In our household, we are cloth nappy users. We use, prewash, wash, hang, fold, and use again. Part of our journey into cloth nappies has involved me being in several facebook groups. Groups for reviewing brands, getting washing advice, and general tips and tricks. Today I saw a post of excitement; new nappies had arrived for one family, and the OP was delighting in the ease-of-use of these modern cloth nappies (MCN). These nappies had velcro fastening, not press studs.
This post is not about different kinds of cloth nappies, but I’d like to quote a section of her post
… I really love these nappies! So easy to fit with the velcro rather than waist snaps (very dad proof!)…
In case you missed it, the problematic part is in bold. Do dads not know how to operate press studs? Is velcro the only fastening style that dads can operate? I can confirm this to be incorrect, as I have seen on multiple occasions, dads using buttons… And even zips…
All jokes aside, the answer is no, becoming a dad does not make one suddenly unable to operate fine motor function. Becoming a dad does not result in press studs suddenly becoming unmanageable.
This is not an isolated incident. I consistently see posts about ‘dad-proofing’ wash routines, which involves posters with easy-to-follow instructions, diagrams, and stickers. I see advice on how to ‘dad-proof’ an entire laundry, to ‘dad-proof’ an entire lifestyle. These posts, they grate and grind at something deep in my heart; these posts and the culture surrounding them are seriously underselling the men in our lives.
I’m all for writing down instructions and communicating clearly what we want our partners to do, especially when a bad washing choice can destroy an entire load of expensive cloth nappies. I’m all for highlighting how different nappy styles are easier to manage with limited practice, and I’m all for sharing our successes with like-minded community members. What I’m not all for, is the consistent and generic selling-short of the men in our lives.
Your partner doesn’t like snap-rises on nappies? Say that. Your partner needs written instructions for the nappy wash to avoid accidents? Say that. Hey, even if your partner wants nothing to do with changing nappies, just say that. Sweeping statements that imply the men in our lives are dumb, uncoordinated, and disinterested not only fuels negative vibes in you, but lowers the expectations of every other woman in these groups, and negatively affects the willingness of the men in these online communities to engage.
You know how I “dad-proof” our cloth nappy routine? We talk about how cloth nappies was a joint decision, provide judgement-free space to mess up and troubleshoot together. Not as hero and clumsy sidekick, but as partners on a level playing field.
Where else in our lives do we routinely sell others short? Food for thought.