a letter to the public restroom

Dear Public Restroom,

Please be aware that this letter is a compliment sandwich, if only to prevent you from getting too offended to consider the changes I am suggesting.

First off, thank you for existing.  Because of you, when my children need to use the bathroom when away from the wonderful much less germ infested place of our home, you are there.  I can at least give you that.  Also, you typically have doors on your stalls, so that’s a bonus.

However, compliment time over.  Why are you so tantalizing to children?  Why is the tile on your floor mixed colors so my kids WANT TO TOUCH IT?!?!  Stop enthralling my kids with your multi-colored floor and wall tiles that are COVERED in germs.  It’s like they’re trying to play connect four with licked fingers to leave spittle marks on the matches.  Choose ONE color.  Stick with it.  Here are some paint chip options I spent some time creating for you.  Please pick ONE color only.Living-with-color-Behr-brown-shades Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 3.54.29 PM Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 3.55.40 PM

Those are nice right?  Keep it as boring as possible. In fact, paint the Sistine chapel in Disney Characters on the celling so that my children only what to look up the ENTIRE time they are in the public restroom in awe.  Thank you.

My children enter the restroom with such amusement as they would a giant empty cathedral with nothing but echos to offer them return for loud, high-pitched squealing.

welcome to the echo chamber: germland

Although the first yell is harmless enough in it’s intention, perhaps in delight to some humor, it sets off a barrage of excitement among the other children.  It’s then that the game begins.  The general purposes of the restroom have now been overridden by the excitement of yelling. Going to the potty is no longer the priority, making the loudest echo is. The prize is always attained by my youngest who cares nothing of threats or lost privileges.  And although I’ve eventually quieted the older two, the youngest just smiles at me as though she doesn’t have a care in the world while squealing with delight, and each time I attempt to shush her, she screams all the more, her smile widening as each ear-piercing note leaves her body in more happiness then the first.  I’ve attempted apologizing to the other poor patrons who happen to be using the restroom and have been given semi-nice fake smiles mixed with looks that say, “if you didn’t know how to manage children, you shouldn’t have had them.”  In truth that is just what I’d imagine would happen as we exited the stall, actually everyone has been really nice and said my children were adorable, but that is besides the point public restroom, besides the point.

I would like to suggest you close the gap at the front of the toilet seat that leaves a freebie space for my kids to actually TOUCH the porcelain on the toilet.  Everyone knows that the porcelain is dirtier then the plastic.  Do you not understand the toddler mind?  Any inconsistency in life will be FULLY examined by a toddler, especially on something as fascinating as a toilet seat.  FULLY.  At one point, once of my precious baby angel children almost came into contact with a random hair.  I cannot speak to you the level of volume my voice attained.  People were listening, public restroom.  I can’t be blamed for the embarrassment this caused me when leaving the stall while other people (without small, very curious children) stared at me in disbelief.  I can’t be blamed.  The blame lies solely on you public restroom.

Today I visited a not for profit public restroom, (see parks, zoos ect.).

public sink

Please consider having toilet paper available in these spaces.

Also, stop playing games with public safety.  Why do you trick unsuspecting mothers with the sink and water saving (see: waste of time) hand press faucet that tuns off immediately after I stop pressing, only to deceive me by NOT OFFERING SOAP?

BYOS: bring your own soap.

Not even a consolation soap dispenser to PRETEND you even cared about public health and safety.  You could refill it monthly for all I cared, at least then I’d have a chance in this lottery of life at some soap.  But no, thank you, now I’ve TOUCHED the hand press water dispenser with nothing to clean my hands with but water.  You should not even bother with a sink if you’re not going to offer at least the chance at soap.  Also, I think your trick faucets waste more water then they save.  In fact, don’t even offer a restroom.  We would have fared better health wise in the woods.  What you have sacrificed in the way of public health safety, to maintain an element of “green” facade to your public relations identity, has not gone unnoticed.

I will now speak to you about the trash cans.  All the trash cans should have the no-lid, drop it in policy – next to the door.  Yesterday I caught my kids playing “toss back” with the trash lid, alternating between giggles and peek-a-boo while their faces… no, their mouths vacillated between the trash can and the lid.  Stop tempting my children with games and excitement so close to garbage.  Are you trying to get someone killed?  Just be a plain boring plastic can with a lining generously covering all aspects of the trash can type of receptacle will do.  Please consider changing the lining every hour.

Also, why handles on the toilets?  Every grown adult know to flush a public toilet handle with ones FOOT.  Never the hand.  Yet children, so excited by technology reach for it as though it has long called them from the shire and it wields them great power.  Toilets need a foot pedal that is out of sight.  Only mom’s can know where it’s secret location is; write out the treasure map for it in your language of choice on the front door of the stall.  We mothers are very smart, we can figure it out.

To the reusable cloth towel hand dryer invented by hippies to save trees.  I will not even speak to you.  All I will say is that you are solely responsible for the H1N1 and every other vaccine needed on the face of this planet.  That, my enemy, rests upon your 1950’s useless invention shoulders.

Hand blower.  At first I am glad of you, at least I know my hands will come out dry in this situation, but you let me down as soon as I realize I am trapped.  In bacterium land.  I cannot be expected to open a door with MY OWN BARE HANDS.  That is what paper towels are for. This is why the open, plastic lined boring colored trash receptacle belongs NEXT TO THE DOOR. If you’re going to offer the hand blower (that tells me how many trees it’s saved each year, a fact I care little of while myself and my unsuspecting children are suffering from illness two days later), why not just offer some tree pieces at the door?  OR hire someone with gloves to open the doors for all persons leaving the restroom.  Easy enough.

Lastly I will speak to a new invention.  It is similar to the shopping cart restraint system that protects children from falling to injury while buying ones groceries.  I will call it “entertainment restroom system”.  Simply provide a large clean and sanitary seating area with seat restraints, flat screen protected televisions and fresh healthy snacks for children to keep them distracted from further restroom exploration while a mother is helping one of her many (see: mothers of multiples) small children in the bathroom stall.  Acceptable snacks might be gluten/free-peanut free crackers, fresh cut fruit and plain white bread for the picky eaters.  Preferable shows: Micky Mouse Clubhouse, Veggie Tales or Bob the Builder, nothing scary, do not give my children nightmares.

I see this as a simple solution to keeping children safe and healthy when encountering the public restroom, although expensive upfront, I believe in the long run it will prevent more illness and save us all valuable tax dollars.

Other questions for you as you consider my thoughtful suggestions:  Why this lighting scheme?

Jail times

 What are you keeping out with your jail-like facade?  Not insects, clearly…

You’ve actually made amenities for insects to thrive, as we can see by the photos.

I refer to these as bathroom insects, because I’ve never actually seen them out in real nature.

ALL insects belong OUT in nature, NOT in the restroom, where people occasionally remove their pants.  Ants in the pants should never be a REAL game.

calling all rats!  calling all rats!

And why this rodent entrance?  Never mind, I will stop there.

In conclusion, dear public restroom.  I will not hate you always, just until my kids are grown enough to not go exploring in your exciting lavatory.  Thank you again for being present when in an emergency.  Please consider implementing some of my incredibly helpful suggestions.

Yours truly,

A mother of curious twin toddlers and a baby

As always, thanks so much for reading.

One thought on “a letter to the public restroom

  1. I was laughing so hard my sides ache! We all think these things but seldom bring them to light. This was well said, and very well written….love the colorful descriptions and illustrations!


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