Why Public Changing Tables Are the Bane of Moms' Existence

Featured Member Post

Let’s talk about going out in public with babies.

Let’s narrow it down and talk about changing the diapers of those babies.

Let’s get even more specific and discuss the changing tables provided by establishments when you have to change said babies.

Let’s get tangential and notice that I have selected changing tables as a topic for my blog. Long time readers will recall the fear I had about this becoming a mommy blog. It appears that I am there.

So back to the changing tables and how they make me want to stick forks in my eyes.

They had to use a cartoon because no one has ever been photographed looking so happy after using their product.
Credit: morgandavis.
They had to use a cartoon because no one has ever been photographed looking so happy after using their product.

Most places will put a changing table in their bathroom. I’m grateful for this because C has reached the age where I’m scared to change her in the car. It’s hard to eventually sell a car with skid marks on the backseat. I’m not even going to dwell on the places that are marketed as family-friendly but don’t have a changing table in their bathroom. Their proprietors will eventually get what’s coming to them when they meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates and get assigned bathroom duty to all the porcelain thrones. Fact: “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” was written by Belinda Carlisle because she is in tune with the bowel movements of angels.

I can’t even make this stuff up.

So you go into the bathroom -- and voila! -- you find the changing table. It will likely be of the Koala Bear Kare variety where you pull it down off the wall like one of those beds that the detective from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? had. Random references: I’ve got ‘em.

You pull it down and struggle to find the changing pad from your diaper bag so that your dear sweet baby won’t have to rest her brow on the hard filthy surface of the table. Apparently the child who preceded yours took a crap directly on the table and his mom felt no need to even spit clean it. On many changing tables, you will find a little slot that is supposed to contain paper liners for you to put down, but you won’t see any in there because only Starbucks made of gold on the moon provide them. More facts.

You place your child in the sink while you unfurl your changing pad, which is also spotted in poo because who remembers to clean those things? But at least it’s your own baby’s poo so she won’t contract cholera as quickly as she would if exposed to the previous baby’s poo. You plop her onto the table and search for the ends of the safety straps, which you must use or face certain death warns the diaper-clad koala. The only problem is that the straps are caught in the hinges of the table. And even if they weren’t, a pack of hyenas has previously strong-armed its way into this bathroom to mangle the clasps beyond recognition, rendering them useless. So you hold your baby down with your forearm.

Because you’re a good mom and do not want to place the diaper bag on the bathroom floor and expedite the certain death of your infant, you search for a hook where you can hang it. Some changing tables have hooks, and by “hooks” I mean 1″ nubby protrusions that would not be able to hold up a shoestring. The baby is getting restless so you grab the diaper and the wipes from your bag and get to changing. This is the part where her pacifier pops out of her mouth and onto the poo table and she goes after it by twisting her entire body like a boa constrictor killing its prey. You intercept the polluted pacifier, stick it in your pocket, and wrestle the now agitated child to lie flat.

She is having none of it. She sees through your half-assed attempts to entertain her with the closest thing at hand: a tube of Desitin. She needs the

disgusting suck-toy to pacify her. But it touched the table! And the pacifier wipes you purchased for just this occasion are in the car. So you make yet another sacrifice for your daughter and stick the thing directly in your mouth to wash away the foreign nasties and replace them with your own. She breastfeeds, so this should be OK, right?

You’ve now been in the bathroom for about three hours and you’re doing well, until another mom with her kid comes in. Because the designer of this public bathroom is a staunch practitioner of the art of feng shui, he has placed the changing directly in front of the door to the only currently unoccupied stall, which this kid is going to get into without paying much heed to your precarious situation. His mom is just swell and doesn’t do anything to hold him back. But luckily, the last snap of your baby’s onesie is closed right when the kid starts banging the stall door on the changing table in an attempt to get it open. Ah, the stubbornness of impossibility.

And so it ends. You get out alive. And it’s OK that your baby is naked waist down except for her diaper. It’s OK that you accidentally tossed the $35 cloth diaper you changed her out of into the trash. It’s OK that you have a smidgeon of diaper ointment on your forehead. At least it’s not poo. It’s OK that washing your hands is the furthest thing from your mind. You promptly get your gal a snack and a cup to start the process all over again.

Momming: you’re all over it.


In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.