Dads want to change their babies' diapers. It's time society listens.

Do you know what's worse than babies with blowout diapers? Not having a safe place to change them.

The lack of changing stations is a struggle for moms as well, but I'm here to share the fatherhood side of the story. And as a dad with two young kids under the age of 5, I know this all too well.

I remember taking my 2-year-old daughter out to lunch while my wife and our oldest daughter enjoyed a mani-pedi day.


This particular establishment had a great kid's menu, and my daughter was enjoying herself immensely. But then it happened.

My non-potty trained 2-year-old looked up at me and said, "Daddy, I have poo-poo."

"No problem, I got this," I smiled. Off to the men's restroom we went.

No changing station in sight.

"Well, maybe they have a family restroom instead," I thought.

Nope, they didn't.

At that point, my kid was quite fragrant. I was about to call Terry Crews to handle the intense odor if I couldn't find a place to change her ASAP.

Terry knows how to handle odor. GIF via Old Spice.

Finally, I asked an employee if a changing station existed anywhere in the restaurant.

"Yes, we have one in the women's restroom," she replied.

"I need to change my daughter's diaper," I said. "Can I go in there (the women's restroom)?" She left to ask the manager, and instead of waiting, I just paid our bill and changed her in the backseat of my SUV.

This diaper crisis isn't new to fathers.

One celebrity dad ranted about it recently, and other everyday dads like me deal with this on a daily basis.

My thoughts during an interview on the lack of changing tables in men's restrooms. GIF from California Senate Democrats/YouTube.

We can do better.

Here are three simple reasons why we need to change the whole men's room diaper setup.

1. It's sexist.

First, let's identify the real enemy here.

If an establishment chooses not to have any changing stations in their restrooms, that's 100% fine by me. Although I'm a parent, I'm not naive enough to believe every business needs to be kid-friendly. Heck, when I have a rare "grown folks only" moment, there are places I enjoy visiting just because they don't cater to children.

The source of my ire stems from the businesses that consciously decide to add changing stations in women's restrooms but don't do the same in the men's restrooms.

We're not just talking about businesses that were built in the 1950s, either. Many of them are brand spanking new and still have no place for dads to change their kids' diapers. It sends the damaging message that it's women's work, and that couldn't be further from the truth.

Can you imagine what the meetings must've been like when the decisions were being made to put changing stations in women's restrooms only?

GIF from "The Tonight Show."

What about single dads? Gay dads? Dads who are out by themselves and have no choice but to change their babies on the grimy public restroom floor? This happens a lot.

Moms don't like it either. Nonsense like this sets them back 50 years. Enough is enough.

2. It's a really bad look for business owners.

Again, we're not talking about the businesses who unapologetically choose not to cater to children. We're talking about the ones like the restaurant I visited that had a kid's menu but no changing station available for dads to handle diaper business.

Don't be surprised if the government gets involved. It happened recently in California with the Potty Parity for Parents Act championed by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat. The 2014 bill required a changing stations in men's restrooms if stations existed in adjacent women's restrooms. At the very least, family restrooms needed to be accessible to both men and women.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? The bill passed out of the General Assembly with a bipartisan vote of 56-8. There was even a big press conference with Lara and other parents discussing the importance of this legislation.

I gave my two cents to the audience about the importance of this legislation. Image courtesy Doyin Richards.

Sadly, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill citing it as a "private sector" issue, disappointing many Californians in the process. For the sake of parental equality, hopefully other legislators will pick the ball up that Brown dropped.

And for those who believe this shouldn't be legislated, remember 25 years ago when people used to be able to do this on commercial airplanes?


Smoking on planes? That's not going to fly these days. GIF via "The Carol Burnett Show."

That looks like the craziest thing ever now, and if we relied on the private sector to solve the problem, you better believe people would still be lighting up at 30,000 feet today. Sometimes you have to legislate common sense in order for progress to occur.

3. This doesn't help create a world of good dads.

Good dads are going to change their kids' diapers no matter what obstacles are put in front of them. But why do these obstacles need to exist in the first place? In 2016 and beyond, doesn't it make sense for moms and dads to have places to do this? I've been known to call businesses ahead of time to ask if changing stations exist in men's restrooms before I take my kids there, and it's an unnecessary hassle.

With racism, poverty, global warming, and other important items to deal with, I'm sure there are some people who believe, "Aren't there bigger problems to focus on than changing stations in men's restrooms?"

Maybe.

But when a man's baby has a blowout diaper and there's no place to change said baby, there's no bigger problem in the world to him in that moment, I promise you.

Let's give a thumbs up to the businesses that understand that dads change diapers, too.


I'm always happy to see a changing table in men's restrooms. Image courtesy Doyin Richards.

Men who value fatherhood make the world a better place for everyone. We should make it easier for them, not harder.

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In the last 20 years, the internet has become almost as essential as water or air. Every day, many of us wake up and check it for the news, sports, work, and social media. We log on from our phones, our computers, even our watches. It's a luxury so often taken for granted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, as many now work from home and children are going to school online, home access is a more critical service than ever before.

On the flip side, some 3.6 billion people live without affordable access to the internet. This digital divide — which has only widened over the past 20 years — has worsened wealth inequality within countries, divided developed and developing economies and intensified the global gender gap. It has allowed new billionaires to rise, and contributed to keeping billions of others in poverty.

In the US, lack of internet access at home prevents nearly one in five teens from finishing their homework. One third of households with school-age children and income below $30,000 don't have internet in their homes, with Black and Hispanic households particularly affected.

The United Nations is working to highlight the costs of the digital divide and to rapidly close it. In September 2019, for example, the UN's International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF launched Giga, an initiative aimed at connecting every school and every child to the internet by 2030.

Closing digital inequity gaps also remains a top priority for the UN Secretary-General. His office recently released a new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The UN Foundation has been supporting both this work, and the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, which made a series of recommendations to ensure all people are connected, respected, and protected in the digital age. Civil society, technologists and communications companies, such as Verizon, played a critical role in informing those consultations. In addition, the UN Foundation houses the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), which advances digital inclusion through streamlining technology, unlocking markets and accelerating digitally enabled services as it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down...in the most delightful way.

There are certain songs from kids' movies that most of us can sing along to, but we often don't know how they originated. Now we have a timely insight into one such song—"A Spoonful of Sugar" from "Mary Poppins."

It's common for parents to try all kinds of tricks to get kids to take medications they don't want to take, but the inspiration for "A Spoonful of Sugar" was much more specific. Jeffrey Sherman, the son and nephew of the Sherman Brothers—the musical duo responsible not just for "Mary Poppins," but a host of Disney films including "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," as well as the song "It's a Small World After All"—told the story of how "A Spoonful of Sugar" came about on Facebook.

He wrote:

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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Blackface has a long and shameful history in this country. We think—we hope—after numerous call-outs and emotional explanations, Americans get the message: blackface is not okay. But that isn't the case, as many were re-made painfully aware, when Dr. Regina N. Bradley, a professor and critically acclaimed writer, shared the shocking auditory version of her new essay, "Da Art of Speculatin'", on Twitter.

Due to outrageous oversight, Fireside—a progressively minded short-story magazine who claim, in their About page, to resist "the global rise of fascism and far-right populism"—hired a young, white male voice actor to read and record Bradley's essay—an essay that identifies its writer, in its very first line, as a "southern Black woman who stands in the long shadow of the Civil Rights Movement."

According to the Washington Post, Rineer spoke in an accent that listeners interpreted as something that would appear in minstrel show, an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century, in which white people lampooned Black people, often portraying them as dim-witted and buffoonish, with stock characters including the dandy, the slave, and the 'mammy.' It's incredibly, incredibly offensive. So it's no wonder that, upon hearing the clip, a horrified Bradley fired off an outraged tweet, asking Fireside and Rineer if they honestly thought this is what she sounded like.



How could something so offensive have been approved, one wonders, especially in a year defined by reckoning with racial injustice? For the answer, look to Pablo Defendini, the publisher and editor for Fireside, who claimed, "nothing insidious in his decision… he just didn't listen to the recording before posting it."

"The blame for this rests squarely with me, as the person who hires out and manages the audio production process at Fireside," Defendini said in a statement. "In the interest of remaining a lean operation, I've been hiring one narrator to record the audio for a whole issue's worth of Fireside Quarterly, and I don't normally break out specific stories or essays for narrating by particular individuals."

"My personal neglect allowed racist violence to be perpetrated on a Black author, which makes me not just complicit in anti-Black racism, but racist as well."

As for Rineer, he regrets not breaking a contract rule and contacting Bradley directly about her work. His gut instinct told him not to proceed—that he was the wrong person for the job. Still, upon expressing his doubts to Fireside, he was ignored, and so proceeded with the recording—he'd already signed the contract.

"I made the mistake of reading Dr. Bradley's work and assuming an accent that was not representative of her voice," he said. "I had tried to find a different narrator who would be a suitable representative in my network and via public forums, to no avail, in the week-long time frame I had."

As for Bradley, Defendini's apology isn't cutting it. "Not listening" isn't an excuse—it's deepening the wound. Black Women have been "not listened" to since the dawn of this nation's founding.

"I am angry," she wrote. "Seething from centuries of silenced Black women angry."