My family comes from a pretty patriarchal, male-dominated culture where the dad's role in child-rearing is more about financial security and discipline. It doesn't include stuff like changing diapers.
It's something my own father and I talked about recently, and he said that he was happy I ultimately bucked the trend — I'm all about cleaning up poopsplosions for my infant daughter and even changed my son's first diaper when he was born. I took it as a point of pride.
And although my mother-in-law and wife did an amazing job of potty-training my son at an early age, I do remember when he and I would have our own days out and he was rocking diapers, it was always annoying to find a spot where I could change him that wouldn't offend people.
Anytime we went to a park or the mall and I noticed that my little dude was sitting all uncomfortably in his stroller and I knew it was diaper change time, I prayed that the men's room I wheeled him into had a changing table.
I can't overstate the relief that would wash over me whenever I saw that hunk of beige, hard plastic bolted to a wall after I opened the door. But oftentimes, I had to change my son's diaper like the dude in the photo below:
Donte Palmer posted the picture, which was snapped by his 12-year-old son, to his Instagram account. In the caption of the photo, he talks about the "dad squat" he had to perfect so he can change his youngest son's diaper in a bathroom without a changing table.
Donte wrote in his now viral Instagram post:
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 ... drop a knee to this issue! @theshaderoom let’s show the innovation of fathers! #squatforchange
Upon seeing Donte's post, other dads and parents had to give it up, because they all agreed that the restroom changing table struggle was real. Some people even shared the awkward places they needed to change their kids, like in the corner of a restaurant with a waiter giving them the stinkeye.
I mean, it's hard for me to really come down that hard on the waiter though, no one wants to smell poop or pee while they're eating, kind of ruins the entire meal. But all of that could've been avoided if their bathrooms were outfitted with changing tables. Just saying.
Donte's post got other fathers on Instagram sending in their own diaper-changing photos to demonstrate just how frustrating and difficult it is to change their child's diaper in less-than-ideal scenarios.
Donte started using the #squatforchange hashtag and encouraged other dads to pop a squat on the floor with their kids resting across their legs in order to show just how necessary it is to outfit more restrooms with changing tables for the kiddos.
This isn't the first time a group of dads have spoken up about the frustrating lack of changing tables in men's restrooms in an attempt to make facilities more welcoming for families with infants and young children.
Headway on the issue was made in 2016, when President Obama signed the BABIES act into law, (Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation), which stipulates that all federal buildings must have diaper-changing tables installed in them.
The law also stipulates that if their bathrooms do not have changing tables installed in them, then signage must be present in the building that informs and directs parents to facilities nearby where they can change their child's diaper.
In his interview with CNN, however, when Donte was asked what dads should do when they're in a building with a restroom that doesn't pack a changing table, he offered up a simple reply that's totally on-brand for his movement.
"Keep squatting. Be creative. Stay innovative when it comes to our children."
So until some government action is taken that requires public restrooms to pack changing tables in men's rooms, you should get to doing wall-sits and strengthening those hammies. (h/t CNN)