A 31-year-old dad recently shared his story of a diaper change gone awry. In a Reddit post, the dad with the handle rocksandhardplaces1 described the backlash he unintentionally sparked when he attempted to change his 5-month-old son's diaper while in a store.
"I went into the men's room and saw there was a cubicle and a few urinals, but no changing table," he wrote in post to Reddit's popular AITA channel. "The sink didn't have a counter either."
After searching for an employee to ask where there was a changing table, he was told the changing table was in the bathroom—the bathroom he had just come from. Nonetheless, he looked again but, alas, no changing table.
Carrying a baby with a poopy diaper, the desperate dad went into the women's restroom, where he was sure he'd find a changing table.
"Wrong bathroom, buddy," he was told by a woman washing her hands. The dad gestured to his son and the diaper situation, telling her that there was no changing table in the men's bathroom. Instead of support, he received ridicule and criticism.
"She laughed and said 'bro, that sucks.' Then she walked out," the dad wrote. "So I rush to change him, hoping to be done before anyone else walked in. I'm almost done when a woman walks in and starts screaming at me. I tried to explain what I was doing, but she kept screaming 'Get out! You can't be here!' Then she ran out."
The dad finished with the diaper change and rushed out of the bathroom. Upon leaving, he saw the disgruntled woman talking to an employee, who tried to stop him. Frazzled, the dad abandoned the items he planned to purchase and hurried to his car.
After receiving mixed reviews on the way he handled the situation—praise from his wife, criticism from his mom, laughter from his sister—the dad looked to Reddit for feedback.
With 22,000 upvotes, Reddit users have largely showered with praise, with one user calling him a "hero." Hero status aside, one thing is clear: we need more changing tables in men's restrooms. (See also: sexist parenting stereotypes hurt us all.)
"Something as simple as a change table should be the absolute minimum available for parents," wrote Reddit user @sometimesnowing.
"My husband frequently made me change diapers... gosh, 10-15+ years ago when our boys were little for this *exact* reason. It kinda boggles my mind that it's still an issue in 2022... but I guess I shouldn't be that surprised," wrote Reddit user @ommnian.
Parents have enough to worry about; finding a changing table shouldn't be one of them. Today's dads are spending more time with their kids and are more engaged in the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting than previous generations. In 1982, a 43% of fathers admitted they'd never changed a diaper, but in recent years, that number went down to about 3%. Support and involvement matters for dads too. Research indicates that the more involved a dad is with things like dressing, diapering and bathing their babies, the relationship is as the child child grows.
"We have a 3-week-old daughter and already my husband is stressing out about how to handle diaper changes/ potty breaks out in public where there isn’t a family restroom," wrote Reddit user jgarmartner. "How crappy that we’ve put parents in these kinds of stressful situations. Good for you Dad! You took care of your kid and that’s all that matters."
Many commenters also noted that the dad should have spoken to store management about the need for changing tables, but putting the obligation on a frazzled parent isn't necessarily supportive either. It's up to all of us to speak up and up to businesses to listen.
"This isn’t 1963 anymore," wrote Reddit user @bambamkablam. "Men change diapers too. They need proper facilities to do so."