Our gym locker room is set up like a long, medium-quality toilet lounge that connects the pool to the rest of the fitness merriment. The facilities are better than prison, worse than Queen Elizabeth's private powder chamber. So, it's a normal gym. On non-religious holidays the place is infested with drain hair so dense and gnarly you could keep them as pets. On good days, I use the mouthwash with confidence. I was nursing the baby in there today when I realized she needed a diaper change. I think my exact words were, "Is my baby a stinky face? Yes she is! She's my widdle stinky face!" and then everyone barfed because I'm such a cheese ball. I love that kid.
Anyway, I grabbed a towel, laid it down on the bench by the lockers and almost unsnapped her onesie, when an elderly woman came rattling out of nowhere, in full costume jewelry, with her back arched and her hairs vertical. She was not having a Chicos kind of day. In fact, she was highly angry and shouting at me. DO NOT CHANGE THAT DIAPER HERE! IT OFFENDS ME!
I stood there for 12 long seconds, quizzical. Again, "DO NOT CHANGE THAT DIAPER HERE! IT IS OFFENSIVE! GO TO THE TOILET! GO TO THE CHILDCARE CENTER!" (which is in a different part of the building and only accessible if your kids are checked in, and mine had used their time for the day already.)
I didn't say anything back because a) I'm not going to scrap with an old lady b) maybe she was right.
Is it rude to change a baby's diaper in a locker room? They have an area for nursing - big, cushy couches and chairs in a dim nook where you could probably get away with making a few babies if you snuck someone in. There are ladies in full bush regalia peeling off putrid Champion gear drenched in garlic sweat. There are farts. If you're easily offended by sights and smells, the locker room at a mid-priced gym in Skokie is not the place to hang.
Also, there is exactly one available changing table in the handicapped stall. I never feel right taking up that space because what if someone handicapped comes in and needs to use the pot? So I do what I see other mothers doing and that's using the benches by the lockers.
The woman didn't stop there. Nope. She took it to a higher power: an employee tasked with stacking towels. We both looked to this ambassador of justice for an official answer. We got an eye roll, followed by a shrug and a whisper to me to "ignore her". So I did. I changed the diaper. The world turned. Then we got snacks.
I did a little googling on the matter and I see conflicting information. Some pools insist on the locker room diaper change, and the rest of the results are about adult diaper sexual fetishists and I think it's best we leave them out of it.
Maybe changing a baby's diaper on a bench by the lockers is totally rude. I mean, you can take a shower in the locker room, but you can't do it at the sink. You're welcome to crap yourself silly, but there are stalls for that action. However, if the implication was that a baby's diaper needs to be changed only on the single changing table, shouldn't it be in a better spot than the handicapped stall? Maybe they could have more than one of them available in a facility that caters to hundreds. (Thousands? This place is like a megachurch for meatheads on high-protein diets.) If they made that rule and enforced it, all gym activity might grind to a standstill as lines to the changing table back up into infinity. Poop rush!
Maybe the most curious thing about the incident was that the lady who yelled at me was clearly finished with her business there before she reprimanded me, as demonstrated by her prancing out and presumably into a town car on her way to tea and finger sandwiches with the Dowager Countess.
I'm not trying to stick it in this lady's face. What if she had cancer and was actually nauseated by diaper smells? I didn't even think of that until later. All I can say is you catch more flies with honey, people. All she had to do was say, "do you mind changing that elsewhere or waiting a few minutes?" Or "I'm in bad health and not having a good day. I think I might be sick around a diaper". Warm smiles, good vibes, no problem. But to just rage at me out of nowhere and defer to an authority? Ain't cool, Bea Arthur. I didn't want to ruin your day.
Oh well, now at least I have something else to be neurotic and paranoid about. Moms always need more obstacles! It's not hard enough getting three kids fed, clean, dressed, stuffed into the car and to the gym so I can parade my fat butt around like a sweaty hippo teetering on a treadmill. Now I will scour the gym for a hidden crevice away from all humanity to expose an 18-pound butt for ten seconds. It's only proper.
Or are locker rooms just fine for diaper changing? Please advise, Internet.
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Filed under: Dicey Mom Territory