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?
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?