When it came to kids getting lice, I used to be terribly (and unfairly) judgmental.
I would think things like, "Kids with lice are dirty. They must not wash their hair." That is, until all three of my daughters came down with a nasty case of the itchy head bugs.
Now I know how wrong I was about what getting lice actually entails, and I'm here to apologise to every other parent I ever judged because of it.
My presumption that head lice is disgusting is pretty much the only thing I was right about before my girls got it. And let me say up front that I lived by the false belief my children would never get lice. I washed their hair every other day and am very diligent when it comes to germs (a lot of people have called me a germaphobe, which . . . accurate).
Seriously, it never dawned on me my kid could get lice. That's why when I was bathing my girls one evening a few years ago and I saw a bug in the hair of my youngest, I thought it was a gnat. Until I found another "gnat." And then another.
Horrified, I began frantically picking through my other girls' hair. To say I was shocked to discover they all had lice would be the understatement of my parenting career.
I'm sure I scared the girls, but I started crying and called my husband in a panic. "Bring home lice kits!" I hollered at him, my voice and hands shaking. The next 24 hours of our lives were the most revolting since we all had the stomach flu at the same time. Until you've combed lice and their nits out of three kids' hair until midnight together, let's just say you haven't truly bonded with your significant other.
The entire process of ridding lice from the house was exhausting and humbling. The smell of the chemicals was enough to make me want to hurl. And the intense urge to itch my own head every two seconds became involuntary.
Then came the fun task of washing every single piece of bedding in our house. We sprayed our furniture down and isolated the girls' stuffed animals, much to their dismay.
After it was all said and done, I looked back at how I'd judged other families with an outbreak of lice and felt awful. Because I now understood how when lice strikes your house, life gets put on hold until it's eradicated.
It truly is nobody's fault. Lice happens, especially when you have young kids, and I was so wrong for ever judging other parents for it. I also learned lice are more commonly attracted to clean hair, so my theory that only kiddos with dirty tresses get lice was totally off.
In fact, since my kids had it, we now only wash their hair once or twice a week, and I have them spray or gel their hair with product before school every day to try to keep this from ever happening again.
To all the parents out there who are reading this and thinking lice could never crawl their way into your house, I hope my story will serve as a warning. Karma more than caught up with me for judging mums whose kids got lice. And I'll never judge again.