly won the Puts Good Character Above Possessions Award? Because I did… I totally won that…..

Unless of course, pridefulness isn’t Good Character… and maybe hating my friend for spending her money in ways I wouldn’t…. and anger at her for having to boast about it, while ignoring that I had boasted before her about not spending money….

Okay, okay. I clearly didn’t win. Neither of us did. Because there is no contest. There is no award. We are both women who are prideful about how we spend or don’t spend money. And if there’s an award for that, I sure don’t want to win it.

In the long run my over-reactive anger served me well. It helped me realize my pride, and that my friend and I are just fellow sojourners battling insecurity. That’s one of the realities of being a mom – finding peace with who we are and who our children are without having to tear down others who do it differently. And honestly, how my friends spend their money on their kids is none of my business.

So if I can hang out with her and her brand names, and she can hangout with me and my kids wearing hand-me-downs, we’ll continue to get along just fine. Even if we never bump into each other while shopping.

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2 Responses to The pot, the kettle, and me.

  1. parkgang says:

    the other day on FB I posted an opinion about a something that caused someone I don’t know get very aggressive and indignant towards my post, I began to feel the need to come back swinging then got to think about just how should I respond and then I took a minute to think about just why did I feel that way about my original post. I didn’t change my opinion but I did not engage either but only stated that this was my opinion. I feel Sometimes all that Christian upbringing kicks in and helps us step out of situations that our soul don’t need to threat about, Love your blog post today,good to see you are creating too!!!

  2. What’s good about this post aside from the fact that it’s written very very well is that it makes room for introspection (and not everyone does that). Being human, we all have our “moments”, but it takes guts to say “This was mine.” Yes, I see both sides of this (I wouldn’t have cared for her bragging either) but I too recognize when I react with sensitivity. I like lots of stores, and I really like it when I can find something at a thrift shop. You can get great, and cute stuff for very little $. A good post, Al.

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