Confessions of a Hand Sanitizer Junkie

I asked Erin, from Mommy on the Spot if I could please request that she return the favor and guest post for me.  I have been even more super busy than usual lately.  Ironically, largely because of my two sick children that are constantly, well…sick.  Like, I am soooo over sickness of any kind.  I mean, really, you can just keep it movin’, sickness.  You and Miss Gaga can just vogue your way out the door, please. Thanks.

So, again, this guest post is quite ironic.  (You’ll see why in a minute.  Hold yer horses!)  Thankfully, it does offer more than just irony, in that it is also quite funny…and very well-written.  Much like all of the rest of Erin’s posts – which you can read on her own blog, Mommy on the Spot.

Thank you for sharing your writing with my readers, Erin!  And thank you for making me feel less alone about the fact that I am pretty sure parts of Carlitos’ mouth have made contact with various objects in the New York transit system.  Hand rails.  Seats.  Windows. (Tons of windows.) Walls.  Perhaps a floor tile or two.

And on that note…heeeere’s Mommy on the Spot!

Confessions of a Hand Sanitizer Junkie

When I became a mother for the very first time, almost five years ago, I was not prepared for the overwhelming sense of responsibility for such a tiny little person.  At times in the very beginning, that responsibility paralyzed me.  I just wanted to do everything right so she would be safe.  When we went out in the world, I loved her infant carrier.  It was like her little safety bubble.  And when my second one came along, two years ago, I loved the security that safety bubble gave him as well.

But eventually, they outgrew that safety bubble, and I came to terms that there were going to be certain things in their world that I could not control.

Or so I thought I had come to terms.

As a parent, I expect certain things to happen to my children.  I expect that they will get their feelings hurt by another person.  I expect that I will need to teach them to be less territorial about their things.

I expect these things because I cannot solely control every single person who comes into their lives nor each and every single person’s actions.  So I feel prepared to have talks with them about how to use their voices to communicate their feelings.  I am ready to talk to them about when to work things out and when to let it go.

These things I accept as a sad part of life.

What I have a hard time relinquishing is the control from keeping them from getting sick.

So hello, everyone, I am a Purell junkie.  I have sanitizing wipes strategically placed in my purse and diaper bag.  I quarantine my kids from those who are potentially suffering from a serious illness.

And if they get sick (I mean when), I take it personally.  I feel a huge sense of disappointment in myself.  That I screwed up.

That I didn’t protect them.

That I failed them.

Maybe I’m overcompensating.  I might not be able to protect them from that meanie who didn’t invite my kids to a birthday party, but IWILL protect them from getting sick.

But keeping up this level of vigilance is hard.  And, kind of, the opposite of fun.

Lately, I’ve been loosening up on the reigns. I have been taking them to places that were formerly off limits: public play areas.  (Reputable ones without the ball pits.  Because I am totally not ready to throw caution to the wind on that one just yet).  (Or maybe ever.  Ball pits just gross me out).

I would say my two year old has pushed the envelope on this one.  His refusal to stay in the stroller has kind of forced me to be ok with the fact that he may touch things and then put his fingers in his mouth.   I do, though, have to fight the urge to follow him around with a Wet One.

And then one day, when I was turning around to get his coat out of the stroller, he *takes deep breath* he licked a garbage can out of Macy’s.  Yes, LICKED. A. GARBAGE. CAN.

What was I going to do?  I couldn’t Purell the inside of his mouth.  I didn’t want him to eat a disinfectant wipe.  I could do nothing except just stand there.

And guess what happened?

Nothing.

I can’t say that I am totally carefree and let my kids eat off the floor at a restaurant because that’s totally too gross.  But I am trying to ease up on the whole germ thing.  I don’t want my kids to turn into neurotic germ-a-phobes.   Yes, I struggle with the Wonder If?  Wonder If I don’t give them hand sanitizer and they become seriously ill.

But the fact remains that, as much as I want to protect them from everything, I cannot.  And as my pediatrician said this oh-so-eloquently, my job is to love my kids and make sure they grow up to be functional members of society.  And turning them into Purell slinging germ-a-phobes is not holding up to that end of the bargain.

So now that I shared my hand sanitizing addiction with all of you, let me ask you how you handle the balance of letting kids live their lives while protecting them at the same time?

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10 Responses to Confessions of a Hand Sanitizer Junkie

  1. Thanks so much for the awesome intro! And thanks for letting me return the favor of the guest post! Have a great weekend! And I hope the you are thru with the sickness, yo.

  2. Thanks for the fabulous guest post! I’m sorry my readers haven’t left any comments….
    READERS…..???

    ;)

  3. I am RELIEVED to know that I am not the only one who uses this stuff by the bucket. Sometimes, I think about putting a squirt on the hands of other people’s kids when they are not looking. It’s an addiction. I need help.

    Once, my husband caught me wiping the bottom of my daughter’s shoes with a sanitizing wipe. He stared for a long minute than asked, “How are we married?” I had to explain to him that we had been at the petting zoo and I wasn’t sure what Cal had stepped in while she was there. He forced me to stop cleaning the shoes and said nothing was going to happen. I was afraid somebody would get a nasty disease. Nothing happened. I really hate it when he’s right.

  4. Penny says:

    I need to comment visually. You will see what I mean…

  5. Flourish –
    I have to say, while I have managed to pull myself back from dousing our lives with hand sanitizer, I DO use baby wipes about 67 times a day.

    Just yesterday I was wiping off the bottom of my ‘work slippers’ with them.

    And it may or may not be the basis of my ‘nightly facial routine’……
    ;)

  6. Penny -

    I don’t use this often, but, OMG. Please tell me that was just plain old dirt and not poop!!

    (If you want to see Penny’s visual comment, simply ‘like’ the Real Mommy Chronicles page on Facebook.)

  7. Nina says:

    After Brooklynn (now 2) started walking, I gave up on keeping her away/safe from germs. All of her favorite things involve lots and lots of germs–and this girl has a tude with a capital T—or we like to call it “a mind of her own.” So, anytime I say “Don’t_________________”– she does it. no.matter.what. I had no other choice. I had to give up. Germs are our friends. I embrace them. But, I also let her eat fruit roll ups–life is short. :)

  8. Flourish, we *may* have been seperated at birth.

  9. Penny, that picture was awesome!!

  10. Nina, I agree. My 2 year old is helping me chilax about all that. I mean, he touches EVERYTHING and then sucks his fingers. It’s all deep yoga breathing for me.

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