As parents we are obsessed by poo. You don’t think you will become that person, but you do. It infiltrates at least one conversation every day, whether it’s about the frequency, the volume or the consistency of your little one’s number twos. You forget that it is not a polite subject of conversation when dining with non-parents because it has become such a commonplace topic at home.
Poo doesn’t discriminate between the sexes, in fact I have just had to fish one out of the bath (not for the first time), so why do major businesses in this country naturally assume that it’s only mums that change their children’s nappies? Al from The Dad Network has been channelling his inner-Roger Cook/Matt Allwright (delete as applicable for your generation) and went undercover to test out retailers and restaurants in his local area. The results were not encouraging:
It is baffling that anyone looks at their business and still thinks it is acceptable that they only offer baby changing facilities to mums in this day and age. What world do they live in? It’s along the same lines as Heinz believing only mums feed their kids, it’s such an outdated attitude that, for those of us who are trying our hardest to share the responsibilities of parenthood, it is a kick in the teeth.
When the Heinz letter was reported on the BT website, I made the mistake of reading the comments. Most of them were along the lines of ‘hasn’t he got anything better to do with his time?’, which is ironic seeing as they were the ones spending their time commenting on articles on the BT website. But this stuff IS worth the time. If we want our kids to grow up knowing that anyone of either sex can strive to do anything they want, unrestricted by the shackles of what role they are ‘supposed’ to play, then these are the things we have to change.
As it happens, the places we most often visit in our local Ilkley area offer decent unisex changing facilities and I can honestly say I’ve not had this issue, but it seems not everywhere is as forward-thinking as Yorkshire (and you don’t hear THAT said every day). Make sure you reward the sensible premises and admonish the backward-thinking establishments by marking them down on Al’s map.
I’ve notched up the brilliant community cafe Outside the Box as a dad-friendly venue with decent facilities and, good grief, I know them well. It is the place I can guarantee Elsa will fill her nappy just as we are tucking into our sandwiches for some reason.
And there I go again with the poo talk – parents (mums AND dads) simply can’t help it.