Socializing with people has become different. For parents reading this, they already are fully aware of the impact on one’s social life after having a child. Well, its even worse when you have a child with food allergies.
I know that I should make the effort not to let my son’s food allergies become a burden on my social life, and just get on with my usual outings. I know that I should pack his food, watch him more closely, and make sure to inform the people with us about his food allergy. I know all of this, and I do it!
We do birthday parties, play dates, have friends over, go to play areas…we go everywhere. We do all of the normal things that kids do.
But the stress and fear that I take with me can be overpowering that I just wish I could stay in the safest place, home!
Having to explain to everyone we meet about his food allergy is fine. I got used to it. But just watching the parent nod and knowing deep down inside that she simply doesn’t get it, is frustrating! Does she understand how SERIOUS this is? “I’m not telling you this to feel sorry for me. I am telling you this to protect my son from the allergens that you or your family may be enjoying around my son”. Well I’m sure the parent may think I’m CRAZY (not that it would matter to me :)) especially when I start talking about it over and over again and stressing about it (well because the parent simply doesn’t get it). Very few, and I mean very few, have actually understood! (That’s based on my personal experience).
So YES, I’ve become SELECTIVE with who we go out with. I need to make sure we enjoy our time out, stress-free, and not having to spend my time explaining the seriousness of food allergies and wondering whether they got it or not.
Education and communication is lacking! We need to change the culture around food allergies so we don’t have to worry so much about the safety of our children. Please do take it SERIOUSLY when a parent mentions that her child has food allergies. Do not think it is food intolerance. They are completely different.
The impact of the way you treat food allergies is far more reaching than you think!