Get ready to hate me moms...
Okay, here it goes.....
Stop making your kid’s allergies – everyone else’s problem.
The world doesn’t need to revolve around you and your kid’s allergies.
Phwew. That felt good to get out.
Let me guess...You think I’m a jerk? I’m insensitive? I’m a dick.
We’ll you’re being an ass. An over-the top allergy asshole.
I understand awareness. Having awareness (a big buzzword these days) is key.
Of course. I get it. To an extent.
But parents who demand nut-free, dairy-free, fruit-free, fish-free, gluten-free, soy-free, flower-free, animal-free, dust-free….FUCK your I NEED TO BE FREE FROM EVERY FOOD EVER MADE list.
How about you teach your kid what to not eat, or what to stay away from? Or how about you pack them every meal they’ll need while not in your presence?
Now, you think I’m a total bitch.
When I was a kid (oh yes, a good ‘ol back in the day story for you – but I swear it has a relevance)…. I went to a babysitter after school. This babysitter – babysat like 20 kids at once. She always served us a snack when we arrived after school. It was usually PB & J. But, sometimes it wasn’t. Either way, when a kid wasn’t supposed to eat what she was serving – that kid would FUCKING TELL HER. The kid knew what was okay to eat, and what wasn’t okay to eat. And, because she was a normal babysitter – not some kid killing babysitter using allergies as a lethal weapon – she would serve the child with the allergy – a different food item.
Informing the teacher and appropriate school staff about your child’s allergies and allergy action plan is essential. Informing care takers is necessary. But going a step further, and requesting that all parents of kids in the class only bring in nut-free and food “not processed in a facility with nuts” – is just plain unreasonable.
I beg of you - teach your child how to handle their own allergies. Empower them. Let them have the ability to save their own life. To prevent their own sickness.
I know you're scared. I’m scared every day my kid is going to have an asthma attack when I’m not around. As if, I’m the only person qualified to handle her asthma attack. I’m not. I have to believe and trust that the people around her are informed of my action plan. But, my kid is reminded on a very regular basis the protocol for a possible asthma attack. SHE knows what to do. And that makes me feel the most comfortable and have the most faith.
Too many kids with allergies are being sheltered by their parents trying to control their child’s environment. Guess what? The environments and situations we’re in every day are variable. Dear parents with allergies, why are some of you trying to control other parents, and make policies that restrict everyone else – when you could just as easily teach your kid what not to eat? Or, teach them, that if they’re unsure about a particular food item – don’t eat it. Parents aren’t giving their kids enough credit. Enough knowledge. Enough practice with their potential problem.
I attended a kindergarten orientation for my daughter recently. It’s a public school in Atlanta. When we got to the point in the presentation about school lunches and the cafeteria – several parents started huffing and puffing. Raising their hands - and acting a damn fool. The orientation coordinator tried to answer all of the food concerns the best she could. But, she got hit from every direction. The questions came like rapid fire bullets.
“Is the cafeteria nut free?”
“Are the classrooms nut free?”
“Well, my son has a lot of allergies – how will I know that the food being given to him will be okay for him?”
“Ummmm, if you’re that concerned ma’am, I assume you’ll pack his lunch.”
DUUUUUUUhhhhhhhhh. If your kid has a lot of food allergies – YOU, the PARENT, needs to help them pack their lunch and snacks with the appropriate foods. How is that the school cafeteria’s problem? Or responsibility? Or my issue? Or my child’s issue? Your child’s dietary restrictions are your responsibility and your child’s responsibility.
If your kid is really sensitive to allergens – and could go into anaphylactic shock, all the more reason for a parent to arm their child with the knowledge of an allergy action plan. Get them involved. Practice possible scenarios. You practice fire safety with your kid, right? Same thing!
If you have an extremely sensitive child that means, you the parent, DO INDEED need to pack every single meal and snack for your child when they attend school, birthday parties, sports functions, etc. But, parents with allergic kids (of the less severe variety) – please don’t expect the whole school, the whole class, or a whole birthday party to cater to your child’s dietary needs.
I was allergic to cats since I was kid – guess what I didn’t do? I didn’t go over people’s houses that had cats. Or pet them. And if I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a cat present in a home – I brought some Benadryl and an albuterol inhaler. I knew how many puffs to take. I knew how many pills to take.
I’m severely allergic to cats. I’ve been hospitalized as a child and an adult for an allergic, asthmatic reaction to a cat. It sucks. It’s scary. For gawd sakes – it’s really hard to breath. But, I’ve been armed with the knowledge of my allergy and an action plan since I WAS A CHILD.
It’s not my problem that a kid in my daughter’s class has this allergy, or that allergy. It’s not my concern. Unless that child is in my care, or in my house, I don’t need you sending me an email about your kid’s allergies. Please don’t request that I only pack nut-free items in MY kid’s lunch. I pay for this food. I’m free to pack my kid whatever I want.
Most allergies, are not life-threatening. Most. If your kid immediately goes into anaphylactic shock upon breathing in air that has peanut protein particles – that’s pretty extreme. That might mean a whole life-over-haul for you and your child. It sucks. It's unfair. There's probably not a whole lot of public support or funding to build a school that is completely allergen free. Not a single particle, atom, molecule of an allergen. It probably sounds like a dream school for parents dealing with a severely allergic child. But, thus far, it's not a reality. I wish it was an option for these folks dealing with severe and scary allergies. I wish there were whole restaurants for these folks! But thus far, progress is slow. People with severe allergies have to learn how to safely navigate life outside of their homes.
My own kids have dealt with milk allergies, animal allergies, airborne allergies, fabric allergies, soap allergies, lotion allergies, sunscreen allergies, ear piercing allergies and asthma. I get it mamas.
I get the struggle. It’s real. But, do us all a favor, make it a real issue with your child, your child's doctor, your child's teacher, the school nurse, etc. Not me. And just in case you think I haven't done my research - I have.
PS parents - it never suggests anywhere on the site - to email the parents of all of the children in your child's class. Just sayin'.
Now that you all really hate my guts - comment below.