A father who was forced to do squats in order to change his son’s diaper in a public restroom says dads need changing tables too.
“This is a serious post!!! What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!!” Donte Palmer, a high school teacher in Jacksonville, Fla., captioned an Instagram photo of him changing his son’s diaper in a restaurant bathroom. “Clearly, we do this often because look how comfortable my son is. It’s routine to him!!!! Let’s fix this problem!” Palmer also called on activist and football quarterback Colin Kaepernick to “drop a knee to this issue!”
The father tagged the news outlet The Shade Room in his post, which subsequently published the photo, assuming more than 400,000 likes.
Palmer, 31, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the September 15th image reflects his daily routine with his three boys, ages 12, 7, and 1. “We had stopped at Texas Roadhouse for lunch and while my wife ordered food, my son Liam started fussing so I knew it was time for a diaper change,” he says. Enlisting the help of his eldest child Isaiah — whom Palmer calls his “diaper assistant” — the dad began the precarious task of changing the baby in the men’s bathroom.
“I usually lay Liam down on clothes I keep in the diaper bag or the bag itself, and Isaiah hands me wipes or throws out the dirty diaper,” explains Palmer. The father wasn’t aware that Isiah had snapped his photo but later, acknowledging the humor, he posted it online.
“People have commented that my wife is ‘lazy’ for not changing our baby’s diaper or that I could have changed him in the car but why should I?” says Palmer. More dads have felt defeated, such as Chris Mau of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, whose January Facebook photo of his infant daughter lying on the “disgusting floor” of a fast-food restaurant went viral.
“It’s crazy to imagine, I know, but there are guys who take care of their kids too,” wrote Mau. “If it’s a public place with public restrooms, in the generation of equality among genders and races, then how about making sure us fathers can change our children’s diapers on a goddamn changing table like the mother’s can? Am I asking too much?”
In August, restaurant Tim Hortons apologized to a father and promised to install changing stations in all its Canadian men’s rooms, after patron Chris Webb used the women’s bathroom to clean his daughter, with permission from the staff.
Webb tweeted, “I’m shocked and humiliated to have had to use the women’s bathroom to change my child in one of your restaurants today. Your staff actually went out of their way to allow me to use it, but it’s 2018 and both bathrooms should have a change table in them. Getting out [of] the house with my 1-year-old and going for lunch shouldn’t mean that I have to explain myself to women as to why I’m in the women’s bathroom.”
Palmer says the lack of diaper stations in men’s rooms speaks to how society views the roles of mothers and fathers. “Many fathers are present caretakers but either we don’t get recognition or get too much credit for doing basic tasks,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Why should I have to lay my son across my legs? That’s not cool.”