The two main things I want to do here is to firstly acknowledge my white privilege and how that has and is assisting in my parenting endeavours – see here. Secondly, I found a parallel between my early parenting attitudes and attitudes I see when white privilege is raised, which is this article.
This was a massive light bulb moment for me. Relating my parenting luck to privilege. And I wanted to share. This is a very light piece, it does not go anywhere deep enough into the depths or crevices of white privilege or positive action that such a topic deserves or requires. I own that.
I have a good baby.
There I said it.
I hate the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ etc to describe perfect little humans. I think all babies are doing their absolute best, in a tiny little human body. I use this term for the farther reaching connotations of it.
She is amazing and mellow. She cries when she needs something, and not at other times. She sleeps decently – and I am currently enjoying 5-7 hour stretches once a night.
AND I FEEL ENTITLED TO THIS.
And I think this is a reflection of my parenting. I think that her being mellow and calm and ‘good’ – is because of me, and my attempts / ability to meet her needs in a timely manner.
I get VERY defensive when people point out my ‘good’ baby’s demeanour as ‘luck’. This is not luck, I scream internally, this is me pre-empting, and reacting to my baby’s needs. I have worked hard. Parenting is hard. My good baby is hard. And I am the deciding factor between her ease or not, due to my actions. Or so my entitled internal voice hisses.
But what if it is luck? What if some babies are more mellow than other babies? I ask that sincerely because, I genuinely don’t know, and find it exceptionally difficult to pry my judgments off of poor unsuspecting parents with less than mellow babies.
– Parents who, I need to add, are absolutely doing their best for their bubbas, families and themselves. As we all are.
What if I am only doing the bare minimum correctly – enough to keep us all mostly alive, and the rest is just a series of luck and good fortune? What if those poor mommas with screaming bubbas are doing everything correctly, but their bubbas just need to scream? And what am I doing with my mental capacity to support and build up other mommas?
I am lucky to have a baby whose needs I can and do meet. I am privileged.
In the same way that I have white privilege.
White privilege is so often felt as an entitlement.
I am entitled to that effective teacher because I am a good student.
I am entitled to that job because I worked hard for it.
I am entitled to that promotion because of my contribution and efforts.
I am entitled to that rental house because I have excellent references.
I am entitled to overlook racism because I am not consciously overtly racist.
I am entitled to this privilege because the I didn’t set up the oppressive systems that assert my privilege, I just benefit from them.
White people generally (as a whole) can become VERY defensive at the notion of white privilege. Equality and equal rights seems like “reverse racism” where I am adversely ‘discriminated’ against.
I am white by chance. I feel entitled to my achievements, as a testament to my resolve to overcome hardship and adversity. (side note: white privilege doesn’t mean life isn’t hard. Life is hard for everyone. Just some people… namely people of colour, have an excruciating experience doing super normal things like talking on your phone in your grandmother’s back yard, waiting for a friend at a coffee shop etc etc etc)
I feel entitled to my ‘good’ baby – because I am a ‘good parent’… rather than having a ‘good’ baby by chance.
And now that I have this privilege, that was not earned, and is not fair… what am I doing to ensure I build up other people – so that they experience privilege, and fairness, and equity?