There has been a lot of controversy about bathrooms of late, and even more controversy about the so called “bathroom bill,” which has led millions of dollars to flee North Carolina.
I’ve done plenty of writing about that, but since then, I’ve found I have a bathroom problem.
No. I’m not having any sort of identity crisis. I haven’t been yearning to use a women’s restroom lately. They obviously lack urinals, and I like urinals. I don’t have to wonder what sat on the seat prior to me when I use one of those, and aiming is so much easier at the closer distances they afford.
A year ago, or even three months ago, I never would have noticed this issue.
I have a 3-year-old step-daughter who I love a whole bunch. She’s my partner in crime — my P.I.C. We do just about everything together. On Saturday we slayed catfish at Westwood Park. We ride bicycles on the greenway. You name the activity, and she’s right along my side.
I think every adult male in this world ought to have a 3-year-old P.I.C. It’s convenient. I blame the mess in the living room on her, and she blames it on me. Of course, with two suspects just as likely to have committed the crime, the high court in the house can’t convict either of us.
The neat thing is I just fell into this P.I.C. When I became a part of her life, she was ready to take on the role. She does nearly everything for herself, and I just caught the very tail end of diaper stages — only occasionally having to tend to the loaded diaper.
Three months ago I got another P.I.C., but this one is a little different. She’s a P.I.C. in the making. She’s not quite ready to build tree houses, cast a rod or kick a soccer ball.
I’ve learned a lot, as this is my first rodeo for the infant stage of development. Part of that process has been changing diapers, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to carry out my parental duties at local businesses around here.
The other day I was at a restaurant. I picked up the little one and immediately identified she had left me a surprise. Of course, as I’ve written before, I was prepared. I had the diaper bag with me. My wife, who was awaiting her lunch break, had yet to show up to lunch.
That’s no big deal. I’m pretty good at changing diapers and have been performing those duties since the first evening in the hospital. I snagged the kid and grabbed the diaper bag. I headed to the men’s restroom to change the dirty diaper. However, while I was prepared, the restaurant was not. I walked into the men’s restroom with plans to place her on a changing table.
The problem was, there was no changing table. I looked all over the place. I thought there had to be one. Perhaps, one needed to perform a secret knock on the wall to make one appear. Nope. No changing table. I left the restaurant and went to the car to change her.
Sadly, that wasn’t the first time this series of events played out. It happens all of the time.
I remember seeing changing tables in men’s restrooms nearly everywhere I went in my younger days spent in other parts of the country. They probably didn’t get as much use as the one in the ladies’ room, but they were there.
I think there has been a change in society, and I can’t help but wonder if this area has caught up to it.
Not so long ago, the roles of mom and dad were further separated and better defined. Mom stayed home and took care of the kids. Dad went to work, and provided the occasional ride on his shoulders or wrestled around in the living room.
However, the American family has changed. As the cost of carrying out the business of the home continues to rise, more women must join their husbands in the workforce. That means the guys rightfully take on some more of the parental responsibilities. There are even dads who stay at home, while mom earns the money.
The days of woman’s work and man’s work are effectively over.
One must also consider the fact the composition of the American family has changed. There are single dads, just as there are single moms. In today’s world a child might have two dads or two moms. I’m not knocking any of those situations. Either gender can dish out the love a child needs. I’m simply noting these different sorts of homes exist in today’s society, and we ought to adapt long-standing operating procedures to accommodate those families.
In October, President Obama signed a law requiring bathrooms in all federal buildings to have changing tables. That ought to set the example for entities throughout the United States.
If one owns a business, he or she ought to take basic steps to accommodate a family who is spending money at that business.
For me, that is easily done. Put a changing table in the men’s restroom, so I can change a diaper.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.