Changing Diapers

by Evil HR Lady on August 10, 2009

Since my “official” title here in Switzerland is “Hausfrau” (really, it’s on my paperwork!), I thought I’d comment on that ever so fun task of changing stinky diapers.

First of all, I’d like to express my love and appreciation to the designers, scientists, engineers (diaper engineer, if there is such a thing), and marketers who created the modern disposable diaper.


Now, in one of those child rearing books (I won’t say which one, but I expect that any of you who have gone through childbirth and rearing of small children will have read at least part of these series) it gives very serious diaper changing advice: Do not criticize or indicate in any way that your child’s output is stinky. Why? It will damage the poor little darling’s self esteem! And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

I found that to be one of the most laughable pieces of advice in the whole series. (And keep in mind, this same series informed me that for a treat, while pregnant, I can have some yogurt! Um, how about an entire carton of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey instead? Note, I am not now pregnant, but when I was pregnant, no way was I following that advice.) I think about it when I’m changing my toddler’s diaper. “Come here Mr. Stink pants,” I say. Or, perhaps, “Where’s my little stink butt?” And we all giggle and laugh at Mr. Stinky’s exceptionally foul pants, because he has special skills and abilities in that area.

And, so as I was laughing about the ludicrousness of trying to convince my brilliant baby that his poo smells like flowers, in order not to damage his self esteem, I was reminded of a statement by Alison at Ask a Manager regarding firing bad employees. (It’s in the comments, by the way, so scroll down.)

I fire them! I consider it part of the benefits package for other employees not to have to work with asses. Am I the only one?

Because you see, bad employees are similar to Mr. Stinky Pants. Everybody around him knows just how bad he stinks, but for some reason rather than saying, “Come here, Mr. Stinky!” (Okay, that would get you fired, but you see where I’m going with this), we try to pretend that it smells like flowers.

The problem is that saying it smells like flowers doesn’t make it smell like flowers, but it can convince the stinker that his “output” is just fine, stink and all. But, what have you gained by convincing your baby that his poo is special and wonderful and should be shared with the world? Nothing. Your good employees aren’t so dumb as to believe it and who wants to hang around a diaper pail? Not me, and not your other good employees.

If it stinks, it needs to be changed, not called something different. If it can’t be changed, the whole thing needs to go.

Good thing we have disposable diapers, or Mr. Stinky’s stay in our family would have been short lived.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerry August 10, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Amen. In fact, if you could put that in a really small font, I'd like to tattoo that last few paragraphs on the forearms of some of the managers I've worked with.

I'm an HR-person-turned-hausfrau too, and I read that same book. In a burst of defiance, I taught my son to say "peee-ewwww" when he poops in his diaper. Now it's his favorite word, and he says it to everyone, all the time. I'm considering renting him out to companies to sniff out the employees who stink.


HR Leigh August 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm

I love your blog. It makes me very happy.


Jenn August 10, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Awesome analogy. I wonder if you can use a diaper Genie in the office? ๐Ÿ™‚


endlessquestions August 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm

That book scared the daylights out of me while I was pregnant. Bad book! Bad!

I fully believe in the "Stinky Butt" moniker. Children who think their poop doesn't stink, grow up to be adults (and annoying employees) who – go figure – think their poop doesn't stink!


Fred August 11, 2009 at 4:13 am

I hope my boss and his boss is reading your blog.

Unfortunately I doubt that they are because "Mr. Stinky Pants" was still still occupying the cube next to mine when I returned to work from vacation this morning. Our "Mr. Stinky Pants" causes what would otherwise be a wonderful place to work a source of ulcers and adversity. His work output is good, but what we have to endure to get there is not hardly worth it.

P.S. There's a company that makes diaper-making machines near where I live. Thank you for buying diapers! ๐Ÿ˜‰


Ask a Manager August 11, 2009 at 5:13 am

I was weirdly excited to discover I was mentioned in a post about poop . Thank you!


class-factotum August 11, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I asked my friend Laura if changing diapers wasn't so bad because it was her own baby. (We had both changed diapers as babysitters. Cloth ones. Yes, I remember those days and I will happily see the earth denuded never to have to rinse another poopy diaper in the toilet.)

Anyhow. She just looked at me and said in a flat voice: "It's still shit."


baby221 August 11, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I haven't read the book in question, but I'll gladly suffer the stigma of being a Bad Mom (or One Of THOSE Moms) if it means not having to encourage narcissism in my son.

But that really is a wonderful analogy, even if it can be painful to administer. Nobody likes being the bad guy!


Anonymous August 11, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Um, perhaps slightly off topic, but using non-disposables really isn't any different from using disposables. It's all poop–and reusable diapers are vastly cheaper and more earth friendly than disposables.
Love this blog!


Lempskies August 12, 2009 at 4:27 am

I bet you are as great mom- you're a great blogger! I love your posts.
The newest version of that series has the mother-in-waiting out of her rocker & into jeans (I think they've also revised the nutrition sections slightly) but I maintain the book still belongs in the same place as the stinky diapers.


Anonymous August 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm

I just had to say that I love this post! It reminded me of the time I was changing my godson's diaper the day of the baptism and this "Mr. Stnky Pants" really had them…and how! I proceeded to express my displeasure with this unpleasant olfactory experience to which my godson wailed…and how! So now we still express unplesantness at his 20 mo-old BMs but try to joke more about it. Very interesting insights about the narcissim factor! For my part, I will always make sure my godson knows that his poop, does in fact stink.


Olivia August 18, 2009 at 7:33 pm

true self esteem comes from improvement of oneself, accomplishment, turning a bad into a good. It does not come from being cosseted, protected and lied to by the people who are supposed to tell us the truth.

I lothe the idea that a lack of negativity equals positivity. It doesn't. Effort is required – efforts that no one will ever make if they aren't aware there is a problem in the first place.


Lee August 18, 2009 at 10:00 pm

It's always amazing to me just how much a manager will "put up with" in order to AVOID. In my humble opinion, avoidance is one of the biggest problems we HR types face.

Love you page, Evil. ๐Ÿ™‚



Anonymous August 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm


Love this post. Love all your posts. Don't get a big head but you deserve the compliments. Love your wit.

Susan Heathfield


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