Dads Want To Change Nappies Too – Why We Need Family Restrooms

We are out having lunch somewhere and our toddler needs a nappy change. My husband takes her for a change but comes back quickly.

He can’t. Another changing station that is in the women’s bathroom. Dads want to change nappies too, but we are standing in their way.

When I told my husband I am writing a blog post on this topic, he was into it. “Finally, I have been waiting for you to write about this as it is a big issue for me,” he said. Okay dear, my blog exists to please you! He previously wrote on this blog about his parenting role in our home.

Related PostDon’t Call My Daughter Shy (or any other kid for that matter)

Why a family room and not a changing station in men’s bathroom?

Establishments that cater to families need to get with the times and get family restrooms. Don’t put a changing station in the women’s or men’s restroom, just add a separate little space.

Why a family restroom though?

  • Dads who have young daughters, need to take them to the toilet and need to accompany them.  These are little girls who are not old enough’ yet to go alone into a public bathroom
  • Moms, who have young sons need to take them to the bathroom. I see a lot of moms take their little boys to the women’s bathroom (this looks okay, moms with sons let me know)
  • Men’s bathrooms have urinals which are open – not hygienic and not appropriate to look at.

[bctt tweet=”Establishments that cater to families need to get with the times and get family restrooms” username=”cherralle_”]

One family restaurant we visited recently has unisex bathrooms + a small separate open area with a changing table. It is perfect, nothing fancy, it is not even a room, but it meets the needs of parents. It has privacy as when you change a nappy you completely block the view.

We have two daughters

Dad and baby _ father changing nappies

When we go out, 95% of the time my husband cannot take our four-year-old to the loo or change the nappy for our one-year-old without it being a mission. As a father, this is an issue for him. For any father this should be an issue.

If you are a father and this is a non-issue for you, then you need to take a good look in the mirror and reflect deeply on this.

Wanting to partake in basic care giving of your children and being prevented from doing this, should be your issue.

[bctt tweet=”If you are a father, and you are not able to change your own baby’s nappy at a mall or restaurant, it is an issue.” username=”cherralle_”]

Ways my husband had to sort out our daughters’ basic needs while out and about

  • Threw a towel over my little girls head and took her into the men’s bathroom to a stall where she could use the toilet (it was urgent). The towel was because he did not want her to see what was happening in there.
  • To change a nappy: waited for men’s bathroom to clear. Then took our toddler into the men’s bathroom. She had to stand on the flat part of the basin while he did a ‘standing nappy change.’ You guys know what a ‘standing nappy change’ is.
  • Use the disabled bathrooms to take our daughter to the toilet
  • Changed nappy in car
  • The last two are not bad options

Should we be okay with this?

Turn a blind eye and just carry on?  Accept that this is ‘just the way things are?’

These were only one father’s experiences.

There are always messages going about how ‘dads should be more involved’.

Well, if we think about it, society subtly (or not) discourages dads from getting involved in raising small children. And some go”oh well.”

Examples are:

  • changing stations in women’s bathrooms
  • Mom and Babes / Mom and Tots Playgroups (I know, I know, dads can go too, but clearly who is the target market?)
  • Three days paternity leave. Although, changes are coming about with the passing of the new ten days paternity leave bill. Plus progressive companies have already increased paternity leave)

Related Post: Dear Working Mother – Here is How To Leave Work On Time

It is encouraging to see family restrooms popping up all over Johannesburg

Places such as Sandton City Mall and Fourways Crossing have family restrooms.

In my view, establishments who cater for families  (especially newer establishments) who keep on placing changing rooms in the women’s bathrooms are not being customer-centric. Look at what families (your customers) need and give it to them.

Let’s give fathers space to play the role they want to (and give moms a break)!

Part 2: Equally Shared Parenting – A Husband Speaks Out

I wrote this week about How We Strive for Equally Shared Parenting in our home, this is my husband’s point of view. This only has minor edits from me, I did not change any content.

Oh and he reminded me that we do have a lot of friends in our circle where the fathers are incredibly involved, so we must just recognise the awesome fathers who are sharing home responsibilities.



Equally Shared Parenting In Our Home



Well, I guess I had to write this after reading my wife’s blog posts and express my side as an equally involved father.

Raising two girls aged four years and eleven months is not a one man/woman job. As my wife would say ‘each one takes one’. I witnessed the birth of my daughters first hand and was an eye-opening experience for me. Women are strong, and we should appreciate what they do for the family.

Maternity Leave

When my wife was on maternity leave, I would come home, and I would bond with my girls and put them on my chest like a mother bonds with their newborn after birth. I felt this brought me closer and I developed my bond with the girls. So it’s not only mothers.

I was the ‘number 2’ guy whenever I was at home. When our daughters did a number 2, it was my job. I did not mind it as I became immune to the smell eventually

How my hobbies changed

Having been an involved dad from day one, it became obvious that things we did before as a couple would change. We use to go hiking, I played golf, and I loved playing Xbox. Now I use it to play Lion King, Toy Story, and Cars DVDs. .

We both understood our roles as parents and the sacrifices that come with it. From family responsibilities and a career perspective, it can be draining. Hence as a family, we need to understand what the objectives are.

Spending time with my girls

I enjoy every moment with my girls even though I am the ‘helicopter dad.’ Yes, that is right. I hover around when my children play until I am comfortable they are safe, even though they are.

One thing that I find amusing at times is when people say no they are babysitting, and hence they can’t come out or do certain things. It is not babysitting if it is your kids. It is called parenting.

Shared responsibilities

My wife and I share responsibilities around the house, but ultimately I have been trained well to follow routines for the children (sleep, feeding, playing time). I do the early morning bottle for DD#2 while my wife sleeps in with DD#1.  On the other hand she runs with cooking, that is our deal.

In the mornings we sort out the children’s food for the day, snacks for school and alternate drop-offs.

In the evenings we rotate who is early on what days to do bath -time. Although we have a live-in nanny who helps tremendously, we are still the parents and we are there during the critical times (mornings and evenings).

I have also become the house doctor as I am in charge of medicine distributions between the girls. Yes, including when my wife is sick.


Having a supportive partner is truly excellent, and there are a lot of negotiations to be had with the Mrs. One thing that I have also learnt is that consistency is key when raising kids. Don’t contradict your partner especially when ground rules, family values, and manners are concerned.

I enjoy playing golf, but as golfing dads have heard before ‘golf is not a family sport.’ You spend 4-6 hours away from your family. I have to be extra involved to have a game.

I can do anything as long as I obey the #1 line: ‘each one takes one’, so I have hooked my DD#1 on playing golf. I bought her second-hand golf clubs, and she enjoys the game. Now to build up that passion and discipline so I can take her with to the course.

My take away from being an involved dad

1. Decide on who will push their career first as you both can’t do it together

2. Share family responsibilities. E.g., cooking, nappy changing, meals, extra murals, etc.

3. Don’t contradict each other

4. Obey the #1 rule: ‘each one takes one’ = happy wife. Applies if you have more than one child.

5. One of the most significant benefits of sharing house responsibilities, I think whether you are raising a boy or girl is that you are setting an example as a father. To your son, showing him how to be involved dad and support and treat the girls in your life right. To our daughters, showing them how involved a dad is family and home responsibilities so they can find similar qualities in their future partners.

6. Find your balance and do what works for you.

That is my point of view. I hoped you enjoyed reading this, you are welcome to tell me what you think or share this.

Part 1: Our Journey of Equally Shared Parenting

This is part  1 of a post on our family’s journey of equally shared parenting. Part 2 was posted here, which is my husband’s take on this!

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”
― Sheryl SandbergLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Recently I read about how businesses are aspiring to create equal opportunities and reduce the pay gap between men and women in the workplace. In my opinion (and some other studies actually) home and family strategies are also needed to achieve equality at work.

[bctt tweet=”Create space for men to step up at home in order to create the opportunity for women to lead at work” username=”cherralle_”]

Equality starts at home. Equality in the home represents the sharing of household and childcare responsibilities.

father and daughter parenting

When building your career, you need to commit time and energy to your job. However running a household and significant time off required for any matters related to the home and children, has an impact on how one can progress. I wrote here about the maternal wall bias mothers face at work.

We know that women do more household work than men, but here is one of the many referenced studies which proved it. I see what you are thinking; we know this, did we REALLY need a study to show women do more housework than men?

Another challenge with parents driving their careers: who is taking care of our children when fathers and mothers are both driving careers? One way to address these gaps is through creating equal homes. By sharing the family workload, a mother (and father) will have more space to focus on their career or any pursuit for that matter.

Related Post: The Maternal Wall: How to Disrupt Bias Against Working Mothers

How we strive for equally shared parenting in our home (*warning* we have wins and misses)

Do not every let a father babysit his child, ever

Mamas, please do not refer to your partner taking care of their child as babysitting and do not allow anyone else to refer to it in that way. Lets change the narrative. Its called parenting. Plain old parenting.

Allow and encourage your partner change diapers, feed the baby, bathe the baby, and do not correct him. Unless someone’s life is at stake, let your partner figure out his way. I don’t know about y’all, but with my first child, no magic kicked in that gave me mad ‘baby care skills.’ Day by day, I needed to figure out how to hold the baby, feed the baby, burp the baby, what to do when the baby is crying. I had to learn that, and a man can learn this too in the same way. In fact, my husband did. He is pretty good at it.

[bctt tweet=”Let’s change the narrative, fathers do not babysit ever, it’s just plain parenting.” username=”cherralle_”]

Fathers must be given space to figure it out

Allow fathers the space to figure it out. Sometimes they want to, but we stand in their way:

  • We discourage them because we want to ‘correct’ and show them the ‘right way’. Is it really a train smash if they don’t rub lotion on the baby in an exact precise way?
  • We put pressure on ourselves that we need to be seen to be running with certain things because we are a bad mother if we do not.

Related Post: The Side of Motherhood We Do Not Post On Instagram

Father's day - daughter and father

Husbands and fathers, lean in at home

Please lean in to your families. Example, when there is a new baby in the house – understand that the mother needs support and the baby needs parenting. Change diapers, feed the baby, take baby for a walk to give the mother of your child a break. Hell, go all out, and run with meals.

During my first maternity leave, my husband would ‘take over’ when he came from work, do as much as possible and bring supper home. He also wanted his ‘bonding’ time, and did as much as he could in the little time he had after work and on weekends with our baby girl. This was the turning point in my life when grocery shopping on my own became an outing I looked froward to!

Tag team

For the last four years since our first child was born, we tag team everything. Who needs to be home in the afternoon; taking turns to look after the kids when they are booked off sick; or when there is a taxi strike and our nanny cannot get to work. We even tag team weekend pursuits, so we each have some timeout as well in our individual capacities (we try!). This has relieved us of the pressure to be away from work all the time (this is a reality of parenthood) and has helped us to maintain focus on our careers and personal passions. It is not easy but we work through it and do what works for us.

[bctt tweet=”Equality starts at home with men and women contributing in the home to housework and childcare” username=”cherralle_”]

As a couple, set goals and challenge current norms

As a couple, challenge stereotypes where you can. I am guilty of letting things slide too. Although in our home we strive for equally shared parenting, the subtle judgment makes me back off sometimes. When I am referring to something that my husband does for our family, I get that look from people like something is misfiring in their brain. ‘Your husband wakes up to give your baby milk and you just sleep?‘. Yeah. I sleep. Like a baby.

I am also clueless on which medicines apply in which scenarios when the children are ill. My husband has a better relationship with our family doctor and he knows kids’ medicines (it’s a super power). So he always knows exactly what needs to happen when they are ill.

At the same time, I always end up being the one that runs with ‘family projects’. Example, when we travel, when my daughter needs stuff for school,  when we moved house,  gifts, etc. That is okay because I don’t mind. So I guess it balances out. Ha! We do what works for us. Its not fifty fifty exactly,  not even close, its a perfect imbalance. We do not keep a log book but we try to each contribute in our own way.


It is only logical. To gain access to the leadership talents of women, we need to create space for women to be mothers and work. To have  equality in companies and governments, we need equal homes. For women to increase their roles in the workplace, men need to increase their roles in the home. My personal view is that if society is consistently making mothers feel forced to choose between children and a career, no one will pick careers. I need to restate this quote again, because it sums it all up.

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”

– Sheryl Sandberg

What does equally shared parenting mean for you,  can we strive for it or it is a pipe dream?

Further Reading:

Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mother

Featured Image: istock

Images: Pixabay




%d bloggers like this: