Donte Palmer changes his son Liam's diaper in the bathroom of a steakhouse in Jacksonville, Florida.
Donte Palmer has turned diaper changing into an innovative art — out of necessity.
The father of three regularly changes his son’s diapers, but has been forced to get creative when faced with men’s public restrooms that don’t have changing stations, which happens all too often.
Palmer has become an expert at creating a makeshift changing station by assuming what he calls his “perfect man squat” position and balancing his 1-year-old son, Liam, on his lap to change his diapers. While Palmer has done this several times before, his 12-year-old son, Isaiah, recently caught the feat in a photo that has since gone viral.
Initially, Palmer, a high school teacher, said he and his wife had a good laugh over the photos, which were taken in the bathroom of a steakhouse in Jacksonville, Florida. But his wife quickly observed that she never had to get creative or innovative when it came to changing her children's’ diapers, because changing stations are often available in women’s public bathrooms.
His wife’s comment lingered in his mind and later prompted him to share the photos on Instagram, Palmer told the BBC.
“What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!!” Palmer wrote on the Instagram post, using the hashtag #squatforchange on Sept. 23.
The photo has since gone viral, garnering thousands of likes and dozens of responses from fathers who have experienced similar diaper-changing challenges.
The lack of changing stations in men’s bathrooms underscores the fact that childcare remains a stereotypically female duty and silently reinforces the idea that diaper-changing is a mom’s job. But Palmer wants to change that.
“I want to create a world where changing your baby is a man thing too,” he told Global Citizen. The many responses to Palmer’s post show that an attitude shift is happening.
Bruh, i just had to do this last weekend! The floor was too dirty to put my jacket on it, so I had to hit that deep squat. They makin dad’s have to be hella creative. #SquatForChangehttps://t.co/KJUPlSnS39— Jeremy Bright (@JBrightSports) October 9, 2018
Thank you for your voice. I use to boycott restaurants and stores without changing tables for men to use. Many times I did it in air or had to clean a sink counter first just to change a diaper. I remember leaving a Kids R Us to change my son somewhere else. #SquatForChangehttps://t.co/LQqsIZOFT8— Andrew (@steeler36nation) October 9, 2018
One time I was in a @ChipotleTweets and was told by management that I would have to walk across the street to @panerabread to change my son’s diaper. Panera told me I would have to find a female due to not having a changing table in the men’s restroom. #SquatForChange— Bryce Daniels (@bryceldaniels) October 9, 2018
I once took off my shirt, threw it on the ground of a bathroom at a Coffee Bean, changed my son, got poop all over the shirt, threw the shirt away, and then walked out of Coffee Bean with no shirt...#SquatForChangehttps://t.co/ycrBW2OPjh— Bernardo Cubria (@BernardoCubria) October 9, 2018
This is something that I never knew was an issue until I became a father, myself.— 🐺❄️Frost Bight🐺❄️ (@FrostBight) October 4, 2018
It's incredibly frustrating when I need to change a diaper when I'm out and about and there's no changing table in the men's restroom.
Dad's change diapers too!!#SquatForChangehttps://t.co/Ec1sMudLFj
There has been times I've had to go into the women's restroom to change my son's diaper. Why? Because I identify as a parent that needs a clean surface to change my son's diaper, too. #SquatForChange— Tyler Ryan (@TySQL) October 9, 2018
Unfortunately, most public spaces have been slow to catch up and have not yet made adjustments to accommodate fathers who need to change their babies’ diapers.
Palmer wants to “shatter those gender boxes” and see equality among parents. He and the many fathers joining the #squatforchange movement want to be equal parents and want society to help make that possible.
“Men, we are sensitive and we are nurturers as well,” Palmer said.