Mens/Ladies

There’s been a lot in the media lately about washrooms and which ones should or shouldn’t be used by some people.  This evening I have an issue of my own when it comes to washrooms and it has to do with The Littles.

We were at a mall having dinner in the food court.  We were having a nice time.  We were minding our own business chatting about the day.  Nothing unusual was happening until I sent the kids to wash their hands.  “Stay together and I’ll meet you down the hall in a second.  I’m just clearing up the trays.”  was what I said to them and off they went togetherbac.  Now keep in mind that we are in another town and The Littles are 7 and 9.  Not teenagers.  Not adults.  7 and 9!

So I throw away the garbage, pick up our stuff, and head down to meet up with the kids.  Little Miss is standing outside the washroom and Little Man is not with her. What’s going on?????  “the lady said he couldn’t come in with me and there’s no family bathroom so she said he had to go by himself” says Little Miss.  I was stunned!  I almost couldn’t say anything.  Why would this stranger feel it was OK to tell my kids they could separate from each other?  Why wasn’t it OK for a 7 year old to go with his sister to a washroom?  What was he going to do in there?  HE’S 7!!!!

Part of me felt like I was overreacting but a bigger part, that mom instinct, was telling me ‘no you didn’t overreact, those are your babies and you wanted them together and safe’, and that’s the part that’s right 99% of the time.

Now I’m not one of those moms who won’t let their kids do anything because they might get hurt.  In fact, I try to teach the kids how to do all kinds of different like how to cook and use sharp knives, how to use different tools and equipment around the farm, how to build things, etc.  I let them climb trees, jump around on hay bales, and play with sticks.  But as liberal as I am with the kids, sometimes I get the feeling that I need to be just that little bit safer in a particular situation and this evening it was it.

I did confront the lady in question (who was a food court worker) when she came back down the hallway, who then went back out into the food court and discussed it with the security guard loud enough for everyone around them to hear.  I just walked away at that point and let it all percolate in my mind.  No point in escalating the situation.  I did feel a little vindicated though when I heard the security guard say  to her “don’t worry about it, it’s alright”.

I was still a bit worked up when we got home so after some snuggle time I tucked The Littles in bed and wrote a letter to mall administration.  I tried to be factual and not put too much emotion in it but I’m not sure how successful I was with that part of it.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am quite emotional when it comes to my kids.

No matter the response I get from the mall, I’ll chalk this one up to experience…and I’ll keep on listening to that mom instinct.

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One thought on “Mens/Ladies

  1. You were more than right. These are your children and you have every right to protect them. The worker was wrong. She put more emphasis and importance on gender segregation than child safety. Perhaps this will be a teaching experience for the mall and they will make more family washrooms and/or open area sinks where people can go just to wash their hands. Never let go of the mom instinct.

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