The dads I know give midnight feedings. The dads I know play hours of peekaboo. The dads I know cut every meal into tiny toddler bites. The dads I know change diapers.
I’ll never forget the first time my husband and I took our son out for dinner – a hip, yet boastfully family friendly Italian joint. We assume the whole wide world is looking at our baby – sweet, vibrant, wide-eyed little guy. We tend to his every need, including when we hear that familiar full-diaper, “Splooch!” Andy volunteers to take him to the restroom. I sit, with the sigh of relief every new mom feels when she musters together a few minutes to herself.
He returns. They don’t have a changing table in the men’s restroom. I’ll have to take him.
I don’t mind changing my son’s diaper, I really don’t. But the idea that my husband, had he chosen to patronize the restaurant without me, would have had to return to his car to change my son’s diaper is laughable. We’ve experienced this same issue in other restaurants, stores, and even children’s attractions.
I often think about same-gender couples with kids. They probably aren’t complaining about the changing-table issue because they currently have bigger fish to fry, but what a slap in the face. You’re a parent, but not quite parent enough.
We also have male nannies and grandfathers to consider. Are they supposed to grab the nearest female stranger and request that she change the child’s diaper for them? Or maybe they should just change it right out there in public, an act of which some people strongly disapprove.
Plenty of folks agree with me and are making efforts to help. Ashton Kutcher has been vocal, even launching an online petition. This dad created a nationwide Changing Table Locator for his fellow men. And – as if moms need more reasons to love Target – the company has included changing tables in both the men’s and women’s restrooms for over 25 years. Home Depot, Red Robin, and Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us have followed suit. We’ve seen the rise of the family restroom, which offers a nice solution.
As women, we fight for equal respect and pay in the workplace, yet many of us still feel like we carry the brunt of parenting and housework. If we want our men to “step up” in the area of childcare, which I find them ready and willing to do, let’s give them the tools they need to so. Starting with a simple changing table in every men’s restroom.