Dear Businesses that Do Not Have Diaper Changing Tables in Your Restrooms,
We love you. We do. We would not take the time to pack up a diaper bag, risk running into nap time with our errands, test our sanity while strapping fussy children into car seats if we didn’t. But for goodness’ sake, why don’t you love us back? We don’t ask for much. If only you could just love mothers of young children enough to make one tiny accommodation: A changing table.
Just one single solitary place for a mama to place her sweet, albeit smelly, baby to change a diaper. It’s difficult enough for us to leave the house with all of our baby accoutrements. I cannot speak for all moms, but I leave my house resembling a pack mule. I move carefully and slowly out to my car. One false move and I drop something — my water bottle, the diaper bag, the sippy cup, my keys, or, God forbid, the baby. (The baby has yet to be dropped, by the way.) But my point here is that I work hard to be prepared. And yet, my boy-scout-level preparedness is all for naught if you do not have a changing table.
Here’s how it goes: I am shopping, having lunch, enjoying a cup of coffee. Just insert whatever I would be doing at your business here. I smell something suspicious. I am certain it isn’t me. I quickly ascertain it is the baby. I have to leave my stuff (again, take your pick . . . shopping cart, partially-eaten lunch, cup of coffee) to make my way to the restroom, praying to God that someone doesn’t come along and take my stuff away while I am gone. I manage to reload myself back to pack mule status. I make my way to your public restroom. I open the door, peek into the empty stalls, and I want to cry a little bit. You have no changing table.
But don’t worry. I have options.
I can go back out to my car and awkwardly change my child on the 18 inches worth of seat that is left in the back of my sedan, thanks to my child’s giant car seat planted right in the middle of the backseat. If I were a mini-van mom, I would have the back of the van to change a child, once I removed the stroller, the older child’s soccer gear, library books, and random pieces of clothing I keep in the back for emergencies. But no big deal, right? That should only take about 10 minutes. And by the time I return inside, my stuff (please see above) would certainly be gone.
I can change my child on the sink counter, assuming you have one and there is space. But really, friends, no one wants to place their sweet baby on a counter that has random puddles of dirty water and has been touched by no less than 100 hands since its last cleaning.
I can sit on the toilet and change my child in my lap. This is a skill most moms have learned — to balance a child on the lap for a diaper change. But sitting on a toilet while performing this miraculous feat is disgusting, and it is certainly an emergency-status option. I have done this exactly once. I don’t want to relive it. Ever.
And then my last option, which is a last resort, is to find a flat surface in your place of business and change my child out in the open. Oh yes, restaurant, on your table. Coffee shop, be prepared for this place to clear out once I unsnap this cloth diaper, and people start to catch on to what is happening. I am a mama on a mission to have a clean, healthy baby. Nothing will stand in my way. I am not above this. In fact, I did this exact thing once. I am not proud of it, but a frustrated mom is an unpredictable thing. And somewhere in Arkansas there is a restaurant (that pays thousands of dollars to advertise itself on billboards as the perfect pitstop for travelers, but didn’t bother to include a changing table for customers) that is very, very sorry about their lack of preparation. Because a mama in need of a place to change a baby is going to find a place to change a baby. Even if it’s on a restaurant table.
So here it is, my request: Love us back. Love us enough to consider our children. Buy a changing station. Have it safely assembled and installed. Keep in clean, for the love. Give us a reason to keep coming back, knowing that not only will you provide a wonderful shopping, eating, drinking experience for us, but also a healthy, happy experience for our children.
Because I probably won’t change my child’s dirty diaper in the middle of your place of business, but if it’s absolutely necessary, I might.
This goes for the Men’s Room, too. I have been too many places where my husband isn’t able to change my daughter’s diaper because there is no changing table in the Men’s Room. I don’t get it.
I hear you. Saving this battle for another blog post. But I hear you.
I worked at a coffee shop that did not have a changing table. The reason was because the table was broken often by teenagers and because of the city it was in (NYC) we had caught more than one druggie using the changing table as a snorting table. My manager admitted it was a rough decision to make when taking it out but after a few years of constantly replacing it and having to put up a sign warning parents to wipe it off before use she removed it out of fear of litigation.
Also come from the point of someone who understands the frustration but also has their food safety license please don’t change your child in the dinning room. A resteraunt could be shit down if the health inspector comes in and sees that.
Elizabeth, that sounds terrible. Good perspective on this subject! Thanks for your input.
I hear on ya this, I hate it when there’s not a changing table. But come on, surely you’ve just laid the baby on the bathroom floor and changed her there as opposed to in the middle of the establishment. A few seconds on the floor won’t kill the babe.
You are kidding…right?
As I was reading the blog all I could think was she must only have one kid.
We went to a Taco Bell this week that had high chairs (yay!). But when it was time to change baby’s diaper, no changing table! What gives? Insert food = outgoing waste for baby.