Mikaa Ives was fed up with the number of times she saw dads getting rude stares just for changing their children's diapers. So, in a recent Facebook rant to all parents, the Australian mom shared an incident she witnessed more than a month ago in the parents' changing room at a shopping center.
When Ives brought her daughter in to change her diaper, a woman and two of her young kids also entered at the same time. The woman saw a dad in the middle of changing his son's diaper, already struggling with a baby who did not want to be changed, and somehow felt that the dad's presence and actions were extremely gross and perverted.
"It's only for mothers. Get out, you sicko," Ives remembered the other mom saying, adding that the woman also said she would called security "and say he was staring at her naked kids if he didn't leave the room."
In response, the dad picked up his son, who didn't have a clean diaper on yet, and stood outside the door.
"His son was hysterical and he's just saying, 'It's OK, mate, we'll go back in there soon.' At this point I thought, f--k this, told the dad to come back in and finish changing his son, told the lady that if she wanted to call security to go ahead because I would 100 percent back the dad up. She didn't even change her kids, just had them in there playing so she could sit on her phone. I was beyond disgusted." Ives wrote.
"There were a lot of other mums in there at the time, but they sat and turned away," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The other mom sat down and stared at the dad and his son until the diaper change was done. Ives waited for the dad to finish, then the dad thanked her and they left together.
Many people commented their support of Ives' decision.
"My husband has had comments in the parents room too. One woman in particular he gave a piece of his mind to after she called him a pedo for helping our (3-year-old) use the toilet," one mom wrote.
"This happened to me and plenty of my mates. I now see grandfathers taking kids to the men's toilet because they are embarrassed to use the parents room," one dad commented.
"I used to hate going to parent rooms with my daughter. The amount of times I had women having a go at me was ridiculous. I had a lady call me a pedo for changing my own child. I just told her to go f--k herself. They are parents rooms, which means both Mum and Dad are welcome to use it," another dad said.
It's already hard enough for parents to find a changing table when out and about. For dads, it can be a whole other level of frustration.
Like the family restrooms in the U.S., parents' rooms in Australia are sometimes offered for parents to change and feed their babies. Some parents' rooms are much swankier and equipped with microwaves, lockers, play zones and spaces for parents to recharge after a long stretch at the mall or museum.
It's already hard enough for parents to find a changing table when out and about. For dads, it can be a whole other level of frustration. As Ashton Kutcher famously pointed out in 2015, rarely are there changing tables in men's restrooms. It wasn't until 2016 that former President Obama signed a new law mandating men's restrooms in federal buildings open to the public also contain changing tables.
"This topic shouldn't have to even be a debate, but unfortunately it's hard to ignore when there are so many dads (experiencing) abuse for doing the right thing," Ives wrote in response to the attention she had received since she wrote the post. "Hopefully my post has made a point and having dads in parents rooms becomes more normalized. Parents are parents regardless of which sex. We all deserve the same respect when using a room designed for the sole purpose of changing and feeding our children."