A few weeks ago I had an afternoon that was just with my son. After finishing our lunch in the food court I decided I needed to use the restroom before we moved on to our next destination. I was pretty familiar with this mall, however it was apparent that they had just recently done renovations. In the past there used to be a family bathroom, which I never used to give much thought to, but now as a mother I find it a necessity. To my surprise however in the renovations done to the bathrooms the family bathroom was no longer there. I had a fleeting moment of, “What’s too old to bring your son in the woman’s bathroom?” but quickly pushed it out as I was completely uncomfortable with the thought of Liam waiting outside the bathroom for me. This mall in general was very popular with high foot traffic and this was lunch time so it was even busier.
I held Liam’s hand as we entered the ladies bathroom and there was a line. He was excited I had just bought him a balloon shaped like Spiderman so he was completely engaged with that. I heard a woman say, “Oh you are one of those,” but I didn’t really pay much attention at the time as I didn’t think it was directed to me. A stall emptied and I brought Liam in. At home we had instilled a privacy rule as Liam and Ava had been notorious for busting in on anyone who was in the bathroom. Liam closed his eyes without me saying a word (to be quite honest I hadn’t given it much thought), and he said, “Mommy I am giving you privacy.” I smiled and thought how considerate that was. I quickly went and then we left the stall. I directed Liam over to the sinks to wash my hands and that’s when it happened.
A woman came up to me and said, “So you are one of those.” Completely dumbfounded by what she was talking about I said “One of who?” She replied back, “Making a political statement by bringing your son into the opposite sex’s bathroom.”
In split seconds I felt like my whole body was on fire. I was so angry I felt like I was shaking. I must have given off some impressions because Liam asked, “Mommy are you ok?”
I don’t often get like that, but when I do I rarely hold back, and this case was no different. “If by one of those you mean, a mother who would do or say anything to protect her five year old child, then yes I am one of those. I have no political agenda I am trying to make, except being a good mother. And by the way, if I had left my son outside to wait for me, I bet you anything you would be the first one to say, where’s his parent? How dare you!”
I was so flustered, angered, and oddly mortified I grabbed Liam’s hand and stormed out of the bathroom. It wasn’t until we got to the car and Liam asked me, “Mommy did I so something wrong,” that I realized he didn’t understand what was going on. As I placed him in his car seat I tried to explain to him what had happened and he had done nothing wrong. Just as I was backing out of the parking spot he said to me, “But mommy I don’t get it. If the rooms (he called the stalls rooms) have doors why does it matter. At home we all use the same bathroom and we shut the door. How is it different?”
And while I again I am not trying to make any political statement in this entry, Liam does have a point. I struggled to come up with an answer and yet nothing in my mind sufficed. I think either side of this whole bathroom wars would have a response to his question, but me I am just mom. I am just looking out for what’s best for him and always will.