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I Let My Child Pee in Public—So What?

Photograph by Twenty20

I committed the cardinal sin of letting my child pee in public. Am I proud of this? No, but I don’t regret it.

Before you start judging me and raising hell, hear me out. Life happens, and today was an overwhelmingly hellish day. In the moment, I did what I had to do. That isn’t the best excuse, but it's the reality of parenting littles.

I was cooped up in a house with three littles under the age of 4, one of which was 2 weeks old. We were all going stir-crazy and in much need of fresh air and activity. So, where does a mom go in this situation? The park, of course.

I took advantage of a rare moment in time. In between naps and breastfeeding sessions, which proved to be extremely difficult, I somehow managed to gather up my clan and reacquaint myself with the world outside the home I’ve been shackled to since giving birth.

It may have taken us an hour and then some to get us all changed, out the door and in and out of the vehicle, but alas, we made it. Every last ounce of energy I had was spent trying to survive up until that point. We almost turned around more than once, but I was determined to reclaim any ounce of normalcy I could.

Before this experience, I would’ve been one of those parents throwing mom shade.

We didn’t take two steps out the car when my son yelped that he had to go potty. (On a side note, we stupidly decided potty training was a grand idea during this time, like we didn’t already have enough on our plates.) Upon hearing those words, I felt defeated. Turning back not only meant schlepping me and my kin back home, where we would most likely remain for the rest of the day. Lunch would need to be served, nursing would again commence and naps would need to be taken.

Leaving now also signified something deeper. On a personal level, it meant the life of normalcy I wanted was that much more impossible to attain. It meant we were stuck in this perpetual tiring cycle with no hope of reprieve. I was desperate for some control back in our lives. Newborn days are beyond horrendous and I desperately ached to get us on track. I refused to give up, so I did what I had to.

Without thinking, I shuffled my two toddlers and the newborn strapped on my chest over to a nearby overgrown shrub and let my child relieve himself. My two boys laughed (as did I). After my child emptied his bladder, they both went on to play.

When we were leaving, I witnessed another desperate mother shuffling her tiny tot into similarly overgrown, secluded foliage to repeat the same indiscretions. Before this experience, I would’ve been one of those parents throwing shade and declaring I would never let my child pee in public.

While you won’t find my children peeing in public on the regular, I also am not against the idea when the circumstances call for it. After all, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. My children walked away unscathed without detrimental negative effects, and this incident wasn’t a gateway to increasingly more taboo activities shunned by general society.

I'm not perfect, and parenting sure as hell isn’t perfect. I try to be the best parent I can be, but at the end of the day, if letting my child pee in public is my worst sin, then it has been a pretty damn good day.

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