Toilet Parenting Fail, Gas Station Edition

I’ve read a few parenting books over the years, but there are common sense life skills authors seem to miss out on, namely the art of using public restrooms without touching anything.

This is when I wish I had some mad Criss Angel levitating skills to pass down to my girls, but the hover over the toilet seat technique will do, provided you remember to emphasize how important it is to not touch any porcelain surfaces in a public restroom setting.

Last Saturday we had the craziest day imaginable and I just kept telling myself if we could make it through the day that the rest of this month, heck the rest of this year, would be a breeze. It was one of those days where we had to stick to a strict timetable, as well as reapply our deodorant 500 times.

Miss C had an 8 a.m. soccer tournament game an hour from our house in Smyrna, Tennessee, and we left our house fully caffeinated at 6:30 to make it to the fields in time for pre-game practice. We also had a 3 p.m. wedding in Cadiz, Kentucky, near Land Between the Lakes which is a 2-hour drive from our house, in an entirely different direction. Inbetween all this was Miss A’s first regular soccer league game at 11:45. I hadn’t even mentioned her game to her because I just didn’t see how we’d make it but then she pulled the ole, “It’s OK if we miss my game, Miss C’s is more important,” and that shot a dagger of mama guilt straight through my heart. 

We got home from the morning tournament around 11, though, and my husband declared, “We are going to Miss A’s game!” We scrambled to get as ready for the wedding as we could within reason. He and I wore most of our wedding attire to the soccer fields (he just had to change from a t-shirt to a dress shirt and I wore hot pink flip flops with my sleeveless silk dress) and I packed the girls’ dresses and dress shoes in the car, with the plan to stop somewhere en route off the interstate for a quick change either in the car or in a gas station or fast food restaurant bathroom.

I know. We’re crazy. But as hubby said at one point it was the good kind of crazy you can share with your family.

We left Miss A’s soccer game with about 5 minutes left of play since it was getting close to 1 p.m. and we needed to get on the road for Kentucky if we were going to make it to the 3 p.m. wedding. About an hour into the drive to the wedding we stopped for gas, because of course our tank was nearly empty. Knowing we had no time to spare, I grabbed Miss C’s hand and ran to the gas station bathroom so she and I could use the restroom and she could change into her dress. Miss A changed into her dress in the back of the car while hubby filled our gas tank.

Now gas station bathrooms are hit or miss. This one was bordering on full-on disgusting so my freak out dialogue went something like this:

Uh yuck.

OK don’t touch ANYTHING!

DON’T SIT on that SEAT! Hover, hover! Like this!

I proceeded to hover in the air over an imaginary toilet and prayed there was no hidden camera in the soap dispenser.

We made it through the toilet ordeal and then I helped Miss C tear out of her soccer uniform and slip into a black and white strappy sundress. She’d brought her dress shoes into the restroom and then proceeded to nonchalantly take her Crocs off and step onto the floor barefoot….the floor of the disgusting gas station bathroom.

I decided then and there not to have an OCD mom meltdown and have an extra glass of wine at the wedding instead.

We made it to the wedding with 5 minutes to spare.


  1. Jamie says:

    We took a nap Sunday! 😉

    And I’m happy to report that we have nothing on our calendar for tonight, Thursday night or Friday night.


  2. jennifer horn says:

    This sounds like all the running around we do at our house! And I agree with you on the gas station bathrooms! Yuck!

  3. Amanda J. says:

    I giggled all the way through! Good for you at keeping your cool – I hope you enjoyed that extra glass of wine 😉

  4. Beckee says:

    Oh my-We have 5 craxy kids and are always trying to do everything so I can totally relate to the craziness-way to go on keeping your cool in that bathroom! I actually left a public bathroom the other day with a 3 year old that really needed to go because it was far to disgusting! I am happy to say we made it to another potty before there was an accident (luckily)!

    Also-GREAT job making it to the wedding with time to spare!

  5. Zoe Kyklos says:

    Oh gosh. Don’t think I’d have been able to handle that situation as calmly as you did. Would have tried to help hold her feet over the sink to disinfect/clean them or something similarly outrageous and then wasted a ton of time in the process. :}

  6. frugal baby says:

    Public bathrooms starts out as a disaster but kids usually adopt with out guidance. The keep it to stay calm and explain to them WHY. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Christina anne d. says:

    That was funny (description in public restroom)…I’m the same way in public restrooms. How about when one puts those paper liners on the seat and they keep falling in the toilet? That happens to me all the time when I”m helping those that can’t hover over the toilet:) Then I have to worry about clogging the toilet…that’d be a real disaster!! annejk112233(at)yahoo(dot)com

  8. Robin Quick says:

    Not a fail at all! You did well “Mom” ! I would have lost my cool. I felt stressed just reading your post!!! LOL You handled it way better than most.. good job!

  9. Nelson's Mama says:

    Way behind on reading!

    Should have asked me for a reference 😉 The BP at the Cadiz exit is always pretty clean. However, I would have recommended changing at the rest stop at the Kentucky state line!

  10. Seattle coupons says:

    Yes, I hear you. I hate public restrooms too. I like your idea though of having a glass of wine instead of the OCD incident. I try to not bring on my OCD ways to my kids too!

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