I sat at the pool today during my 9-year old’s swimming lesson feeling like a failure both as a foot care nurse and as a mother. My 9-year old and my 17-year old, who is a swimming instructor at the same pool, were both walking around on the deck in bare feet. Foot care nurses everywhere will cringe at what that means.
In my business, I see a lot of Athlete’s Foot. A lot. I am constantly telling people to stop walking in bare feet when they’re at public pools, showers, dressing rooms, gyms. The fungus that causes Athlete’s Foot lives on these floors and is just itching to take up residence on your feet. You can also pick up plantar warts on the same floors.
Some of my older kids work in public pools as lifeguards and swimming instructors. My 2 youngest kids take swimming lessons every week. I am forever reminding them to wear their flip-flops (which I bought them) on deck to protect their feet. Some of my kids have gotten Athlete’s Foot. One of my sons even got it on his scalp. Yes, that can happen. And they’re no strangers to plantar warts either.
As I sighed and cringed at the pool, I thought of two of my other sons who were working at other pools at the same time. I knew they were padding around in bare feet, despite my persuading, lecturing, threatening. My sons are big guys with big feet. That’s plenty of surface area for the little critters.
So what’s a mom to do? I can’t beat my kids into submission, although the thought has crossed my mind. A prophet is never welcomed in their own home; a foot care nurse is never listened to in their own family. Same thing. Sigh.
I need a new plan of attack. I think that next time Athlete’s Foot and plantar warts show up on my kids’ feet, I’m going to do nothing. Bite my tongue until it bleeds. Turn away. Let them tough it out until it gets bad enough for me to intervene. Then I’m going to unleash my best I-told-you-so tirade before doing anything.
Think that’ll work? I don’t know. It’s worth a try. Should I unleash a tirade? Yes, but more for me than for them. I think my words will go in one ear and out the other, but it’ll feel good to get it off my chest.
My kids will be contrite and cooperative until their feet are better, then they’ll go right back to their old, bad habits. Sigh.
But maybe one day they’ll realize that I was right. By then they’ll be dealing with their own kids. And I’ll just smile and walk away.