A sign saying “Boys over 6 years of age use men’s restroom” has sparked a heated debate on Facebook. How would you respond if you saw a sign like this in a public women’s restroom?
My sons are 6 and almost 9. Unless I’m out with my dad or my brother, I don’t have the luxury of a male companion who can accompany them into a men’s room. A sign taped to a door isn’t going to stop me from being that mom who drags her embarrassed sons into the ladies room.
Call me crazy, but I’m just not prepared to send my son into a place where I can’t follow. I don’t live in perpetual fear of the ubiquitous pedophiles that moms often refer to when expressing concern over kids being alone in public places, but it has crossed my mind that my children would be vulnerable alone with strangers in a room where it’s socially acceptable to have one’s penis dangling around. Those fears aside, I have other concerns. What if my 6-year-old has trouble wiping? What if the boys can’t reach the hand soap or the sink? What if the bathroom is noisy and my son with sensory issues flips out?
I attempted to let my son use a crowded men’s room last fall at a theme park. An older teen yelled at him for not washing his hands and then picked on him several times later when he ran into him throughout the park. Yes, my kid should have washed his hands — but being screamed at and laughed at by a bigger boy doesn’t teach a lesson, it just humiliates him. That situation would have been prevented if he’d used the ladies room with me and the rest of our party.
It isn’t going to harm women or harm my sons to drag them into the ladies room where I can make sure they actually go, make sure they actually wash their hands, and make sure they don’t get lost or confused.
I’m not entirely overprotective. If we’re in a small restaurant or a quiet store, I’ll send my 8-year-old alone into the bathroom to relieve himself and wash his hands. But I’ll still wait outside for him. My 6-year-old always comes with me into the ladies room, end of story. I’d like to see someone try to tell me not to do that. The very thought makes my mom hackles rise.
What do boys see in a ladies restroom? Nothing obscene or mysterious. Everything goes on behind a stall door. Little kids pose no threat, and there’s nothing sexual about using a restroom. Whether this mall sign is legit or not, there are definitely plenty of women who glare at moms who bring their sons into the restroom.
I’ll be that mom glaring right back until my kids are at least 12, whether you try to ban my sons with a sign or not.