06/23/2015 01:41 pm ET | Updated Jun 23, 2016

How to Calm a Germ Phobic Mom


She tells her kids to never touch a door knob with their bare hands -- you never know, the last person who touched it might have a disease! "Always use a cloth!" she screeches.

We all know a Germ Phobic Mom. She gasps in horror if another child grabs her little darling's plastic sippy cup. If your child so much as breathes on her child, she will rush him to the bathroom to wash his face and hands. "You just never know where those kids have been playing! For all we know, he could have been playing in dog poo!"

The offspring of Germ Phobic Mom usually grow into adults who keep a bottle of disinfectant close by at all times. Many grow into Germ Phobes of Howard Hughes proportions. Apparently Hughes was such an intense germ phobe that he wore cardboard boxes on his feet and burned his clothes if he came into contact with an ill person.

Germ Phobic Mom will not let her children use any toilet that has not been thoroughly cleaned with the highest quality disinfectant -- this means her kids cannot use a public toilet. Nor can they use the toilet at a friend's house. How does she get around this? Easy. She only visits friends who live on her street so, if her little darling needs to use the bathroom, she can walk or drive him home to use their perfectly clean and nice bathroom (not those horrid dirty strange bathrooms, no way!).

So how on earth does one calm a Germ Phobic Mom?

1. Reassure her that you have already washed your hands 12 times today. Olive oil soap, vigorous rubbing.

2. Tell her you have completed a First Aid Course (for some reason Germ Phobic Mom is always terribly impressed with this fact).

3. Make sure your home is spotless before she arrives with her little darling. By spotless, I mean there is not a cookie crumb on the floor, there is not a blueberry-stained cloth in the kitchen sink. Spotless!

4. Keep the front door open, even in the event of a thunderstorm, so she has one less reason to stress -- meaning she does not have to touch your filthy doorknob.

5. If none of the above is working, suggest you move your playdate to the cafeteria of the nearest hospital. That room will be coated in disinfectant from floor to ceiling. Failing that, you can always educate her about good germs that are necessary to guard against infection. Good luck with that.

LJ Charleston is an Australian journalist and author of The Mommy Mafia: the urban dictionary of mothers. She has three sons and while she is not a Germ Phobic Mom she has befriended several. @ljcharleston @themommymafia