Pride or Prejudice by Tracie Stern

I love this piece by Tracie because as a woman and a mother, I can relate to all the thoughts and feelings she wrote about–even if for just a few moments. Haven’t we all felt like these characters at some point in our lives?

Here’s Tracie…

You are walking down the grocery store aisle. As a mother of three, you are dressed for comfort and mobility as your list of “To Do” things is long and exhausting. Approaching you from the other end is a woman whose appearance is the kind that makes you take a second look. Her hair is done, not overly but naturally, soft curls pulled back into a half bun, her nails are done and her makeup is natural but enhancing. Her fashion is modern and understated yet as a whole she draws your eye in with an almost sense of admiration because she looks so well put together. At first sight, do you take the stand of pride or prejudice in how this woman is presenting herself?

This situation takes an out-of-body approach. Imagine you are watching the scene unfold as an impartial 3rd party. You see the mom, dressed in a combination of stretchy pants and flats with an over sized sweater. As a description goes, frumpy may come to mind. There is a small child in the cart, eating Cheerios from a plastic bag as mom goes over the list she has written so as to not forget anything. The baggy clothes could be hiding anything–a great figure or in the moms eyes, maybe figure flaws brought on by years of neglect, children, or a forgotten sense of self. No one really knows, as it’s next to impossible to see through it.

When the mom notices the woman approaching from the other end, she will in that instant make a decision. That mom will either judge this woman with a sense of prejudice due to her own self-confidence issues or she will embrace the pride this woman has in herself and give her some mental applause. Which one are you?

It’s all too easy for us as women to take down one another in a setting such as this. Or any setting where one woman forces us to take a good look at ourselves. It’s much easier for us to ignore what we know to be the truth and pass that ignorance onto the other person. After all, we don’t know them. We won’t be hurting their feelings by passing unfair judgment. We have nothing to lose by mentally slicing this person apart because they have gone that extra step to decorate themselves and in turn, in our eyes, make us look bad.

Were there days when you would get up, do your hair, have a master plan of what you are going to wear? Did you ever dream the night before an event or situation of what you would put together to get the result you desired? Did you ever like a guy? Someone who you wanted to impress or dare I say it, seduce? Is that man now your husband or boyfriend?

It’s a difficult transition to make, woman to wife, wife to mom. As far as identity crises are concerned, I believe these are at the top of the list. You no longer are responsible only for yourself. You now have the reputation of your mate to consider. You have the actions shown to your children to think about. From here on out,  everything you do is watched, judged, and maybe recorded mentally by someone else to categorize you as either appropriate or inappropriate. Your opinion of yourself is no longer at the forefront of your mind; you now walk around catering your self-worth to how others perceive you?

Where is it written that because you are now a mom or of a certain age that your clothing or appearance has to take a dive? Where does it say that sweatpants and t- shirts are now your only options where wardrobe is concerned? It’s time to self analyze yourselves ladies.

by The Notebook Doodles

You alone are in total control of your destiny. You alone control how you feel about yourself and you alone control the situations around you. It’s your choice to wake up in the morning. It’s your choice to take a shower, do your hair, and put on makeup. It’s your choice that controls what you see in the mirror every day. If you don’t like what you see, sit back, be honest with yourself, and see where your viewpoint changed.  Did you gain weight when you got married? When you had children? Do you find it easier to just hide behind your life and not live it? There is a solution to every problem. There is help around every corner. Google is your new best friend. Want to lose weight? Get healthier? Go back to where you were 5, 10, 20 years ago? 

Research it. Knowledge is power and with today’s access to everything www., You are no longer trapped in the house. You can work out online, you can diet online, and you can talk to others in your situation online. With the internet, you can never use the excuse you are alone. No internet? Try using your phone. Call a friend, tell them how you feel, what you want to do to claim your pride back, and have them hold you accountable. You may find that by swallowing your pride enough to admit your weaknesses that your friend may have those same thoughts and decide to embrace her pride and join you on the new journey to decorate yourself.

There is no one to blame but yourself. When you are able to see that, embrace that, and change that, the next time you wander down the supermarket aisle, you will no longer see that beautiful, well put together person as a threat, because that well put together person will be you.

Tracie Stern

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mamajosie
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 07:21:42

    I generally like this blog, but is this article is meant to knock every mom a down a peg for not looking like she walked out of a magazine? Wow. I know she means to make you judge the frumpy mom for being judgemental, but she is judging the frumpy mom for being frumpy.

    “There’s no one to blame but yourself” is not a good finger to point. That can apply to oh-so-many motherly situations.

    My advice to the author – stop judging. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. Maybe judgmental frumpy mom has more on her plate than you realize. And no, she shouldn’t be judgmental and jealous, but neither should you. Maybe it’s time for you to self analyze.


    • Liz
      Apr 26, 2011 @ 07:53:17

      Hi MamaJosie,

      I love Tracie’s post because I think it hits a nerve and brings to light a larger issue, which you mentioned–judging in general. I appreciate you bringing up that the judging goes both ways.

      I most certainly have been the sweats and t-shirt gal, and I am fine with that. In fact, I’m heading out the door to drop off my kiddos at school right now with no make up and my work out gear on (leggings and t-shirt). I’m ready to go running! I have also been the dressier gal, and am fine with that too.

      Thank you for your comment!!


  2. Carla Altland
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 09:48:00

    Thank you for posting this, what I would do if this was me at the grocery store seeing this other woman , I would smile and say something positive about how lovely she looks or I love the color of her dress or eyes,etc.

    I like you have been both ways, sometimes not the best weight for my health and also not have money for clothes and make up. But to be jealous of another is not good for me and I am also agreeing about judging goes both ways. Sometimes , we can not judge a book by its cover and it takes more effort to see the real person in that grocery store. I see so many unhappy people there with no eye contact and no smiles and yelling on their cell phones.

    People are not just what they wear and God looks on the heart and not the appearance and so should we do the same. Thanks again for this posting!! sincerely, Carla Altland


  3. Valerie Todesco
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 10:10:18

    I think that anytime a written peice causes a spark, and ignites us to chime in with our own opinion and interpretation, it’s a positive thing. What Tracie has done here is opened up a dialogue. As with anything, we bring our own perceptions to things, as individuals, according to how we see ourselves, and how we fit into the world around us. I too have inhabited both forms, frumpy/dumpy to glamourpuss. I am comfortable both ways, and I believe I am, overall, comfortable in myself. I know through wisdom and life experience that if a person were to make me feel less confident because she had outdone me in any area, that the issue there is not with anyone other than myself. And quite frankly, I can and do get stuck in a rut and appreciate a gentle, cheerleading-coaxing out. Thanks!


  4. Liz
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 19:19:48

    I agree that anything smartly written that gets conversation going is GOOD!


  5. traciesterntheblog
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 19:48:12

    That was awesome reading! This is exactly what I was going for. As I sit here and read these responses I am in my yoga pants and tank top, the same outfit I wore earlier to the grocery store. If you visit my personal blog site, you will find a little of me in everything I write. As with the above article, I have been on both ends of that supermarket aisle. There was a time in my life where I totally felt out of control and when I saw that woman who just seemed to have it all together I would pass judgment. Just as I have been judged. I totally agree with Val that if I someone brings on a feeling in me that results in a less then positive outlook, it’s my own issues that need to be addressed. No one can make me feel anything I don’t already.
    Thank you to all the ladies who have taken this article and felt it and saw it for what it was. Keep the lines of communication open! This is great.


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