Opinion: My mother was a germaphobe in a world filled with toxins.
By Laura Kaufman
This is not an easy essay for me to write. I love my mother dearly and know that she did her best to raise me and my younger sister. However, my mother was an anxiety-ridden germaphobe and her constant fear of “germs everywhere” had a chilling effect on my childhood- especially since the real threat is from toxins.
My mother was constantly forcing my sister and I to wash our hands, and God forbid a knife or fork fell on the ground for a second, right into the dishwasher it went. Every surface of the house was constantly being washed with toxic cleaning agents to remove these ubiquitous, terrible germs.
I remember once when my younger sister dropped her pacifier and put it back into her mouth. My poor mother nearly had a heart attack fearing that germs would destroy her precious little girl. Now I know that the real threat was from the hormone disrupting, plastic BPAs contained in pacifiers and many other childhood products.
Now that I am a mother myself, I don’t mind if my baby eats a little dirt or even puts a stick in his mouth. Frankly, I think exposure to a few “germs” now and then might even help his immune system. This does not mean I don’t worry about my child, of course. My desire to protect him from toxins is why he only plays with wooden toys, why he is not vaccinated, and why he eats only organic, chemical-free, non-GMO food. I am committed to raising a healthy, fearless little boy- a childhood that was denied to me.