Discover The High Mental Weight She Constantly Feels As A Food Allergy Mom
I’ve been hearing about the mental weight that moms carry lately. How we do and feel so much more than what people know. In fact, I read an excellent article over on Urbanmoms.ca about this very thing which inspired this article about the high mental weight carried by food allergy moms too.
Its funny because I didn’t think the weight would be that heavy at first.
Yes, I went through a mourning phase of giving up many of my favourite foods, but worse yet, I realized I wouldn’t be able to pass on traditions that I loved as a kid like decorating cookies, gingerbread house decorating, or just having an ice cream cone on a hot day. Not to mention the extreme stress of realizing that if I accidentally gave my child even a trace of their allergen, it could result in a life-threatening reaction.
But after the mourning and the initial fear, I became determined.
I was going to make everything and do everything so my kids never had to feel left out. They would not realize they were going without because I wasn’t going to let that happen. I was energized and I didn’t think it would be that hard.
But it was somewhere between baby food and family meals when reality hit me.
Now, not only do I struggle with the endless list of tasks that are necessary to run a home, but I also add tasks that have life-threatening consequences for the ones I hold dear if I don’t do them right.
It’s not just trying to make dinner that the family eats every night; it’s ensuring that the dinner is completely safe with constant label reading and worrying that I make a small mistake and cause a life-threatening reaction. It’s calling companies to make sure there isn’t a chance of cross-contact in the factory. It’s cooking everything from scratch because there not many companies are completely allergy aware; and the ones that are cost as much as my first-born. And then there’s the fact that eating in restaurants requires extensive research which means no breaks from cooking.
Every single social event is another endless list of tasks that needs to get done. Friends and family who are willing to help need to be educated about how to cook safely. And even then, it takes days of texting/emailing to make sure ingredients & recipes are truly safe. And the friends and family that don’t get it?? The mental load of trying to either get them to understand or feeling the separation from them because of it, is hard to bear at times.
Then there’s the tasks involved with things that others take for granted. Like finding & educating a babysitter that you can trust to recognize anaphylaxis and properly use the EpiPen when needed. Or, the extensive research required to go on a vacation so you’ll actually feel rested instead of worrying the whole time. And preschool or school comes with it’s own challenges of safety, inclusion and worry too.
The mental weight is already unbearable, and there’s still the regular “momming” that needs to happen. From keeping the toilet paper stocked to replacing the broken coffee machine to keeping the kid’s clean with shoes & clothes that fit and their hair cut and tidy.
Often, every spare moment is used to care for our family members. Whether you work outside the home or not, evenings are filled with cooking dinner, cleaning up after dinner, activities, bedtime routines, grocery shopping, errands and more.
I found out that the mental weight takes a toll not only on our daily lives, but our physical bodies too. I found out the hard way when I got shingles. It happened at a time when my youngest daughter went to grade one. Honestly at this time, I thought the mental weight should be decreased because I had more than just the evenings to get everything done. But unfortunately I was wrong.
Now, when the kids go to bed, I try to include coffee with a friend or watching “The Crown” with my hubby, or a workout in my list of things to do; but I still find myself heading out for groceries or buying that new pair of shoes for the kiddo that outgrew them. Not to mention the laundry that I do while listening to podcasts or watching reruns of “Fixer Upper”.
Thank goodness for the food allergy dad, because he’s my partner in this life. He helps me carry the weight, but he also has his own mental load to carry.
So no matter where you’re at in your food allergy mom journey, you’re not alone. Somewhere there’s another mom just like you reading and re-reading that food label at 9pm at night. Or there’s a mom searching for a safe recipe or emailing about what food will be served at the birthday party after the kids go to bed.
These moms love their kids more than anything, but they are tired, mentally exhausted and need a break. Keep them in mind as you go through your own endless tasks.
If you’re a food allergy mom, remember to look up from that label at the grocery store and see the other moms around who are exhausted too. Give them a smile to brighten their day.
If you’re not a food allergy mom, keep them in mind when you plan your child’s birthday or school treat. Because by understanding the huge mental weight they carry, you can help lighten the load and make a HUGE impact on their and their kid’s lives; and what’s better than moms standing together and helping each other? In my opinion, nothing.
Watch this video to learn about reactions I’ve had to this post:
Do you agree? What activities increase your mental weight? How have you had friends or family help decrease this for you?