Having a child with food allergies sucks. Play dates, cafeterias, school parties, birthday parties, Halloween, and bakeries used to be the best. And now they are just, well, hard. And don’t even get me started on some of the unkind words or ignorance out there. But there are some things that are awesome about being a food allergy family.
You can read labels like a pro.
You can spot your child’s food allergy word in a list of ingredients faster than the speed of light. While you want to trust your friend’s reading skills, you need to see for yourself. After all, you have a gold medal in this.
You become a master baker and chef.
You learn how to get your cooking to be on point. In the year we have been an allergy family, I have perfected my chocolate chip cookie recipe, found a fabulous brownie recipe, and learned how to make amazing bread, all in the name of keeping my family safe.
You learn how to speak up.
I hate to look like a helicopter parent, but when it comes to food allergies, it’s on because I am an advocate for my child’s life. Also, as allergy parents, we don’t want to use our EpiPens so we learn to ask how things are cooked, if we can see the label, and more. You think we’re crazy? We don’t care — we don’t want to spend the night calling 911, thanks.
Your kids become responsible.
Education about safe foods is imperative for each member of the family, and there are amazing resources out there. Allergy kids learn how to speak up and be advocates for their own health.
You eat more home cooked meals.
You have to make a lot from scratch, which is so much healthier for everyone, and safer, indeed.
You learn which restaurants are cool.
Cool, as in not sending my kid’s allergen on her plate. Some people get it, and some don’t. When you experience a positive meal and feel heard, it’s the loveliest feeling, especially so you can take a break from the kitchen once in awhile.
You learn who your friends are.
Some people just don’t know. I certainly was unaware of many things prior to being a mom of an allergy kid myself, such as the fact that hand sanitizers like Purell do NOT clear the peanut residue off your hands, but soap and water do, FYI. But it’s the people who ask and try to keep your child safe that make you so grateful and validated that you chose the right friends. Everyone else becomes demoted or educated real fast.
You become part of a tribe like no other: You are an Allergy Mom.
While I think we all hope we can find a cure for allergies or outgrow this club for good, the community of allergy families creates a bond unlike anything I’ve experienced. You are an Allergy Mom. The moment we found out about our babe’s allergies, our friends shared some amazing resources, and we know we can all cheer each other on when challenges arise. I have so many people to talk to, ask questions, and rely on, and for that I am forever grateful.
Are YOU an allergy mom? What do YOU find to be the silver lining in this experience?
Contributing Sister Site and Author
Alexandra is your resident crunchy and creative mom, art teacher, and fourth-generation Bostonian. She is happily married to her best friend and co-pilot Ben and a ridiculously proud parent of her sweet daughters ages 5 and 2. She spends her days teaching art to kindergarten to 5th graders, and the rest of the day playing catch up amidst painting watercolors and throwing dance parties with her girls, while roasting some vegetables and squeezing in a Netflix marathon if she can. Yes Please: Farmers Markets, beach days, Julian Edelman, any/every museum, salted caramels, avocado toast(I thought I invented it), quinoa salads, documentaries, Ted Talks, Pinterest, brand new rainbow sharpies, baby wearing, talking about birth stories, decluttering, essential oils, statement necklaces, healthy eating, my amazing friends, my handsome and hardworking husband and fabulous family, and of course my baby girls who are growing way too fast. No Thanks: Red Food Dye 40, mean people, long lines, traffic, when my kids are sick, when your kids are sick, when anyone is sick, hashtags (more of a love/hate thing), the mommy wars, black ice, negative attitudes, and Calliou. Alexandra also blogs at Art is Elementary.