The State of Daddy Address – What’s in a dirty diaper (besides poop)?

baby-44051_1280The other day my wife and I went into the department of health to apply for WIC. Part of the process included having a physical done for the boys. All over the WIC office there were signs posted saying that children’s diapers needed to be dry before going into the lab. So we decided to split the difference and take care of one child each. I took our oldest and she took our youngest. To start off with it was really difficult to find the men’s bathroom.  I finally did find it (halfway across the building) only to discover there was no changing table. Now this has become one of my pet peeves. It seems to me, that all men’s bathrooms that “should” have facilities for childcare, never do.  In Salt Lake City, where we live,  places like the Airport and apparently the health department do not believe that men may have need of a diaper changing station.

I started out being upset at the health department and was going to write a huge rant about them. I thought about it for a while and realized that my anger was misplaced.  While places like the Health Department and the airport should do better, I should be equally upset at us fathers. There are facilities in women’s bathrooms because more women have asked for them. It seems men are more likely to let their wives take care of the children’s needs when they are out, than to request that facilities be made more available for men. I think that is a shame.

It may seem silly that I am making a big deal about this, but I think it is a big deal. What’s in a dirty diaper (besides poop)? There is a bond. Like the bond formed between a mother and child during breastfeeding. I believe that there is more to that bond than breast feeding it is a mother resolving a need for her child.  I believe the bond between mother and child is one that can be formed between father and child as well. Breastfeeding gives women an advantage in that department, but dirty diapers can be a father’s opportunity to form that bond created through meeting a child’s needs.

When a child is hungry we feed it, when they are dirty, we clean it, when it is hurt we care for it, etc… In these circumstances, as a father, how often do you help with these needs, and how often does your child’s mother take care of them. You may play with your child and have fun, but when their needs arise, who is the one to resolve those needs? If you aren’t sharing the need resolution for your child 50/50 with their mother you may want to change your fathering practices because children know who to turn to in their time of need. I believe that is how that bond is created between mother and child… It may be as simple a changing a dirty whenever and where ever your child needs it.

So next time you go into a men’s room in a public place and there are no facilities to allow you to take care of your child, say something to the management, fill out a card, do something. Don’t let them take away opportunities to build your father-child relationship

1 comment ↓

# 1 - by bennionboys on March 11th, 2006 at 5:12 pm

Ok- not sure that I agree with the notion that changing poopy diapers is more bonding than breastfeeding. I agree that the bonding time while changing diapers IS beneficial for dad/baby relationships but I think breastfeeding, where possible, is the most bonding activity for moms/baby.
However your rant is dead on. I think it is easy for father’s to be complacent in letting the mother’s take care of the kids when they are out in public. It could be changing diapers, feeding children at a restaurant (pay attention to who the server asks to get the kids dinner order), doctor’s visits or even play. I am not undermining the huge role that most – not all- but most fathers play in providing financially for the family. It is interesting to me though that our society, men and women alike, don’t provide more opportunity for men to succeed as GOOD fathers and not just providers.
Starting with something as simple as putting changing tables in men’s restrooms as well is a good place to start. Just like you said though it has to come from the male populous.

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