This father's viral photo shows the struggle of not having changing tables in men's restrooms
A couple weeks ago, Donte Palmer, his wife and their three sons had dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. When their youngest son, one-year-old Liam, needed to be changed, Donte took him to the men's restroom. As usual, there weren't any changing tables, so he had to be creative. The 31-year-old father awkwardly squatted down, and balanced Liam on his legs.
Seven-year-old Isaiah was also in the bathroom stall, ready to hand dad new wipes and dispose of the dirty diaper. Finding his father's struggle to change Liam hilarious, he snapped some pictures. When they returned to the table, the family laughed at the photos. Then Donte's wife brought up a good point: Wait a second, why aren't there changing tables in men's restrooms?
Donte, a 31-year-old high school teacher basd in Florida, decided to share the picture on Instagram. In the caption, he wrote, "This is a serious post!!! What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!! #FLM #fatherslivesmatter clearly we do this often because look how comfortable my son is. It’s routine to him!!!! Let’s fix this problem! I Kaepernick drop a knee to this issue!"
News outlet Shade Room shared Donte's post, and the photo went viral, getting over half a million likes. On social media, people expressed surprise that the men's rooms don't have changing stations. They really just assumed only women carry kids around?" asked one Twitter user.
Other parents could relate to the struggle. Fathers shared stories about changing kids in sinks, or laying down clothes on the gross bathroom floor. On Instagram, one mother commented, "This is something my husband and I encounter most of the times going out. We have two small boys on diapers and I have to change both whenever we go out if there isn't a family bathroom on site. But it's impossible for him to take both boys just on a walk to the mall or what have you. This is a shame."
"Fathers have been commenting and calling me, saying this is an issue we have to address," Donte told local media outlets. "Fathers are more than just the providers and the protectors. We are the stroller pushers, the guys that get up 4 in the morning to warm bottles. And, in this situation, we are the ones that get in man squats to change diapers."
Over the years, our roles in society have changed, with more fathers taking on the job of caretaker. In retrospect, the lack of changing tables in men's rooms seems like a failure of design. Now, thanks to his viral photo, Donte may have started a movement. Seriously. On Instagram, he's encouraging other frustrated fathers to share images of the struggle with the hashtag #SquatForChange.
Hopefully public facilities will make changes to their restrooms to better accommodate fathers. But if they don't, there is one upside: Fathers are going to develop some pretty impressive leg muscles from all that squatting.