My Teen Son Comes Into The Bathroom With Me, And That Won't Change Anytime Soon

by Eileen Shaklee
Originally Published: 
Teenage son with special needs and the mother he follows in women's restrooms
Eileen Shaklee

Often, when I am out and about with my kid, he has to go pee. Sometimes, I have to pee too.

Now, when he was little, no one batted an eyelash at me when I brought him into the women’s restroom. In fact, in most cases, he was one of many little boys who were in there with their moms. I didn’t, and still don’t, care when I see boys in the women’s room. I’m thinking of my bladder, not some other kid’s wiener.

But the thing is, my kid has started to grow up. I know — how rude of him to get taller, bigger, and more adult-looking by the minute! I still want him to be the little tot in a one-piece romper, stomping around like Godzilla in those chunky, white toddler shoes, running away and yelling like some pint-sized Braveheart going off into battle, as he usually did after someone would turn on one of those loud as hell hand dryers of doom.

Alas, it is not to be. Instead, I have a 5-foot-4 lanky teenager with hairy legs and a rapidly deepening man voice following behind me in many a public bathroom.


Because there ain’t no way I am sending him into most bathrooms alone! In fact, I have started to map out my errands based on places I know have single-stall restrooms because I can send him into those easily, and I know he’ll be safe.

Plus, for me, it’s not just sending him into a men’s room by himself that I have to worry about. I have to go too. So you want me to run into one restroom while he’s in another and hope like hell I can get in and out fast enough, so he’s not left alone because he finished first? Despite it being 2019, women’s restrooms will always have the longer-ass wait. (Seriously, ladies, why is that? What are we doing in there that’s taking so long? Oh, I know! It’s because we always have to bring our kids in with us.)

So please understand that in certain public locations, my son is coming into the women’s room with me. He has to. And if you are part of the general public, you have two choices: You can either deal with it, or you can help us out by telling businesses to make more family/gender-neutral restrooms because your bladder is not more important than my kid’s bladder (or his safety) or mine. We’re all equal here, and that’s why until we have more family-friendly restrooms, he is coming into the women’s room with me.

See, my child has autism, is intellectually disabled, and has limited communication. There is a reason why I have to be a Smother Mother. It’s simply to keep him safe. If you are concerned he may see you not wash your hands, that’s all on you.

And you know what? I kind of hate that I have to do this too. He’s 13. He doesn’t want to go into the bathroom with his mom. I am well aware of all of this, and yes, I can see women doing double takes when he walks in behind me. But trust me, I will make sure he puts the seat back down. I’m trying to raise that boy right.

And after all these years, I don’t give a flying crap if you give us the side-eye in the bathroom. I will be the first one to tell you, “Take a picture. It’ll last longer.”

Seriously, though, what would you rather I do? Never leave the house? Compromise his safety? Never go pee? Sorry, you’re not worth a UTI.

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