I’m a self-proclaimed germophobe. Some of it is a product of my anxiety, but I noticed that it became significantly worse upon my return to work after my maternity leave with my twins. I then figured out why. My kids being sick directly affects my finances, meaning that I literally can’t afford to NOT be a germophobe.
Germophobia (or Mysophobia) is an extreme fear of germs and getting sick. And for me, it can be quite intense (not to the level of washing my hands hundreds of times a day, but enough to create a disturbance in my life). Honestly, if anyone coughs, sneezes, gags, has a mysterious rash…heck, even hiccups near me or my kids, I freak out. I grab my essential oils, elderberry syrup, vitamin C, cleaners, and water, and get to work.
I’m a realist; I know my kids are going to get sick from time to time. But getting sick is a complete hassle. It disturbs our sleep, and we generally feel like crud. Of course, I don’t want my kids to feel like crud, and of course, I also don’t want to feel like crud while having to take care of them. Anyone with more than one child knows that it’s exponentially more challenging to take care of three sick kids as compared to one. But I’ve realized that my fear of germs doesn’t just stem from not wanting to deal with sickness. If my kids get sick, it has an immediate financial impact on my life.
When my kids are sick, I obviously have to stay home with them. I, like so many others, have a job where I only get paid if I’m actually working. I have no sick time, no vacation time, no paid time off, and no benefits. So when my kids are sick, I stay home, and I don’t get paid. But, if it’s a daycare day, I DO still have to pay for that. My family relies on my salary to pay for childcare for our household bills to balance. So now I have sick kids, an entire house to disinfect, I have to pay for daycare (and all working parents know how expensive that is, especially when you have more than one child in daycare), BUT I am not getting paid. I’m in a financial hole every time my kids are sick.
So imagine the tailspin I went into over the holiday when some of my family members knowingly brought their sick child to a family gathering. I tried to keep my kids away, but in a small house with this abnormally rosy-cheeked child basically hacking up a lung, there was no escaping it. Four days later, like clockwork, I saw the runny noses and heard coughing in all three of my kids. My twins were coughing so bad that they couldn’t nap. I texted my mom and the family member that I was livid, and I found out that my infant niece was sick too. The family members with the ill child obviously didn’t want to miss the holiday party with family and proceeded to get the entire family sick in the process.
A holiday is not an excuse to leave the house with your sick child. Keep them inside, let them rest…and for goodness sake, keep them away from my kids.
So I’m a germophobe. I’m cool with that if it’ll keep my kids healthy, and me with a paying job.