It’s amazing how much can change in a relatively short amount of time. When my oldest son was born in 1997, we were using dial-up on our first computer and didn’t own a cell phone. For my son, and then my daughter who was born in 2001, we were told not to lay babies on their backs to sleep. We had to purchase this contraption that kept newborns on their sides until they were able to roll over on their own. Also, in the 90s and early 2000s, if we were at a restaurant or store with the little ones and they needed a diaper change, I was the only parent who could do it.
Why? Because changing tables were only in ladies’ rooms.
How crazy is that? I would ask why, but then I remember that women still earn only 75% of what a man earns for a similar job and how we had to create an amendment in order to get the right to vote, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. (I know…I’m standing on my feminist soapbox right now using my bra as a flag.)
The good news is that these days, changing tables in men’s rooms are becoming more commonplace. And it’s about darn time! It seems so 1950s to assume that only the moms in the family could change a diaper while out of the house. It isn’t like dads aren’t changing diapers at home. Are they physically impaired from changing diapers away from the safety of their own home? I don’t think so.
Although I do sometimes question the quality of the dad diaper change (like this morning when half of my son’s bottom was hanging out), that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t keep trying to get it right! (My youngest is 2 ½, it’ll happen any moment now…right around the time he’s potty-trained, probably.)
Believe me, my husband was just as surprised as I was to see changing tables in men’s Rooms. When we were out with our infant son, and he needed a diaper change, my husband incorrectly assumed that I had to do it. I pointed to the little baby graphic on the men’s Room door and gleefully handed him the baby AND the diaper bag.
I may or may not have also done a little jig when that happened. (It was more than likely The Sprinkler, remember that dance?)
I felt FREE! I felt happy! I felt vindicated!
…for about five minutes until the little on wanted me to hold him for the rest of the day. But that’s my life with a clingy toddler who is going through a “mommy-phase.”
Overall, it’s progress. Would I rather have 25% more pay and see more women in CEO positions? Of course, I would! But, if installing changing tables in men’s room is one small step on the road to equality, then I’ll take it.