Airplane Travel With Two Boys Minus One Husband: Bathroom Dilemmas

February 17, 2013 in Family life

Larry Craig bathroom in the Minneapolis-Saint ...

Larry Craig bathroom in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week I’m traveling with two of my three sons and meeting my husband and third son at our destination. (Condensed reason: they went skiing first for a few days, but the rest of us could not join them so they are meeting us). What this means is that I have to navigate the airport, check-in, and luggage without my husband’s help.

Not a big deal because my sons are 9 and 15. It’s not like the days when we traveled with three kids under the age of 7. We’d board the airplane with our carry-ons, diaper bag, and three rowdy boys and I’d look down the aisle, watching everyone’s face register the same expression. You know, that worried, clenched look that says, “Please God, don’t let that family sit anywhere near me.” When the plane would land, and if our boys miraculously behaved (or slept), we’d receive those relieved compliments from the closest seated passengers who said, “Oh your boys were so GOOD.” I’d calmly reply, “yeah, Benadryl works great when we want to sedate them.”

With this trip, even though they are older, I’m still nervous. Not about their behavior on the plane, although depending on their maturity level that day, there’s still a possibility of a scene erupting. I’m more concerned about the downtime in the airport. Little Dude is actually worried too, because he asked me this question the other day:

“Mom, what happens if you have to go to the bathroom while we’re in the airport?”

At first I didn’t understand his question. I do have a weak bladder, especially when I’ve had my morning iced tea, but that’s not what he was getting at. He explained further:

“I don’t want to stand outside the bathroom while you are in there.”

Ah ha! Now, I get it. And, he was right. This is an issue.

In general, I am not all that paranoid about someone snatching my kid. Unless I’m in an airport. Even when I’m traveling with my husband, I don’t want either of us to let our kids out of our sight. Of course, bathroom runs are not an issue if my husband is with us. He takes the boys into the men’s room. They all wait for me when I go to the ladies room.

But, what is a mom to boys supposed to do when she is traveling alone with them?

And let’s assume there are no family restrooms in sight, which I happen to know is a sure thing in this case. I know you’re thinking I can leave my 9-year old with my mature, responsible 15-year old. Yeah, maybe. Except my 15-year old has played a few too many jokes on Little Dude and he’s not comfortable trusting his big brother in an unknown environment. And maybe the fact that we once lost Little Dude during a vacation in Costa Rica has something to do with his paranoia about being lost. (I swear it wasn’t my fault and we only lost him for a few minutes!).

So, another option would be to take Little Dude into the bathroom with me, disregarding the judgmental stares from the other ladies that I should not be taking my 9-year old into the bathroom with me. But, then that leaves my practical-joking-wandering-15-year-old-who-lost-his-cell-phone-last-week alone in an airport. Still not comfortable doing that either.

There’s only one solution, which I told Little Dude to calm his nerves: I won’t go to the bathroom until we board the plane.

Which means I’ll have to skip my iced tea that morning and hope my pea-sized bladder can make it that long. Good times.

So if you happen to be traveling this week and see a caffeine-deprived woman sitting next to her two boys at the gate with her legs crossed, you’ll know it’s me.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie February 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Emily I am with you on the pea sized bladder. Oh the joys of having two pregnancies wreak havoc in that organ. But seriously have a wonderful vacation!! :)


ohboymom February 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Thanks Janine and yes, the bladder is not what it used to be!


Anne (@notasupermom) February 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Mine don’t get on a plane until they are 10. There was not enough Benedryl in the world!


ohboymom February 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm

You are a smart mom! :)


Holly February 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I thought your airport bathroom concern was because there might be a perverted Idaho Senator lurking around in there…lol.

I am so lucky I only had daughters, however now that I have grandchildren, a boy and a girl, I may face this delimma one day myself. He is only 4 right now so I take him in with me. Your situation is going to be a tough one…have you considered testing out Depends? Lol.

I can’t wait to hear how this turns out! But have fun on your trip once you arrive :-)



ohboymom February 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Hmm…Never thought about testing out Depends…that could be a new way to market them! Wish me luck!


Holly February 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Yes, you could post a review of the product on your blog, LOL.


Kristi February 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Oh dear. You are an awesome mom. Depriving yourself of morning caffeine so that little dude doesn’t have to wait outside the women’s room? Award-time.
There are always adult diapers. Hey, no shame there. Think about it. You can thank me later.
And have an awesome trip! I know too well “the look” as you’re walking down the airplane isle…surprisingly, my son has been really good when we’ve traveled with him. And by typing that, I probably just jinxed us for life.
Have fun!!


Kristi February 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Oh man! I just read the comments and realized somebody else already suggested adult diapers. Guess you should thank her instead. :)


ohboymom February 17, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Great minds think alike!


Lee February 17, 2013 at 9:43 pm

So, being a single mom, I have this issue…I used to take my son in with me when either he or I had to go to the bathroom at a movie, the mall or anywhere else public. But, he is also 9, and he doesn’t want to go into the ladies room. So, I stand outside the men’s room and hope he comes out. If he takes too long, I ask someone going in to check on him. I never let him go alone, which often means leaving a movie in the middle numerous times, getting up at a restaurant numerous times during the meal and stopping at many restrooms in the grocery store. He loves his gatorade, dang him.


ohboymom February 17, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Ha – I’ve got a little gatorade addict too! Glad to hear I’m not the only one who finds this an issue.


Melanie Chisnall February 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I think I need to get over this bladder shyness business because I never go to the toilet when I’m on an airplane. I rather wait till we’ve landed and go before we take off. Good luck on the flight!


ohboymom February 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm

I used to be the same way Melanie about airplane travel, but once you have kids, sometimes we have to put aside our own routines and put our kids’ needs in front of our own…sacrifices indeed! :)


Roshni February 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Would it be okay to threaten your fifteen year old with cell phone deprivation so that he keeps an eye on the nine year old while you visit the restroom?!! 😀


ohboymom February 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

It WOULD be okay to threaten him with no cell phone, except he’s the only teenager out there who actually wouldn’t care about that…I’d need a better threat I’m afraid to say!


Roshni February 18, 2013 at 10:25 pm

oh no!! That’s tough if he doesn’t have that weakness!! 😀


Mommyproof February 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Hmm… I don’t think I would think twice if I saw a mom bring her 9-year-old son into the bathroom — but I’m pretty oblivious-slash-don’t care about privacy that much (certainly not in an airport bathroom!) But would he willingly come with you? That’s another question entirely!


ohboymom February 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm

You are right – he probably wouldn’t willingly come with me, which complicates the issue. But, I can put my foot down when it comes to safety! (and my own paranoia).


Linda Thomas Anderson February 18, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Oh I don’t envy you one little bit! I’ve traveled as a single mom with a 6 month old, and it’s definitely not my favorite thing to do. Last week, I had the distinct pleasure though, of sitting next to a young man, travelling alone with his 6 month old son. Usually it’s the mom that travels alone with the kid, you rarely see a dad doing that. I was struck, because he was so calm, and the baby was so good, even when he got a little fussy (the baby, not the dad) he handled it like it was the most natural thing in the world. Totally renewed my faith in human-kind, although I doubt he got a hilarious blog post out of HIS travels! :)


ohboymom February 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Wow, a dad traveling with a 6-month old is a rare sighting! I’d find that heart-warming, especially because it sounds like he handled it so well…


Cyndi February 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

You’ll do great and I think you’ll even have a great blog post or two to tell from all this. I hope you have a great time! Cheers!


ohboymom February 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm

You are right…already a few blog posts are churning in my head from this “vacation,”


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. February 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Wow, that mom-boy bathroom thing would never have occurred to me! Likely because I have girls and they are still of an age where WE are the family that enters the plane, receiving the “Please God don’t let them sit by me!” stares of desperation! HA! Good luck, and enjoy your break!


Kristi February 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Hi again! Hey, you know that “Tagged” game going around? Do you want to play? I was all ready to tag you and then realized that maybe you don’t WANT to answer a bunch of questions, so I thought I’d ask. Especially with vacation coming up. No hard feelings either way. Let me know, ok? :)


ohboymom February 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

I’d be happy to be tagged, but I’m already on vacation (all week) and I’m attempting to stay off line as much as possible (though clearly I’m breaking that now).so feel free to tag me but I may not answer the questions until next week or beyond or possibly not at all if the questions are too hard.:) your call if you want to bother with me or not…I know I’m sounding high-maintenance now….


Rich Rumple February 19, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Time your arrival, rush to the gate, jump on the plane, squeeze your legs until takeoff, and then let the plane restroom be your guide! Either that, or you be the one to take the medication and go thru the tribulation with a smile on your face! lol Hang in there!


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