Letters To A Natalist World: Bathrooms
Ok, Natalist World? Sit down. We need to talk. Seriously. I’m worried about you. I know that we haven’t always been on the best of terms, but hear me out. You’re kind of gross and really need to get your shit together.
It seems that whenever I run across an article or online conversation about parenting (it’s harder to avoid than you might think) I always notice that there will, without fail, be mommies (but curiously, rarely daddies) complaining about how much they miss going to the bathroom in private.
I will leave that sentence in a paragraph all by itself so we can all just chew on that for a second. Basically, parents find that, ever since they had kids, they cannot go to the bathroom without an audience. Ok, well it’s disgusting enough to even allow that, for one thing. (Seriously, I’ve heard of moms going pee while holding children in their laps, even when those children are old enough to comment on how gross that is.)
But from the way most of these admissions are framed as a complaint, that implies that the parents are somewhat bothered by their lack of bathroom privacy. Now, hold up, Natalist World. Are you telling me that grown adults, who are responsible for the lives of dependant human beings and for the future of the next generation, don’t understand how to use doors? (Come on, even the raptors in Jurassic Park could figure those out.)
Yeah, moms? Most bathrooms have doors, which are on hinges and can be (sit down, because this will blow your minds) closed. Yes, it sounds amazing, but it’s true! Most doors having this handy feature that allows you to actually shut them. Heck, most bathroom doors can even be locked! Welcome to 2012 and our incredible, space-age technology.
“But then who will watch the kid?” Um, is there a second parent around? Or another family member, maybe? If not and the child is so young as to need constant supervision, how do you sleep? Surely sleeping takes a bit longer than a bathroom break. Presumably, you have a crib or a playpen (or a kennel?) Why not use it?
“But the kid will throw a fit!” Surely that’s the problem of the other person watching the kid (or the kennel?) And why would you want to teach your kid that it can get its way by throwing fits anyway? What is it with this generation of parents and their complete inability and unwillingness to stand up to their kids? Is the world, “no,” really that difficult to pronounce firmly?
“The kid will just open the door!” If the kid is old enough to open a door and especially if it’s old enough to pick a lock (because we lock bathroom doors, remember?), it’s plenty old enough to be taught rules and boundaries. Here’s a thought: how about you teach your kid to behave, you know, like a parent might do? (I hear spanking helps.)
No, really, you’re not doing your kids any favors letting them share the bathroom with you. They won’t learn rules or boundaries about bathrooms that way, and that will not only be a problem for you, but can possibly make your kid a nuisance to everyone else too . They’ll be that person that bothers other people in bathroom by doing obnoxious things like pounding on doors, trying to talk to people who are trying to go, or peeking under stalls (in which case I think a swift kick is perfectly justified.)
Additionally, the kid can create an unpleasant sight other people unwittingly walk in on. The kid will mimic your behavior, leaving the door wide open. And when your kid does get old enough to understand the value of bathroom privacy, he/she will be humiliated looking back at how often he/she left the door open, exposed to the view of the world. No, seriously, you may as well teach the kid to walk around naked all the time.
But there’s more to it than that, you might actually be putting your kid in danger. When I was little, my parents always left the bathroom door open. I don’t think it was because the kids really wanted in as much as it was my parents not really caring enough to close the door. So as a kid, I thought that was normal behavior and never closed the door either, no matter where I was.
One day, I was doing my business in the upstairs bathroom of my babysitter when a man who I had never met suddenly walked in. He didn’t mean to walk in on me but had simply rounded the corner in the hallway and walked in the open door without looking. When he saw me, he told me in a disgusted tone that I should close the door, and then he left. I was of course humiliated that this is the way that I had to learn that doors were supposed to be shut, and upset that my parents had never taught me this lesson (I’ve been wrong this whole time!) I felt sort of like Adam and Eve did (or would have were they not fictional characters) when they suddenly realized that they’d been naked all that time (only strangers didn’t yell at them for it.)
But that situation could have been dangerous. An unknown man alone in a room with a little girl with her pants down, the only adult in the house a babysitter who had obviously not been paying attention. I’m just saying that could have gone very badly. Yeah, is that a situation you want your kids to be in? Think on that.
TL;DR – Close the damned door, you slob.