Confessions of a Germaphobe


As I wait to hear the results of my COVID-19 test, my anxiety threatens to take over.

Is my throat sore? Is my chest starting to feel heavy? Am I extra tired, or am I simply exhausted from being up with two of my boys in the night? Is my one-year-old coughing more than normal? Sneezing more than normal? My 10-year-old just said his legs hurt and he is cold; could he have a fever?

And this is only scratching the surface of what runs through my mom brain when potential illnesses come into my home.

I could be in the minority in saying this, but I have not minded my children wearing masks and practicing social distancing. It may not be sustainable for the long-term, but my kids have had one cold since they started in-person classes in August.

Last year, my two boys in school missed numerous days, staying home with colds, stomach flu, strep throat, influenza, and other mysterious bugs that surfaced. But this year, ONE cold!

I’d be lying if I said this has not been a dream come true for me. 

I Am a Germaphobe

Since I was a kid, I have been a germaphobe. It is something I have carried with me through my teens, college years, young adult life, and now as a mom of three. Before kids, I felt I had control of things because I only had to worry about myself. But adding three kids into the mix cued up an entirely new level of anxiety.

My germ anxiety is something I have learned to get a handle on in the hope I don’t pass it on to my kiddos. But I still hate illnesses. All forms. And it leads to sleepless nights, sad kids, and the unpredictability of “who will get it next…”

So, to combat the anxiety, I work with my kiddos on maintaining good hygiene and making healthy choices.

Making Healthy Habits Routine

This is something we practiced even before the pandemic. We wash hands before we eat, we wash hands when we get home from places, and we take our daily vitamins. Our family has made it a priority to eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables every day, and to maintain a good sleep routine.

We do what we can, and then hope for the best.

“This Too Shall Pass”

It is obvious, kids (and adults) get sick, so there is really no stopping it. I have had to come to terms, especially now as a mom, that some things are out of my control. 

So, when sickness appears (as it invariably does), I remember the phrase my mother has quoted to me many times and in many situations, “This too shall pass.” And it does. It always does.

Sometimes in the thick of illness, it seems like it will last forever. But eventually it makes its way through each of its targets and concludes, we move on, and it becomes a memory. We made it through, maybe with some extra tears, an overflowing garbage of tissues, lack of of sleep, excessive sanitizing, and numerous cuddles.

Then between illnesses, I enjoy our good health, and try to avoid the fear of when the next virus will hit. Some days I worry more than others, but overall, I know that sickness happens and it is never as bad as I anticipate. It is a part of life, and we make it through.

I am slowly overcoming some of my tendencies as a germaphobe, but I know the constant worry about the next illness will always be a struggle for me. 

And by the way, my test came back negative! Until next time, we will do our best to stay healthy with prayers, good hygiene, and healthy eating.

Are you a self-proclaimed “germaphobe?” How do you manage your fear of illness?

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Stephanie Drietz and her husband, Tom, have three boys and reside in Fargo, ND. When she is not busy chasing around three active boys, she is running her business from home, Drietz Designs , as a freelance graphic designer. Working with graphic design, she is able to produce marketing materials for a large variety of different businesses world-wide. She has been self-employed since 2011, when her first born was 6 months old. She has appreciated being able to experience the work-from-home-mom life. When she isn’t designing or learning how to raise 3 boys, she finds time to read, work-out and focus on her faith.


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