Boys in the Girls’ Bathroom

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So the other day at Freedom Park I had to go to the bathroom. It was a gorgeous spring-like Sunday, and the park was busy. There was a line in the ladies room. No problem. While we ladies waited to go, this cute little guy, that I’d say was around age 6, came bouncing into the bathroom and went to the front of the line. He was by himself, no mom attached. He innocently stood, waiting, wiggling because he really needed to go. I said to him,”if you really need to go, you might want to go to the boys room because there might not be a line.” He looked at me with his big doe eyes and shook his head with a little smile. And then next stall that opened up, he popped into.

I’m fine that he skipped line, but I was a little curious why if he is going to the bathroom by himself why he would go to the women’s room. And with all the flutter on social media about the sign on an Oklahoma mall bathroom banning boys over 6 from women’s restrooms, it made me really stop and think about this. I have an almost 6-year-old. I’ve yet to send him to a public bathroom by himself. He either goes with me or his dad, or an older friend and I’m keeping an eye on the door to be sure both come out together. In the case of the kid at the park, I was pretty confounded as to why he’d come to the women’s room rather than the boys, but it could be because for most of his life he’s gone to the women’s room with his mother and that’s just where he thinks kids go go the bathroom? Just a hypothesis for which I cannot find a veritable conclusion.

Many moms are in an uproar about a public facility putting age restrictions on a child going with them to the restroom. What I wonder about this too is, what if a 6-year-old girl is out with her dad. Can she go to the men’s room with her dad? Discrimination starts early doesn’t it? Eventually we have to trust our children to go alone to the bathroom. It’s a scary proposition in big bathrooms at a mall where the idea of a lurking creepy predator can flare up in your mind. But the reality is, eventually you have to give them a little space, trust them to do what you’ve taught them. Remind them, straight to the bathroom, wash hands and out. Don’t talk to strangers (which is maybe why the boy at the park said nothing to me), and if someone tries to touch you SCREAM! Scream loudly and run! And of course stand nearby the bathroom door. If things go silent, or you hear a scream, go in!

As for these establishments making age rulings on who can use which bathroom, maybe it’s time for more family restrooms! Ashton Kutcher lamented not having enough changing tables in men’s bathrooms. Parents are sharing the duties, let’s make it friendly for moms and dads when dealing with the dirty business outside the house.