I teach a class on diversity and pyschotherapy, and we explore the impact of privilege. We talk about inherent privilege based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and lack of disability. But yesterday, I was reminded of another one.

I call it dad privilege.

Dad privilege is when you have a repairman in your home all day, watching you interact with your kids, cook dinner, do laundry, empty lunchboxes, etc. And then your husband comes home in the evening and you leave for an appointment, and the repairman observes your husband interact with the kids for an hour.  And then the next morning, the repairman enthusiastically labels your husband his hero, because of the way he took care of four kids by himself . . . going on and on about how he is a hero of a dad.  I mean, really!  It was amazing how he did that!  Wrangling four kids FOR AN HOUR until they went to bed.  Yes.  Clearly Mark is a hero for caring for his own children briefly while I go to Target.

(And really, my husband is amazing.  But I kinda wanted to punch this repairman for reminding me that our world still has such defined gender roles because SERIOUSLY?  He observed me do the same thing Mark did for a better portion of the day while Mark was at work).

Or there is the disparate experiences my husband and I have when we talk the kids out to eat. The few times I’ve attempted this, I’ve been stressed the whole time trying to keep the kids quiet to avoid the inevitable side-eye of those around me. But when Mark shows up to our local taco joint with all four kids in tow they roll out the red carpet for the Dad Who Takes His Kids Out.  I’m seen as the mother who couldn’t be bothered to cook. He’s the hero who takes the kids out for fun. The waitresses shower him with attention. They’re making a mess? Pssshhht. We’ll get that for you!

Dad privilege is when I go out of town for business and everyone asks who will be watching the kids.

And don’t get me started on how society reinforces it. Room moms? Snack moms? Because a dad can’t possibly do those roles? Only a mother would have the time, energy, and skill set for that?

Come on, mamas.  I know you see it. How have you seen Dad Privilege at work?