The Irrational Rulebook of the Insanely Germophobic

The Irrational Rulebook of the Insanely Germophobic | A Mother Thing

What Are You Afraid Of?

It is exceptionally difficult for me to articulate just what a hindrance to my life my germophobia is. And when I explain my “rules,” you’ll understand why. I mean, they make no sense! I can hear myself explaining, and I get how insane it sounds. But fear is not rational, and neither are my rules.

Mark struggles to understand how I can be so blasé about Dexter throwing up IN MY MOUTH, but I fret about my food being contaminated by air. The fact is that since I’ve become a mother, certain issues have become easier to deal with simply because there is NO preventing them. Dexter throwing up in my mouth (three times to date) is not something I enjoy… but it’s not something I could have seen coming, nor anything I could do about it once it did. So rather than allow myself to Lysol my mouth or shave my tongue with a razor blade, I laughed.  What else was there to do?

Anyway, when I’m not in the midst of a total germ crisis (which really can happen any time), I can at least laugh about the ridiculousness of it all. And in that spirit, I give you my own personal set of Rules.

A quick disclaimer: Many of these rules flat out contradict other rules. This is part of the issue. Something that is fine one second can be the end of the world the next. Enjoy my pain. 

      1. Do not touch my food with your hands or any other part of your body (heaven forbid!). You may have just washed your hands with the strongest hand sanitiser imaginable. This does not mean ANYTHING to me. You and your hands are full of germs and should not be touching my food.
      2. Do not taste my food. Your mouth contains more germs than your ASS. And that is fact. This does not mean I prefer you to put your ass on my food either. Despite the germ differences, if I really was forced to choose one or the other, I’d probably let you taste my food. But I wouldn’t like it.
      3. I have to see my food at all times. When I am not looking, germs will jump in, and I won’t know where they are!
      4. It is okay to leave food in a pan on the stove after I’ve made dinner because the dissipating heat will kill any germs that try to get in in the brief time it takes between eating and putting the leftovers away.
      5. If you turn off the light in the kitchen before I have put leftovers away, rule number 4 is void because germs love the dark and will totally get in my food.
      6. If food is left out in a pan on the stove and YOU cooked it, I will not eat the leftovers. Who knows what germs got in because you didn’t let the heat dissipate correctly?!
      7. Actually, I probably won’t eat it when it’s new and hot either. Because YOU cooked it. And YOU are not ME.
      8. If any part of my food touches the table I’m eating off of, that bit of food will be immediately thrown away. It is NOT okay to eat food off of anything other than a plate or other food-appropriate container.
      9. If the food that hangs off my plate is spaghetti, the entire meal will be thrown away because germs can climb, and they will climb the spaghetti and infiltrate the rest of the plate.
      10. If you want to share food, be aware that I will not touch any food that you touched.
      11. If you double dip, I will not touch the dip ever again. I will also likely throw up.
      12. I watch shared food like a hawk, so if you lick your finger and then pick up a nacho, the germs from your dirty mouth will have gone onto your dirty finger and jumped off the dirty finger onto the food, rendering the entire plate useless to me. So please don’t lick your finger. Use a napkin. It’s only polite.
      13. I don’t share napkins, either. Urgh.
      14. I probably won’t share food with you because, basically, you are a dirty dirty creature.
      15. I don’t do shared cutlery except with my son. But it has to be metal cutlery. I won’t share off a plastic spoon because plastic clearly holds on to germs longer.
      16. There is an exact science to sharing food with my son. He can take a bite off of my spoon, but then I must IMMEDIATELY take a bite off the same spoon after him so that my germs overtake his. If he takes two bites in a row, I need a new spoon.
      17. Also, if he takes two bites in a row, it means his germs are now overtaking my food, and therefore the rest of the meal is his.
      18. All drinks must have a lid on them. Unless they are hot drinks. In which case, a lid is still preferable, but it’s not a deal breaker. This is because, as previously mentioned, hot things kill germs.
      19. Do NOT attempt to share my drink. Your dirty mouth will contaminate it and mean it becomes yours. And then I have to get a new drink. NOT COOL.
      20. If I can drink to the bottom of the cup/glass/bottle of drink with one swig when it has at least two inches of liquid in it, this is fine.
      21. But if there is less than 2 inches of liquid in the container, I won’t drink it. This is because with every sip taken, more germs are getting in and sinking to the bottom. Which makes the last bits of drink the most contaminated of all. I let Mark have the last couple of inches. He doesn’t mind drinking pure germ.
      22. If you joke about taking a sip of my drink, I will dump the drink out. Sometimes on you.
      23. If you joke about taking a bite of my food, I will dump the food. Sometimes on you.
      24. If I go to a restaurant and the cutlery is stained, I will ask for a new meal along with the new silverware.
      25. If I have to ask for a new meal, I won’t actually eat it because I assume someone has spit in it.
      26. Sometimes, in my paranoia, I won’t actually eat a meal in a restaurant at all because I can’t stop thinking about the fact that someone other than me prepared it.
      27. If I am in a public restroom and notice an employee not wash their hands, I will throw up and then never eat in that restaurant OR the entire chain ever again.
      28. If I am in a public restroom and notice anyone not wash their hands, I will throw up and refuse to eat there.
      29. I almost never use public restrooms because they are breeding grounds for germs.
      30. If a public restroom does not have paper towels, I can’t use it. I need the paper towels in my hands to open doors, turn on taps, flush, etc.
      31. If a restroom doesn’t have seat covers, I will use half a roll of toilet paper to cover the seat so that I can use it. And even then, my bottom will stay a couple inches above.
      32. If I am at a buffet, I have a very limited window to get my food back to my seat before it becomes inedible due to contamination. The walk from the salad bar to the table is fraught with germ peril.
      33. If someone sneezes or coughs or burps anywhere near me when I am eating, I can no longer eat my meal, as their dirty mouth germs have flown onto my food.
      34. If someone farts while I am eating, I will throw up.
      35. I do not drink tap water. Ever.
      36. I will drink tap water if it has been filtered in a high end water filter.
      37. I will use tap water for coffee and tea, but this is because the heat kills the germs.
      38. I do not use water to brush my teeth.
      39. I do not use a toothbrush for more than a week.
      40. I cannot flush the toilet unless the lid is down because otherwise the poop germs will go all over me, my clothes, and my toothbrush, which is across the room.
      41. I do not shower or bathe in other people’s bathrooms because the thought paralyses me.
      42. If I am forced to shower or bathe in another person’s bathroom, I will have to clean every surface first. With heavy duty disinfectant.
      43. If I even IMAGINE someone contaminating my food, I get queasy.
      44. Food in the fridge must always be covered. The fridge breeds more germs than anywhere else.
      45. Raw meat must never be kept above anything else in the fridge because the germs from the raw meat will jump down to the lower shelves and contaminate all food.
      46. If food is past its use by date, even if it looks fine, smells fine and (assuredly) tastes fine, it is NOT fine. It is full of germs.
      47. Expired food must never be kept above anything else in the fridge unless it is COMPLETELY sealed (ie – never been opened) because germs from the expired food will jump down to the lower shelves and contaminate all food…

Well now, this list has got much longer than I anticipated, even though there are still several other things I can think of which make me fret. Quite honestly, most of the time, I can keep my issues under control, and I can be talked down from the edge of despair… but there are times when I have completely lost it due to one of these rules being broken.

What are YOU afraid of?? Please make me feel better!

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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

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