Needing to use a bathroom does seem to be the limiting factor these days for our family outings. When we’re out on weekend hikes, it’s usually my own need to pee that prompts us to head home. Gosh, I sometimes wish I could simply go find a “pee tree” as my two boys do.
Sheesh. I never thought I’d be writing a blog post about where to go to the bathroom. (And this subject strikes me as so trivial in a time we’re trying to fight racism and a global pandemic.) But here we are. It’s what many of us are talking about.
Long Summer Car Rides During COVID
The more parents I speak to about summer plans, the more often I hear that the driving radius for a summer trip is being limited by the capacity of family members’ bladders. Why? So many of us are trying to avoid public bathrooms to avoid the spread of corona virus.
I’ve heard of plans to drive through the night to try and avoid the need to go. To only go short distances. Or to not go on trips at all.
Our family does an annual 4th of July trip that is too many hours by car not to stop. Determined to continue on with our tradition, we solved for seemingly every problem. Food? We’ll pack it in coolers. Hotel germs? We canceled our reservation and got an AirBNB cabin in a less-populated area. But bathrooms? That was a tough one.
Our Family’s Bathroom Solution
Our family’s solution to this COVID bathroom conundrum was inspired by our children’s potty training days. There was a day not too long ago when, desperate to pee, I remembered that we still had in the trunk of our car the little “Potette Plus” collapsible potty seat. With some embarrassment, I will admit that I pulled it out, put it on the seat of our mini-van, and used the thing. And guess what: it wasn’t so bad.
The light blub went off for all of us: THIS is the solution to the long car ride! Yes, we’re “too old” for this little potty training device. And still, does it work? You bet. My favorite part is that it’s made to be used with disposable liners (here’s the link for refills) that look like plastic grocery store bags with absorbent pads in them. Clean up is easy.
So with the Potette Plus, some liners, and a few rolls of Charmin in our trunk, we will soon be ready to roll.
While We’re on the Bathroom Subject
While we’re on the subject of being women who need to use bathrooms, I’d like to put in a plug for another invention that revolutionized my life as a mom with prying and curious children: the Diva Cup. This silicone, reusable menstrual cup means creating absolutely no tampon or pad waste. And the fact that with a light flow, you can leave it in up to 10 hours or so means that children who invade private bathroom visits can continue to do so with more frequency.
In the few years since I’ve started using a menstrual cup, I haven’t bought a single pad or tampon and haven’t looked back. Thank you, mamas in my life who told me about this amazing invention.
Safe travels, everyone!
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave