Why You Should Cut the Allergy Mom Some Slack www.theshortesttallman.com

Why You Should Cut the Allergy Mom Some Slack

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Hey there, Shorties! Allergies… what a phenomenon these days. Seems like more and more kids have food allergies than ever before. I have no idea why, and thank God, my family is food allergy free. However, I do have lots of friends with kids who have allergies, so I have been learning over the years about what it is like to #allergymomlife… the more I learn, the more it seems like it sucks pretty bad sometimes.

The inspiration for this post was brought to you by a delicious, mouth-watering chili-and-onion dog that I ate for lunch. On a buttery, toasted bun. With a side of crinkle-cut french fries. Aaaaand a thick chocolate milkshake. Perfection. I ate it before I could take a picture for this blog post 🙂

Today, I gave it no thought to visit a local favorite hot dog and hamburger joint. The weather was beautiful and it’s a spot to eat lunch outside. While I was eating, likely like a slob, a thought occurred to me: my allergy mom friends would have had to call ahead and ask if they cook with any ingredients that have the allergen. And if it’s all clear, they’d have to trust and bring their Epipen, hoping for the best.  

One of our favorite places to eat is Texas Roadhouse, one of at least two chain restaurants that I know of that offer peanuts to snack on. I love that! But my allergy mom friends would never be able to step foot inside with their family. The only restriction we have concerning restaurants is the picky eaters in our family. 

Or how about going on vacation? We stopped wherever we felt like while we were on the road. Vacationing requires lots of planning beyond the normal amount of planning and packing for Allergy Moms. They have to have every meal planned out, every restaurant researched in advance, and have conversations with waitstaff about their child’s allergies over and over again. I can’t imagine all that extra work!

And then there’s Birthday parties… I would imagine it must be uncomfortable to have to talk with the parents’ of the Birthday child that your kid has allergies, explaining it all yet again, and worrying if the treats at the party will be safe. 

Actually, a few years ago, one of my kids invited a child with food allergies to her party. The mom discussed it with me and she told me no worries, she would bring a safe cupcake for her child. Now looking back, wouldn’t it have been much more considerate of me as a host to provide all safe cupcakes, so the child with allergies wouldn’t need to have something different from everyone else?!?! I feel regretful about that now, no matter how easy going my friend acted about it.

Why You Should Cut the Allergy Mom Some Slack www.theshortesttallman.com

Contains Milk, Soy, Wheat, Peanut Butter.

And what family doesn’t stop for ice cream throughout the summer, or to celebrate after a little league win? Doubtful that the Allergy Mom can do this without careful planning and limited choices, if even at all.

These are all pretty sucktacular. The worst, however, has to be school lunch. Our kids’ school is actually pretty forward thinking and proactive about keeping the environment safe for our food allergy students. I feel a lot of pride about that. The sucky part is that in the cafeteria, we have an allergy-free table for students with food allergies to sit at so there’s no (or virtually no) risk of contamination. This sounds great! Until I visited my own kids at lunch and realized that the kids with allergies have no choice but to sit at the special table every single day. They don’t get to choose to sit somewhere else with a different set of friends. Every darn day, for years on end, they must sit only at that table. They are stuck with whoever wants to sit there with them, and the other allergy kids. What if they don’t have similar interests? Or they just want to sit with someone else? I can’t think of a way that’s better (is there?), because you can’t very well make everyone avoid the top food allergens, but it’s not ideal. 

So the Allergy Mom has all of this to deal with, on top of all of the other typical mom things. They deserve a standing ovation for keeping their kid safe from not only broken bones, concussions, and bad guys, but also something as benign as peanut butter. They have to remember the cleats, water bottle, and the Epipen. And, do all of this, with some of us non-allergy moms being less empathetic than we could be. Maybe the rest of us can dig a little deeper to give a bit more compassion, spend a minute or two educating ourselves a little better about what it is like to have a child with a food allergy, and cut these Allergy Moms (and the kids who made them) some slack.