Many stigmas force the idea that moms should take the brunt of parenting. There is a constant emphasis on maternal instinct. Not to mention the perceived notion that women, working or not, are responsible for the day-to-day care of their children. This has helped create a false impression that fathers cannot care for their children at the same level mothers can. Of course, this is all inaccurate information. However, the idea has led to everyday decisions that hinder men from parenting duties. One big one: changing tables.
As women, we are accustomed to seeing changing tables in almost every bathroom we set foot in. Whether at a rest stop or a fancy restaurant, there is always a place to change a baby. On the other hand, men are probably shocked to find anything close to a changing table in their public restrooms. And this can be a big problem.
Why Men’s Rooms Need Changing Tables
Recently, fathers have been posting about the creative ways they change their children without a changing table. One father, who posted an image of himself changing his kid while squatting on the bathroom floor, sparked a viral movement to get changing tables in men’s restrooms.1 The photo led to the #SquatForChange hashtag, which began trending. This prompted Pampers to create a mission to install 5,000 changing tables in men’s bathrooms across the country by 2021.2 It was a great start, but it’s not enough.
Until changing tables become the norm in every men’s bathroom, what should a man do when he is with his children and they need a change? Why should the mother be forced to be the only parent able to change their child? What about single fathers? Here are a few reasons all men’s bathrooms need changing tables, too.
There is not always a woman present.
All families look different. Some have one parent, while some have two parents of the same sex. Some have no “parent” but rather a grandparent or other guardian. No matter what a family looks like, they shouldn’t be worried about where or how they can change their baby’s diaper when not at home. A woman’s absence shouldn’t lead to babies being changed on a dirty public restroom floor, in a car, or in any other location unsuitable for that task.
Multiple children may need to use the restroom.
Even if a family has a woman present, we all know that when one kid needs to go, the others will, too. Having two parents around makes things much easier for families with multiple children, especially on the go. When there is no changing table in the men’s restroom, the option for “dividing and conquering” is out of the question.
The issue of gender in restrooms.
When people think of changing tables, they often think of them being used by infants. As parents, you will learn that most children aren’t potty trained until they are three.3 The American Association of Pediatrics reports that many kids reach age four without being fully trained.4 At 3- or 4 years old, a child is most likely aware of gender. They tend to know which bathroom is the “right” one. A male child may suddenly have an issue joining the mom in the girl’s bathroom. This can cause a considerable problem when out in public.
Mothers and fathers are equal.
As stated above, only putting changing tables in women’s restrooms highlights the idea that mothers are chosen by society as the dominant parent. This negatively impacts the mother by placing most childcare responsibilities on her shoulders. It is also detrimental to the father, who wants to be just as involved in his equal parenting relationship.
Outside caretakers are not all female.
It may have once been odd to see a male nanny or babysitter. But as this profession becomes more widely spread across genders, men must have equal capacity to do their job well. If a male nanny or babysitter wants to take the children in their care to the playground or the store, they shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can take those children to the bathroom when they need a change.