How to Crush a Food Allergy Mom: A Tutorial

This is an easy to follow tutorial for how to crush a food allergy mom.  I’m offering the top 5 most crushing blows I have heard from other parents regarding my food allergic daughter or as commentaries on food allergies, knowing I have a food allergic daughter.  I know these work because I myself have been crushed by them.  Truthfully, you don’t need to follow each step.  Just pick your favorite and it will probably get the job done.  Of course, the more you use, the deeper the crushing.  Some of these have been said directly to me or in front of me.  Others were passed along second hand.  Either method seems effective.  Let’s get started.

Top 5 phrases for crushing a food allergy mom:

5)  “My child’s food preferences are as important as your child’s.”

Why it works:  This not only shows that you consider avoiding allergens to be a choice rather than a necessity, it also shows that overprotective food allergy mom that the effects of eating something other than cheese or peanut butter for a snack or meal are every bit as damaging as the effects of exposing her child to potentially “life threatening” allergens.  Just because the snack could kill her child, doesn’t mean yours shouldn’t eat it.  It’s not like kids ever transfer food particles around the classroom or playground.  If your kid NEEDS these snacks, other kids just need to deal with it.  Its not YOUR responsibility to keep her child safe at school.  She just wants everyone else to do her job for her.  (Last line was borrowed from a particularly fed up mother who was tired of the food allergy moms relying on others.)

4)  “If it’s that severe, you should just homeschool.”

Why it works:  This is the best way to show that food allergy mom that her child has no right to public education if they can’t tolerate being around your child’s favorite foods.  Why should THAT child even be here if everyone else has to change the way they pack lunches?  If his food allergy is that severe, he should just dig a hole and never climb out of it.  That will keep him safe for sure and nobody else will have to worry about it.  You know that if it were your child, you would just abandon all hopes and dreams for their future and change the plan.  After all, it’s not like they will EVER be able to function normally anyway, so why even bother trying to exercise options that should be reserved for “normal” parents?

3)  “Food allergies are not real.  They are made up by attention seeking parents.”

Why it works:  This works for two reasons.  It shows that the parent is to blame for the condition, while also pointing out the inauthenticity of food allergies.  You need to show these mothers that they can’t pull the wool over your eyes.  As if contact with a smear of ranch dressing could really KILL a child with an egg allergy.  What kind of a dimwit does she take you for?  Certainly it would just be a mild rash or a tummy ache.  Those who DO suffer breathing difficulties, anaphylaxis, and even heart attacks following ingestion probably only do so because their parents have caused such anxiety about everything the child eats.  Those parents should be ashamed of themselves.  After all, if you don’t fully understand a disease, it probably doesn’t exist.

2)  “Ick.  I don’t know how you can eat that stuff.”

Why it works:  This is a great one.  You don’t have to actually express disbelief in the food allergy to get this jab in.  After working for her child’s entire life to find/create safe alternatives to the foods your kids enjoy without a second thought, you can use the food allergy mom’s own efforts to crush both her and the child.  Chances are, she has convinced her child that their alternative is every bit as tasty as what your kids are eating.  She might even believe it’s true.  Pffffffffft.  Can you imagine?  Be sure you say it in front of the child, so the mother HAS to address it with them and to be sure they won’t feel so satisfied with their alternative in the future.  Maybe if we take away the acceptance of alternatives, she’ll drop the ridiculous charade.

1)  “Maybe it’s just nature’s way of weeding out the weak.”

Why it works:  This one hits hard in a totally different way.  With this one, you can admit that perhaps exposure to the allergen would actually kill her child.  The fact is, who cares?  Is she is so full of herself that she thinks the loss of such a small percentage of the population would impact us?  These children are obviously defective anyway.  Maybe if her child dies from an exposure to their allergen it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.  I heard it put best, “maybe if we just all turn our heads for about 5 years, the whole food allergy problem will just fix itself.”

There you have it.  Just put on your pleasant parent face and deliver any or all of these lines in a sweet voice.  Chances are, nobody will stand up for her, and you will have successfully crushed a food allergy mom.  Honestly, there will be nothing she can say or do, so you needn’t worry about it coming back to you.  She’s going to have to maintain her focus on food and she really can’t afford to make any enemies.  She really can’t even react because she’s not going to want to bring any more attention to it in front of her child, who is already likely teetering on the edge of being a social outcast.  After all, food is central to all social events.  The most she can do is go home a cry about it after the kids are in bed.  Pathetic!

If you’re not interested in actually crushing her, but just want a few little digs to let her know you truly don’t understand or agree with her ways.  These are good to keep in your back pocket and slip into conversations with food allergy mom as needed…

-That’s a little over the top. (to be used for any precaution she takes)

-It’s too dangerous for the non-allergic children to have an Epipen in the classroom.

-I feel so sorry for your other kids because they have to live with this.

-Since there is likely a genetic component, I guess it was a tough decision to have more kids.

Happy Crushing!

Just remember this.  If you ever change your mind and heart, there are ways to help rebuild some of the rubble others have left behind.  Here are a few things people have said to me that make my heart feel fuller just thinking about them.

5)  “I would be doing the same thing if it were my child.”

4)  “These precautions are really not hard.  Anyway, it’s worth it to keep every child safe and included.”

3)  “I would like to pack a completely safe lunch/snack so our kids can play together without you having to worry.  What are some good food ideas?”

2)  “I just wanted to give you plenty of notice that I plan to bring in a treat for my child’s birthday.”  (followed by details of what they will be bringing so I can provide a comparable safe treat.)

and the biggest, best, most delightful way to build up ANY parent…

1)  “I LOVE your child.”  (End it right there.  This should not be followed by “but…”)

43 thoughts on “How to Crush a Food Allergy Mom: A Tutorial

  1. Fantastic post. I feel crushed just knowing there are parents who are jerks enough to think stuff like this, let alone say it out loud. I’m curious (but maybe scared to know)…on a day-to-day basis, are you more likely to hear the “crushing” comments or the uplifting ones? (This is just to gauge how much faith I ought to lose in humanity, not to suggest that getting even one comment like that ever should be considered acceptable.)

    • I overwhelmingly hear more uplifting comments than crushing. Part of that is because I surround myself with positive, supportive people and we are lucky enough to be in a fantastic school setting. The crushes are usually a quick comment from an acquaintance or something someone is passing along that originated from someone else. I do tend to dwell on the negative comments more. I need to focus on the positives and just let the negative comments go as soon as they’re spoken.

    • Thank you! I just read it and WOW. This one really got me…”We are planning a class activity using peanut butter but don’t worry, the kids don’t actually eat it”. It’s amazing the amount of education that is still needed. Especially for professionals who work with children. My oldest child is still in preschool, so it’s good to read about some of the school experiences I have to look forward to. I’ll be ready when these start rolling in, thanks to you!

      • Sunbutter has the same consistency as peanut butter if you would like to try that instead. Kids with a peanut allergy cannot come in contact with it in any way. The slightest amount on the finger could cause them to go into anaphalaxis. No one, especially a child, wants to be witness to a child who is struggling to breath and then has to have an epipin administered. I think that would be tramatic

      • Great suggestion! The quote above is actually from the blog post by Nutrimom. See the link in her comment. That raises a good point though. Nutbutter substitutes aren’t only good for eating. They can be used in all of those arts and crafts activities. we all know the pinecone birdfeeder craft slathered in peanut butter and birdseed. With soynut butter or sunbutter and a safe seed mixture, this craft could still be done.

  2. Whew…I do believe we parents who don’t have these difficulties need some more education…some of these comments are absolutely ridiculous!!! I would gladly adjust my children’s meals so that they could play with Elena! In fact, when I heard that there were some allergies in Jacob’s kindergarten class, I asked if maybe all the parents in the class could make adjustments so that the children wouldn’t have to be isolated at a separate table. Everyone deserves to be safely included! Thanks for teaching those of us who don’t face these problems how to help out.

    • Elizabeth, that is AMAZING!!! I’m sure it means a lot to those mothers that another parent is making this suggestion. Thank you for giving another mother the gift of an amazing start to the school year. I love the way you think.

  3. Well written, heartfelt, and I have been the recipient of this many times. I make sure to advocate for my girls…..I just always try to make the parent see my point of view. I sometimes start with “So if a doctor tested your child and told you your child could die from milk, you would test it on a daily basis?” and “how would your child feel watching her friend gasping for air knowing that their snack caused it?” and “So…..you are saying to me that your child’s right to eat a peanut butter sandwich supersedes my child’s right to an education?…..am I understanding you correctly?” So your child ONLY eats peanut butter all day? Nothing else? because then I would think YOU would have to be concerned with your child’s nutrition, right?”……….I just keep trying to get people onto my team. Showing her skin test results, carrying the auviq trainer…….and talking about her all the time 🙂 Thanks for writing this, I am going to share 🙂

    • Thank you! These are great responses. In these situations, I am always able to think of the perfect thing to say. The problem is, I think of it about 12 hours after the fact. I might have to keep a few of your points in mind so I’ll be ready next time.

  4. I agree that the comments you mentioned are thoughtless and self-centered, made by insensitive and mis-informed people. I do want to state that the number of children experiencing allergies has greatly increased over recent years and most people are better-informed, more understanding, and much more considerate. Thank you to all of you that are helpful and copassionate to our families dealing with allergies!

  5. This list is so painfully true! Thank you for your take on what really brings us food allergy moms down. I don’t know whether I should feel happy I’m not alone or disgusted that others have to go through the same thing. In the meantime I’ll keep spreading the word about the seriousness of food allergies and hope I can change a mind or two in the process…

    • It brings us down, but also brings us together. Even though this post is “How to crush” us, they really can’t keep us down. So many have gone before us and put us in such a better position than ever. It’s still a fight, but it’s one we can win. We just have to win over other parents by educating them. I’m so glad there are so many of us fighting this battle! If you change one mind, maybe they’ll change another.

  6. Great Blog Post. Education is the key and without knowing your family I would still be inconsiderate to people with food allergies. I hope I can be a supportive parent to my girls’ future classmates!

    • You know what? Without Elena and Wyatt, I might be one too. I’m certain I would never say these things, but I do think it takes knowing someone and really having it explained to understand how serious it is. The least I can do is make sure everyone around me knows WHY these things are important. Thanks for the kind words. I have a feeling you would have been considerate even without us, but it’s nice to hear we are helping 😉

  7. I remember my son’s teacher once telling me what a pain it is to have a child in the classroom with food allergies (this was a long time ago and way before I developed multiple food allergies). What I would say to that teacher now!

    • Wow!!! I’m glad I haven’t heard that one. There are some things you shouldn’t say, even if you do think them. I would really be concerned about a teacher who would say that teaching my child. If she’s not intelligent or sensitive enough to know that’s completely inappropriate, what else is she saying and doing?

  8. Well written post for the clueless! And it doesn’t even address the truly evil people who threaten to send their own children to school smeared with peanut butter, etc. (Wish I were kidding.) Lots of hugs from another allergy mom!

    • Those are the absolute worst. I’m operating under the assumption that these things are uttered without thought to how they will be perceived, but the threats are just cruel. Hopefully people will read this and think twice about what they say. I have little hope for those who make threats. Unfortunately, life threatening food allergies makes those afflicted very easy targets. Most children carry a deadly weapon around with them every day. Parents really need to realize that they set the tone for how their children respond to the needs of others.

  9. Very well said. I am hoping that public compassion will be the result of all of us speaking about this thing that we didn’t choose to have in our lives. What I wouldn’t give for my son to eat pizza and cupcakes with all of his friends. And the homeschool comment? Ugh. It gets me every time.

    • Me too! Seriously, do people think we WANT our kids not to be included. I wouldn’t mind being able to order a pizza for dinner every once in a while when things are hectic. It’s terrible to be hated on for something that’s already hard to swallow (no pun intended).

  10. I think I just fell in love with you! The “best” aspect of living with food allergies for our family has been the countless opportunities to discuss respect, tolerance and compassion with my own kids as well as their classmates. These things come so naturally to kids. Too bad we grown-ups don’t always follow suit. Thanks for the post!

    • Yes yes yes, Amen!!! Kids are the BEST!!! I have never seen a kid complain about not having a certain food because of another child’s allergy. It’s always the parents who associate their own happy childhood memories with whatever they were eating as a kid. For once, I wish parents would pay attention to the cues their children are giving them and follow suit. As they get older, these wonderful, caring, compassionate kids just might start picking up on the nastiness their parents are putting out there. What a shame. Let’s nip this before that happens 🙂

  11. Nice post, I have had the ‘what did YOU do to cause it?’ and why did you have a second child if it’s possibly genetic?’ (my youngest daughter has no allergies!), I also find people always say ‘she looks so healthy are you sure she has allergies and asthma’. Yes I am thanks, you should see her on a high pollen day.

    • Oh, yes. I always think it’s hard for people to understand a child who looks so healthy can be so at risk. I have heard all kinds of theories for thing I did to cause it…too clean, ate allergens while pregnant/nursing, didn’t eat enough allergens while pregnant/nursing, etc. My oldest is severe for multiple foods, second child has no allergies, and third is mild for dairy only. If everyone of them were as severe as my oldest, I would love and want them just as much.

  12. Thank you for your post! I am blessed that my children do not (at this point) have any food allergies. I however am allergic to anything with a shell. As such I am always protective of the students in my care (I am a teacher) who have food allergies. I wish I could say it got better when you are an adult. I have had to leave dinner parties due to appetizers (but its only shrimp! – Um Hello – shell!) and had a reaction at work that required 911 to be called because a co-worker used my microwave to warm up crab bisque because she thought I couldn’t possibly be “that allergic” I just wish those that were that insensitive had to put up with the resulting blisters in their mouth (from a reaction) once – I would never wish the rest of the reaction on anyone for any reason – they would never say it again.

    • Oh No!!! The fact that you have your own microwave, I’m guessing for this very reason, should have clued her in to how severe it is. That’s horrible. On the other hand, I sure would love for my kids to have a teacher like you. Even the non-allergic kids are lucky to have you because they will really learn a lot from seeing how their teachers handle food allergies (your own and your students’). You’re sending little armies of protectors out into the world 🙂

  13. I’m the one with food allergies, as an adult, and I hear these same things. It must be heartbreaking to hear them about/in front of your own child. From now on, my response is simply “Google Natalie Giorgi” and then come back to talk to me.

  14. Thank you for writing this! I too have been crushed, and in front of my child too. I am now a new subscriber to your blog. God Bless.

  15. It never really gets easier, but callouses seem to form by the time they reach high school. After a while, you just learn not to care what the uninformed or uncaring human has to say, only to focus on keeping your child safe regardless of their actions. My youngest is a junior in high school and we are honestly planning to move to the city where she will attend college because the thought of her living in a dorm with 23 food and 23 non-food allergies is simply crazy. She wouldn’t survive the first semester.

    • I can’t even imagine all of the trials we don’t even know to be worried about yet as our children get older. Our oldest allergic child is 4, so preschool has been our biggest challenge. Luckily, it has gone well. The comments from random strangers are easier for me to handle than the ones from people who know and love my child. I’m thankful there are people like you and your daughter out there paving the way for us 🙂

      • I think the hardest is when one of the crushing blow comments come from family members. That’s the hardest, and I don’t think I have yet recovered from those comments. As a result, we stay away from the family members who made comments that my 4 year old “should be home schooled” because they said it “wasn’t fair for other kids to have to accommodate” for my child.

      • That’s awful. It’s so hard to recover from that kind of thing and to explain to kids why some people treat others that way. Hopefully there are valuable lessons to be learned from those situations. *hugs*

    • I completely agree. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to be excited about the exposure of the issues we face, or afraid of the backlash. If we change one mind though, it’s worth giving others a place to sound off with their opinions. Thanks for reading!!!

  16. I get these a lot… And sometimes they come from my own head:/ my son has an eosinophilic disorder. He has non anaphylactic reactions that last for days and range from intense stomach pain to flu like symptoms to painful seizing up of his throat and esophagus(and that’s the short list). But because he tests negative for all allergens but milk, doesn’t carry an epipen and is negative for celiac I get off comments and looks all the time. Even allergy moms don’t relate to me and wonder if I’m just crazy and making the believability of their child’s “real” allergies less and in turn endangering them. When I try to talk about his rare disorder people even close to me say things like “it’s obviously not that bad, look he’s fine” and “you just need to eat more natural” and “if he isn’t actually allergic, feed it to him anyway his body will get used to it.” The list of foods he can’t eat expands with each failed endoscopy, and which foods we remove or add back is just the doctors guess work based on a collaboration of my notes and her knowledge. The constant changes confuse even the most helpful of family members and because most people are not interested enough to google it themselves and realize I’m not making this up, they land at the ignorant assumption that I’ve lost my mind or have munchausin disorder(both my aunt and sister in law actually said it to my face). Currently my son can’t have dairy(including goat and sheep), eggs, soy, and wheat(including glutin free oats.) So thank you. I’ve been living the number 3 nightmare for a while and just seeing that you relate was a breath of fresh air!
    And just in case someone is making that face….. I googled it for you
    http://allergies.about.com/od/foodallergies/a/ee.htm

    • Oh, Kelly. You know, I think all allergies are scary and if my child wouldn’t necessarily have a life threatening reaction, but would be sick for days after ingestion, I can’t say I would do a single thing differently than how I do it now. It’s really not so different. I guess my fears would be a little different for her, but that’s not to say they wouldn’t be as bad. The whole, “look, he’s fine” line really hits home with me. I definitely think one of the scariest things is knowing my child looks just like everyone else, and unless we mark them with a bracelet or other identifier, there is no visual cue to others that their food can be harmful. Your journey is very different from mine and I’m sure the management has been a nightmare. Do you have a blog? I would love to read more. If you ever want to tell your story here, I would love to post whatever you would like others to know. If food allergy parents can’t even support each other, what hope do we have of the rest of the world rising up for our children?

  17. Thank you. I liked this blog http://lucasjourneywithee.blogspot.com/
    I haven’t found time to create my own but this one really helped me understand what our journey was going to be like. I am so grateful to the moms who blog about their kids allergys and eoe journeys. I have gotten more food recipes, advise, reassurances, and medical information from combing through blogs than from our doctors or dietitians! I’m so excited about your app, and can’t wait to eat somewhere besides chick if a! There is also an episode of MTV real life where they follow a boy who has eoe. It’s called “I’m allergic to everything.” It was pretty cool for Aiden to see another kid who deals with the same rare disorder. It’s also nice that they not only explain what it is, but also show the difficulties that surround daily management of it, and how that effects their quality of life.

  18. Pingback: Why My Kid’s Allergies Don’t Mean Your Kid Can’t Have a Birthday Party | allergenmenumom

  19. For the most part, I have received support though some teachers and parents make mistakes or just don’t get it, so it is just the first line of protection for my son: education, assertiveness and clear expectations stated (then we act as if he is not safe bc he’s not and show up for every event anyway). I live in Texas, so maybe people are nicer? No idea. Making sure YOU are the assertive and educating one from the start helps too- so no one has a chance to say anything stupid. The few gloss-over comments I or my child have gotten have received prompt and clear responses of their danger and inappropriateness. I give fliers out to every teacher every year and have a real discussion or lengthy email with each. I give them my cell phone and email and ask that they send photos of labels of anything they are providing to use in class and allow me to purchase for the whole class anything that is needed food-wise. That makes them love me because I pay, and I am in control of the food. Of course it doesn’t work for parties and my son is still forbidden to eat anything I didn’t give him or talk to him about ahead of time (and then he reads it too and has the teacher do it for him again too). Overkill? I think not.

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