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When Family Restrooms Are Used for the Wrong Reasons

By Naomi Odes |

family restroom

These are for FAMILIES.

Yesterday, during the heat wave, I spent a good deal of time at the mall. Being from New Jersey, you’d think I’d feel right at home. I suppose it depends on the day and the mall, but I have to admit that this particular mall was not my cup of tea.

Perhaps it was because I was toting around my toddlers who only wanted to ride on stuff: escalators, elevators, amusement cars, you name it. But there was an additional event which caused me to dislike this particular mall.

As you might imagine, we had to visit the restroom more than once.
The first time was for me and Shnook, and then conveniently, 20 minutes later, Fuzz took a dump while in the play helicopter.

So, back to the bathroom we went. When we got to there I saw there was a family restroom. I friggin LOVE these, provided they are clean.

It was occupied when we got there, so we waited, since I’d rather change Fuzz in a larger more private space. Suddenly, a few teenagers came over. One (female) knocked on the family restroom door.

“We’re waiting.” I said.

She ignored me, and someone opened the door from the inside and let her in.

Wait, what?

Yes. It gets better.
 Then, more teenagers (boys) came over and were waiting near the family restroom.

My blood started to boil.

After another minute or so, a security guard came over.

“Are you waiting for the family restroom?”

“Yes, I am.” I said, obviously irritated.

“How long have you been waiting?”

Truthfully, I hadn’t been waiting that long, but still, I was annoyed that I had to wait for what appeared to be a misuse of this bathroom.

The security guard questioned the other kids waiting there who gave him a vague answer that they were waiting for the person inside the bathroom.

When the two girls finally came out, one seemed to be carrying what looked like a flat-iron for her hair.

While I did not feel it appropriate to freak out on those kids in front of my boys, now I wish I had said something.

Based on her behavior, I suspect this “woman” was doing a lot more than flattening her hair in the bathroom. However, even if that’s all she was doing, I was pretty horrified that teenagers would sit there and let a mom with two toddlers wait outside for any extended period, to use the family bathroom, which is clearly there for … families.

What would have done if you were me? I wish I had the chutzpah to call them out. I’m still outraged.

More by Naomi
How To Keep Your Toddlers From Toasting In A Heat Wave
Potty Training: The Grim Beginning
I Wish I Could Outsmart My Toddler

Read more of my posts on Toddler Times.
Check out my personal blog. I Am Still Awake.
Follow me on Twitter.
Follow me on Pinterest.

Photo via Flickr

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About Naomi Odes


Naomi Odes

Naomi Odes Aytur is a blogger who's contributed on the parenting channel of Babble. She chronicles her experiences of being a new mom on her personal website, I Am Still Awake. Read bio and latest posts → Read Naomi's latest posts →

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21 thoughts on “When Family Restrooms Are Used for the Wrong Reasons

  1. Danielle says:

    That sounds highly irritating, but the teenagers probably wouldn’t have gotten it even if you had said something. Better to let the security guard say something, hopefully he did.

  2. Laura says:

    Teens and almost anyone who doesn’t have children are often clueless to the reality and needs of moms with young kids… It wasn’t malicious but super annoying, for sure.

  3. Amy says:

    I had a very similar situation in our local mall, but it was a 40+ year old woman straigtening her hair. When her daughter went in midway through our wait and I saw what was going on, I said, ‘there are little kids out here who need to go to the bathroom!’ (completely shocked that an ‘adult’ would be treating a family restroom this way). She proceeded to roll her eyes at me and take her sweet time. I almost wish my potty trining 2 year old would have peed on her new hairdo. People are ridiculously selfish and I find it to be a sad state of affairs when people can’t respect facilities designed for any particular group.

    Hope your next trip goes better!


  4. Kortney says:

    I had two tween boys cut in front of a mom with a baby and a toddler as they ran into the family locker room we were just leavng at the pool the other day. They were both boys, both old enough to take care of themselves AND judging by their behavior, very aware that they were cutting infront of the mom.

  5. Jasmine says:

    Wow it’s amazing how self centered people can be. I don’t expect special treatment because I have kids with me, but some common consideration is all I ask. I have had people let me in front of them in line at the bathroom or a checkout line when they see I have my daughters with me. I make sure to thank them profusely because it such a nice gesture. At the same time other people’s kids have nearly knocked over my toddler daughter at playgrounds to get to the slides and such. My daughter is kind of timid in larger groups so she won’t really protest but it irritates me so much that these older kids can’t have a little consideration for someone younger and smaller in size.

    1. Naomi says:

      The thing that really irked me about it is we were also next to the regular ladies’ and mens’ rooms. The family restroom was between these two. This is what makes me think there was something sinister going on.

  6. magnoliama says:

    We deal with this at our YMCA regularly and it drives me crazy. Single adults use the family/handicapped bathrooms while we drip with our two small children after using the pool. It drives me up the wall! I’ve complained and asked them to put up a sign but nothing has been done about it.

  7. Scarlett says:

    As a nursing mom I like to use the family restroom to let my 6 year old do his thing while I feed the baby one day I waited 10 minutes because a guy wanted privacy while he used the bathroom then after that I couldnt handle being in the for more than a minute and the mens room was right next to it

  8. Gloria says:

    I can assure you something will go on in those bathrooms. I work at a High School, and walked in the restroom around 2:30 that afternoon, and was shocked to find ten toes up and ten toes down. This matter was taken care of, but I can assure you not the first time, according to other employees at the school.

  9. Karen says:

    “Oh, hey, since you’re going to be in there, how ’bout you take my poopy kid and change his diaper while you’re waiting for your friend to finish straightening her hair. Thanks. Oh, I’m out of wipes, too, so….here ya go!”

  10. Tamara says:

    LOL! Things like this make me laugh, not because of the teen’s behavior, which was horrid, but because we complain about any and everything these days. For sure, those brats need to be taught a lesson, but what about us and how spoiled we are? Special parking for pregnant women, special bathrooms for families, special changing rooms, special checkout lanes, special this-special that… We should be grateful that we have the minimum of these commodities in life to begin with. We take so much for granted, and expect everything to be convenient. Thank our lucky stars we didn’t live and have to function a century ago.

  11. Wing0125 says:

    Unless they had a child with them (being toddler or infant), there would be no reason why several teenagers would need to be in the family room. I’ve had to kick older kids out of the Toddler area at indoor play areas, as they were specifically designated for 3 and under. My child was in danger of being hit by their rough-housing. Essentially, if nobody says anything, it’s made “okay” by default.

  12. Dolores says:

    I am not so nice–I would have said something.

  13. Ashley says:

    Laura – That is the problem. We now live in a world where no one teaches their children about consideration for others. They should be aware, not because they also have kids, but because they have a basic respect for others instead of gross self-obsession.

  14. dee says:

    ok to help put an end to this argument, I can see everyone’s point in this, but the fact of the matter is, its a family bathroom, made intended for people with children. If the two girls were truly just there to do their hair and use the potty, they could have gone to the Sin bathroom to do so, but the fact of the matter is she felt the two were screwing, and that’s the only reason they wanted the rivet bathroom. Also, the part were she feels disrespected is because teen number two heard her say she is waiting for the bathroom standing their with kids, this girl purposely ignored her, when she wad allowed inside the for, never said to the other girl, “hey some ones waiting to use the restroom lets do our hair or business els were” Tanya I’m not sure if you have kids, because if you did, you would understand how hard it is to use the bathroom with a child (never mind that she has 2) the toddlers enjoy going under stalls and running away to explore. Photo of that, not all main public bathrooms have changing table, many do, but not all. Now keep in mind she has two kids, have you ever tried changing one child’s butt while yelling at the other to stay with you and not run off, it just easier to use the family bathroom, when it come to keeping children under control. Its funny, many people complain that parents let their children run loose and wild, but when us few parents try to use these resource tools to keep our kids under control, we get screwed and told that were being selfish for wanting to continue to use these resources.

  15. dee says:

    sorry my touch screen has a mind of its own when I type, it likes to change my words, especially if the space bar doesn’t register. Instead of Sin bathroom I ment “main bathroom” instead of rivet bathroom its suppose to say “private bathroom”, not wad allowed but “was allowed”, instead of inside the for I ment “inside the room”. You get the point. Touch screens can be annoying when it comes to blogging, I also hate the auto word changer…annoying

  16. Katie says:

    Oh I would have totally said something but I have very little tolerance for stuff like that

  17. carmen says:

    Rudeness isn’t reserved for teenagers. Yesterday I saw a guy in his 30′s sitting on a bench yapping on a cellphone outside of a business while two elderly ladies had to stand since it never occurred to him to move. He saw them – it wasn’t like he didn’t notice. One of the ladies finally sat down next to him and he then got up. My pet peeve is when people use the handicapped accessible restrooms when there are others available. I make a point not to use them, even when they are the only one open, unless it is an emergency, and then I use it quickly. I once saw a wheelchair-bound woman wet her pants and start crying because someone was using the accessible stall and hogged it for a very long time. The woman in the wheelchair had knocked on the door and asked the person inside to hurry, but she had a couple kids in there with her and they all took took their sweet time.

  18. DJ says:

    I teach high school. NOTHING that you described surprises me at all. Most of the parents of my students have led them to believe that they are the most important person in the universe, they deserve everything and anything that they want, and that they have the right to walk all over anyone who does not give them what they want. And if the student still can’t get their way by walking all over you, the parent will get what the child wants by walking all over you. It is a sad comment on our society of today.

  19. Jessica says:

    I have had that happen to me several times. At Walmart, everytime I go with my son and infant daughter to the family restroom I have to wait. When the door opens, an employee comes out. It has happened about 5 times. I was so tired of seeing this that I complained. I had a screaming baby and a toddler and they don’t care! Also, at the mall, I was USING the family bathroom with my children, when there was a knock at the door. “somebody in here” I yelled out. One minute later, another nock. This time more desperate. I’m on the middle of changing a poopy diaper, hang on! By the time I finished with my kids, that person knocked 5 times. When I came out it was a bunch of teenage girls waiting to come in. I said “you do realized this is for families only”. They completely ignored me. I don’t mind speaking up, but they don’t listen.

  20. Jessica says:

    I usually have a different issue. The family restrooms I try to use with my 3yo and 14 month old girls is usually occupied by men who need to take a twosie. Like they don’t have toilets in the men’s room. Good luck next time. Your experience sounds frustrating but good for you for keeping your cool. It’s probably better that your children see you patient than in a rage.

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