More Kiwi fathers share experiences after Dad told to leave parents' room in mall

An Auckland dad was told by an angry mum to leave the parents' room where he was looking after his baby daughter.

Josh Anderson was out with his 5-month-old daughter at the Westfield in Manukau when he needed to change her nappy and give her a bottle.

He visited the parents' room in the mall, where he tended to his baby and then used the toilet.

When he came out of the cubicle with his daughter, one of the mums in the room reportedly approached him angrily and told him he couldn't be in there.
Mum Kori Anderson says she was "absolutely livid" when her husband got home and told her about the interaction with the other mum.

Unfortunately, Josh isn't the only dad to have this experience in the parent's room - listen above to hear move Kiwi fathers share their stories with Laura McGoldrick.

"He took her to the parents room' to change her and give her a bottle. He then took her in her pram to the toilet cubicle within the parents' room, so he could use the bathroom himself - the photo of the parent sign was on the cubicle door within the parents' room," she told the Herald.

"He came out of the cubicle with my daughter and the lady waiting with her son (maybe 5-years-old) straight away said 'you're not allowed to use this facility because it's for women only. Can you not see the sign? You have no right!'"

The mother reportedly pointed to the sign on the door, which shows an adult and a child, both wearing skirts.

The dad asked the woman what he was meant to do and whether she thought he should take his daughter in her pram into the men's room to change her there.

"That's what all the men are supposed to do," the woman reportedly told him.

The dad left the room to contact mall management and, on his way, found a cleaner near another toilet. He asked the cleaner whether the parents' room was for all parents or just for mums.

"The cleaner said 'of course all parents are welcome to use it, mums and dads,'" Anderson recalled.

According to the dad's wife, who spoke to the Herald, the dad later returned to the parents' room to feed his daughter again.

"He later returned to the parent room to give me daughter another bottle, not fazed by what had happened but still angry for the same reasons as me. He's angry because he had the pram, shopping, my daughter and so using the men's room was not suitable because he didn't want to leave the pram out and there was nowhere to change her. He didn't want to go to the parents' room and change my daughter and then take her to the men's room and leave her in the pram out in the open whilst he used the bathroom himself in the men's room," Anderson said.

"I was absolutely livid when he told me what had happened. We are living in a society where we are encouraging all parents to take equal responsibility for their children, encouraging stay-at-home dads, encouraging dads to take on the role historically assumed by the mother," the mum added.
"My daughter shouldn't have to be taken to the men's room where there are no change facilities just because my husband has been made to feel unwelcome in the parents' room simply because he is a man."

The mum posted about the incident on social media, to draw attention to the fact that parents' room are for all parents and not just for mothers. According to Anderson, while her husband knew his rights, others might not.

"He knows his rights and loves being able to be there for his daughter. Her needs come first and he wasn't going to let the incident stop them for using facilities intended for them," she said.

The couple intends to follow up with Westfield management and file a complaint.

Contacted by the Herald, a Westfield Manukau spokesperson confirmed that the "Parents' rooms are provided for the use of all parents, carers, and guardians".

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This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.