I've been thinking about privilege lately, and what a big part of life it is.
I'm not talking about monetary privilege, though many privileges are related to financial status. I'm talking about ways in which one's life is easy (by comparison) that escape one's regular notice.
I read a piece recently in which the author talked about the times she wears her baby out of necessity rather than because she likes it. The last example she used was doing chores, and she showed a picture of herself vacuuming with her toddler strapped to her back. She'd rather do chores without the baby, of course, but thank goodness babywearing allows her to get them done at all.
And I grinned and shook my head because here is something I notice all the time since having multiples: Singleton Privilege.
I never BLAME anyone for having Singleton Privilege. I had it myself, back in the day. It is normal that most people have it, and I am happy for them. But nevertheless, it's a privilege: being able to count on getting stuff done when the baby is taken care of, because there is only one baby.
Parents of multiples as well as parents of children tightly spaced together know how awesome the only one baby phenomenon is, but usually not until they don't have it any more. Trust me, I used to feel the burden of my one baby very keenly, so I am never rolling my eyes or judging you for your Singleton Privilege. I just notice it, is all.
I think it's easy to see privileges we don't personally have. I am always noticing how other people have the freedom to sleep through the night or quiet houses or abundant free time or other things that are missing from my life right now, but it's easy for me to overlook my own numerous privileges.
So, okay. What are my privileges? I guess most of them are related to having a strong happy marriage/family and a steady sufficient income, but that plays out in many different ways. I'm wondering how often someone else could look at me and think, "She doesn't know how lucky she is" while I'm over here rolling my eyes at how hard my life feels.
A (non-exhaustive) list of my privileges:
- Healthy Family Privilege. I SAY that I'm aware of this one, but I'm prone to forgetting it regularly. I've seen the way a minor short-term illness requiring hospitalization takes its toll on our family. Dealing with chronic or life-threatening illness? I actually cannot imagine, and I'm grateful for the fact that I don't have to. Health is a HUGE privilege.
- And for that matter, Health Insurance Privilege. So we don't have to worry about going bankrupt if one of us DOES get sick or injured.
- Co-Parent Privilege, in the form of a husband who pulls [more than] his weight. Did you guys know I NEVER (except maybe on Bryan's birthday and Father's Day, or when he's out of town) get up with the children in the morning? Bryan does that, every day. I sleep anywhere from one to two hours after they all get up between 7 and 8am, and he changes morning diapers and feeds them breakfast and deals with all the little morning tasks that make my non-morning-person head pound. Bryan also does a large share of night duty, so he is obviously getting the WAY short end of the stick here, but he doesn't seem to mind.
- I could give a zillion more examples of how I have total Husband Privilege, but he gets kind of embarrassed when I rave about him, so you'll have to take my word for it.
- Two-Car Privilege. I've got a van sitting in the garage that will take my children and me anywhere we need to go anytime we want to go there. We also have money to afford gas. I totally take this one for granted, but I know that if I lost it suddenly I'd miss it dreadfully.
- What I think of as Holiday Logistics Privilege, but it's actually much bigger than that. Both my parents and Bryan's parents are still married to each other. They also live in the same town, a 90-minute drive from here. Everyone is friendly with each other, and they all love us and their grandchildren in an eager, generous, but not stifling way, and honestly it could hardly be easier. We're lucky.
I could go on for pages here about all the ways in which I've got it good (my kids sleep all night in their own beds without nightmares! we live in an area with reasonable cost of living! a school we're excited to send our kids to! enough money for tuition! spousal agreement on family-size/spacing issues! lots of good local restaurants! I could go on indefinitely!) but frankly, I'm feeling overwhelmed enough by my own blessings today.
So. It's your turn.
What are your privileges?
(I'm also totally interested in hearing about what privileges you notice others taking for granted. But try not to, y'know, overdo it.)