We often hear of mothers’ frustrations with the all-too-common lack of proper public accommodations for breastfeeding, but one dad shared a now-viral message about his relatable gripe: the fact that most men’s rooms don’t provide changing tables for infants.
I'm getting pretty sick of having to change my daughter on a disgusting floor because the only changing table in the…
Recently, Christopher Mau was forced to change his daughter’s diaper on a bathroom floor because the restaurant he was at had no changing table in the men’s room — and he’s not too happy about it. He expressed his frustration on Facebook last week, and his post went viral, attracting 63K likes, 144K shares, and dozens of commiserating comments.
“I’m getting pretty sick of having to change my daughter on a disgusting floor because the only changing table in the place is located in the women’s bathroom,” Mau wrote on Facebook. The father of three daughters and one son went into more detail in a post on Love What Matters.
The whole thing happened when the 33-year-old took his children out for a walk with his fiancé, Aleasha Elderkin, in their hometown of Portsmouth, N.H. It wasn’t too long before their youngest child, 8-month-old Kali, began to fuss about a dirty diaper.
Luckily, there was a restaurant right in front of them. “Figuring they must have accommodations for parents to change a diaper,” he grabbed what he needed, including their emergency towel, and walked in. His girlfriend took the three other children to play while Mau took a “clearly uncomfortable” Kali to the men’s room, “only to find nowhere to change my daughter.”
“I was immediately frustrated with the ignorance of the facility and with Kali crying I had to make the hard choice between either making her wait until we found a facility that had a changing station, or ease her discomfort and change her in the bathroom anyway,” he wrote. The unsanitary men’s room was a less-than-ideal place to change his daughter, he wrote, “but the crying of my children eats at the very fiber of my being and I had to help her.”
Seeing no other option, he laid out the handy emergency towel on the stall floor and changed her then and there. “I felt like they honestly don’t think a father is responsible for diaper changing or whatnot, and I recalled times in the past where we had traveled and run into similar situations where the public restrooms did not have changing stations, resulting in the hassle of trying to change a diaper in the car, on a floor or looking for another place to try, hoping they had one.”
With a clean Kali, he left the restaurant, but not before leaving a “quick but clear complaint” on his way out. He hasn’t heard from the restaurant since.,
When he got home, he shared his story on Facebook. “Not even 24 hours later, I was dumbfounded to find my vent post had already reached more than 6,000 shares and was increasing by the hundreds! I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t,” he said. “Almost everyone who has reached out to me has agreed that this problem is a stupid problem to have, but a problem all the same. It’s solution is simple to install and rather cheap, so in this day and age there is no excuse to why there isn’t a changing station in every public place with public restrooms.”
This isn’t the first time Mau has faced this problem. “Sadly, this has happened more than once,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. He also notes that the fact that more places have changing stations in the women’s restroom “is not only unfair but also insulting to both parents.”
“The world today begs for equality for all, and yet we can’t ensure that the parenting responsibilities are possible to share between the mother and father? This is a ridiculous problem for all parents and children alike and one that is so simple and inexpensive to solve. It’s dumbfounding that it still exists at all.”
To Mau, it’s a matter of modernizing. “I know there are many who still believe that the child-raising is the responsibility of the women and the money-making is the responsibility of the men, and for some that works just fine,” he says. “I happen to be a father who takes great pride in being around my children as much as possible and doing everything I can to raise them, which includes the dirty deeds of diaper duty, feedings, and so on.”
Not all dads are as hands-on as Mau, and the reason men’s room changing tables are few and far between could be because fathers are stereotypically less likely to do things like change a diaper.
According to Mau, that needs to change. “I love being a father,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “And couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.”
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