Tuesday, February 5, 2008


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.


Traci said...

That is not a fun situation at. I think you did fine. Just keep your head up high! YOU are the MOM and you know what is right for your children and no one else! I am totally on your side. Hobie is 6 and I still have him come into the women's bathroom with me, even at church too.
I see your point of view too on wishing the lady would have confronted you in a more nice manner, but hey- stand up for yourself, even when it's hard. Atleast you know she has complained before so it's nothing new and carry on. Tell her to talk with the management if she has a problem. Like you said they need to watch what they are doing in the locker room too. And if she were really a mom, she would have understood! Good Luck!

Rach said...

I was a spectator in this situation a few years ago when my nephew was about 7 and we were camping. It was really late at night that we were making a bathroom run so my sis-in-law had her son come in the ladies with us. Dark, stormy night; large campground with who knows who there; what mother wouldn't? Anyway, there was a big stink from the forrest ranger of all people who confronted us on the way out. Susan kept her head admirably and simply told him that she understood the rules but that her husband wasn't there to take him into the mens and there was no way she was letting him go by himself and that she put his safety above anything and if he had a problem she was certainly willing to discuss the matter with his superior.
Anyway, I think you did just fine. I wouldn't let Sam go in the mens by himself and I don't think you should have Oscar go by himself unless you're comfortable with it. This lady sounds like she's looking for things to complain about and since you're certainly not the first person to suffer from her ire, I doubt she'll remember you next time she sees you! If you discussed with management thats all you really need to say..."I'm sorry you are upset but I've cleared this with the management so i suggest you talk with them if you have a problem."
Of course, being the sort of person that DOES NOT handle conflict well, I can't say if I actually would deal with it as well as you seem to have.

Old Warrior said...

I can always teach you how to punch mean ladies in the nose...

Rach said...

OH! and 2 1/2! This woman obviously doesn't have kids to make a crazy suggestion like that! Doesn't she realize what a child of that age would do to a bathroom?!? Can't you just see the toilet paper everywhere?

Anonymous said...

And--you are right not to ever send any of your children into potentially dangerous situations when you have options. We have been warned by our church leaders in years past about men's locker rooms in gyms and sending youngsters alone in them. thanks for taking care of the grandkids!
...and I really can show you how to punch--you surely already know how, growing up in the middle of a bunch of kids!

Bonnie said...

I have had the EXACT same problem with my boys. Even in Walmart and stuff, Eric HATES it that I make him come into the ladies room, but let's see...have my son abducted or whatever or keep him close. No contest. I have just recently started letting him go in to pee and I'll say (from outside) "how's it going" so that everyone and their mother hears that his mom is waiting for him right there! I think if there is a stall close to the entrance of the men's locker room you could make sure he stays within "ear-shot" and then just keep talking to him until he comes out! OR keep him with you. If I ran into that lady I would flat out tell her in no uncertain terms that the manner in which she approached this situation was unacceptable, but that if she wanted to have a civilized and kind conversation you'd be happy to appease her.

Nedge said...

This is why I'm thankful that the facility I worked at had a family locker room. I hope they get more popular in the future, because it really helps out in these awkward situations....
I have been in the situation of "woman in the buff"...changing after high school practice, I did my best to cover myself up, but it was always interesting to turn around and see two young tots staring at me wide-eyed with curiosity. That's my cue to go find somwhere else to change... He he!

JoAnna said...

I know us Dilworth's are the sort that have a hard time really telling someone what we think, but I do have a solution for you. I have a sis-in-law who is in short terms Rediculous and impossible to confront. She doesn't know how to just "talk" all she does is yell and say mean nasty things. Well since learning that she is such and impossible person I avoid any conversation aside from saying hello. So if I do have to see her I simply smile, say hi, and walk away; giving her zero opportunity to raise a problem. My solution to your probem is if this occurs again simply smile and say i am sorry you feel that way, please take your concerns to the life guard and simply walk away. do NOT wait for a response from her because generally people like her are looking for a fight. just walk away. if you see her in the grocery store just smile and continue on your way.

mama rhodes said...

Dr. Laura would say to just be polite. If you see her at the store you could always laugh and say "it's so good to meet you again in a well-dressed environment! See you around." Then run like the banshee withing you knows how to run.

mummy said...

Collette-do you have a sports bra? If you do just wrap it around Oscar's eyes and go about your business. Or you could wrap it around your's and another around Poppy's eyes and go into the mens area. You could have Oscar lead you around and you could keep a little hold on him as he takes a little shower or gets dressed. Or you could just take him in the mens area and try to divert your eyes at the proper moment, I'm sure the men won't care. I wouldn't let any of my kids go into a bathroom at a showhouse. I think one of them wet their pants. I think Rick wet his pants a few times in first grade because he was afraid of going into the bathroom.

Mamma Letty said...

I like the sport bra idea mummy...thanks for making me laugh. I just may try that however. Seriously these women strut around the bathroom as though they were on fully clothed and at a dinner party.

mannerofhappiness said...

I find it most effective in these situations, to develop a list of immature, inappropriate nicknames to attach to Crazy Dressing Room Lady. Then if you see her again, you can smile and laugh inside your head as you secretly call her a "big fat, dummy pants, boobiehead." It's just an idea, but it works for me.

Jen said...

you're the mom. seriously- there's no way kellen would survive a locker room on his own and he's almost 4. i think what she said is a reflection of her OWN issues, not yours.
if you run into her again, no worries- you did nothing wrong and if she continues to push the issue in other environments, you're more than justified to punch her out (just kidding- maybe just hand her a list of "resources" where she can talk about her issues! :) ).

Mamma Letty said...

I like that...Jen, should I start carrying your phone number for reference?? Just kidding, I wouldn't subject you tho that type of cruelty. And Kelly, I love the fatty cazy boggie head idea! I may just have to use that today because we have swimming lessons again.

Betina said...

I would prefer my son to see saggy naked ladies to what my (or may not) happen in the dressing room alone. If it ever got to the point where I was worried about him seeing nakies I would just get us all dressed in the shower-less family rest room and go home to clean up.

But, if he got to that age then I may feel comfortable sending him in with a "buddy" from his class or something.

That lady is a dork. I sounds like she just hangs out in there for fun. Wierd.

Anonymous said...

Your definitely doing the right thing by taking your son into the ladies locker room with you.

It's not going to harm him if he sees a naked lady, whereas I hate to even think about what could happen to him if you sent him into the men's locker room alone.

If the other ladies feel uncomfortable with little boys being in the ladies locker room then they can cover up or change in a bathroom stall.

Your situation reminds me a little bit of a locker room situation with my daughter and her little female classmates several years ago.

When my daughter was in the sixth grade her elementary school had a two week program where the students from her class were bused over to a nearby high school to swim in that schools pool for about an hour a day. The elementary school asked for two of the mothers and two of the fathers to come along each day to help keep things organized and to help supervise the children. However, their sixth grade teacher also went to the pool with them, and she would swim with them everyday too.

Their teacher was a very young and beautiful woman with a great figure, I would guess that she was only in her mid to late 20's, and she was in her first year of teaching.

So after each swimming session all of us females would head to the girls locker room, and all of the males would head to the boys locker room. Now here was the "controversy," everyday when we would head into the girls locker room, the teacher would remove her swimsuit and shower in the nude in the group shower room while we helped get all of the young girls from the class cleaned up. A few of the young girls decided to shower in the nude of their own choosing, but most kept their swimsuits on.

Now I was there in the locker room for every moment that the girls were in the locker room with their teacher as was one of the other mothers. There is absolutely no question in my mind that the teacher was nude for no other reason that to take a shower and make sure she properly washed off all of the chlorine.

I had absolutely no complaints what-so-ever about the teacher showering nude in front of the female students in her class, and the other mother did not have a problem with it either.

But when the mother of one girl in the class found out that the teacher was showering nude in front of the female students she started calling all of the other mothers and was complaining and kept saying that we should report the teacher (who we all thought the world of)to the school board. Fortunately when she found out that all of the rest of the mothers were fine with the teacher showering nude, she did back down.

But the other thing that was funny about the whole situation was that that girls locker room at that high school was very large, and there were two different group shower rooms in it that were all clearly in plain sight of the entire locker room. If you were in either group shower room you were completely within view of every other person in the locker room. And everyday when we were in the locker room after the swimming session there were always 30 totally nude high school girls showering in the other group shower room after their gym class. And those high school girls not only were completely nude while showering, but they seemed to do everything nude like blow-dry their hair, apply their makeup in the mirror or just stand around nude while talking. So our elementary school girls were getting quite a "show" from those nude girls anyway.

Sorry for taking up so much space here. I hope you don't mind my sharing!

Jennifer H