A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend from my ward about feminism. She felt uncomfortable applying that word to herself (as many do) but said if there was one thing she would push for, it would be changes in the mother’s lounge. I said I would fully support her and help push for changes, as I am one of the ward’s most squeaky wheels. I don’t have children myself and have only been in that room a handful of times, mostly when a nursing mom who works with me in my calling needed to have a meeting and have privacy to nurse. We brainstormed a list of things we thought we could do to improve the facilities. Our room is the size of a utility closet and has a counter, sink, and paper towel dispenser. It has the usual diaper pail the church provides, a covered trash can that is inadequate to keeping the place from smelling terrible. It also has two old upholstered rocking chairs that are really filthy and unappealing. The walls are stark white, and the two lighting options are glaring fluorescents or pitch black. Here are our ideas so far:
Problem: It smells like poop
Solution: Diaper genie
Problem: Babies can easily roll off the counter
Solution: Changing pad
Problem: It is a tiny room with two chairs and we have at least six nursing women in our ward alone, with two other units sharing the building.
Solution: At least provide cushions for the women who are currently sitting on the floor to nurse. It is sad to me that this is even a request, but it is still an improvement on standing or the hard floor.
Problem: The chairs are visibly filthy, worn out, and disgusting to the touch
Solution: New chairs that rock, are soft, and are clean.
Problem: Washing hands repeatedly dries them out and not all women remember hand sanitizer
Solution: provide hand sanitizer
Problem: It is a dark dank hole
Solution: Get a floor lamp of suitable dimness so a mom can soothe her baby and maybe also read her scriptures at the same time.
Problem: It is as ugly as sin
Solution: Procure Minerva Teichert or other suitably lovely art. Pay the muralist who lives in a neighboring ward to paint something beautiful on the walls.
Ideal solution to many of these problems: Use one of the larger rooms in the building as an improved mothers lounge with enough space for many chairs. Use current room as a unisex changing room/place for dads to go to soothe babies in darkness if necessary.
Have any of you dealt with a similar problem? What other solutions would you suggest? What do you think would be the most effective way to get these changes to happen?