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Dads Change Diapers Too

5000 diapers for dads, and what I learned along the way.

Carter W. Patterson and Shanique Taliaferro from the Father Center, with 5200 diapers supplied by the Maker's Place.

Recently I came across an anecdote about a man who, because of COVID-19, was spending so much more time at home with his son--and talking about it on his podcast--that he joked he should rename his show “Mr. Moms.”

It didn’t take long for someone to pass along a friendly reminder. There’s actually a name for men who spend time at home with their children: “Dads.” 

Like everyone else, I don't have anything positive to say about the global pandemic brought on by a novel coronavirus. But I can see some silver linings. When I hold my five-month old daughter, squawking and smiling and turning her soft and curious eyes towards the world, I think to myself: “I might have missed this.” The last few months have put me squarely at home, almost every hour of the day. In some other non-pandemic universe, I might have missed such a fatherhood-rich experience. And I would have missed out.

Before the pandemic began, I met Carter (pictured above, left). He is a manager at The Father Center (formerly UIH Family Partners), one of the oldest nonprofits in Trenton. Carter has a warm laugh and an infectious energy. He told me stories about his kids, and I told him about my own child, and the Maker’s Place “Diaper Depot.” 

“Hey, that’s great.” Carter said. “Dads change diapers too.”

Many fathers and caregivers don’t have the options I do--many can’t work from home, for one thing--and many face changes that I don’t. Beyond all this, we’re often told (or tell ourselves) that childcare is ‘women’s work’. That sort of masculinity is toxic to the family system. Strong families can come in a variety of arrangements. But a healthy father is always a positive addition.

Plus, there are just so many diapers to change. Dads can, and should, change diapers too.

That’s why this Father’s Day, we’ve supplied the Father Center with over 5,000 diapers. We’re partnering with them as they support men in gaining the skills and meeting the responsibilities of fatherhood.

I asked Carter if his family was doing anything special for Father’s Day. “Every year,” he said, “I ask my kids to make me a Father’s Day card. That way I can look at ‘em all when I’m an old man.” He grinned, and I could almost see him imagining himself decades from now, older and wiser and surrounded by mementos to all the moments he didn’t miss. I smiled too. “Happy Father’s Day,” I said.

All the best to you and your family. On a day that fills us with every imaginable emotion as we think about fathers, may God’s love and grace be will you.


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