Is bathroom hunting hereditary?

The marvelously talented Jessica McNeill Azar of Herd Management is guest posting at Housewife Plus today! If you have not had the great pleasure of reader Jessica’s work then please run over to her website right now!

Is Bathroom Hunting Hereditary?

My six-year-old son comes from a long line of bathroom hunters. He can’t help it, bless his heart… it’s in his blood. As soon as we go anywhere, within 15 minutes of our arrival, he “has” to go to the bathroom. It’s always an urgent situation that won’t be delayed. I know that he’s overreacting most of the time because, well, he’s a bit on the dramatic side, but mainly because when we are at home, he rarely goes to the bathroom. Also…. And here’swhere I sigh… I see through his ruse because he’s a lot like me. As I said, Bathroom Hunting, as well as some of my more desirable (and undesirable) traits have surfaced from in gene pool.

I suppose it’s only fair after the frustration and terror I put my own mother through during my Bathroom Hunting days as a child. She’s often recounted the madness-inducing trips to the mall in which I wanted to check out each and every bathroom that was available to my inquiring mind. She argued… She berated me… But in the end, she did what all moms of young children do… She took me to the bathroom, fearing that if she didn’t it would be the ONE time I actually really NEEDED to go and I would pee my pants right there in front of The Gap. Ain’t nobody got time for urine-soaked leggings, or the judgmental glares of other parents thinking, “why wouldn’t she let that poor child go to the bathroom?! I heard her asking!” during a shopping trip. And as we all know, God has a sense of humor… So I gave birth to a bathroom hunting child as an ironic form of karma payback.

Today, during a family trip to Home Depot, his Bathroom Hunting tendencies sprang into action. Five minutes after we got there, he asked to go to the bathroom. I argued and resisted for awhile, until finally the whining got the better of me. I let him run blissfully into the bathroom with his older brother tagging along. He returned a few minutes later, satisfied and relieved (I guess)…. Until he spotted another bathroom at the other end of the store 15 minutes later. When he asked to go THIS time I refused. You would’ve thought I had told him that I’m the one that makes the Elf on the Shelf move in December. Despite his pleas and overtures of agony I still refused him.

The bathroom insanity must be stopped before I wound up playing my mother’s role in the Camp Grandview incident of 1988.

You’ll remember that I mentioned TERROR in conjunction with the parent’s role in Bathroom Hunting? It all goes back to Camp Grandview… Let me paint the scene for you: It was a hot, sunny day in the month of May back in 1988. I was five years old, undoubtedly sporting jelly shoes and a big bow in my hair, and had accompanied my family to a Lion’s Club function at a local YMCA-sponsored campgrounds. My dad was very involved in Lion’s Club (a civic charity organization) so going to these kinds of events was old hat to me… And apparently, I had exploring to do. Bathrooms that I had previously not seen were just waiting to be discovered, and no amount of bribery or punishment was going to keep me from my exploration. I waited until my dad was involved with the event festivities and my mother was preoccupied with my toddler brother who had a compulsion for jumping in bodies of water (another weird gene, perhaps?), and I snuck away. I don’t remember the sequence of events… Probably because sneaking off to check out bathrooms was a frequent pastime of mine… But apparently my parents realized my absence, panicked (who wouldn’t) and began checking the lake, swimming pool and wherever else they could think of for me. After the initial terror it dawned on my mother that someone ought to check under the stalls for my jelly-shoed feet. They looked high and low, boys restrooms and girls restrooms, until Mom finally spied a nasty, shack-looking outhouse. Horrified, she strode forward and opened the creaky wooden door to find me sitting on the “toilet” with my feet propped up on a metal pail… Relaxing. She says I was actually quite irritated with her for interrupting me in my disgusting resting spot, but her irritation trumped mine significantly, and I was kept under strict surveillance for awhile thereafter. Until I went to Six Flags with my cousins… That’s another Bathroom Hunting story for another day.

What does it mean, this Bathroom Hunting Gene? Does it represent a sense of adventure and a need for exploration of the unknown? Maybe it reflects a need to take care of ourselves in any location… Whether it presents itself in the form of a need to get away from everyone else for a moment or the actual need to use the potty. It could be that we’re just plain nosy and want to see what every bathroom on Earth looks like… Or, because we’re competitive, and that we want to see more bathrooms than anyone else. Is there a world record out there for that? Or a merit badge of some kind? I’m now being paid back for the havoc my for bathroom exploration caused, but at least I know that my legacy of hard work and research is still being carried out, thanks to my son. Together we will see every bathroom in the Tri-county area… Whether we both want to or not.

BIO: jessicaazarJessica McNeill Azar, author of the popular blog,, is a happily married SAHM to four kids ages 7, 6, 4 and 2. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Minor in Writing from Auburn University Montgomery, is a Huffington Post Contributing Blogger and also writes for websites like Mamapedia and BLUNTMoms. Her work will appear in three humor anthologies that will be published later this year. As a writer and Mental Health Advocate, Jessica is co-authoring an Anthology which will be called Laughter is the Best Medicine; Using Humor to Survive Mental Illness. She enjoys running, and drinking single malt Scotch in the evenings to soothe her kid-rattled nerves. You can find her on Facebook( Google +, Instagram (buaidhnobas315), Twitter (@jazar31583) and Pinterest (jessicaazar).

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Scary Mommy, Disney’s Babble, and Momtastic. Sarah runs a popular Facebook page, @Housewifeplus where readers laugh and share stories from the parenting trenches. She is a co-author in several books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine and National Public Radio.