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Oh, Sh*t!: A Definitive Ranking of Diaper-Changing Scenarios

Photograph by Twenty20

Welcome to parenthood: where sh*t happens. Literally. All the time.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, it will happen in the perfect storm sort of situation: You’ve got all hands on deck, you’re in a clean, comfortable environment and you’re equipped with every butt wiping accoutrement you could ever desire.

But what about those other times, when none of those things are true, when you’re faced with the prospect of changing your kid on the ground in a public restroom? We’re ranking the best-to-worst case scenarios of diaper changes from “this makes parenting easy” to “shit, this sucks.”

😇: Home Sweet Home

You’re in the comfort of your own home. Perhaps you’re a changing pad kind of parent or have a blanket placed strategically across your bed. Either way, you’re comfortably able to access all the tools you need to get in and get out. It’s an only-slightly-soiled situation, and it’s handled so quickly you feel like you’ve gone on autopilot. Back to sipping cold coffee and watching PBS Kids in no time flat.

🙂: Babies R Us/Church/Fancy Airport Mothers Rooms

SWEET. Designated spaces for parents to change or feed their kiddos away from the alluring whirr of toilets self-flushing? Color us excited. These rooms are usually equipped with everything you’d need to change a diaper in a pinch, but you might have to wait behind other parents to access the goods. You’re dealing with a minor Code Brown and aren’t really all that inconvenienced.

Send help. And a million Lysol wipes.

🤨: Family Restrooms

We've got a real hit-or-miss situation on our hands, here. Walking into these family-only restrooms is like opening one of those “mystery flavor” lollipops: It’s either going to be fresh and lemony, or awfully brown and inexplicably crusty with some kid's pee all over the floor. Your child wants to touch (read: taste) everything, and you’re just trying to get out of there without touching much yourself—or sliding your finger down the mudslide you’re battling. Not a dream situation, but it could always be worse.

😷: Koala Care Stations

These little guys were created during a time where companies realized maybe babies would occasionally need to be changed while out in public, and their answer to that was an incredibly sturdy table that's great for a not-so-wiggly little. What they didn't account for were newly mobile/insane/half-drunk-acting babies that have poop smears on their back that end up left behind for someone else to deal with.

This station is also usually located inside the handicapped stall, so you’re almost always waiting on another mom and her resilient-to-poop 6-year-old. You meet eyes as she leaves the horrendous-smelling stall as you begin to walk in, hers apologetic and yours fearful.

🤢: Truck Stop Restroom

Picture it: You’re on a road trip, you stop at one of those big fast food/gas station/ice cream store combos and your trunk is completely stuffed, so changing your baby in the back isn't an option. Your baby's decided to have a major blowout and the stench is noticeable to everyone within a 10-foot radius of you. And you have to go—like, BAD. Send help. And a million Lysol wipes.

👿: No Restroom, No Spare Clothes

Welcome to the seventh layer of hell: You’re completely unprepared for some reason (because, I don’t know, life?) and have done something crazy like, locking your keys in your car right after your baby has gone full Rambo on their diaper, clothes and the surrounding upholstery. You peel off their diaper and all their clothes and contemplate pouring your water bottle on them while you await rescue. No return, no escape.

You know shit happens, but you also know there’s always someone wading through it, too.

Solidarity, parent-soldiers.

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