Changing your baby when you’re on the go isn’t always easy, which is why a lot of parents resort to changing their kiddos in some pretty random places. However, not all emergency changing spots are created equal, apparently — as one new dad recently learned the hard way. According to his anonymous Reddit post, the father recently stopped into a men’s restroom to quickly change his baby’s diaper, only to discover they didn’t have changing tables. What he decided to do instead has people on Reddit torn over whether it was the right decision.
- The newbie pops was out for lunch with his 5-month-old son when he realized the baby needed a new diaper — STAT.
So, he scooted his little guy over to the men’s bathroom, where he expected to find a portable changing station. But nope.
- That’s when he made the fateful decision to make a beeline for another locale: the women’s bathroom.
“I walked in and there were some hushed whispers from a couple of women (wouldn’t have guessed it was about me if it weren’t for what happened next),” he explained, adding that “everyone else just went about their business.” But that’s when he got a little tap on the shoulder.
- It was the restaurant hostess, who kindly tried to direct him elsewhere.
“Oh sorry sir, the men’s is actually at the other end,” he recalled her saying.
“I explained there was no changing table there, and she said ‘Never the less, this is the women’s room, and your presence is making some of our patrons uncomfortable,'” the new dad shared. At this point, he admitted that he was a bit “flummoxed” over the whole thing. “I’m fully clothed, I’m not peeking under stalls, I just want to change my son and finish my meal,” he tried to explain.
That was when the hostess tried to offer another suggestion: “I understand,” she said, “but how about your wife comes and changes him?”
- The dad tried to explain that he was solo parenting at the time, so his wife wasn’t there to do the job. But by now, they had caused a scene.
“We were starting to attract attention in the restroom at this point and one of the women said, ‘I’ve been there with four of my own. I can change him,'” the dad recalled. “The hostess seemed to think that was a suitable compromise, but I wasn’t comfortable leaving my baby alone with a stranger to change him.”
- That’s when the new dad got hit with some sick burns he wasn’t expecting.
“Then go home and change him at home or lay your changing pad on a counter surface in the men’s bathroom,” one woman told him. “Cisgender men aren’t entitled to violate our space this way,” another added. “You’re making people uncomfortable, you need to respect that.”
- The dad admits he was kind of shocked by their reactions and wasn’t sure how to handle it.
- “This was the first quiet meal out I’d had since he was born, so I just ignored her and started to change him,” he explained. “The hostess got the manager, a man, who called from the door that I needed to leave.”Yikes.”I wasn’t about to drive my baby home in a soiled diaper though, so finished up,” he concluded.
- The scenario opened up quite the debate in the comments section, where users went back and forth on who was in the wrong. There were many who sided with the dad. “Any time I go to a bar, women barge in to use the stall because the women’s room had a line,” wrote one user. “There is definitely hypocrisy here and this isn’t necessarily relevant, but at least this dad had a real reason to be in there.”
Others questioned whether the dad really could have been making women uncomfortable, to begin with. “Seriously?” someone chimed in. “Is a man walking in carrying a diaper bag and a soiled 5-month-old not enough of a notice that he’s there to change the diaper? “But to that, a few Reddit users stepped in to clarify why he might have felt threatened. “We aren’t there yet culturally,” one person explained. “It makes some women uncomfortable to have a man in the bathroom. It’s not that hard to announce yourself and it gives those who are uncomfortable, time to leave the situation.”
- Still, plenty of people called out how ridiculous it is to offer changing tables in women’s bathrooms and not men’s bathrooms. “To be honest, I would have just left mid-meal without paying and found somewhere able to accommodate,” one person said. “I would have also left a review warning father not to go without a woman the restaurant deems fit to use their changing facilities.”Another dad admitted that he’s been in this scenario before — and he made the same exact decision. “I take my kid out without my wife all the time,” the user shared. “I’ve had to use the women’s restroom plenty of times when the men’s don’t have a changing table (which is A LOT of restrooms). And I know plenty of other dads that have had to do the same. I’ve never been confronted because I always talk to the manager first before I do it, but even with the manager standing guard at the door’s entrance I still get angry glances ALL the time.”
- In the end, it’s kind of a tricky call to make. On the one hand, we can definitely see why some women would feel uncomfortable if a man suddenly appeared unannounced in the women’s restroom. But on the other, you’d think that after explaining the situation — and realizing he didn’t have many options — they might back down, so long as he quickly changed the diaper and went on his way. One thing’s for sure: More U.S states have got to get on board with laws about adding changing stations to all of the restrooms like the law already mandates in New York. It’s 2020, people! There are single dads, gay dads … and all sorts of situations where fathers might have to change their child in a public restaurant. There are honestly no excuses anymore why they shouldn’t be accommodated.