As a preface to the forth coming situation I should disclose that I DO NOT look for any opportunities to make people uncomfortable and i try very hard to always be mindful of others feelings. I DO try very hard to be kind, courteous, honest, and loving in all areas of my life.
that being said i had this very awkward confrontation today at the swimming pool.
Here is the set up...Oscar has swimming lessons every Tuesday and Thursday morning before school. I have been having this internal conflict between having him go to the Men's locker room my himself or for his to come with me into the women's locker room. By past experience both situations are not perfect...the women's locker room seems to always have at least one woman who insists on strutting around the locker room in the buff. The Men's locker room keeps me in a constant uncomfortable worried state of paranoia over pedophiles, or at the least other curious young boys who like to play and make a mess of the locker room.
Today was no exception. Because there have been an abundance of in-the-buff women in the women's locker room lately, I have been sending him into the men's with a very cautioned dialog before hand on what should happen in a locker room and what should not.
This has been working, well with the exception of him and his friend Logan playing in the locker room. But today he said he couldn't operate the showers and wanted me to go into the men's locker room to turn them on. I told him to grab his things and come to the ladies locker room with me.
The room was surprisingly fairly empty with the exception of one very, very elderly woman who was changing. I showered the kids and had Oscar get dressed in the private dressing room part. While I got Poppy dressed.
I did happen to notice that there was one other woman who was giving me dirty looks and wasn't getting dressed but merely watching everyone else.
I didn't think anything of it and continued to plod my kiddies along so we would be able to get lunch etc. done before school. When about to leave, this woman confronts me with "next time would you please make other arrangements for your son. His is too old to be in the women's locker room." (this was not said in a loving way).
I had previously talked with one of the lifeguards on another occasion about there being an age limit, and she told me there was not.
I told the lady this and she insisted that there was a posting outside that prohibited it. She also told me that she was a stay at home mom and that in her opinion boys over the age of 2 1/2 should be showering in the men's locker room!!! Yes, my friends she thinks I should be sending someone the same age as Poppy into the men's locker room to shower and change their clothes, by themselves!!!
At this point I realized that this woman was clearly a delusional and frustrated soul naturally, and that there was nothing I could say that would help her. Luckily, there was another mother in the locker room who was better at articulating an argument than me. She asked the woman if she would rather that I send my son into a locker room with some pedophile? The woman's response was "Well I certainly can't go into the men's locker room!". I thought Yeah, me too, what am I supposed to do???
Ugh! I feel in these situations I don't know how to "fix" the problem. I don't want Oscar being in an unsafe, or uncomfortable environment and yet, I wish these women would use some discretion on what they choose to wear around in the locker room!
So, I'm curious...If this were you, what would you do in the future? How old should Oscar be before I can safely feel comfortable with him showering by himself? Am I being irrational?
I did talk to the Pool director and she assured me that I could take Oscar into the ladies locker room and that even if he were 10 and I felt he needed to go in with me, he could. She also told me that this particular woman has complained on numerous other occasions (she used to even ask mothers how old their boy was, before giving her spill)...I'm thinking this lady needs to shower at home!
Although, the director said it was fine I still am wondering what the solution is...any ideas?
The real tragedy is that Pullman is such a small town that I'm certain I will run into this woman again, and I will not be able to look at her without feelings of discomfort and confrontation. What if she is in the other ward and I see her in a church setting, the grocery store? I wish she would have just asked me nicely so that we could have gotten off on a better foot and could avoid this whole uncomfortable situation.