My husband is a team player in every sense. He sees this adventure of raising a family for what it is; a partnership. We both work full time out of the house in addition to our responsibilities at home. We both contribute to this family in every way, except one (and it’s not his fault). Society seems to be quick to forget that dads do work too.
How is this not his fault? If we don’t want to change our daughter on our table, while the remainder of the restaurant eats copious amounts of wings and screams about sports around us (cough cough BWW cough) then I must take her to the ladies room because that is where the only changing table it located.
I am perpetually on diaper duty, bathroom duty and anything that has to do with duty when we’re out and about together. The Duty Queen. Or the Duty Neeuq, ‘cause it’s the opposite of glamorous.
For some reason, this seems to be a pattern. Countless restaurants, home good stores and other retailers missed the memo that dads do work.
I should not be overjoyed when my husband doesn’t immediately exit the restroom with the baby at arms distance after just entering because there was not diaper station.
I should not have to be ‘on call’ to take over and change the diaper in the most likely case that there is not changing station in the men’s room.
He is just as much a parent as I am. These little humans are half his. And even if they weren’t his. And even if we weren’t in this together. Or if he was a single dad. Why is there no adequate place for him to complete such an important parenting task?
Oh what’s that? Family Restrooms? While family restrooms are becoming more popular, they only tend to show up at malls and airports- two places we, like the average parent, don’t frequent on the regular.
But with family restrooms come the people who seem to understand the English language differently than the rest of us. Any parent knows this person. You’re standing there with a loaded stroller, waiting to get in because it’s occupied. The door opens and out comes some person who awkwardly smiles at you and avoids eye contact as they exit. Upon entering the tiny room, you know they were in there for one thing – to sh!t. The door doesn’t read ‘The Sh!t Bathroom’, it reads ‘Family Bathroom’ if your family isn’t in there with you- you best not be using it.
So when the family bathroom is occupied by a shy sh!tter, and there’s no changing space in the men’s restroom, where does a dad do work?
I’ve asked him what he’s done when he’s out solo with the kids and there’s no family restroom. His responses vary, but here’s the list of his usual alternative locations;
- The bathroom counter
- Secluded spot on the floor of the store
- Public spot on the floor of the store to make a point
- Fitting rooms
- The van (literally left the store to do it)
- The ladies room (yep, some days he’s so fed up, he’ll knock and if it’s empty go in and lock the door behind him)
From a sales perspective that seems counterproductive. Retailers are forcing dad’s to leave stores to change diapers. Don’t you want people in your store to buy things? If you force them to leave to change a diaper because you don’t provide adequate equipment for it to be done, what makes you so sure they’ll come back?
When we’re all together, my husband will come out of the bathroom with a baby who still needs to be changed and apologize. Apologize because there was no place for him to change the baby.
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