The holidays can be financially draining for families, especially for single parents, who may feel extra pressure to make Christmas wishes come true.
In a blog post for TODAY, Suzanne Hayes, a single mother of three, reveals how a pair of Lululemon shorts taught her a valuable lesson about pride, envy and how a person’s worth isn’t defined by their bank account.
The Simsbury, Connecticut-based writer revealed that as a “poor mom living in a rich-mom world” she often felt resentful of parents who didn’t have to worry about money. The “rich moms” would talk freely about buying pricey Lululemon leggings, often referred to as “Lulus,” while Hayes quietly judged from a distance.
“My stomach dropped and my defenses rose every time I eavesdropped: Must be nice to live that way,” she wrote. “Do they have any idea what it is like to have $40 in the bank with 10 days left before payday? What the hell are Lulus anyway?”
Hayes admitted she took pride in her struggle, allowing her dislike of the other moms to make her feel “righteous” until her daughter asked for pair of US$58 Lululemon shorts.
“The truth is, the more I looked, the more Lululemon I saw. The shorts were cute and I imagined if I were a teenager, I would want a pair, too. Before I knew it, I wanted my daughter to have a pair. Hell, I wanted a pair for myself,” Hayes said. “With $58 budgeted, we went to the store and tried on all the shorts. When I stepped into a pair of black shorts I looked in the mirror and exhaled. I loved them. And I got it. Sure, they were expensive, but they were worth every penny. These rich moms that I have been judging, envying and labelling have more money than I do. So what?”
For Hayes, the shorts represented an opportunity to learn not to “judge others out of envy,” and to let go of her pride that was preventing her from asking for help. In order to relieve herself of the financial pressure around the holidays, Hayes registered her family with her local Social Services to have gifts donated by who she realized might just be the “rich moms” she had judged.
“I had thought I had them all figured out. Then I stepped into their world (their shorts, actually) and they stepped into mine and for that I am grateful,” Hayes wrote. “Judging others and feeling envy are not things I can change overnight...I am working on it day by day. And guess what? I finally got myself some Lululemon shorts and they remind me that the size of our bank accounts doesn’t define us. A nice brand doesn’t make you greedy, and how others choose to spend their money is quite honestly none of my business.”
Hayes’s message about letting go of resentment and asking for help resonated with readers who know the struggle to provide during the holidays.
“I feel this mama’s pain and I am so proud of her for reaching out for help when she needed it,” one reader wrote. “It’s not easy needing help, especially when you’ve always been in a position to help others. But thank goodness for the kindness and generosity of people who can afford to help.”
Another added, “After my ex husband left me with four kids six weeks before Christmas for someone else i had no idea how i was going to have any Christmas. I applied for help with a community giving tree and was blessed beyond measure. I have an amazing life now and always make sure to give back anyway I can. Twice I have been able to be on the other end buying for other kids and it's such an amazing feeling and experience.”