Once when I was in elementary school, a classmate in a seat near me became ill, stood up, and proceeded to lose his lunch, right there on the floor. I soon did the same, not because I had been ill, but because I was born with a very weak stomach.
I largely am still that way.
When autumn rolls around, you’ll catch my family and me at the local corn maze, but you probably won’t see me in line at the port-a-potty. If there’s a bad smell – even the thought of it – I sometimes struggle to keep my composure. I even nearly got sick once watching an episode of “Man v. Wild,” when Bear Grylls drank something I’d rather not mention. I quickly turned it off.
I do, though, change diapers – even the super-messy ones. When my wife and I were anticipating the birth of our first child, I determined well beforehand that I was going to help in every aspect of childrearing, even the ones that sometimes repel fathers.
I figure that if I can change diapers, any father can. Of course, we seem to be living in a new age of fatherhood, when men do chores their fathers once avoided. Still, I’m sure there are fathers out there who are squeamish when it comes to diapers, particularly “poopies.”
Here, then, are five reasons why fathers should change diapers.
1. It’s really not that bad. I remember my teenage days, when I was repulsed by the smell of a dirty diaper. “No way,” I thought, “will I ever clean up something that smells that bad.” And I didn’t — until my first child was born. These days, I simply put my nose in my shirt – often drawing chuckles from others – and get to work. If you have a weak stomach, you have one goal: Block the smell. If you need to wear two or even three shirts to block the stink, do it. If you need to wrap a fabric softener sheet around your nose (which I once did), do it. The more diapers you change, the easier it becomes. (Blog post continues below video.)
2. It’s humbling. Let’s face it: Humility often is lacking in men, even though it’s one of the marks of a Christian. A lack of humility is why fights are more common among men, even why a U.S. vice president (Aaron Burr) and president (Andrew Jackson) killed men in gun duels at various points in their lives. They weren’t about to let their honor and pride take a hit. Maybe they should have changed a few more poopies. Changing a diaper full of the past three meals can bring you down to earth fast. God wants us to be humble (James 4:10). Sure, humility can be learned by other means, but why not learn it in a way that will benefit your wife? Speaking of that …
3. Wives will appreciate it. Childrearing is hard enough with spouses sharing various chores, but if a father refuses to do the smelliest one, it can be even harder. Refusing to change a diaper is not a sin, but changing diapers on a regular basis certainly fits in there somewhere when we’re talking about Ephesians 5:25 love for your wife.
4. It will help you bond with your child. Babies sometimes need comforted after their diapers are changed. Other times, though, they’re giggle boxes and will laugh at every little thing you do. Each instance is enjoyable, and you’ll never regret them. Besides, if you were helpless and had a dirty diaper, wouldn’t you want your father helping out?
5. Because it’s uncomfortable. The Bible doesn’t call us to live a comfortable life. In fact, just the opposite is required. We are to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, abstain from evil thoughts — all difficult, but all possible through the power of Christ. This concept of “doing the uncomfortable” applies to the mundane, too. We mow our yards and clean our toilets when we’d rather be sitting on the porch, drinking raspberry tea. God is glorified when we have discipline, do what’s difficult, and serve others. That includes changing diapers.*
Martin Luther (1483-1546), the reformer, was a diaper-changer himself, back when most of his male friends probably didn’t follow his lead. Luther said when a father changes a diaper, and his friends ridicule him as an “effeminate fool,” he should ignore them. Why? Because God approves of fathers changing diapers – particularly when it’s motivated by love.
“God, with all his angels and creatures, is smiling,” Luther wrote, “not because that father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.”
* Thanks to Brenda, who made this point in the comments section, leading me to add to what originally was a “4 reasons” column.
Michael Foust is an editor and writer who blogs about parenting and fatherhood. He loves his family and also really likes popcorn. Interested in re-posting this in your publication or on your blog for free? Send me a message in the comments section below (the message won’t go public).
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