Bathroom Privacy Becomes An Issue Once Children Come Along
By tazikat on August 25, 2012
I am the mother of two and a half year old twin girls. They are old enough to run around and get in trouble, and big enough to climb out of their crib without getting hurt. I am a stay-at-home Mom, so some days the only moment I have to myself is when I have to use the bathroom. I have always closed the door when I do my business and value my privacy in this area.
My husband “Marc” came home one day this week for lunch to find the girls playing quietly while I was in the bathroom relieving myself. He flipped out on my for leaving the girls unattended, and has demanded that I never leave them unattended again; that it only takes a moment for a child to get into life-threatening danger. Although I am not comfortable with having an audience while I use the bathroom, I agreed to Marc’s request, simply because it was easier than arguing.
This weekend I came home from grocery shopping to find almost the exact same scene that Marc had walked in on earlier in the week! The girls were quietly playing while he was in the bathroom with the door closed – and locked. I just about went through the roof on him for his hypocrisy, when he defended his actions by saying it is inappropriate for young girls to see a man naked below the waist. For this reason, he thinks that he should be excused from his very own rule that affects my bathroom privacy.
When I pressed Marc on this issue, he reiterated that it would be inappropriate for the girls to see him using the toilet, and that people may misunderstand them should the girls talk about what they see. I could not believe that my husband is trying to imply that people might think he is molesting our children, and that is why he should be allowed bathroom privacy. I am just disgusted, and have no intention of doing as Marc wants until he follows his own rule.
Tazi, am I being unreasonable, as my husband has suggested? I don’t think I am putting my children at risk; but what if I am?
Signed, Private Pottier
Dear Private Pottier:
Your husband’s excuse as to why he will not follow his own bathroom rule is pathetic, at best, and scary at worst. The fact that he fears people might think he is molesting his own children makes me wonder why he would think such paranoid thoughts. Was he molested as a child, or in any way related to a child molester (family, baby sitter, or neighbor)? As for his argument that a young girl should not see a man naked below the waist, I have news for him: by the time she is five years old, she will probably be curious enough to “show hers” if a boy will “show his”. This behavior is in no way, shape, or form sexual; it is simply part of the natural curiosity that all children possess.
By suggesting that nudity is somehow forbidden or shameful your husband is sending a mixed message to your toddlers (I am certain that he sees them naked at bath time and changing time). I suggest that you both teach your children proper bathroom etiquette, including your feelings on nudity, which seem to fall along the lines that our naked bodies are to be kept private (and this is a perfectly acceptable view). This is also the perfect opportunity to educate your children the difference between good touching and bad touching, as well as the physical differences between boys’ bodies and girls’ bodies. You do not have to get too intimate; just explain that boys have different parts than girls.
Now, regarding the closed bathroom door policy in your house: Your husband is correct that “it only takes a moment for a child to get into life-threatening danger”, which is why I suggest you toddler-proof your house if this step has not already been taken. Your next step should be to educate your daughters on how to behave while you are in the bathroom and unable to watch them. Since they have been “playing quietly” on both occasions that you mention, you can offer them a small reward for their good behavior (a cookie or other special treat). These steps should greatly reduce the chance of injury during the two to five minutes you take to relieve yourself.
In the end, if your husband still insists that the door be left open while you are in the bathroom, try to honor his request in order to keep the peace. In a few short years you will have your privacy back, as your daughters will be begging you to close the door when you are in the bathroom.