No Boys Allowed!

1 Apr

I was at the gym with my kids the other day, about to take them into the pool, when I noticed a sign on the locker room door.  It said something like, “No children over the age of 5 allowed in locker rooms of the opposite sex.”  Fortunately, that doesn’t affect me right now, since my son is only 5.  We needed to go into the locker room to change clothes and get ready to swim.

I quickly realized, however, that he’ll be 6 pretty soon.  Not tomorrow, but in a few months.  I thought to myself, “They don’t really expect me to send my 6-year-old into the men’s locker room ALONE when the time comes…do they???!”  To me, that sounds crazy!

After mulling it over for a while, I decided that we’ll just have to change clothes in the regular women’s bathroom (no signs banning boys in there), and we’ll all have to skip the required shower before swimming.  (Just as I’m not sending my son into the men’s locker room alone, I’m not leaving him out in the gym alone while my daughter and I take a shower.)

But some day in the future, am I going to get weird looks bringing my increasingly older son into the women’s restroom with me?  Will it be inappropriate to have a 10-year-old join me in the bathroom at Target?  Or the library?  I just don’t know when I will feel comfortable sending my son into a public restroom by himself.  Maybe when he’s 6’2″ and has a black belt in karate.

Those of you with older kids – when did you get to the point where it felt OK to allow your child to go unaccompanied into a public restroom?  Ever have any anxiety about it?

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4 Responses to “No Boys Allowed!”

  1. Stephanie April 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    I’ve thought the same thing, Jen; I will be interested to see if there is feedback. The only public bathroom I let Hagen go in by himself now is the Family Restroom at Super Target because it’s a one-room and he’s alone, and I know he can reach the toilet paper, soap, sink, etc. all by himself, and I’m standing outside the door waiting for him. Otherwise, I would not let him go in there alone if it was multiple stalls, etc. I’m not sure how to handle that, either, but people can kiss it if they think I’m taking him in the restroom when he’s too old – too bad!! 🙂

  2. Stacey April 2, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    I’ve already wondered about the same thing (but Fin is only 2) so hopefully you can figure it out for me before it becomes a pressing concern on my end. 🙂

    We are members at the YMCA and they have the same signage about no boys after age 5. They have done a great job, though, because they have 3 small individual family locker rooms that have toilets & showers. If they didn’t have that option, I would be irked by the policy.

  3. Lisa April 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    This is the beauty of the “family restroom.” My husband has taken our teen daughter with autism into the one in the Texarkana rest stop on the way to Little Rock. A lifesaver!!

  4. Jen April 6, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    Stacey, I will have to check out the family locker room! We also belong to a YMCA, and I wonder if they have one at my location. That would be great! I love going to the mall, where I know there are family restrooms. Like Lisa said, it is a beautiful thing!

    Since I brought up this issue, several moms have mentioned letting their sons go into the men’s room alone (once they’re a bit older), while they in turn hang around near the entrance to listen/shout/spy to make sure things are going well. I suppose that’s the only option.

    One of my friends on facebook brought up a point that hadn’t occurred to me – when her son recently turned 8, he REFUSED to go into the women’s room with her! I hadn’t even thought about that!! So for now, unless someone says something to me about not bringing my son into a restroom with me, or until he himself says he has a problem with it, I’m going to keep doing it. Maybe he can go into the men’s room at Target all alone once he’s old enough to drive himself there.

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