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5 Heartfelt Thoughts For Every Mom Who Kept Her Child Home From The Birthday Party Because Of Food Allergies
I see you.
I see you making hard decisions every. single. day.
You feel like you’re finally in a bit of a rhythm with food allergies since you’re little was diagnosed; but things are changing. Your little is now being invited to birthday parties and instead of just worrying about how much money you spend on gifts, you worry about whether the party will be life-threatening or not.
That’s because you’re not just any concerned mom.
You’re a food allergy mom and even a trace of your little’s allergens has the possibility to cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. With birthday cake, cheese puffs or peanut butter cookies in the hands of 6-10 littles who have no idea that eating and sucking their fingers or a toy could cause traces of food allergens to be EVERYWHERE (and even cause the dreaded, life threatening anaphylaxis); it’s enough to cause any mom’s stress level to go over the top.
Except that MOST moms don’t have to worry about it. In fact, MANY moms are just as unaware as their littles at the party.
But I see you and know you.
I know you because I was once there too.
I remember the exclusion and feelings of being left out. I understand the paralyzing fear of losing your child when we’re SUPPOSED to be CELEBRATING. I remember how others thought I was being overly dramatic or didn’t believe me. I remember WANTING so badly to have a normal social life, yet knowing that in this stage, it wasn’t going to happen. I know that it can be a lonely, sad time.
But I also remember the ones that were supportive.
The ones that would ask me how they could make the party safe for my daughter.
There weren’t many of them at first, but after many explanations, talks (and even fights with family), they started to show up. There were people that WANTED to help. This touched me the most. To have somebody understand and want to help so much that they go to ALL that extra work to make things safe. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. I feel like the words I use to thank them can’t fully express the impact they make on me.
And the ones that didn’t invite us after finding out about our food allergies?
Some of them STILL don’t get it.
On the surface it seems that some of them still don’t care. But I tell myself they have their own problems; I just don’t know what they are. Maybe they’re too blinded by their struggles that they can’t comprehend my struggles too; I don’t know. But what I do know is that remembering that everyone has problems helps me to be positive and keeps me grounded. Because we don’t know what others are walking through until we walk in their shoes.
So if you’re one of the moms who don’t join the party because of food allergies I want you to encourage you with a few things. I want to give you hope and let you know that you’re NOT alone. Unfortunately, food allergies can make us feel that way a lot, but it’s not true. So for now, just know that:
This is a stage.
Yes, your child will likely always have food allergies, but going to birthday parties will get easier. With guidance and teaching, your child (and others) will learn to wash their hands and not suck on everything in sight. This will come, and even though I can’t promise that the fear will go away, it will be less because you’re teaching your child about taking care of themselves every day.
2. You’re not a victim, and neither is your child.
You’re making hard decisions that you NEED to make. And your child will need to learn how to manage these things whether we like it or not. Framing it in a way that doesn’t make your child feel like a victim will help them become resilient. Remember, they don’t know anything different and we can help them overcome! The journey of parenting is hard. But you better believe that it will be rewarding too. Hold on to that hope right now.
3. Your child WILL be ok, even if they miss a few birthday parties.
As hard as it is to say no, your child won’t be scarred. The nice thing about them being young is that they won’t even know what they’re missing. BUT they will know how much you love and care for them, which is what’s most important anyway.
4. Be clear about what you need when you can.
If there was one thing that I wish I would have done more of is TALK about how things need to be done to keep my little safe. There were times when I didn’t mention why we couldn’t come to the party because I knew that people didn’t understand and I just got sick of explaining things.
Even though you have to pick and choose who may be ready to know more about the allergies and who isn’t in that headspace; by talking about the risks, you’re opening eyes. EVEN if those eyes don’t open enough to see what they need to do right now. Talking about it may not sink in right away, but it might in a few months or years or by the time both your kids get into grade 1. As I look back, I see that every little bit of education helps. Just take one step and one person at a time.
5. Be kind and gracious.
Just because someone doesn’t understand doesn’t mean they’re out to get you.
There are times when I honestly wanted to yell and scream. I would feel so mad when people thought I was being overprotective. But being mad really didn’t accomplish much. I found that when I was gracious and kind (without expecting people to accommodate my child) I was able to teach the most. That whole saying about it being easier to attract bees with honey? Totally true.
So mama, I hope you feel encouraged. Because even though my littles are juuuuust out of the stage you’re in, I’ve been where you are. And it’s hard. But there is light at the end of the tunnel! I want you to know that YOU were chosen to be the mom to your little because you have what’s needed to parent them, food allergies and all. YOU CAN DO THIS!
See WHY I wrote this post in this video:
If you’ve got a young little with food allergies, you may need to make the hard decision to keep them home from a birthday party because of their food allergies. It’s a hard decision, but in some cases it’s the best thing to do. Even thought it might feel like it, you’re not alone. I’m hoping this post will encourage and inspire you.
Have you ever RSVP’d “NO” to a birthday party because of food allergies? How did it make you feel?