I’m losing the battle with my husband when it comes to toddler toilet accompaniment in public. And I’m so frustrated that I need to open the issue to the floor, so to speak.
So, here we go …
The loo debate
You see, my three-year-old is in the last stages of potty training. Out of nappies during the day but unable to “hold it” for long. This means that when she expresses a possible need, I grab her and we bolt for the nearest loo — with me yelling “Let’s run! Let’s run!”, dodging passers-by and generally making a large, loud tit of myself.
The problem is: while we’re out as a family, my husband flatly refuses to take her.
Because he doesn’t want to take her into the men’s loos (in case she sees a penis there? What’s the problem?) and he will not go into the women’s loo (in case he sees a woman there? What’s the problem?)
I don’t get it
I’ve assured him that the kind of women who frequent the kind of places we take my kid don’t really mind if they spot a daddy in the ladies’ (even a large and heavily bearded one who walks the fine aesthetic line between hipster and homeless.)
I’ve also assured him that our little one is unlikely to be traumatised by the odd public penis in the gents’ (though I wouldn’t put it past her to make a cheeky comment).
But still. No go.
(Do you think he should take her? Which loo should he take her to? Or should I just man up — what a gender-inappropriate verb — and take her myself … ? Sound off in the Comments. I need some objective guidance here. )
South Africa, it’s time for family bathrooms. For nappy changing and for potty training. We need potty parity. I’m asking nicely. For the sake of my egalitarian marriage.
I know that the US is currently engaging in the debate about daddy-friendly changing rooms, with things changing for the better in Miami, San Francisco and New York.
In fact, I recently read a TODAY article quoting a guy I’ve followed forever: Doyin Richards, otherwise known as Daddy Doin’ Work. Richards says that the absence of mom- and dad-friendly changing facilities is “straight up saying only women change diapers … ” He says he doesn’t have a problem with establishments that don’t have baby-changing stations at all — some businesses just cater to adults. His complaint is about places that give mothers access to changing tables, while ignoring fathers.
The duty roster
In the States, 90% of dads report that they bathe, change or dress their children every day or several times a week (despite the fact that only 37% of their fathers did).
My guess — based on no data whatsoever, except social proof via my mates — is that South Africa, with our strongly patriarchal culture, has less egalitarian rosters of bath, dress and toilet duty. But I’d still like to be able to send my daughter off to the loo with her dad, so that I can sip my flat black in peace — before it turns to sludge.
Just one time in five.
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Tiffany Markman in 2014.
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