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  • Writer's pictureSarah Fry, @foodallergiesotg

Giving Yourself Grace as a Food Allergy Mom


As guest author Sarah Fry, founder of @foodallergiesotg writes, "Food allergy parenting feels hard because it is hard." Read her raw, honest look at food allergy parenting and learn why it's so important to have compassion for ourselves as we navigate this season in our family's life. We keep moving forward because that's what we do. Sometimes 'good enough' is good enough. And, it's really ok. Give a read. Be encouraged.


Post author with her two small boys and husband

Managing food allergies affects everything, from the way your days unfold morning to night, to your friendships, and to your physical and mental well being. Food allergy parenting feels hard because it is hard.


It's OK to Feel Sad, Mad as a Food Allergy Mom


In my 5 years as an allergy mom, I’ve learned to allow myself to feel sorry for myself every now and then. You’re allowed to be frustrated and mad about your situation. You’re allowed to break down and cry. You are not living the life you envisioned and that is difficult to accept.


This allergy life can be all consuming. And the rules always seem to change. Who wouldn’t be overwhelmed by that?


Which is why, when you break down, it is not a sign of weakness. In fact, you’re so freaking strong. Because when you eventually lift yourself and rebuild, you're stronger for it.


Bottling up those emotions just makes them harder to process later on.


I’ve found that giving myself the time to cry, get angry, or vent — within a day or so of feeling those feelings bubbling up — it helps so much. No matter how big or small the issue.


Yes, things could always “be worse.” But that doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid. You’re allowed to let this allergy life — that you didn’t sign up for by the way — piss you off sometimes. No shame in that!


You just can’t wallow in it. Allow yourself all the time you need…and then find something positive to focus on.


We need to keep marching forward. Because that’s just what we do.


And we need to give ourselves every little bit of grace.


It's OK to Put Friendships on Pause


Friendships are hard in adulthood. And as an allergy mom in the midst of doing food allergy treatment — that adds another layer.


I used to mail every single one of my closest friends a birthday card on their birthday. Every single year. But I’m not the A+ friend I used to be. I miss calls and days/weeks go by that I don’t text. I often feel guilty for not returning a text or forgetting a birthday. I know they're busy too, but I hope they don’t mistake my silence for apathy


We spend our days working, wrangling kids, hunting down safe foods, prepping it, and packing it. We’re measuring medicines and advocating for our kids. Then when we finally get a second to breathe, we need that time to ourselves.


I try to remind myself that having young kids with food allergies is a season. Our kids will grow up and become more independent. We will always have more paperwork to fill out as allergy moms, but our load will lessen a little. And true friends will wait for us.


So we need to give ourselves every little bit of grace.


It's OK to be Not Perfect


Motherhood is hard enough. Then pile on all consuming allergy life…are you kidding me? No one does this perfectly.


I’ve realized that one of the hardest things about food allergies is that there's no off switch.

  • There's no taking a break.

  • There's no medication you can take to make it ‘all’ better.

  • There's no day off.

Food allergies are constant. They affect everything. Even the small mundane to do list tasks that you think are not related, or maybe aren’t directly related to food allergies, there's always some little tie, something that relates back to food allergies that you have to deal with. And it’s tiring. But, it does get a little easier to manage and deal with those things. They become so embedded in your life that you get more used to them as time goes on.


So,

  • if the to-do list doesn’t get shorter,

  • if your house is a mess,

  • if you didn’t have the patience you should with your kids,

  • if you forget something for school,

  • if you miss an appointment

  • if you’re tired at the end of the day…

Just take a deep breath. Keep going.


It’s really ok. Anyone would be exhausted.


So we need to give ourselves every little bit of grace.


Why Grace?


Because our kids with food allergies sense and feel things. They absorb everything.


Because we don’t want to burden them with our fears and anxieties and instead shoulder the burden ourselves.


Because we want our kids to be allergy-aware, yet not fearful or anxious.


Because as parents we want to raise resilient, empowered kids with food allergies.


Because we love our kids. More than life itself.


So we need to give ourselves every little bit of grace.


handdrawn outline of heart in black created using Canva

 
Headshot of guest author Sarah  Fry with her two young sons

About the Author: Sarah Fry is a mom to two young boys with food allergies. She began her social media account @FoodAllergiesOTG in 2021 to help other food allergy moms feel less alone and to take some of the work out of daily struggles that come with food allergy life. By sharing her ups and downs, her experience managing her son’s food allergy treatment program, and so much more – she has cultivated a supportive community of parents helping each other through the food allergy trenches. Sarah has also organized both virtual and in-person allergy mom meet-ups and has worked with two other moms to develop a first of its kind food allergy family camp in Central TX. Find Sarah on IG (@foodallergiesotg) and on TikTok (@foodallergiesonthego.)


Image: Courtesy of Sarah Fry

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