Is Becoming the 'Can I Speak to the Manager' Meme Inevitable for Parents?
If you feel like your fuse is getting shorter and shorter, these moms on Reddit can relate.
It will come as a surprise to no one that research from the American Pediatrics Association (APA) found that moms were more likely than dads to report that their stress levels are on the rise, and they were also much more likely than men to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress. For better or worse—okay, probably just worse—we tend to accept ever-mounting stress as a natural part of motherhood. And it's precisely that stress that one Redditor says has made it possible for her to relate to the popular, disparaging "Can I speak to your manager?" or Karen internet meme, which has been described on KnowYourMeme.com as "an antagonistic female character... an irritating, entitled woman."
In a post in the Beyond the Bump subreddit, the mom, writing under the handle HerryPerdersWernd, explained, "When I was in high school and college, I worked at McDonald's and then at a grocery store. I could never understand how people could be SO rude. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s going to happen, and I always thought it was insane how much people could freak out over them. But now... now that I have a 2-year-old and an almost 2-month-old, I’m starting to get it more and more."
She said she's "not rude to anyone's face" but her "inner dialogue has definitely changed." Things she used to brush off as no problem annoy her "SO much, because even little things have turned into a huge inconvenience."
- RELATED: Karen's Mom Wants to Speak to the Manager of the Internet: Stop Making My Daughter's Name a Meme
The original poster (OP) elaborated, "Messed up order at the drive thru? With no kids, whatever. When it’s messed up and your options are either wait in the huge drive-thru line again or get two kids out of their car seats and go inside, it is now a big inconvenience!"
Another example: HerryPerdersWernd is on maternity leave and her husband is back at work, and the couple took their Shark robot vacuum to a place to be fixed that closes at 5 and is only open during the week. "When I finally went to go pick it up and brought it home, it had the same issue," the OP wrote. "It doesn't even turn on, so they must not have done anything, even though they said they replaced the battery and fixed the charger. I paid $120 to have it fixed, and I want it to work because with two dogs, it’s a lifesaver. I have no choice but to go back, and lug a baby, a toddler and a vacuum into the store, and at some point I will have to do the same to pick it up (and they are going to show me in the store that it works this time)."
She concluded that she is "still nice," but "honestly I don't know how long it will last. I feel like my fuse is getting shorter and shorter. Anyone else feel like this?"
Fellow Redditors assured the OP that, at least in both cases she described, she was in the right.
One writing under the handle TiredFTMom321 noted, "I think there’s a difference between things being done incorrectly and things just taking too long or not being catered to you. I would be infuriated if I paid for a service, like getting a vacuum fixed, even if I didn't have to lug kids around! That makes sense! Or even if your order is wrong...that's a service you paid for, and it should be done correctly. Now getting mad, because they sold out of what you wanted to order might be a bit much."
Another named Luckyloolil shared, "There's a difference between being assertive and standing up for yourself and being an asshole. As someone who also spent a lot of time in retail, I really try to be kind to salespeople. That being said, I've really been putting effort to being more assertive, and do not have any issues standing up for myself anymore."
Applepyatx commiserated, "Not that it excuses any Karens out there, but having kids definitely causes tempers to be shortened, nerves to be frayed, and patience to be limited. ... Lugging anything big or bulky with kids sucks!"
With hope, the response served to reassure the OP that she's justified in advocating for herself. Asking that you receive the product or service you paid for doesn't make someone a Karen. And if it does, a busy, understandably stressed supermom should wear that label with pride.