While trolling around other parenting blogs and message boards for ideas to write about, I have seen recurring complaints from Moms that some Dads out there refuse to change their child’s diapers. I guess some squeamish men have persuaded themselves that diapers are Mom’s department. C’mon! In fact, it is basic job requirement of every parent. Your child’s red, irritated butt and the soiled diaper don’t care whether it is mom’s hands or dad’s hands doing the changing, just as long as the stinky problem is dealt with. Some clean-handed Dads may still brush it off as not a big deal. That diapers are only for the first three years, and then Dad will really step up his game. But here is why it is important not just now, but for a long time to come:
In short, it is not about the diapers.
A Dad who refuses to get his hands dirty now might later shrink from other dirty or uncomfortable aspects of parenting. Who loses? Mom, who obviously has to assume more than her fair share of the parenting load, and the kids whose Dad cherrypicks for himself the easy stuff. If a cherrypicker Dad decrees that his hands cannot be soiled by a dirty diaper, then how is he supposed to take the kids out to do cool Dad stuff? Sure, Mom is perfectly capable of taking the kids out to the playground, the zoo, the campgrounds, the batting cages, on roadtrips, on bike rides, and fishing, but some of those things might be more fun with Dad running the show. But all this rests on the assumption that Dad isn’t too chicken to sling the diaper bag over his shoulder on his way out the door.
Then what happens when the child grows up and the problems get more complicated? It is my hunch that a child who has spent hours, days, weeks and years with a Dad who busts his ass in all aspects of parenting will likely be far more open to listening and obeying to parental advice. That will make it a lot easier for Dad to someday lay down the law if his authority derives from time he’s logged on his hands and knees playing with the kids rather than the sheer force of his fatherly will.
So, Dad, do your job and change a few diapers for the sake of your kids, your wife, and yourself.