For fathers across the globe, the changing table can be a challenge as many public changing facilities are made only available in women’s bathrooms and/or disabled bathrooms.
Donte Palmer from Jacksonville, Florida, is a father of three young boys and is working to change that.
Palmer was enjoying dinner out in a restaurant with his wife and sons when he needed to change his baby’s diaper.
When speaking with UNILAD, Palmer, 32, shared:
“When I started changing my child, my 12-year-old son, Isaiah, usually comes with me to assist me; handing me the new diapers, handing me new wipes. As he’s doing that, he pulls his phone out and starts taking pictures. I’m thinking at the time, he’s just playing on his phone, you know, doing what a 12-year-old kid usually does. It wasn’t until we got back to the table he showed my wife and I this picture. And I was like, well that’s a powerful picture, I’ll put it on social media when I get a chance, and we’ll just see what happens.”
The now viral photo shows Palmer squatting with his back across the wall with baby Liam on his lap. Without a changing table, Palmer had been forced to improvise like many dad previously.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that Palmer shared the picture – expecting a few likes here and there – but the morning after posting, his post had gone viral.
Many dads were encouraged to show similar photographs of their babies being changed on laps, in car boots, all using the hashtag SquatForChange.
While this all took place in September of 2018, in the month’s since, Palmer’s activism has grown beyond his wildest expectations and continues to do so.
“It says that moms are the ones who are supposed to be the caretakers. They’re the ones who are supposed to provide for the babies, cook for the babies, change diapers. You know, stay at home and cook and clean. And that’s false. And for a long time I believed that. Until I got married a year and three months ago, and I met my beautiful, strong wife. And she said, ‘no, this is how life works’. If I came home from work, and I just expected my wife to cook everyday, I’d probably be divorced right now! But I say that in all seriousness, my wife and I, we play everything on an equal playing field in my household.”
“We have to change that narrative of what the world views mom and dad as, or male and female as when it comes to our society and roles of being married or being parents. It’s just one of those things, we have to break those gender boxes. And that’s why my wife stepped up and she’s really helping me push the Squat For Change campaign for we can put our marriage and our parenting roles on a pedestal, so we can show society how we should be. Mom and dad working together, for a greater cause, making sure everybody in the house is good. And making sure parents around the world can see what exactly it is to be a parent, a husband and a wife.”