Sticky Situations | Clean Hands & the 5-Second Rule


We moms are all supposed to be on the same team, right? But what about those times when you catch another mom giving you a sideways judgy glance – whether it’s because you just let your toddler eat a cracker off the floor or your preschooler is getting bullied by a bigger kid and you step in to reprimand the offender? In this series we’re talking about these sticky situations…the ones where you feel like you might be breaking some sort of unspoken rule – if only you knew what it was! Help us solve these tricky questions in the comments – sound off with your own opinions and let’s get some discussion going!


It’s lunchtime; I have a baby in a high chair and a toddler climbing out of his. The only way I can get him to eat is if he’s on the go. He never stays still. I’ve long ago thrown the idea of a quiet meal at the table out the window. As he escapes the highchair and begins to run around the house he picks up a carrot stick off of the ground and puts it in his mouth. I take notice of his dirty hands and feet, I completely forgot to wash him up after we played outside this morning. How did I get here?

I think back to the day he was born: I was given PLENTY of advice from the nurses about guests washing their hands before handling the baby and about washing the pacifier EVERY stinking time it fell on the ground. Now here I am nearly two years later and I don’t care. Actually, I don’t buy it really.

I am not afraid of germs at all. I embrace them. I think about the fact that I ran around barefoot as a child and drank from the hose and am still alive and well. My children are healthy. I treat them as such. I am fortunate to have children who don’t need to be kept in a bubble, and I generally think the more they are exposed to the better- for the sake of their immune system development.

I am THAT mom, the one you see who picks up the food her child just dropped on your floor and offers it to them to eat again. The one who just picked up a pacifier up out of the dirt and wiped it off on her jeans and popped it back in her daughter’s mouth. I am the one who has an almost 2 year old with dirty hands eating his lunch. And YES, the one who didn’t do a thing about the fact that my best friend’s daughter ate food that had been in my son’s mouth.

Is that totally weird? I mean YES, I DO get THOSE looks from other moms… the ones that scream at me- That is totally disgusting! How can you not disinfect everything that comes into contact with your child?!

Of course… I DO have my limits, I PROMISE that I would NEVER let my children put anything in their mouths that had been on the ground at Walmart, and I DO wash their hands if they touch anything in that store!

Overall I’m just not all that worried about it. Are you? Do you make your child wash their hands religiously? Do you believe in the 5 second rule? Are you a hand sanitizer junkie? I want to know WHY you do what you do As for me, I’m off to go dig for worms with my curious little boy, and I’ll try to get the mud washed off his hands before dinner time.


Jess Fischer is a Phoenix native who is happily married to her very best friend Lukas. She has two beautiful babies (15 ½ months apart!!) her son Parker and her daughter Piper. She has a love for most things domestic- be it cooking, sewing, crafting, or gardening although she has never enjoyed cleaning (oh well!) She loves saving money and views it as a game that she is constantly trying to win. She enjoys spending time with her family above all else. She recently started her own business and loves keeping friends and family up to date with her life on her family blog.


  1. Haha, Jess, I’m so glad you posted about this! It’s weird – I have gotten MORE paranoid about germs since having kids in some ways, but I think I’m like you when we’re at home and it’s just your average floor dirt, dog hair, sibling slobber, etc. – I don’t even flinch when my crawler eats a piece of cereal off the floor when breakfast was several hours ago. 🙂 When it comes to public places, though, and potty-training, and a few other areas, I find I’ve become more of a hand-washing freak for both myself and my kids. Plus I have two thumb-suckers so I do get squeamish just thinking about what they’ve touched when they go to pop that thumb into the mouth! So I guess it depends on what kind of dirt and germs we’re talking about. 🙂

  2. What do you think it is that has made you more paranoid? I think some of the things that desensitized me to the germs were actually things like potty training, puke, and runny noses. I mean obviously they are so gross, but after awhile I guess they just stopped bothering me 🙂 LOL, but I guess if I can mentally block out the idea of what kind of dirt and germs it is easier for me… but now if I knew what they were really getting into, it may be another story 😉

  3. I am the same also. I have 2 boys, a 3 year old and a 1 year old. There have been so many times when my 3 year old comes in from outside and eats dinner, and I have totally forgotten to have him wash his black hands….I usually notice it when his cup has black handprints on it. Lol. Reading this post was basically like reading something I wrote. I was actually at the doctor’s office (well child side), when my 1 year old dropped his cracker on the floor, I picked it up, handed it back to him, and said to the nurse, “build up the immune system!”. However, I am a FREAK about not touching things in stores, and the handrails on escalators, so gross! So I have my limits also, but for the most part, I am not a germophobe.

    • Oh yeah I think its so good for them, but then the funny part is that my hubby religiously washed his hands, after he touches ANYTHING he has to wash them. So even with as lax as I am with it my son is starting to pick up on certain things and has began to ask me to wash his hands when they get dirty 🙂

  4. This is a great post! I am definitely less paranoid about germs than my husband. I’m all for building up the immune system. Haha! He was the one making all our friends use santizer when our little one was first born. I think he has loosened up since then though. We’ll see how things play out when she gets old enough to really get dirty (she’s not quite crawling yet.)

  5. I love this post. It made me laugh 🙂 I think I am one of those germ freaks and I literally have hand sanitizer hanging off my diaper bag as a key chain. I wipe down my daughters hands after anywhere we have been and then sanitize them especially before we eat. Then when her pacifier hits the ground or my sons I pop it into MY mouth first and then give it back ( how gross is that lol) thinking it would be better for me to get the germs off then them haha…I have become a little more relaxed now with my second born but for some reason I fear my kids will catch some horrible disease if I don’t try to keep the germs away. Maybe I’m a little uptight…in fact I know I am….I never used to care much about germs until I had kids 🙂

  6. Oh, Jess. Sweet, Jess. There is a reason you wrote about this and not me. I should’ve wrote on this, too. Just so we could laugh hysterically together. I am, as you very well know, a psycho-freak. I actually talk myself off the crazy cliff by thinking of people like you. “It’s okay she just ate that or touched the baby or rubbed her eyes. Jess lets Parker do it. It will be okay.” hahahahahahha

    • I am dying! I so needed this this morning. I love that you are psycho-freak 🙂 Its adorable, it makes me laugh so much. LOL, ‘Jess lets Parker do it. It will be ok.’ hahaha, fyi- he is climbing up in the pantry, naked, as I am typing this getting himself a snack- yes nakedness in the pantry. Don’t have a panic attack 😉

  7. Jess – I totally love this post. I’m probably the furthest from what you’d call a “germ-freak.” I’ll even admit that washing Nora’s hands is probably the last thing on my to-do list on a daily basis (I know – I’m terrible). That’s probably why I have no problem with the gym childcare, church childcare or any other those inside play places….soak it up (and maybe even lick it too) Nora 🙂

  8. HA!! Maybe even lick it too, I am laughing so hard right now. You are NOT terrible, I don’t even want to think about the infrequency with which I wash Parkers hands. They are probably covered in germs, whatever 🙂

  9. Jess-I am cracking up over this. I only have one child and we are already at this point. In part, I believe, because we have a dog. She doesn’t shed but STILL…there is no way to keep them from licking each other. Yes, I said each other b/c I have caught my Parker licking her on more than one occasion. Germs are every where and they are unavoidable. I clean his hands before and after he eats or if he does get dirty playing but I don’t stress anymore. It is juts not worth it b/c I know he is fine! Like we used to say growing up (on the far), “a little dirt don’t hurt!”

    • I love that, ‘a little dirt don’t hurt’ 🙂 I totaly believe that! And I do believe the licking the dog thing, I think that is how my brother was with out dog when he was a baby


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