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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.
Establishments that cater to families need to get with the times and get family restrooms Click To Tweet

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.

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. Click To Tweet

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)!

4 Comments

  • Venean

    This is very apt. I haven’t had any situations that I can think of off hand. In terms of where we were stuck, however we visit a mall very often where there are family rooms. It just helps so much, when facing a pooonami and you just need a little help. A space for the family to freshen up. We have a boy and my daughter was older when my husband and I met but I’m sure I will be encountering this very issue when DJ is older. We have had to change him in the car with a car seat 😨 though. Thanks for sharing! Xx

  • Laetitia

    I just love this, man! My husband and I are frequently frustrated by this issue. Especially when traveling. I reckon we should join The Don Father who is also raising awareness around this topic in his #IncludeDads campaign. I think it’s specifically aimed at malls who label parking “Moms and Tots” but I’m not too informed to be honest. I also want a changing station in the men’s bathroom, as much as my husband wants it!

  • Chanene

    An ongoing battle with regards to this. I’m grateful we have family toilets in most shopping centers as we have moved from nappy changing to a father with two girls and him being petrified of going out with them and them needing to wee.

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