This post might stir up some minor controversy, but I just gotta get it out there.
A few common scenarios I run into:
- Someone posts on Facebook about how sick and yucky they feel, and their intentions to stay home in bed all day. A bunch of people write sympathetic comments, "get well soons", and ask what's wrong. Then it comes out that the person just has a bad cough or something.
- I'm all set for a playdate with another mom when she contacts me an hour before to say that Little Johnny has a cold, so they're going to stay home.
SERIOUSLY? Having a cold is not fun, but it's really not a big deal! If people want to bring their kids over with a cold, I don't care in the slightest. If my kids or myself happen to catch it, so be it. We'll deal with it, and it will just increase our immunity for next time. (I might answer differently if I had a brand-new baby in the house, but I'm not sure).
My definition of being sick (and I'm talking here only about "infection"-type sicknesses, not something like cancer, mental illnesses, etc.) is something that incapacitates you to some extent. That makes you unable to carry out all your normal activities. So, having a fever - definitely sick. You feel like crap, and you're basically only good for lying around all day, with maybe an occasional dash to the bathroom. A headache (especially a migraine!) or a stomachache is also "being sick" - the pain is usually so distracting that you can't move around much or concentrate on anything as well as usual. You too should probably just lie down for a while and get yourself better.
But having a cold? Sure, it's unpleasant. But even with a really nasty cold - where your nose is so stuffed you can hardly breathe, your sinuses are swollen, you have a sore throat or hacking cough....at least in my experience, doesn't prevent me from getting anything done. It's just annoying. I can still clean the house, concentrate on a task, etc. I would never say I was "sick."
I understand that if you have something really nasty, you might like to stay away from other people as a courtesy. I guess I appreciate the concern, but really - most of the time, I'd rather have your company and risk catching your cold. I get colds every year - especially during the winter months - and I just suffer through them, and get on with my life, and I expect my kids to do the same. They won't get any special treatment for a cold...except maybe some nose-sucks with this awesome device: Nosefrida.
Some of this attitude was probably picked up from my dad. When I was in school, I had perfect attendance almost every year, because he was very particular about what constituted "sick enough to stay home." We pretty much had to have a fever, or something that we would take pills for. Also, I honestly didn't even know that "cold medicines" existed until college. We never used them in our house - we were just expected to deal with the symptoms, and let them go away on their own.
On a related note, I'm not a germophobe at all. I think getting little colds from time to time is probably a good thing, and helps keep your immune system working. We do get colds, but my kids and I basically never get sick (by my definition).
I really don't wash my hands that much - only when I feel they need it. I know you all think I'm gross now. (But hey, I wash dishes which seems like about ten times a day, so my hands are getting clean then, at least.) I rarely make my kids wash their hands either - with soap, I mean. They get a necessary hand-rinse after most meals.
My kids and I taste batter with raw eggs in it, which I don't really worry about. But I am good about keeping things clean and washed when raw meat is involved, especially chicken because - yuck!
My kids do eat certain foods off the floor, and I think it's fine. It would likely be a better parenting tactic to just have a clear "no eating food off the floor" rule, because Sly often has to ask me, "Mommy, can I eat this off the floor?" But here's the thing. If an Oreo falls on the kitchen floor, and the kid picks it right up, it's totally fine in my book. If the same Oreo fell in the dirt on the playground? No, leave that there, kid! If cheese falls on the ground anywhere, it's gotta go in the trash. It really depends on the type of food and the location. Don't most of us adults eat something that fell on the floor from time to time?
Anyways, don't feel like you need to hide your cold germs away from my family. We can deal with them!