Boys and Public Bathrooms

mens room

Any parent of the opposite sex of their offspring knows how frustrating it can be when you are out on the town and one of them needs to use the washroom. When they were young it I would just haul them all into the ladies room with me, but it didn’t take too long for them to start complaining and ask to use the men’s room instead. Look, I get it, no male wants to hang out in a ladies washroom and they’ve got some pretty rude looks from little girls who were in there and didn’t understand why these boys just came into their space. But as a parent it can be a tough step to let them wander off solo into a space you aren’t allowed to tread yourself. 

Having three boys made things a little easier for this mama. When one of the boys asks to use the washroom in a restaurant or store, I always just send one of the other brothers with them. Safety in numbers right ladies? So my boys have been using the mens room on their own for years now and you would think I would be a pro at it, but this week I found myself out in the city with just my youngest boy. Having a day with just one of my boys is always a treat, in big families any one on one time with the kids is rare and special. He had an eye doctor appointment that morning and we ran a few errands and then we decided to stop for a lunch date before heading home.

Now my youngest is seven so he’s a little boy, but not that little and can manage using the men’s room alone but when he asked to go and I didn’t have a big brother to send with him, it did give me pause for a second. Our seat in the restaurant wasn’t near the hallway to the washrooms so I told him to go ahead, but quietly trailed along behind him and watched from the end of the room to make sure he found the right door. There was a tv at this end of the room so I waited there for a bit and watched the news so I would know if any one else went into the washroom after him. Time ticked on.

With it being a blustery day outside the restaurant was pretty quiet and I wasn’t worried about him, but what in the world was taking so long? It felt like forever since he had gone in there. I decided to walk down the hallway and stood just outside the door to the men’s room. Now I could hear his voice coming from the other side of the door. Who is he talking too???? Was there someone already in there when he went in? It was getting louder too, was he yelling?  What the heck is going on in there?? 

And just as I was about to bust through that men’s through door, he opened it. He looked up, quite surprised to see me in the doorway and giggled.

“what are you doing mom?” he asked

“I was just checking on you” I replied

“oh, did you hear me?” he wondered

“I did hear you, who were you talking to?” I questioned

“no one, I was dancing in the mirror, like this, watch” and he started to boogie down to the music from the bathroom speakers in the hallway. 

A mom’s anxious mind can turn a million scenarious a second when something doesn’t seem quite right with their kids, but it’s good to know that this one, just doesn’t have a care in the world lol While I was waiting for him to use the washroom, he was in there throwing himself a dance party, with loud singing to boot! That little wild child of mine, certainly keeps me on my toes. 


  1. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I used to do the same thing, send an older brother with a young one when the bathroom was needed. The bathrooms I hated were on motorways in Europe, these were often just in an extension of the restaurant but with exits going in both directions and both to roads. Luckily my kids don’t seem to have as bad a sense of direction as I do. 🙂

  2. Omg that made me laugh! I know how you felt though! When my girls have to go it’s not a big deal they come with me or the oldest can take the youngest but we only have one boy so when daddy isn’t with us he’s on his own. That’s where I’ll send my girls in the bathroom and wait outside the men’s (should see the looks I get lol). Once he took too long in a washroom at a stadium and I panicked. Ended up going to the door and calling his nickname “bud?? Everything ok?” “Yeah! Those hand dryers are so cool!” #facepalm

  3. Cheryl MacPhail says:

    Ha ha too cute!! Our little guy is just 4 so comes with us so I have this fear to look forward to!! Ekk!!

  4. jay nelson says:

    It was very hard when my son first started refusing to use the women’s room with me – I worried about creeps and other disasters. Still do.

  5. I’ve never let mine use the bathroom alone – I don’t know what i’d do. I’ve always dragged them in with me. Would love to know when most moms allow their boys to go alone into the washroom.

    • Heather Howard says:

      My son is 9 and I still drag him in with me. Most times I tell him to just stay in the stall until I get out of mine.
      I also try to find a family bathroom if possible.

    • momvstheboys says:

      The good thing is you have the two of them to go together. My oldest was probably 8 yrs when he started to go on his own. But my younger boys were much younger since I could send them in with him.

  6. Bahaha! Love it! I’m still very paranoid, and love that I can send them in together most of the time.

  7. That is funny and scary all at the same time. You did all you could do Mom.

  8. kathy downey says:

    I would be spooked too letting the boys go alone,these days are not like when i raised my kids.The World can certainly be a scary place.

    • momvstheboys says:

      True, location is everything. I tend to feel more comfortable close to home. If we were travelling I would have just made him come into the ladies room

  9. Oh gosh. Yea, it’s the same here. I think that’s why I’m happy DH takes Q to his swimming lessons. From 7 and up you have to use the proper change room – eek

  10. Sue Frampton says:

    I went through the same thing when my kids were younger.2 girls and a boy I always stood outside the door, wondering why he would take so long mostly just playing with the water.I always said you can’t play you need to come right out when done and he’d come back with don’t worry about me mom Like that would happen to this I still worry and he’s 21 now

  11. Erika Belanger says:

    Aww what a cute story. Love that he was throwing a dance party that’s great!
    I also have a 7 year old boy, and he recently started going to the (public) bathroom by himself. I can remember the first time he said, “I don’t want to go to the ladies washroom with you, I want to use the big boy washroom”. And why shouldn’t he? It can be nerve wracking but kids grow so fast and independence is good!

    • momvstheboys says:

      That’s right, we feel the same way. It might make us nervous but the kids having independence is a good thing!

  12. That is too funny!

  13. Victoria Ess says:

    That’s really cute!

  14. haha great post! I’ve got one little guy who is two and another boy on the way this spring so I’m sure I will have stories like these of my own one day lol

  15. Mine’s too young to go by himself, but I like reading about your experiences to learn about what might be ahead of us!

  16. very funny story

  17. Lilly Kavanagh says:

    That’s so cute that he was dancing in the mirror 🙂 I just had a baby boy so this is something I will have to go through at a future date when my husband isn’t with me and he will have to go to the washroom alone. This does worry me though because of stranger danger especially what happened here in Edmonton with that man from Australia at West Edmonton Mall.

  18. salexis alexis says:

    Sure is hard. I’m a single mom with an 8 year old boy. Totally feel you!

  19. Anita D. says:

    Haha I enjoyed reading your article. I’m expecting my first little boy in a few months and I’m sure I will one day be able to relate!

  20. It kind of angers me when I see guys in the men’s room showing disgust when a father brings his daughter into the washroom.
    Get over yourselves guys its just a kid being protected!

  21. Shondra says:

    I feel you. It will be hard when my son gets older.

  22. I remember when I was a little boy and having to use the women’s washroom when out with my mother. I would squawk like crazy and she would give in and let me use the men’s washroom. Never did have any issues or troubles back then.

    • momvstheboys says:

      I totally understand that! It can be really embarrasing for boys to have to go in the ladies washroom with their moms.

  23. Elva Roberts says:

    I know just how you feel. The fact is we are hearing so much more on the media about child predators that we would be failing our job as MOM to try our best to keep our children safe. Your relief must have been profound.

  24. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    I think that one of the problems is that the world has become a lot scarier than it used to be, however that might because we didn’t hear as much about what was actually happening.

  25. kathy downey says:

    Kids can be the funniest some times!

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