Before I had a baby, I never gave public washrooms much thought. They were in my life, and I used them like everyone else. Sure, when I was in there I would think to myself “why are women so gross?” (because we are. Men get the grief but as someone who has cleaned both men’s and women’s washrooms, I’m here to say women are the grossest). But until recently, my only thought concerning public washrooms had been that there never seemed to be enough of them.
Since having Ewan, I’ve developed a complex relationship with public washrooms. On the one hand, I really, really hate them. For a number of reasons, some of which depend on the washroom. Which right there is irritating – I shouldn’t have to guess at what facilities might be available to me. But I digress. The average public washroom is rarely properly equipped for strollers and mums. Sure, there’s a change table in them most of the time, but the garbage can is always far away from the table (if there is one at all – I’m thinking of you Rideau Centre). Also troubling is when the stroller, even the little umbrella stroller, won’t fit in the handicap stall. What do you do with the kid in these circumstances? I’ve never been able to figure it out. Generally, this means I just have to hold it (if I have the smaller stroller, I might be able to fold it and balance The Kidlet on my knee…awesome). Safe, no? Sigh.
If there’s a family washroom, things are a little better. But family washrooms themselves vary widely with respect to their usefulness. For example, the spiffy one at Toys’R’Us has a loo for mums and a nice spacious area with a rocking chair for breastfeeding, room for a big ass stroller if you have one, and a change table with a diaper genie right next to it. The one at St. Laurent shopping centre (same complex) ups the awesomeness with a couple of microwaves and extra chairs. Swish! Sad to say, this is not the case everywhere. The most pointless family washrooms are those in most airports. Calling these loos “washrooms” would imply the presence of a toilet. Nope. Instead, all that is in these rooms is a change table, a VERY smelly garbage can, and a sink. Great for baby….not so great for Mum who still has to go and will therefore still have to maneuver that damn stroller in the regular washroom. And don’t even get me started about having more than one kid in these circumstances. Argh.
But on the other hand, I love love love public washrooms. Why you ask? Because, on days when I’m out with Andrew and Ewan, public washrooms are the only place in the whole world where I can have absolute peace. At home, see, when I’m in the loo, or anywhere really, and I can still hear the kid, I can never really relax 100%. But in a public washroom, at a restaurant say, I can’t hear Ewan. He’s off with his dad and I’m far away in my only little world. I have to admit, there have been days when I’ve spent way too long washing my hands or re-doing my hair (harder now that it’s short) or re-applying lip gloss, savouring the sweet but all too brief minutes of time that I get all to myself.
Sad, really. But there it is.