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Grossest Mom Job, Ever
August 3, 2014



There are lots of gross stuff this mom can handle. Got vomit? I can clean that. Have diarrhea? No problem, got that covered, too. Bleeding out? Here, let me apply a tourniquet. However, I absolutely draw the line where toenails are concerned. It must be a phobia. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen a mental health professional over my extremely negative feelings about toenails. All I know is that the only toenails I can touch are my own and those of cute little babies who have not yet begun to toddle around and accumulate all that nasty stuff that gathers between unclean toes.

Needless to say, when my oldest son announced that he had some serious toe pain going on, I had to overcome my urge to simply pretend he never spoke and take a look at the culprit. It was an ingrown toenail. I almost fainted. I felt the best thing would be to go barefooted for the next month and see if it would fix itself. That seemed reasonable but my son bemoaned such an idea and belittled me for my jelly spine. Well, them’s fightin’ words, accusing me of weakness. The gauntlet had been thrown down and I had something to prove. I could fix his toenail.

When I reached for toenail clippers and manicure scissors it was my son’s turn to almost faint. He hadn’t considered the possibility that in order to become pain free he would have to actually endure more intense pain first. As I watched his own spine be reduced to jelly, gleefully clicking my manicure scissors open and closed in front of his face, he suggested maybe he had been a bit hasty in rejecting my original idea. We decided we would then see if we could dig up a less invasive procedure to try and relieve him of his ingrown toenail pain.

Since my son rarely wears tight shoes, flip flops are his shoe style of choice, I suspected he had not been trimming his toenails properly and the result was a faulty grow back pattern. The cuticle surrounding the toenail was swollen, red and painful to the touch. We decided to try a battery of natural remedies and see what happened.

A lemon remedy suggested using gauze to wrap a lemon slice over the toe. The next morning we unwrapped the toe and poked around a bit with a cuticle stick. There definitely was some pain relief, but not a miraculous overnight cure. We moved on to the next home remedy on the list.

I filled a plastic dish pan with hot water and a few drops of tea tree oil. I massaged a drop of oil into the toe and then my son soaked his foot until the water cooled to the point of being cold and uncomfortable. Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial aspects so I had the greatest hope for this remedy. It also had the plus of smelling quite nice.

We noticed a difference almost immediately. My son did a tea tree oil soak for two more days and then felt the treatment was successful. I was glad to hear that because the next home remedy on the list to try involved an overnight onion soak.

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