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Woman Blasted By Angry Mom For Asking Preteen Son To Leave Locker Room While She Changes

Woman in gym locker room
Drazen Zigic/Getty Images

Content Warning: Invaded Spaces, Inappropriate Behavior, Boundaries Crossed, Sexual Harassment, Phone Recordings

Any parent who has a strong connection with their children will agree that it can be hard to watch their children grow up and not need them for every little task.

But some parents have such a hard time letting go, their relationship can become inappropriate, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITAH) subReddit, and it can even impact other people.

Redditor complete_doodle was visiting her local gym center after work, only for her plans to be crushed when a mother brought her preteen son into the women’s locker room and shower where she was attempting to get ready for her swim.

When she attempted to express her concerns to the mother, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked by the other woman’s reaction.

She asked the sub:

“AITAH for asking a mom in her forties to take her kid out of the locker room?”

The OP recently went to the gym, like usual, to swim laps.

“I am usually a very non-confrontational person, so I’ve been overthinking this ever since it happened. I’m wondering if I was the a**hole or if I can stop worrying about it!”

“This past Friday, I (23 Female) went to the gym after work like usual. The gym I go to is similar to a YMCA, in that it is also kind of a ‘community center’ and has a pool.”

“That day, I was planning on swimming laps in the pool. After I arrived, I went into the women’s locker room to change into my swimsuit and rinse off before getting into the pool.”

But something very unusual happened in the locker room.

“When I walked in, I was the only person in there (not unusual). I set my things down and was just starting to take off my clothes when the door opened behind me.”

“A mom (in her 40s, Female) walked in with her son. Now, I know it’s commonplace for moms to bring their younger sons into the women’s bathroom and locker room with them, but her son looked to be at least 11 years old, if not even older. He was definitely middle-school-aged and dressed like a middle-schooler. He was almost as tall as me.”

“Upon seeing him, I was startled and stopped getting undressed.”

“I waited for a moment to see if they were just passing through to get to the restroom, but the mom put her things down on the bench and told her son to do the same. She then started to get undressed.”

“At this point, I was feeling very uncomfortable. The room we were in had the changing area on one side, and the shower heads on the other. There are no dividers, so everything is exposed. I did not want to change in front of a preteen boy, let alone shower in front of him.”

The OP tried to discuss her concerns with the preteen’s mother.

“I got the mom’s attention and politely asked if she would mind having her son wait outside or in the restroom area so that I could change and shower.”

“To my surprise, she got very annoyed, and said, ‘Why can’t you just change here? I bring him with me everywhere and nobody has ever had a problem!'”

“I told her that I was not comfortable showering in front of her son.”

“She said that I could go change in the bathroom stall and then shower in my swimsuit ‘if I was so worried about it.'”

“I started to pack up to go do just that, but she then followed it up by telling me that I had ‘no respect for mothers,’ and that when I became one, I would understand why my request was so unreasonable.”

“At that point, I was feeling quite embarrassed and just left to wait in a restroom stall until they were gone.”

The OP wasn’t sure how the woman’s son felt about the situation.

“Her son didn’t seem bothered at all; he was actually on his phone during the entire exchange.”

“I’m not blaming him, because it’s very possible that he was just on his phone to avoid awkwardness.”

“But him having his phone out (when there’s a rule against it) made me more uncomfortable. He was only a middle schooler, but when I was in middle school, plenty of my male classmates were already making sexual comments towards me.”

The OP felt conflicted.

“So was I the a**hole for feeling uncomfortable, and asking the mom to have her son wait outside?”

“My husband thinks I’m NTA at all, but when I told my mom later, she said that if I was uncomfortable, I should’ve been the one to leave, and it was unnecessary to bother the mother.”

“AITAH here?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the a**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some argued the preteen boy was way too old to be in the women’s locker room.

“The son was way too old to be in a woman’s locker room. Middle school is puberty age; he can wait for his mom outside.”

“Was she just going to shower in front of her son while he played on his phone, or was he expected to shower in the women’s locker room, too? Would the mom ask other women to leave, or would 2she be okay with her preteen son being naked in front of other adults?”

“Either way, this is a creepy situation; I would tell a supervisor.” – TaroPrimary1950

“I have a 13-year-old and I’m a single mom. I’ve been having my kid wait outside the ladies’ rooms and changing rooms since he was about 10.”

“OP is NTA here and next time should go to a supervisor. That’s way too old for a changing room and also just weird the mom thought it was okay to strip down naked in front of her kid.” – Funkybutterfly2213

“I have a memory of when I was about six and I went to a Y-like pool with my mom. Normally I would go change with my older brother, but it was just me and my mom for some reason. We went into the women’s changing room and I distinctly remember thinking that I was too old to be in there.”

“I have six-year-old twin girls now and there is NO way I would take them into the men’s changing room. They are very aware of penises/vaginas/etc. and would ask (very loudly) way too many questions (for out in public) if they saw some dudes changing. We always wait for the family changing room.” – VegasAdventure

“Our local recreational center has signs saying that opposite-sex kids need to use the appropriate locker rooms when ages seven and older.”

“So asking a middle schooler’s mom to leave her kid outside isn’t out of bounds, in my opinion. He can change in the men’s room, and if he’s not changing, his mom can cut the apron strings and have him wait in the lobby or common areas.” – Thanmandrathor

“If he really needed to be with his mom, why didn’t the mother just tell OP that they would step out for a minute so that OP could shower and change in privacy? No, she obviously didn’t care about society’s expectations, only her convenience and weird family dynamic.” – Choice-Tiger3047

“Okay, call your gym general manager. Call. Tell them the date and time you went and the entire scenario.”

“I’m a Mom to both girls and boys and that mother’s behavior was entirely inappropriate. A women’s locker room is for women. I can see bringing small children in but a boy over the age of seven or eight has no business being in a women’s locker room. Most gyms have family locker rooms for just such a reason.”

“Your expectations that she remove her son from the locker room was entirely appropriate and her behavior was HIGHLY inappropriate. Quite honestly, it was likely incredibly uncomfortable for her son, too.” – lovetotravelanytime

Others agreed and also had issues with the preteen using a phone in the locker room.

“He was on his PHONE. That’s not allowed in locker rooms, even if he wasn’t doing anything nefarious.” – PepInAStep

“Having his phone could easily been stealthily malicious.”

“People can have their phone set to recording mode, hold it to their face, and pretend to be on a phone call and point the camera at you. Or they can record video whilst on a phone call.”

“It’s a danger. I wouldn’t trust anyone with that. Not even another woman; women can be disgusting creeps, as well. And a preteen is naturally going to be curious.” – WildFemmeFatale

“If he’s old enough to have a phone, he is too old to be in the opposite-gender locker room.”

“That was the thing that really got my attention. There are signs all over our recreational center locker rooms about no phones.”

“My son is eight, and I definitely don’t want to bring him in the locker room to get changed after swim class, but I also don’t trust him to get changed in the men’s room alone, so he gets into the car wet! Thems the breaks sometimes.” – Old-Tomatillo3025

“An 11-year-old boy is bringing a phone into the women’s locker room: you’re going to get filmed because he’s old enough to realize that he’s young enough to cry to a judge that he’s a baby and get away with criminal charges of filming you naked in there. Even if you tried suing him for uploading footage of you naked onto the internet, the real damage would be done. NTA.” – DietrichDiMaggio

“Call the pool manager/supervisor and explain the situation and ask how the pool is going to protect women’s privacy in the changing rooms. Be specific about the boy having his phone out, which violates the rules regardless of which changing room he’s using.”

“Tell him you expect either specific ENFORCED rules about young men being in the women’s changing area and intervention when people are using devices that take photos and videos in the dressing rooms or at least privacy partitions and shower curtains to be installed.”

“Find out who his supervisor is and CC that person in your follow-up letter. NTA.” – celticmusebooks

“NTA. I’m a mother too. If the kid is old enough to independently play on his cell phone, he’s old enough to change in the men’s locker room.”

“I’m shocked that she didn’t take her kid to a family bathroom. Most gyms/community centers have showers in them, too, to help out families with babies/toddlers.”

“Sorry you had to deal with an unhinged, entitled mom.” – Dramatic_Bread9362

The subReddit was left collectively shaking their heads over the mother’s entitlement and also how she was setting her son up for failure, not only not letting him grow into his own person but also encouraging potentially inappropriate behavior, like seeing women in the locker room and shower without their consent, whether or not he had negative intentions.

If anything, the subReddit wished that the OP had done more to defend herself, either by continuing to challenge the mother or to involve the gym’s staff in the situation. By allowing this behavior to continue, there’s no telling how traumatic an experience like this could be for another woman.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.