Monday, May 3, 2010

Controversial Monday: Public Restrooms

I was reading a question and answer column the other day. A dad of 2 little girls wrote in asking where he should take his little girls to the bathroom if they were out without their mom.

The men's restroom, or the women's?

(obviously a family restroom if available is the first choice)

Basically, is it worse to take preschool girls into the men's bathroom,

or for a dad to enter the women's bathroom.

My initial thought was, "that is weird, he can't go in there!" But the more I think about it, the more I am not sure.

Men's restrooms tend to be dirty and less face it, there is less privacy. Do you really want your 4 year old daughter to have to walk by the goings on at the urinals?

The women's bathrooms all have nice stalls with doors, so provided you aren't peering between cracks all you will see is women washing their hands.

the guy in the column said that when he takes the girls into the women's restroom, the women are all very supportive of him- they don't think the poor girls should be subjected to the horrors of a man's public bathroom either. It is men that give him crap.

As a mother of boys, I am quite used to taking them with me into the women's restroom. Deacon is 6, however and is getting a little old. There is NO WAY I am sending him into the men's bathroom alone though, and if the little ones need to go I am also unwilling to leave him alone waiting outside a public restroom.

So I use family ones, or try to have someone with me to wait outside with him. Or wait until a bathroom is empty (which is hard in really busy places).

At the Y we only use the family rooms because there is women changing in the women's locker room and it is different from a bathroom with a bunch of stalls.

What do you think? What should the opposite sex parent do in these situations? What do you do? What will you do when your kids are older?


peter said...

This is a good one. There isn't a great solution but I'll stick to the mens bathroom. Yeah, they might be a little dirtier, but it's not like I'm going to let her crawl around on the floor or kiss the toilet seat. The average cell phone is less sanitary than all but the nastiest public restrooms anyway.

Also, it's sort of protocol in the mens public restroom that you take care not to wave your junk around for all to see when using the urinal. So I'm not too worried about my daughter getting an impromptu anatomy lesson.*

I can see how it gets harder when they reach the age of being too old for the opposite-sex room but not old enough to go in alone.

*Unless we're at the Metrodome or some other location where they have a trough instead of urinals. There's nowhere to hide at the trough.

LS said...

This is a tough one! My friend who has 3 little boys your kid's ages takes them into the regular bathroom at the pool since the locker room sign says kids 5 and older need to be in the appropriate gender locker room. She doesn't want her little 6 year old getting ready in a the men's locker room, with who knows what kind of creeps or obnoxious teens, by himself. When Jer gets too old to come with me in the women's I plan to just put his swim trunks on at home and have him go straight into the pool and then straight out with a towel around him and we can change into clothing at home.
It's a tough issue-I agree! I guess every parent has to make their own call on it.

Can't pee in bushes said...

Tough call on that one. I'm not sure I could pull that off. Or rather, I'm not sure I'd try. Is that even legal? I could see myself getting arrested.

The only time I've gone into a "live" womens' rest room was at MOA, and that was because I wasn't paying any attention!

Anonymous said...

If the little girls are 4 and under I think they can still go in the men's room. They're still pretty innocent at that age and it's unlikely they'll see anything anyway.