I recently received the following email:
I am working on an upcoming show for Tyra Banks. We would love to have a mom on who is a germaphobe and discuss the rituals that you have since becoming a mom. Can you call me at your earliest convenience to discuss this opportunity?
Ms. Blah Blah
The Tyra Banks Show
226 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
First off, how did this chick know I'm a germaphobe? Well, with Mr. Google it's pretty easy to identify me as such if you search for "germaphobe mama" or if you do another germy-related search and find the comments I left on this Mom-101 post. OK. So, it's out there. We all know I'm a germaphobe. But I'm certainly not that germaphobe, am I? I mean, I'm not absolutely, completely and utterly obsessed with keeping my family safe, at all times, from all bodily ills, right? Wait. Don't answer that. I like to think of myself as "Germaphobe Lite" and certainly not as anyone whose phobia is over-the-top, startling or gawk-worthy enough for a national talk show. Therefore, I do not plan to respond or appear on that or any other talk show (Weeelllll, maybe Oprah...but only if she asked. Nicely.) about my slight tend towards cleanliness.
Yes, becoming a mother has influenced my probably latent germaphobic tendencies and helped blossom them into finely tuned sanitation practices but, really, who wouldn't benefit from a little extra hand-washing, a little more hand sanitizer, a couple extra boxes of virus-killing Kleenex stashed around the house? What's wrong with wanting to keep your kids from getting sick, from passing things around and from infecting the entire family so that you're all stuck in your tiny house for days and days upon end during which time you get so little sleep that you truly think you've lost your mind and you fear you'll never breathe fresh air again?
I'm familiar with the theories: that over-sanitizing our world makes it easier for the germs to get out of control, to get stronger, to eventually take over (Oh. My. God.). That being too clean has led to the increase in food allergies and sensitivities (that even my own child experienced). That exposure to dirt and germs, although unpleasant, can be good for our kids' immune systems. But I can't. I just can't seem to let go and relax when it comes to germs. I can't sit comfortably on a picnic table bench while watching Delaney play on a playground at a burger joint when I see kids with streaming, gooey noses play next to her. I can't stop from seeing the invisible germs on every surface she touches and chasing after her with hand sanitizer. And apparently I'm not alone. But does that make me a GERMAPHOBE of the highest order? Or just a mom who's trying to protect her kids?
Either way it doesn't matter. I'm not going on The Tyra Banks show. Because besides the fact that I'd possibly be humiliating myself on TV, the show films in New York. And then I'd have to confront an even bigger phobia, one that Ms. Banks may do well to tackle on a future show: germaphobic, control freak moms who are afraid to fly.