Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cleanliness is next to...

I don't consider my self a "clean" person or a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not a germaphobe. Sure, I'll want to squeal and want to run screaming like the proverbial little girl when my kids show me a worm and I gag when they step in dog poo. Don't look too closely in my corners and please, for the love of all things blessed and holy, stay out of the bathrooms!

(Unless you are spending the night. Then I will have cleaned them!)

To my "mainstream" friends, I probably look like even a worse housekeeper. I use very few commercial chemicals in the house. I make my own all- purpose cleaner (currently vinegar, water, Dr. Bronner's, tea tree oil and orange oil) and scrub sinks, counters and bathtubs with that and baking soda. I don't wash the floor as often as I should and need too. I clean the sink, yes, but only once a week and without bleach. I have anti-bacterial dish soap only because Adam bought it and I wash all our clothes in an all-natural laundry soap. My handsoap? Yeah, I just finished up the bottle of non-anti-bacterial soap and switched us to Dr. Bronner's.

 Yet when I was talking on-line to some mom friends, I realized that, dude, among them, I'm an OCD neat freak! I was shocked (and slightly horrified, I'll be honest) at the amount of mothers who didn't expect their kids to wash their hands after using the bathroom or before eating. I understand about not wanting to use anti-bacterial soap at their house but to not use the soaps in public restrooms because of this?

I make (yes, make) the Herd wash their hands after things like messy art projects or getting dirty while eating. That seemed to be a general given for most people because no one wants peanut butter on their walls. But I also expect them to wash their hands anytime they use the restroom, no matter what they do (or don't) do in there. When they play at the playground or even the indoor playareas, I give them a baby wipe or hand sanitizer. I don't always catch them when they blow or, er, pick their nose but I usually make them wash then too. No, it's not a full rendition of the ABC song or Happy Birthday but it's something, right?

Why is this? I have no clue. I mean, yeah, I grew up with two medical professionals for parents which I am sure has something to do with it. While I want my kids immune systems to be healthy, I also don't want to introduce nasty, hard core germs to them. Plus, I think eating with dirty playground hands is just nasty. And then there's the leftover FREAK OUT about germs I had when Georgie was born and I made the kids change clothes when the got home from public places. For a preemie, though, that's not hard core, just common sense!

Am I perfect about it? No. I forget to have the kids wipe off after playing at McDonald's. They wipe their noses and reach for food. Joseph and Georgie have dirt under their nails from playing outside. Cole crawls on the floor, which needs to be washed more. And Higgins... Higgins could use a good lesson in NOT rolling in the grass and dragging it inside the house!

But not washing after the potty? Now that is my bottom line! :) (Ha.ha.ha!)


  1. Hi I am following from Catholic Mothers online and I love this post. I too am very insistent on the kids washing their hands after bathroom use, and every time we return from a public place. I have hand sanitizer in the car and in my purse. I just can't imagine not washing off the germs that accumulated at these places. I love your blog and am happy to have found you. Have a great day!

  2. Hi and welcome! I'm not perfect about it but I try AND we made it through the winter with NO pukies! Yay!
    Thanks for the nice comment!

  3. My one year old doesn't grasp the handwashing concept yet, but that doesn't mean I can't try to teach her already or wash her hands for her! On a side note, I can't believe how many moms don't think about the germs in shopping carts! I'm so glad that stores now supply sanitary wipes to wipe down the carts before I put my child in it.

  4. I'm the person in my family who washes my hands the most — and I'm the person who's least often sick. I've decided to be smug about this. ;)

    I encourage Mikko to wash his hands after pottying, because not doing so seems really gross to me. At home, he sometimes refuses, and I don't make a big battle of it if I see that he hasn't really touched anything. But out in public restrooms, he actually loves using the sinks and cool soap dispensers and magic paper towel dispensers, so he's all over that.

    My husband's on his own, but I think he washes after every bathroom visit. :)