How a Free Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Insulted my Motherhood

I love Dunkin’ Donuts.

I love their breakfast sandwiches. I love their coffee. I love their connection to my hometown of Boston, MA.

What I do not love, is being hit on by the “charming” gentleman who works their drive-thru.

Now don’t freak out. You’ve not accidentally stumbled into a #humblebrag post about how difficult it is to be a beautiful woman, fighting off suitors with one hand while powdering her nose with the other. No this is something entirely different; this is a post about how insulting and downright clueless some people can be when it comes to interacting with women who have children.

Let me replay the event that inspired this post for you…

I pull around to pick up my free iced coffee (DD Perks, what WHAT!?!) and this fella who works the window (and not for nothing, has gotten my order wrong at least a half a dozen times) leans out and stares at me for like three seconds too long. I’m not big on maintaining prolonged eye contact with strangers, so I’m already a little put off, when he leans out the window and says, “How are you so gorgeous and you have two kids?”

My whole body turned inside out. Did he really just say that? Is this real life?

Completely taken aback, I muttered something like, “Just got lucky, I guess” and then suddenly became extremely interested in the coin purse in my wallet. If I’m being honest, all I really wanted to do was kick him in his coin purse, but I didn’t think that would be a good example to set for my two boys, who were sitting innocently in the back seat.

As if this whole unfortunate exchange wasn’t enough, this bloke then had the audacity to try and charge me for my drink. “It’s supposed to be free.” I reminded him curtly and drove away with that same feeling I used to get when some drunk guy would sneak up behind me at a bar and just start dancing.

(Um, I’m sorry, I was just standing still drinking my Miller Lite. If I wanted you to gyrate on my backside, I would have beckoned you over here. I do know how to beckon.)

Anyway, as I continued to drive (we were on our way to the zoo), I kept looking in the rearview mirror at my sweet, smiling boys and that awful feeling would start rising up again.

“How are you so gorgeous and you have two kids?”

As if my two kids were somehow supposed to have damaged me on their way out. As if somehow my two kids were supposed to make me boring and unattractive and worthless.

His comments were not only insulting because they were inappropriate and unwelcome (I doubt hitting on drive-thru patrons is encouraged in the Dunkin’ Donuts employee handbook), but because they insinuated that once a woman has a child, that’s it – her worth has expired and her children were her downfall.

And apparently, I take offense to that.

Sure, being a mother (or any caregiver) is exhausting. Sure, some days (or weeks) I don’t put on makeup, or brush my hair or clean the goop out of the corners of my eyes, but that doesn’t mean that, on those days, I am less valuable. It doesn’t mean that, on those days, my children have ruined me.

What it means is that we moms (or any caregiver) sometimes choose to prioritize differently. Of course, when time permits, we still like to look our best, but if we don’t have the extra five minutes to stick in our contact lenses and slap on some mascara, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed as women and it certainly doesn’t mean we’ve been de-feminized by our children.

All it means is that sometimes, getting to the zoo before the crowd, might be a little more important than scraping the vomit off our t-shirt. And on those days, Dunkin’ Donuts guy? On those days, I still expect my free coffee to be free.


  1. Victoria Garretson April 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Right on, Kelly !!! I can sooo relate to those kinds of comments hitting so unexpectedly and being ill-prepared to respond properly !! All the “wish I would’ve”s !

  2. I too was the lucky and proud mom bringing her son to cogelle. We had to fly Southwest becasue bags fly free and bags he had. He took but a couple of days to cram 200 pounds of stuff into 4 bags. I watched nervously as he weighed each one the night before. He proudly announced 48.5, 47.8, 49 and the winner 49.2 . We were quite the team dragging all this plus our carry-ons throught each airport, into the rental car and up the flight of stairs to his apartment. I had eyes of sympathy on me from Norwell to Charleston!! I got home and began to recover only to hear that hurricane Irene has her eye on Charleston are you kidding me? After all that effort she’d better set her eye on somewhere else and leave his 200 pounds of stuff alone!!

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