Moms Who Worry About Germs Have to Get a Grip

Stop Worrying About Germs, MomsI was one of those germaphobe first-time moms armed with hand sanitizer and shopping cart covers, doing what I thought I could to keep my then tiny baby healthy.

Yes, I was more than a little obsessed.

Now that I have four kids, I look at all the moms I see whipping out the wipes and the gels and the high-chair covers and roll my eyes because it's a total waste of time.

I should be clear that I'm not a slob. Quite the opposite, actually. I clean my bathrooms at least once a week, vacuum my floors every other day or so, and do the dishes every night before I go to bed.

And I am a big proponent of hand washing when we return home from anywhere. 

But that's about all you'll see me to do try to prevent my kids from catching all the germs that are lurking out there that -- guess what? -- they're probably going to catch anyway.

It's amazing how far some parents will go to try to keep their kids "safe" from germs. They've got wipes in their pockets, hand sanitizer in their purses, and all sorts of contraptions to keep them off public seats.

I love listening to them in public restrooms. It's pretty entertaining.

And look, I used to do the "safety dance" (ha, get it?) myself. But then I realized I was wasting a lot of time and money to prevent something that was sort of inevitable.

Kids touch things. They put their hands in their mouths. They do lots of other things that are pretty gross that I cannot control.

And so I decided to spend my time and energy on things that made more sense in the long run, like teaching them good hygiene habits.

They know to wash their hands after they use the restroom, and when they get home, and before they eat.

Sure, I'll still carry the hand sanitizer when I'm traveling and we're not able to wash our hands before we eat.

But I don't whip it out every single time my kids touch anything outside. Are you kidding? That would be a full-time job.

So, a message to all new moms out there and to those seasoned moms who are bogged down with an obsession with germs. Take it from me. Your kids are still going to get sick and it's going to suck. Put away all the wipes and hand sanitizer and whatever else you've bought to arm yourself against illnesses and just enjoy being out and about with your kids.

Not only will you free up room in your bag (and perhaps in your head, from all the worry), but you might just be a little bit happier. My guess is that they will be too.

Are you a germaphobe? Admit it!


Image via wwworks/Flickr

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mothe... motherof2inFL

Sometimes the germophobe Mom is immune-compromised, or one of her children is. Ever think about that? You are probably also a Mom who thinks it's okay to bring her drippy nose, hacking cough children out in public. 


I don't think she is talking about those in the immune-compromised category--germfree is understandable in those cases.  I think she is just saying to enyjoy the children as they are...teach them the basic cleaning essential--just don't over do it.  I get the gist of what she is saying.

Nelli... NellieAthome

motherof2inFL - the overuse of antibacterial soaps and sanitizers has resulted in two things - stronger, antibiotic resistant germs  and kids with weakened immune systems. The world would be a better place if all that junk was banned and withdrawn from the market before we create a super bug that no one or medicines can fight.

Look up Spanish Flu - that is where we are headed

craft... craftycatVT

One of my friends is constantly cleaning her house with bleach and her girls are always sick.

Einyn Einyn

I agree with Nellie. And the immune compromised moms are different but that wasn't the topic.

MrsLa... MrsLandon2012

I'm about to be a mommy for the first time, and I'm really trying to be rational and conscious about NOT being "that" mom that follows her kids around with hand sanitizer. I always got annoyed at those moms, because you're right, they're going to get sick whether you pour bleach on the highchair at the restaurant before they sit in it or not. Of course I'm going to keep my baby safe and not throw him in the dirt lol, but I do believe that all those antibacterial soaps and stuff does cause a weaker immune system, and that's not doing right by my kid in the long run.

nonmember avatar Kelly

I am one of those moms.. Why? My son has chronic hives triggered by getting sick. A simple cold to you knocks us out for a month. When he has hives hes on 5 medications including steroids and typically acquires staph and even mrsa one time from doctors visits (lowered immune system from being sick and fighting hives). Some people have reason to be that way and it really pisses me off when people like you intentionally expose my son to colds with the excuse of "it's no big deal". And yes, social activities are halted in the flu season.

Joe Schnur

what is the proper hand hygiene while at school (since that is where "germ sharing" is high)? should kids clean their hands before entering a class room (foam in/foam out)?

nonmember avatar Laurel

@ Kelly: your situation is unique. So when an author writes a column like this, it isn't meant to apply to you - it's for the average parent in the average situation. No one here thinks you are doing anything wrong. You are taking care of your son to the best of your ability. This article isn't about you or your situation.

And just because it doesn't apply to you, doesn't mean it shouldn't be published or that it should be criticized. The author is correct that many new parents focus very heavily on limiting germ exposure without realizing that much of what they do is a futile effort. This article wasn't an attack on you. You are not the intended audience.

My Grandmother gave me really good advice that I'll pass on to you: take what's useful to you and leave the rest.

Momma... MommaEST.99

I have been blessed with healthy kids.   I am not a germaphobe and probably need to be more conscious of germs than what I am but hey my children and I get sick the least of all the people I know especially the sanitizing freaks.  so I say, whatever works.....

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