Dad shaming: One family’s shocking story

dad shaming

When we saw this dad’s story being told on North Shore Mums, we knew it would resonate with families everywhere. A mum whose husband was changing their child in the parents room at a supermarket was shocked when a stranger called security on her spouse. Here’s her story on dad shaming.

“My husband is currently on paternity leave, looking after our 10 month old and 2 year old.

Today he took the baby to Coles Balgowlah to get the weekly shop. This is a challenge at the best of times (the baby does not like shopping and lets everyone know about it) but today was made harder by having Security come to check up on him while he was changing the baby’s nappy.

Apparently a woman had been concerned and contacted them.

The security guard was apparently very understanding, having kids of his own, but it must still have been embarrassing.

When I got the full story from hubby, it turns out that prior to security coming to see him she had already approached hubby to see if everything was OK.

He told her he was doing a nappy change but she clearly wasn’t happy with that answer.

He also saw her after the security incident and questioned her about why she was concerned, the response was that she thought the baby seemed distressed.

He was crying- he doesn’t like sitting still to have his nappy changed.

Men shouldn’t have to avoid going out in public because they are going to be abused by demented strangers.

All parents need social interaction to avoid depression, and whilst I understand for some women of an older generation, having men do things like toileting, paternity leave etc is a new concept, it’s not OK to jump straight to assuming the man is a pedophile.

While I appreciate that it’s important to act if you think something is wrong, could this have been handled differently to avoid embarrassment to an already stressed out Dad? Anyone else experienced a similar situation?”

Here’s how our community responded:

  • Can fathers not be allowed to be fathers anymore? My hubby is currently a stay-at-home parent (and doing a fabulous job at it), and this news would be so saddening for him.
  • What the hell!!! I mean come on why dad can’t be just dad…leave them alone.she could have just asked “hey r u ok? Do you need help? Can I do something for you?” There are ways to help without overkilling it….
  • Oh my goodness, this is exactly why my partner refuses to go anywhere near the parents rooms. This kind if thing would SHRED his confidence. It’s absolutely awful when a dad being a hands on, awesome daddy is perceived negatively. Dads really cant catch a break with this stuff.
  • It’s sad that we always talk about equality when it comes to 21st century parenting but dads are treated as inferior. One of the midwives challenged me when I asked for my husband to take care of the baby while I rested, “he’s a man, what’s he going to do?” Granted he can’t breastfeed but I thought her attitude was ridiculous. We should give your husband kudos for the job he’s doing! Good on him!
  • Controversial comment: being the devils advocate. To make it clear, my husband spends more time with our 4 year and 2 year old girls than me due to work and he is amazing dad and we are totally equal. As in, I don’t give him lists how to take care of the kids . I will leave out the dad / mom variable, discriminaton, yet I would be happy if something would be with going on with my kids and there was someone with the balls to act. Not withstanding the gender attribution comments in this case. Both me and my husband would have the first same reaction as anyone in this post. My husband gets the same looks in the parents room and I hate it. So yes, I agree as there will be people out to stir stuff up for no reason, but I am also grateful for them who are keeping their eyes open.
  • I wonder if someone pressed the duress alarm and speaker they have in the cubicles. A nervous new Mum May have heard a mans voice and initially assumed the worst. Especially as she wouldn’t see him. Doesn’t make it OK but it may have been a bit of a silly mistake. Ironically, Balgowlah was the first Baby Change Room I EVER had to use to feed and change my newborn and I felt very isolated and a bit nervy sitting there with my boobs out. Even behind a locked door. I can see how that might have happened. Thankfully my husband has never experienced this issue in over 2 years. I’m genuinely amazed at how often this seems to be happening.

This story on dad shaming was shared with the permission of the NSM member who wrote it.


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