Never Underestimate The Joys Of A Public Bathroom. With Two Kids

As an avid caffeine drinker and a mother of two young children, I spend an exorbitant amount of time in the bathroom (mostly trying to shirk my parenting duties).

So I’m sharing some public bathroom tips to at least give you the heads up to not touch me or my children post-pee.

Public Bathrooms, Children Edition:

Tip #1: If someone can watch your children while you run into the bathroom, ASK. Unless your children are acting up and you tend to take a long time peeing. Then the person will think you jumped out the window. And will catch you halfway out when they come looking for you.

Tip #2: Ask the people in the bathroom if they’re waiting. They may be fixing their hair. Enjoying the free soap. Singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  AND STILL WAITING FOR A STALL. If you cut in front of them, they will hate you forever. (FOREVER you old biddy.)

Tip #3: If the stall doors do not lock, you cannot use it. I REPEAT.  DO NOT USE THE BROKEN STALL.  You need one hand for wiping, one hand for wrangling the children, one hand for keeping the door closed. Since you presumably only have TWO hands, you are left giving your fellow bathroom mates a full-frontal.

Tip #4: The baby seat provided will not have a working buckle and will be located as far from the toilet as possible. So let go of your germ phobias and put the baby on the ground. The whole ordeal will go much faster if you put the child down. And if they aren’t mobile, balance them on the baby bag. If they are, sing and coo from your porcelain throne. And hope that the kid doesn’t crawl into the stall next to you because this may shock the woman in the other stall. Enough for her to miss. Then you’ve got more than hands to wash.

Tip #5: Post-bathroom crawl you will have to chose whose hands to wash, yours or your babies. And you have five seconds before your oldest child leaves the bathroom with the your stall buddy who peed on you kin. Chose the baby. As the adult, you are slightly less likely to put your hands in your mouth. And you can always tell yourself and the strangers around you that you will use hand sanitizer afterwards. But you won’t. You’ll forget while the baby cries because her hands are wet and the other kid says: I have to pee NOW, Mama.

You’re welcome. Although after writing this I thought: WHO NEEDS TIPS ON PUBLIC BATHROOM USE? And then I realized. The answer was me.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

22 thoughts to “Never Underestimate The Joys Of A Public Bathroom. With Two Kids”

  1. Having just spent the day in airports. Yes. Yup. Also if possible master the one handed hand washing. And wear stretchy pants os when your 21 lb baby won’t let you put her down (or go to Dad), you can still go.

  2. I am neither a germ phobe nor a neat freak. And I forget to wash my kid’s hands half the time. And yet I’m still balking at the part where we have to leave the crawler on the bathroom floor. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it. Do we then douse them in Lysol when we get home? Because I’m not sure I can kiss her otherwise.

  3. public bathrooms with a cage or leash are another pending development in equality and quality of life.

    Tip (only sometimes an option but particularly useful in airports with luggage) is to use the the toilet for the handicapped. they are an entire room which keeps them from the special garbage for female stuff (my daughters favourite,) and the toilet brush (my son’s favourite) -ouch-

    it does mean at some point or other they will pull on the red string though….

  4. Oh, the joys of bringing the kids to the bathroom!

    My daughter has an OBSESSION with going to public bathrooms. It doesn’t matter how many times she pees before we leave the house, she HAS to go again as soon as we get to the mall, restaurant, drug store – anywhere!

    She’s five, so she’s getting old enough to go in the stall by herself now. Which is awesome, because she used to open the stall every time as soon as I was done peeing (meaning, BEFORE I had my pants up). Not fun.

    My favourites are the “family bathrooms” that have the little kid-sized toilets. Miss M loves those, too! Although they are usually drenched in pee. Oh, and I’ve never seen a “baby seat provided” in a public bathroom! Cool!

  5. Sadly, I regularly balance baby on my naked knee while peeing often. I then “air dry” and everybody’s happy. I have also enlisted my 3 year old to help pull up my pants while I’m holding the baby. That might be the low point.

  6. Is it sad that I need the reminder not to use the broken door ones? Because I have tried. And it never fails, I always end up in that stall. And I always think it’s no big deal. But it is.
    And YES – put the kid on the floor! 🙂

  7. Hey there! Thankyou for this very important information. Seriously, I have no idea how I ever took 3 little girls to any public place and managed to go to the restroom. I’m giving myself a great big hug and a pat of congratulations right now…ha! 🙂 I say empty your own bladder before ever leaving the house, then go back in and do it one more time and then stay out in public in 30 minutes increments.

  8. Yay! A mother after my own heart! May I please quote you when I get around to writing my blog post on changing a baby in an airplane loo? Please?

    Quote of the day “Lady, put the baby down and back off SLOWLY.”

  9. OH YES. The public bathroom quandary. Three boys and me in the potty leads to a lot of talk about my butt, inevitably. Lots of fingers where they shouldn’t belong. Lots of wincing and LOUD TALKING from the MOTHER. And, now that I think about it, LOTS of times that I choose to abstain from peeing myself, and leave that for the independent 3 yo. I think I spend a lot of time with my legs crossed. Hmm, maybe this is the reason my Iced Coffee habit has decreased. Maybe not such a good thing….I’m feelin’ CRANKY these days.

  10. Public bathrooms should have infant holders somewhere. I remember post partum, ALWAYS need to pee even within an hour of leaving the house and never anywhere to set the kid.

  11. I am so reassured to know that I am not the only mom leaving the restroom with skanky hands holding on to two small children. Why do they not put hand sanitizer next to the diaper changing station?! Would it kill them? And while we’re on that, why is there no trash can near the changing station? What the hell do you want me to do with it? Take it home as a memento? Balance it on my third hip? Use it as decorative art (which is what my kid is trying to do)? Gr. Thank you for this piece of brilliance. I feel less alone now.

  12. I now use my 6 year old to hold the broken doors shut! It’s easy with just one, but I remember those early days. The most mortifying experience, though, was when my son was 2 and toilet training and decided to yell YAY and clap while I was peeing! Or, wait, there was also the time when he asked repeatedly, Mommy, where is your pee coming from if you don’t have a weiner? Good luck – your kids will get older soon and they can become allies 🙂

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