11 Things Moms of Kids With Food Allergies Wish You Understood

11 Things Moms of Kids With Food Allergies Wish You Understood

Surprising, hard, and funny things moms of kids with food allergies want others to know.


By: Lorraine Allen

There are so many things that moms of kids with food allergies have to deal with, and most of them are so specific to this weird, often life-threatening disease that others have no idea what we are going through. As a six-year veteran myself, here is a list I’ve put together of things moms like me really wish others understood:

1. You CANNOT talk to us about having a picky eater. Just don’t go there. Seriously.

2. Our kids can’t eat the cake, and NO, thank you, but we don’t want any either. Why? Because we like to give them kisses and hold their hands. And they often take sips from our water cups. And if we ate that cake, our kids could die. So really, no.

3. A kid’s life-threatening disease is not to be discussed like a baseball score or the weather, at school pickup, at the playground, or anywhere casual. (If you want to know more about food allergies, ask in private, as you would about any other serious health condition, like autism, cancer, or heart disease.) It’s not something to small-talk about.

4. You have no idea how weird it feels to sneak things like eggs or nuts into your own diet, behind your kid’s back, until you’ve done it. It makes you feel guilty, happy, excited, secretive, disloyal -- and crazy -- all at once.

5. We’re exhausted. More than you can imagine. Because of the constant stress and fear of food allergies. And because most kids with this disease also suffer from eczema, a super itchy skin condition that also has no cure, which -- read any sleep advice book if you don’t believe me -- can keep your kid and you up all night for years!

6. “Food-free” might just be our favorite words in the English language.

More from P&G everyday: 8 Top Tips for Helping Kids With Food Allergies Thrive

7. It hurts inside (in our growling stomachs, specifically) when others talk about the great new restaurants around town. Or brunch. We can’t go there -- so honestly, we prefer not to hear so much vivid, delicious detail about them.

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8. There really are no words for the added weight of responsibility this disease puts on parents. To put it in perspective, consider having leading medical experts explain that it’s a “gray area” of medicine, this condition that causes your kid’s throat to close or blood pressure to plummet from a crumb of food. There is no cure, explanation, or even very accurate testing to monitor changes.

9. There is nothing more annoying than someone -- a relative stranger, usually – questioning the severity and the sort of symptoms our kid gets if she eats food she’s allergic to. Each reaction, to each food, for each person, differs. Not even leading experts can predict the severity of the next reaction. It depends on quantity of the food, allergic levels at that time, immune levels at that time, and so much more. If a mom says her kid is allergic to something, don’t question it. In ANY way.

10. If we look tense (or somewhat insane) at birthday celebrations, Halloween parties, and schools feasts, don’t take it personally. We’re just a little on edge about our kids’ potential violent reaction to any of the food touching everything all around them.

11. “Helicopter Parenting” does not apply. Save the label for someone who truly earns it, please.

Are you raising a kid with food allergies? What do you wish other parents understood about it?



Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/snapphoto



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