We all love our moms. Wai Sallas wonders if dads are becoming historic footnotes to the raising of our children. Or maybe he just wants a bathroom upgrade.
I entered the dimly lit bathroom searching frantically, unable to wait for my eyes to adjust to the change in lighting. This was an emergency, the likes of which many have seen, yet few have left unscathed. After an exhaustive search of the six by eight room, I was left with the unenviable task of changing my son’s diaper sans changing table.
I could place him on the top of the toilet. There was room on the side of the sink. I could always lay my shirt down on the floor and put him there. So many options, yet none met the prerequisite of sanitary. I opted for the side of the sink, the least affected surface from foreign substances.
My wife and I call our son The ‘Nado. I’d love to tell you it’s because of his dizzying adorableness (although this is true), it more has to do with the crocodile-esque death roll my son performs anytime he is placed on the changing table. I can only assume that once my son gets older, he could have an amazing career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship with his ability to escape certain capture.
I set up the station with wipes and the new diaper, put the changing pad down, undressed him and had him ready. The space I was working with was about two feet by one foot, if that, and the thought of him death rolling off the side of the sink and on to the floor had me prepped and ready like a surgeon. With one hand on his belly, I undid the diaper, threw it out, wiped, and replaced with little issues. As I put his clothes back on, I looked at the mirror in front of me, and gave a proud nod to myself on a job well done.
As we got up to leave, I caught something out of the side of my eye. It seems in my haste to remove, wipe, replace, a certain ingredient had escaped. Let’s just say, we added to the bacteria riddled floor. Luckily I caught it before an innocent bystander became the latest victim of The ‘Nado.
Why did you need to know this story?
In Cincinnati, at Great America Ball Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s Reds, the home team is making efforts to make sure The ‘Nado cannot claim any more victims by adding a nursing suite. The suite features gliders, changing station, a kitchenette with a sink, ice and refrigerator, lockers for storing items and a flat-screen TV.
Just one, minor detail: It’s a women’s bathroom.
Now, please don’t send me irate emails about how I’m being insensitive to women or downplaying the significance of mothers. Without my wife, my son’s mother, my child would not be here today. I will spare you the details, but not one day goes by I am not grateful for my wife. She is the rock of our family and without her I’d have nothing.
But for the Reds to build such an amazing facility and exclude a large portion of its fan base is just…unfair.
I understand that, according to MLB, 47% of its fanbase are women. I get that more and more professional franchises are trying to encourage women to the ball park. And let’s be honest, it’s a hell of a lot more appealing for women to be fans of Major League Baseball than the NFL and its neanderthal morality and ethics toward women on display each season.
By doing this, however, the league is turning its back on the majority of its fanbase. The number of stay at home dads are increasing every year, up to around 2 million. A Pew Research Center study last year found stay-at-home dads account for more than 16 percent of at-home caretakers.
In a very futile attempt, I ask, what about us?
When we want to take our son to a ballpark, are we expected to feed them in our seats? The bottles that we bring for our children slung around our shoulders as ice from the cooler trickle down our back? Of course, the diaper bag slung around the other shoulder, with baby residing somewhere in your torso region, being held up by tiring arms or a baby carrier.
And let’s not talk about the changing situation.
Have you been to a men’s stadium bathroom? Among the troughs and urinals are splatters of streams gone wild, drunken men saunter in and out uttering expletives as they lean their arms against the wall hoping to hold themselves up. The sinks are more a 10 foot countertop of puddles of god knows what as beers and sodas are occasionally spilled and mixed with the water that pools next to seldom used sinks. God forbid a fight breaks out.
Hollywood A-list celeb Ashton Kutcher knows the struggle is real.
“There are NEVER diaper changing stations in mens public restrooms,” Kutcher wrote on Facebook. “The first public men’s room that I go into that has one gets a free shout out on my FB page! #BeTheChange”
It seems the options for a dad lead us to avoid the whole situation and stay at home where we can use the gliders we bought to feed our child, or the changing table we own to change our soiled children.
While more and more dads are taking on the role of primary caretaker, the world is still not ready to call them parents. When we see dads out with their sons they’re viewed as “babysitters.” There has been a seismic uproar from stay at home dads to change Amazon Moms to Amazon Family to reflect our changing society. According to a report on HeadLine News, more and more single men are turning to surrogates and IVF to become fathers.
Again, I am not downplaying the significance of mothers. I am truly grateful for my mom and the mother of my child. When, however, will people start realizing the significance of fathers?
As I look at it, I have two options at the ball park: I can change my son’s diaper on my lap and hope I don’t find an extra surprise in my crackerjack box. Or, I can venture into the wasteland of the men’s bathroom and hope my son and I make it out still in one piece, hoping the ‘Nado doesn’t roll his way to a urinal cake for a midday snack.
The struggle is most certainly real.
Photo Credit: Screengrab