I never used to be a germaphobe… until I had kids. It’s no fun for anyone when kids are not feeling well: you’re up more at night, you’re quarantined, and then once they start feeling better, you and your husband get it and you let them watch a whole season of a tv show on Netflix while you literally cannot get off the couch. Weird diseases you’ve never heard of suddenly incite panic in your mama heart and you do everything in your power to steer far, far away: fifth disease, hand foot and mouth disease (which adults can get, thank you very much. We all got it two years in a row at the same time of year–over my husband’s birthday. Lucky us.), roseola, the list goes on and on…
If I wasn’t already a little bit on edge, our daughter ended up at Children’s for a 5-day stint this time last year for RSV at only a month old. Our older son came down with it first and, like all big siblings, he shared. My mind reeled imagining how on earth he got it, and I replayed in my mind every interaction we’d had. For all I know, he could have gotten it on the playground. All I wanted to do after discharge was to transport her safely home and live in a bubble with the rest of my family, or at least make everyone who came over gown up and sport masks.
I’ve calmed down quite a bit in the last year; after all, we can’t live in a bubble, as much as I’d like to. Germs and sickness happen no matter what you do. I’ve found I’m a lot happier when I use common sense measures to protect my kids as much as possible (and to keep them away from others when they are sick), but I also try to make sure we keep living our lives. Even so, I definitely still have some inner germaphobe tendencies that I have to keep in check, so I thought I would compile a little tongue-n’-cheek quiz of “how you know you’re a germaphobe mom.” (I may or may not have done each of these–you decide).
QUIZ: You Know You’re a Germaphobe Mom When….
- You’re at a playdate with an obviously sick child and you make a beeline for the door as quickly as possible… and bathe your child in hand sanitizer when you get home.
- You’re nursing and you seriously consider adding your breastmilk to the rest of your family members’ oatmeal. Antibodies, y’all.
- You have two or more hand sanitizing options in your purse at all times.
- Indoor play areas at fast food restaurants or malls are the epitome of disgusting to you.
- You bring your own Clorox wipes to wipe down trays and seats on the airplane. Nevermind. Resistance is futile–there’s no escaping the recycled air.
- Don’t even get me started on the play areas for kids in airports–whoever goes in there is just asking for it.
- Your child asks to color with the crayons at the doctor’s office and your answer is an emphatic, “NO! Here, have some crushed Goldfish from the bottom of my purse, and don’t. Touch. Anything!”
- You bring your own pen to said doctors office, as not to get everyone else’s nasty strep throat germs from the office pen.
- While you’re at it, you steal some extra masks from the front desk on your way out.
- You hear that “little Johnny” just started throwing up after a playdate/church nursery and you immediately start freaking out. (And you feel mortified when the tables are turned, because they will be no matter how careful you are, and your kid is “little Johnny.”)
- Your friend casually mentions going on a cruise for her 40th birthday friend trip (in 10 years) and you immediately reply, “Not a cruise,” and begin sharing all of the reports you’ve heard about gastroenteritis outbreaks. #buzzkill.
- Your essential oil diffuser is running constantly from October-April. Actually, just kidding. It’s running all year round.
Scoring: Count how many times you said “yes, that’s me!” to find out if you’re a germaphobe mom:
- One to five: Mindful Mama – Do some of your germ-free practices and fears cause the occasional eyebrow raise from your friends? It’s okay, you’re just trying to keep your kiddos and yourself healthy!
- Five to eight: Borderline Germaphobe – Hey, we get it — germs are EVERYWHERE. It’s not like even with all your efforts you’re keeping ALL the germs away!
- Eight to twelve: Team Germaphobe – You’ve got a ticket on the (disinfected) Germaphobe Train, girlfriend! You may find yourself wondering if you’ve gone too far, but you gotta do what you gotta do!