Monday, May 23, 2011

Like Grammy Said...

There are different ways to do everything in life; especially, it seems, raising children. Surprise, surprise. One of those topics that has been rearing its head in my life recently involves germs: to sanitize or not to sanitize?

I am learning that I am on the far left of this non-political decision. Yes, I'm saying that in the world of cleanliness, I am a liberal. Not so much in the way I keep things tidy and organized (I'm still Monica from FRIENDS and my label maker is still one of my most favorite tools...some things never change.) but in the way I see dirt. Perhaps because I'm raising a boy. Maybe because I was raised on a farm.

I find it interesting to read studies that prove that the more antibacterial products you use around the house, the more you and the members of your household are at risk because you create lowered immune systems. It makes sense- if you kill the germs that keep your fighters strong, they get wimpy and don't have the biceps to fight off even the more mild of attacks. Now, having said that, don't be frightened to sit on my toilet seat because I use Clorox and Lysol where they're needed. My toilets are so clean you could, you probably shouldn't eat off of them. Even though they are cleaned regularly. And I actually even use the alcohol wipes to scrub down the cart at Target before I put Roman in it. I will admit, though, that I only do that because he usually ends up chewing on the cart. Gross. And if he didn't chew on it I wouldn't think twice about putting him in it without being wiped down- even without a trendy cart cover. GASP. See what I mean?

Examples of my liberal-ness: Roman crawls around outside and I let him play in the dirt...I just try to remember to rinse off his hands before he sticks his thumb in his mouth at naptime. Key word being try. Sophie licks his face on a tri-daily basis, at minimum. (pretty sure I made that word up) If a rice puff falls on the floor at church I give it back to him to eat. When we're eating out at a restaurant, I don't wipe off the table top or put a disposable cover over it like some do- he can eat off the table if I can. (Yes, that means if my carrot falls off my plate, I put it right back on. No harm, no foul.) And I know some of these are bound to be making a few Mommas shudder in horror because most I know are far more protective about these things than I. Having said all this, the proof is in the pudding. Roman has yet to be sick once. (knock on wood.) So isn't that saying something? Isn't it interesting that those I know who are obsessive about germs, antibacterial everythings, and Lysol are the ones who get sick all the time?

My confession: I draw the line at sucking on flip flops. I can't stomach watching that, knowing all I've walked through. And no matter how cool the squeaky things in them are, there is no chewing on dog toys.

I mean no offense to those who are protective of the germs their children are around. This is a friendly conversation. To each his/her own and we each raise our children the way we believe is best. Personally, I would rather spend my time reading to Roman and trying to crawl under the chairs in the dining room with him than cleaning my floors every day so that he doesn't crawl on dried Sophie drool. (Pause. I clean my house from top to bottom once a week so don't think we live like crazies.) And I don't want to teach my children to live in fear of anything- including germs. It just seems so needlessly restricting to me to say, "No, you can't crawl around outside because who knows what animals could have _____ed here." or to say they can't eat a rice puff because it dropped on the floor. Whatever happened to the five second rule? I want to raise kids- boys AND girls who aren't afraid to get dirty. Some of the best memories I have of my childhood involve poop from some animal covering some part of my body! And there ARE germs that are worth protecting them from- cover your mouth when you sneeze, wash your hands after using the toilet or blowing your nose, etc. And I am not what you would call a liberal mother. There are many rules and boundaries in their lives that my children will obey with no option to the contrary. But when you can, be fearless. Go on an adventure without asking for antibacterial hand gel to hook on your knapsack. Go ahead and crawl around outside today in your white pants, Ro- Momma's got some magic stain remover. Just explore. Be a boy. (Who puts boys in white pants anyway?? lol)

In the meantime I'll be here, cleaning my house every Monday and enjoying the space in between, Tuesday through Sunday.

It's like my Grammy told me right after I got married: "Keep your house clean enough to be happy and dirty enough to be healthy." Thanks, Gram. :)


  1. Yes, yes, yes. Seeing Eva happily play in the grass/dirt next to the horse arena is amazing. I know there are lots of mommies who would be totally skeeved out but thats where all of my favorite childhood memories began; in the dirt at the horse stables.


  2. Love it, Jamie :) I can picture her now..I miss seeing Eva grow. She's a happy girl and will have the same great memories you do.