Monday, August 25, 2008

Open Letter to Mothers of Small Boys

Dear Mothers of Small Boys,

When bringing your young male children to the gym, it is in the best interest of everyone involved that you drop them off at the child care room BEFORE taking your things to your locker. Doing so will avoid awkward moments like your son asking questions about naked body parts and other gym-goers fiddling with their gym bags in an attempt to postpone their changing routine or attempting to cover up as quickly as possible. Really, what are you thinking?

Little Johnny does not belong in the ladies' locker room. There are bras and panties and naked boobies all over the place--even at noon. What? He has to use the bathroom? There's a bathroom in the child care center. Let him go there. Sure, naked bodies are completely natural, but you're exposing Little Johnny to the naked bodies of strangers, and you're causing your fellow exercisers extreme discomfort. I mean, would you change in front of a preschooler that didn't come from your own loins?

Thank you for your consideration of these matters. I'm certain you'll think twice before bringing Johnny in again.

Best,
Concerned Locker Room Frequenter

16 comments:

MommyK said...

Since you said preschooler, I'm assuming this was an older child. In that case, I agree with you, little boys do not belong in the women's locker room. A toddler or older baby, though, I would have no problem with.

Moms get so used to having no privacy and not covering up in front of their own kids, that maybe she forgot that not everyone else is comfortable being naked around short people.

Then again, you made it to the gym and I didn't break a sweat today (unless scrubbing my bathroom counts). So you win!

Ami said...

MommyK - I totally wouldn't have minded with a baby or toddler, but this kid was probably about 3, and clearly curious. Plus, I don't know what the etiquette is - should I have just gone about my business leaving it to the mother to handle if she was uncomfortable, or should I have waited to get undressed, like I did? Getting undressed in front of your own kids is one thing, but getting undressed in front of someone else's? That makes me uncomfortable. Maybe I'm overreacting because I'm not a mother yet, though...

Ami said...

MommyK - And scrubbing the bathroom totally counts. In fact, maybe we can work something out -- I'll exercise for you if you come clean my bathroom. :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

I bet if I'd been in that gym locker room disrobed when Little Johnny skipped in to use the potty, he AND his mother woulda run back out screaming at the horror! ;)

Erin said...

Oh, goodness! I agree that it's inappropriate! My 3 year old daughter asks enough uncomfortable questions that I can imagine a little boy would be no better : ) And that answers my question about going to the gym!

Ami said...

Angie - Now I'm sure that's an exaggeration! And if he'd been using the potty I wouldn't have minded. It was the visit to the locker/changing area that caused me discomfort. :)

Erin - Yeah, I don't think I would have been so uncomfortable if it had been a little girl, although I still would have hesitated to change in front of her, not being a mother myself and not knowing what the etiquette for that type of thing is.

34 Years said...

Too funny! And totally awkward! I probably would not have undressed, and would have fiddled around until they left...3 yrs olds are way curious, and still don't realize that staring is STARING, and I don't think I want to be the one that he's remembering when he's 5 and talking about it in kindergarten.

Ami said...

34 Years - Yeah, no way I want to be the talk of the playground. :)

Reluctant Housewife said...

I am a mom of little boys and I take them into the women's change room. We have pools at my gym and we can take the kids in the pool. My boys are not old enough to go into the men's change room on their own.

Gyms who have facilities for children - like pools or kids' classes like tennis, golf, or martial arts (like at my gym) - should perhaps provide family change rooms for their members with small children. As it is, though, there's no chance of me not taking my kids into the women's change room with me when they need to get changed.

Thank you for your consideration in these matters. I'm certain you'll think twice before coming down on moms of small boys again.

Best,
concerned mom of small boys.

Ami said...

Reluctant Housewife - Thanks for your comment. I hadn't considered gyms where kids were allowed to use the facilities. I agree that those gyms should consider having "family" facilities for those with children. I completely understand you taking the kids in with you when there's no other option. Safety first, obviously.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Hi Ami, Thanks for your comments on my blog. After my comment here yesterday I was worried you'd be angry or annoyed. I was worried I was too bitchy (can I say that word here?). Anyway, glad you're not.

Looking forward to reading your guest post on the subject.:)

Ami said...

RH - While I thought you were being snarky (a quality I totally admire) I didn't think you were bitchy. (And yes, you can say that here.) I'm always open to discussions. You'll find I'm very open minded and I like it when someone points out an opinion or view-point I hadn't considered.

Anonymous said...

I myself don't have any problem with boys 5 and under being in the women's locker room. And I do understand mothers fearing that their sons may be in potential danger if sent into a men's locker room alone.

But there was an incident back about 4 years ago that still irks me to this day. The YWCA that I swim at allows children to swim there if their with an adult.
The showers in the women's locker room are communal group showers like schools have. This one night 4 years ago I had just finished my swim and I headed into the women's locker room. I peeled out of my swimsuit and hung it on a hook near the showers and then went and got my bodywash and shampoo from my locker, and then headed over to the showers. I'm showering for about a minute when this mother walks toward the showers with her son who must have been 7 years old. And then the mother sighed really loud and then scolded me for being naked when there may be little boys in there like her son.

It was a WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOM. People have to understand that you are going to see nude women in a women's locker room. And to expect women to have to shower in a swimsuit or change in a toilet stall because there's a chance that some mother might bring her son in there is insane.

Call me crazy, but I don't feel that I owed that mother any apologies for having the audacity to shower in the nude in a WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOM. Was I in the wrong?

Marie

Ami said...

Marie - After a lot of thought and discussion on this topic, I don't really have as much of a problem with little boys in the locker room as I thought. I think in this situation I was caught off guard. I do think that if mothers bring their boys into the WOMEN'S locker room, as you mention, they should be prepared for the boys to be exposed to women's naked bodies. No, I don't think you owed her a bit of an apology.

Anonymous said...

Ami,

Thank you.

What really upsets me about that incident is that I was in a female locker room, it was within my rights to shower in the nude, and yet this woman scolded me because her male child was in there.

Believe me, I'm no exhibitionist. But I don't feel like I get all of the chlorine off of my body unless I take my suit off and shower my entire body with soap. I also never understood why some women are so uptight about nudity in a ladies locker room? We all have the same parts, and I just don't get these women that think that all other women should go change in a toilet stall. A body-is-a-body-is-a-body.

I can understand your discomfort with being seen nude by little boys. Although a 3 year old doesn't really care about nudity at all. And a 3 year old would forget what he saw within a few days of seeing it.

I wouldn't worry about little girls. Most of them have already seen all of their mothers body parts a thousand times already. My mother used to just take me into the shower with her lots of times, probably up until I was about ten years old.

Marie

Anonymous said...

I don't face this today because where we go we have a large family area with partitions. But I would not send my son alone even if we did not. My dad always brought my sister and I with him in the ln the locker room and no one complained. When we walked through the communal shower the males who spotted us would just turn aound.

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