For 42-year-old mom of two Kim Thomas, having to worry about taking her son into a ladies' public bathroom with her had never been an issue ... until he turned 6 this past June. During a recent trip to their local pool, Thomas noticed a sign that read, "No Boys Allowed in Ladies Bathroom Over the Age of 5."
Thankfully, her son didn't have to use the facilities during that particular visit, but in a blog post on her site, ValleyStreamMom.com, titled, "What Do You Mean I Can't Take My Son Into the Bathroom With Me?" Thomas notes that "one day it will happen" because this is life -- moms take their sons in the ladies' room. And when it does, she's ready and willing to break the pool's rule, if it still stands.
Kim Thomas isn't alone. Although many public places have begun taking strides toward offering family bathrooms, others -- like Thomas' pool -- seem to be moving in the complete opposite direction, leaving moms like Thomas to either fight, break, or begrudgingly obey rules like this. But, of course, none of those choices are appealing. And they only serve to make moms' lives harder.
What is a mom supposed to do with her little boy when she has to use the facilities? Leave him standing outside, with no supervision? And what about when a 6- or 7-year-old has to urinate? It's not easy sending a child that young into a men's room alone when you don't know who could be inside or what your child could do when they're out of sight.
The issue reverberates not only through Thomas' community, but others all over the country. Since writing her blog post, Thomas heard from other moms who shared similar experiences.
"One mom got permission from an employee to take her son into [our community's] pool bathroom," she explains to The Stir. "Another mom who has a special needs child made a very good point about how some kids need to be pushed along in the process, or they'll be in the bathroom all day. Some kids can fend for themselves, and some kids can't and need assistance in the bathroom. They should be able to go into either the men's or women's bathroom with a parent. They shouldn't have to go into the facilities alone, because of some sign."
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It's a fight far too many moms are feeling they have to exert way too much energy for. After all, don't they know better than anyone about their son or daughter's needs, and what's most appropriate when it comes to bringing their child to the bathroom with them? As Thomas asks, "Why are we being told what we can and cannot do regarding the safety of our kids?"
"Every place that targets families, mothers with children should have at least one or two family bathrooms," Thomas says. Luckily, her public pool's current undergoing construction may make now the perfect time to start the conversation about adding a family bathroom. But if that conversation doesn't end well, Thomas says, "[My son] will be using the women's bathroom for a while. I'm not asking for permission. I'm not leaving it up to someone to tell me yes or no. There's no way someone's going to tell me where I can and can't take my child."
Can you blame her?
Do you think little boys belong in the ladies' bathroom? How old is too old?
Images via iStock.com/mrod & Kim Thomas