I 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!
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