The nuances of fatherhood can get lost in a world that tends to champion mothers as the sole caretakers of kids. One Florida man is on a mission to change this, thanks to a viral picture that’s getting some major attention.
Donte Palmer, a father of three, was out eating with his family at Texas Roadhouse one Saturday when he had to change his 1-year-old son’s diaper. However, like many men’s restrooms, Palmer could not find a changing table for his son.
“The argument is that they don’t exist,” Palmer said in a phone chat with Global Grind. “But they do exist in some areas, but we need more of them.”
With no changing table, Palmer was forced to get creative. He assumed a squatting position while stretching his kid across his lap so he could change their diaper. Palmer’s 12-year-old son Isaiah, who he calls his diaper assistant, accompanied his dad to the restroom and while Donte was in the process of changing the diaper, Isaiah snapped a pic.
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This is a serious post!!! What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!! #FLM #fatherslivesmatter clearly we do this often because look how comfortable my son is. It’s routine to him!!!! Let’s fix this problem! I Kaepernick drop a knee to this issue! @theshaderoom let’s show the innovation of fathers! #squatforchange Follow us now!! @3boys_1goal
When they returned to their table, the whole family had a good laugh about the picture. Two weeks later, Palmer realized the funny moment could be used for a great cause. “It dawned on me, you know what, that is a powerful picture. Why don’t we have changing tables?”
Palmer uploaded the pic his son took to Instagram with the hashtag #SquatForChange and he tagged The Shade Room. Once they reposted, Palmer received love from all over. The post gained over 500,000 likes and people like D.L. Hughley, T.I., and Tyrese voiced their support for Palmer and the need for changing tables in men’s restrooms.
“Y’all already know where I’m at with it all…..None of this is fair towards fathers,” Tyrese said in the comment section for The Shade Room. Other fathers on social media have even joined in on the #SquatForChange movement, posting pictures of themselves changing their kids’ diapers in the squatting position.
Now that Palmer has people’s attention, he plans to continue advocating for fathers. Palmer — who also serves as a high school teacher — says he’s in the middle of fleshing out the specifics with friends, but he has high hopes.
“One thing we don’t want to do is downgrade the title and the roles of a mom because moms are superheroes,” Palmer said. “But the thing we want to do is show that men are here, we do exist, and we want to be highlighted in those areas and to just make fathers better.”
Correction: October 2, 2018
An earlier version of this article reported that Donte Palmer was starting a non-profit organization for fathers. The mission and goals of the organization have yet to be solidified and are liable to change.