Hi! I'm Jen, I'm an allergy mom and I'm a slacker.
Well, maybe I'm being a little hard on myself. I mean, I don't sit on my couch all day drinking Jack, chain smoking and anxiously awaiting the latest paternity test results on Maury while my kids play with lead paint chips in a corner. I'm not that mom.
But I am the mom who doesn't look in the school folder until 5 minutes before the kids head out the door and then realizes there was a project due today. I am the mom who sent my daughter all dolled up to "dress up day" at school a week early (thank goodness it wasn't crazy hair day! That might have required some therapy). I am also the mom who looks at the clock at 5:30, glances at my children, checks the fridge and freezer and then says "let's just order a pizza!". Again.
You see, I didn't get the organization gene. I am a poor time manager. I don't know if it's nature or nurture, but whichever it is, it just didn't happen for me. I don't make meal schedules, I don't have a cleaning calendar. What I do have are random piles of paper and clothes and toys all around the house that I hope to clean up someday.
I find myself staring longingly at the supermoms of the world. The ones who pull up to the drop off line, slide their long skinny legs out of their Escalade, perfectly dressed and coiffed at 07:45 in the morning as they help their meticulous children into class with some freshly baked muffins for the teacher.
I envy them. I want to be them! I've tried, but alas, it will never be.
Why am I confessing this? Because even if it doesn't come naturally, as an allergy mom you have to acquire some of these skills! You have to be prepared. At a minimum you need to carry your Epipen everywhere at all times. You need to make sure it isn't expired and that it doesn't get too hot or too cold while you are out. Ideally, you'll actually have two of them on you just in case one isn't enough.
You also learn to plan ahead for eating out, school parties, sporting events, etc. You bake the day before your kids go anywhere special so they have something they can actually eat. When you visit a new town you note where those little blue and white "H" signs are in relation to your hotel, because you never know. You talk to every parent, family member and teacher who might be alone with your kids about what they can and can't eat, what symptoms to watch out for and how to give an Epipen.
You fill out a gazillion papers and write up health plans and 504s. You might have to plan to always take days off of work for school parties and trips so you can hover over your kiddo and watch what they are eating. You buy safe candy for Halloween, Christmas and Easter so when all the other little cuties are chowing down, your kids have something too.
My point is, that when I reflect on all of the things I have to do for my kids' allergies every day, I realize that I actually have it together I little more than I had thought! Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit here. Perhaps it's not that I'm a complete slacker. Maybe it's just that I'm expending all of my limited organizational skills managing my kids' food allergies and keeping them alive, and I just don't have any extra to spend at home! Sounds legit, doesn't it?
So the next time you remember that your middle schooler forgot his paper that had to be handed in first period, and you are racing to school in a T-shirt, boxers and flip flops praying you don't have to get out of the car for ANY reason (yeah, I did that today), don't be too hard on yourself.
You might not be the skinny, muffin toting, organized mom that you think you should be, but that's okay.
You are still pretty awesome, Allergy Mom.
If you liked this post, you might love Why Food Allergy Moms Seem a Little Crazy!
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