Friday, December 01, 2006

Perfect Post for November

Son-Two had to go to the doctor last week--he had some virulent varient of whatever had Daughter-Only's uvula stuck to her tonsil a few weeks before that and after three weeks of suffering and hacking and looking all the wrong colors--gray and green and yellowish--I finally convinced him that going to the doctor didn't make him a wuss in any way. At the doctor's office, she pronounced his lungs a little "tight" and asked if he'd ever had an inhaler and if he was allergic to any antibiotics.

She was stunned that he'd never had either an inhaler or any antibiotics. I said, "We've been very lucky in the antibiotic department especially--I have four kids and we've had three prescriptions for antibiotics in 18 years."

"Wow, that's really impressive but it's probably not just luck. I'm sure hygeine played a role as well."


Anyone who's ever been inside my house knows that anti-hygeine is way more at work around here than hygeine. Chaos reigns--mess and untidiness and clutter and, even sometimes things that would be called "filfth" by other, more fastidious, moms than me reign. We don't roll with the antibacterial stuff around here. Look under my kitchen sink (if you dare), there's not a single product that promises to kill 99.9% of anything.

I have a theory (don't I always) that by attempting to provide a nearly bacteria-free environment for our children, we're actually doing them a disservice. There's some support for this theory--science says that the more antibacterial products (including antibiotics) that we use, the more quickly bacteria are going to adapt and become resistant to the products and to our natural defenses. So what we're doing by being too fastitidious is helping to create a super race of mega-bacteria that will probably start carting us all off in our sleep.

I believe that by exposing children to small amounts of a variety of pathogens at an early age, we can build their immune systems to be better, stronger, faster...I also believe that I would way rather curl up with a good book or go to the park with the kids or, or, or, or than make sure every nook and cranny in my house is germ-free.

Sometimes I hate myself for not trying harder, for not being a "better" example for the kids, for failing to provide a floor clean enough to eat off of (though why eating off the floor is some kind of gold standard in cleanliness, I'm not sure--I mean we have a table, after all. I'm perfectly content--ecstatic some days--to just provide a floor clean enough to walk over.). But still, I think my way is really the only way for me.

While browsing blogs this month, I found my sloppy soul sister over at 24/7. In her post, "What Do You Do When Your Dishwasher Stops Working," ECR speaks to the pressure of outside expectations and the desire to live by her own priorities and she wraps it all up with a Phyllis Diller quote--as someone who collects notebooks full of quotes to support my "unsupportable" positions that spoke directly to my heart.

So, here's my button:

The Original Perfect Post Awards

And, ECR, it's all yours!

(Browse other winners at Suburban Turmoil and Petroville.)


  1. Thank you, thank you! I am so pleased and flattered that my post struck a cleaning chord with you :) This really was such a great surprise to wake up to this rainy Friday.

    If this was an award ceremony, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank NaBloPoMo for forcing me to sit down and write, every single day. My house is messier than ever, but I really feel like I accomplished something.

    Congrats on your own NaBloPoMo success as well!

  2. And I swear with every post that you my dear are my sloppy soul sister too, between this post, the belief in the power of germ exposure (well in the stance against overuse of sanitizer), the army bratiness, etc...

    I have never been overly neat, clutterly would better describe it. I do keep it clean however I would never recommend eating off my floor. I wish I were a better housekeeper but I'm just too busy to worry too much about it. (And if I can't be a better housekeeper I wish I at least could afford to have someone come do it for me.)

  3. I agree with you 100%! People tend to over sanitize everything.

    I'd rather have a home that is lived in and loved than one that is spotless. Having fun with my kids is way more important than havigna spotless house.

  4. Believe me, ladies, spending time with your children is so much more important that trying to keep a floor clean 'enuf to eat off of! I raised 4 sons in an untidy, messy house. Guess what, they don't remember the house being in turmoil. They remember the fun, laughter and "if you don't stop that I'll..." (whatever!). I don't have the anticeptic smell in my nostrils from cleaning but I sure have my ear-to-ear smile listening to them tell what a great childhood they had. So what really counts? And now that I am 65 I realize it wasn't the kids that kept me from keeping a clean house, it probably was 'cause I was lazy! Love your column! I'm a first time blogger, by the way. DL

  5. My own mom was of the "what are they gonna remember in 20 years?" philosophy. She was pretty sure we wouldn't be remembering the floor-you-couldn't-eat-off-of, but instead the mom who would lead "safaris" in the backyard with half the neighborhood. My dad was of a different opinion so they/we all had to strike a compromise, but I definitely lean more in my mom's direction. (Maybe even further out than my mom...)