Today we hit the ground running. By 9:30 we were making a stop at our public school followed by visits to the bank, a large retail store and the public library. I had all three kids in tow. I know what you're thinking—is this the same self-proclaimed germaphobe who wrote this blog? What is my amazing cure-all for the constant battle of bacteria? How did I conquer my paralyzing fear of parasites? How did I finally let my kids drink from a public water fountain without slipping into cardiac arrest? The answer for me is simple: perspective and more kids than hands.
I was recently thinking back to the days when I only left the house kid-free and after dark, like a mommy-phantom cloaked in virus repellent; the days when library books were sprayed with Lysol and I would rather stick a fork in an electric socket than let my kids step foot in McDonald's Playland. Recovery has been slow and steady; one less pump from my Purell, resisting one Clorox wipe at a time.
For me, I realized I had a choice to make—avoiding exposure to germs also meant avoiding exposure to everything outside the four walls of our home, and that wasn't beneficial to anyone. It also became humanly impossible for me wipe every surface and keep everyone decontaminated every second of the day. And the funny thing was, I had more kids, we were out and about more than ever, and I didn't really notice an increase in our level of sickness after all. Imagine that.
As with all things, I am searching for the balance between being responsible (I am still a huge fan of Wet Ones and my cloth shopping-cart cover) and completely throwing caution to the wind. Have you seen the child who licks the cart handle or runs barefoot in the Chick-Fil A bathroom? *shiver* I'm not to that point, yet.
There will always be a public restroom worthy of avoiding altogether. There will always be something sticky on the library book that screams for a quick wipe with a Wet One. It is hard to find the elusive balance between being smart and safe versus sealing your house tightly in saran wrap. If you've never thought twice about infectious diseases or all the scary things out there, then I applaud you. But if you're bored and want a peak into the worst nightmares of a germaphobe's world, just click on a few links here. Happy reading!
*My original blog on germaphobic behavior landed us on the Tyra Banks Show in 2007. It was not the proudest moment of my life, but it was definitely a memorable experience!