When the actuality of having my son happened, I’m not sure if I was ready. As my parents would say: you’re never ready. And then there are the diaper changes. Lots of them. And as time go on, they say it gets fun. But they are full of shit. They are a workout, a martial art (BJJ – Baby Jujitsu), and often very difficult. But they can also be great bonding times with your kid, your other kids who help, your wife, etc. And given a nice changing area, all ends well hopefully without many messes other than in the diaper…
Since having my youngest, I have noticed something that infuriates me. I have become aware of something that though small, shape our culture and how it perceives men.
Many times my family & I have gone out, be it to a store or a restaurant, and have had the need to change our son. This is a common occurrence, as it is for many others in that situation. A majority of the time, I see the child passed to the mom, and then the mom whisks the child away to get changed. But why is it always the mom?
Men have that responsibility too, as they should. We don’t live in a world where dads are the “head of household”. It is not beneath a man to be a parent. So it goes without saying that a man should change their child from time to time. And this should be easy, except for one thing:
There is hardly ever a changing station for men.
I can recall twice when there has been one. Most times there isn’t one. And after my last experience with the “golden arches”, sometimes there are NONE. Changing stations not only make it easier for the parents, but it makes it easier for everyone else around. It gives them the privacy to not have to look at that crap. (Yes, pun intended…) I have a few times now spoken to the managers of establishments, urging them to have a station installed. The responses vary from “there’s one in the ladies restroom” to “it isn’t my decision”. These answers are both unacceptable.
What about single dads? What about dads that are taking care of their kids while out? What if the dads out there are giving their wives a fun day out while they take the kids? There is no option for them. There is only the grass, the car, the floor, etc. No matter how you look at it, there isn’t thought put in for fathers, and that is a shame.
So to the store & restaurant owners out there, spend the money and think of a dad’s need. Make it so that we can care for our children. Make it so that we have the same access to conveniences. Don’t give us places to change diapers, but rather a place that we can help change the perception of men. Help men be better fathers. Help men change diapers, so diapers can change men.