HOW TO SUPPORT A FOOD ALLERGY MOM

open letter to food allergy bffs friends

Raising a family with multiple food allergies can be tough. Sometimes it feels like us against the world. However, with empathetic friends who support this food allergy mom, life is made a little bit easier. Our friends make such a difference in the lives of our food allergic children. With their small acts of kindness that are sometimes so slight, they boost the emotional well being of our children by a mountain. I am floored by their thoughtfulness.

WANTING NORMALCY

Things that other non-allergic kids take for granted as “normal” are the things that my children long for. You’d never know it though, it’s a quiet kind of sadness. One that is suffered alone and in silence. To eat a cupcake at a birthday party, to watch a movie at the theater, to attend pajama night, to take part in the Thanksgiving class cooking event, to be invited to a sleepover, to go to a week at Outdoor Ed without mom/dad, or to go to the welcome back to school ice cream party are all examples of events that pose food allergy dangers.

IN THE MIND OF AN ALLERGIC CHILD

Yeah, I know they’re kids, but they suffer the pains just like the rest of us. And they may not know about world hunger or war, but in the little life that they’ve experienced, there’s a lot going on in that head of theirs. Living with food allergies is hard and our kids may not always express how they feel (they may not even know what words to use).

Here’s some thoughts that my children have had:

  1. Why can’t I go? It’s not fair.
  2. Why am I different?
  3. Why can’t I go on the field trip with my class?
  4. Why didn’t I get invited to the birthday party?
  5. I’d rather stay home than have everyone ask me why I’m not eating cake.
  6. I don’t want to bring my own special food.
  7. I don’t want to eat something else while everyone eats <allergic food>. I just won’t eat.
  8. I wish I could eat lunch with my friends at school instead of sit separately at the nut free table.
  9. That kid is eating a peanut butter sandwich. I better stay away.
  10. I hope that messy kid won’t spill his go-gurt again.

HOW TO SUPPORT A FOOD ALLERGY MOM

Wonderful friends never cease to amaze me. These are my BFFs and how they have supported our family.

– SLOW DOWN BFF

To the mom who wanted to read my child’s food allergy action plan with me: I’m overjoyed that you made me slow down and that you wanted to read the details of my child’s allergies with me. I had almost stepped away after handing you the emergency EpiPen bag because I feel bad for taking so much of your valuable time. Thank you for making that a priority.

– SLEEPOVER BFF

To the moms who invited my children for a sleepover at their houses: I know it’s a big responsibility. I know you are taking their lives into your hands. I know that you now have to learn about the EpiPen. Thank you for asking me to demonstrate it and listening intently. I know that thinking about what to offer for breakfast is a bigger chore than it should be. But you know what? I am so grateful and my child is ecstatically happy that they got to experience a sleepover.

– BIRTHDAY PARTY BFF

To the mom who consulted me in planning her own child’s birthday party about what foods she could offer: You spent time thinking ahead, you had safe foods, you even went a day ahead to the special bakery to get my child a safe cupcake. You messaged me while shopping for party food and took photos of ingredients to get my approval. Who does that?? A special person.

– CLASS EVENT BFF

To the room parent and teacher who included me in the planning of the Thanksgiving class cooking party: You two are AH-MAZING. Everything on the menu had my daughter’s allergens, but you both whole-heartedly agreed to change up the recipes. Butter was replaced with Smart Balance Light buttery spread. Evaporated milk was replaced with coconut milk. We ended up having an awesome cooking event and nobody even noticed a thing and it all tasted “normal”, I’d even go as far to say that it tasted better!

– ROOM PARENT BFF

To the room parent who includes me in the planning of class parties: You work tirelessly for our class. From planning out teacher appreciation days to holiday parties and everything else in between, you do it all! Yet, you check-in with me whenever there’s food involved for our students. Thank you for remembering and thank you for making it a high priority. You’ve provided sorbets at ice cream parties and safe toppings like marshmallows and fruit. You’ve made beautiful fruit skewers with marshmallows and passed on the chocolate so that it would be allergy safe. You’ve tasked me with providing a fun treat for the class which I’m always glad to do. In short, you’ve always made sure that my child has something to eat from the menu. You have a huge heart, thank you so much.

– PLAY DATE BFF

To the moms who host my kids for play dates: You’ve taken my kids into your homes and wiped down dining chairs and tables before they’ve arrived each time to minimize contact allergens. You’ve brought them to the movies, parks, and indoor play centers. Thank you for carrying their emergency packs filled with EpiPens, antihistamines, and Food Allergy Action Plans. You’re the best!

– ADVOCACY BFF

To the mom who brought up my child’s allergy incident at school to the school site council:  Thank you for spearheading change to make it safer for future students.

– VACATION BFF

To the mom who asked me if I needed anything as we planned to visit her on our way to Legoland: I bet you never could’ve imagined the strange answer I gave you! My daughter’s allergy to milk made it very difficult to eat out. Being on a roadtrip was tough on her and she was really only safe eating plain pasta with plain grilled chicken. So we ordered that at most places for her. But when my BFF asked me this question, I knew this was a chance to get some yummy and safe food for her. I asked if she could make a Chinese dish of tofu and ground pork seasoned with soy sauce. She brought this with white rice to the restaurant and my daughter was absolutely delighted! It was the best present ever! Thank you BFF!

THANK YOU FOOD ALLERGY BFFS

I don’t know what our family would do without the support of our food allergy BFFs that we’ve met. They’ve made such a difference. Sometimes, in life, we get lucky, and we are extremely grateful that they are a part of ours.

Do you have any food allergy BFFs in your life? Please share them with us in the comments below.

Read more about our life with food allergies.

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How thoughtful friends can support a food allergy mom friend and make a huge difference with their acts of kindness.

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4 Comments

  1. As Grandma, living with my daughter and family, my grandson Michael has dairy and peanut allergies. The support BFF’s is awesome and I pray that more people become aware of the dangers, especially the difference of children who are lactose intolerant and kids like Michael who are allergic to dairy that could kill him. It’s scary for Moms and their children with allergies always having to be aware of how to protect the kids from what other children just take for granted.

    Thank you for your efforts and support for Food Allergy Moms.

  2. Loved this! Definitely made me reflect on all the times someone went out of their way to keep my son safe and included.

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