What If a Food Allergy Mom’s Mother’s Day Went Down Like This?

By:
in Features, Managing Allergies, Parenting & School
Published: May 4, 2022
Photo: Getty

Our writer Caroline lets her imagination loose on what she’d really like for Mother’s Day, and sets it to a playlist. But this is more than a tuneful reverie. Caroline emerges from her fantasy to pay mad respect for allergy moms – and the difference they are making.

Music choice to read by: soft spa music 

Slowly stretching my stiff back while rubbing the sleepiness out of my dreamy state, I climb out of bed and shuffle to the shower. 

I’m pleasantly surprised to discover a lovely new set of grapefruit-scented, allergen-friendly products, topped with a teal bow, stacked on the bathroom counter. I am ready to kick off Mother’s Day. 

Calming melodies softly play in the background as I pause to sip a piping hot vanilla chai latte. Stepping out of the shower and into my luxurious new Egyptian cotton robe, I scroll through my smartphone. My heart races as I read today’s big headline: “Peanut and Milk Allergy Cure is Found; Food Allergy Moms Across the Globe Celebrate.”

Cue music: turn up Happy by Pharrell

Hearing my screams of excitement, my family comes running, fully dressed, manicured, and with impeccably coiffed hair. As we soak in the good news, my husband herds us to the car to celebrate Mother’s Day with a picnic – complete with a full basket of ‘friendy’ food.

Stopping at a new deli searching for safe potato chips and drinks, the owner whisks us inside to show off his new top allergen-free menu. He enthuses about the “life-changing” allergy food-service training his team completed. (His words, not mine – although this is my fantasy, so maybe they really are mine). Marlon, the owner, explains that his staff will kick off 10-minute monthly food allergy discussions on Monday, and they couldn’t be any happier about it.

Heading home from the picnic, my phone lights up with an urgent text. On Monday, Congress will approve increasing the Top 9 list of priority allergens to include 14 allergens. Also imminently, the FDA will require allergen labeling for all personal-care products! Eureka, progress at last!

Cue music: pop on I Believe We Will Win/World Anthem by Pitbull 

Back in my living room, I stretch on the couch as fuzzy teal socks warm my toes. While I catch up on the latest FAACT newsletter on my phone, hubby and the kids prepare dinner. They’re making homemade, allergy-friendly focaccia to accompany my favorite quinoa vegetable soup.

Ending this glorious day, a quick cruise through TikTok shows an emerging trend focused on mental wellness and inclusion for people with food allergies. The need seems understood; no more complicated dance. A win for those who have a stiff back (just sayin’)!

Cue music: Can’t Stop the Feeling from Dreamworks’ Trolls 

Reality Has Allergy Mom Magic

But let’s step out of my musical daydream and look straight at reality. This Mother’s Day is more than honoring mom. It’s about celebrating all the amazing women in our food allergy community. 

The ones who have become a mother to all our children through their passion. From pressing for inclusive school policies and chaperoning field trips, to creating allergy-friendly recipes and lobbying for progressive legislation, women perform their “food allergy magic” all the time. 

Some moms head to Congress to share inspiring stories and educate lawmakers. Others write letters and work behind the scenes to create laws protecting people with food allergies. Whether educating one person at a time or en masse, allergy moms make a difference. And collectively, we reap the benefits.

We moms uplift each other and share tips, tricks, triumphs and failures. Allergy moms live authentically and without apologies. Dark circles under their eyes tell the stories of late-night baking, research, or tears of frustration over exclusion or bullying.

Food allergy moms tap into their legal, communication, medical, or artistic skills to influence and to help. They do whatever it takes to improve the quality of life for those with food allergies. Their commitment is boundless.

Every day, they share food allergy stories with relatives, schools, restaurants, food makers, and with researchers conducting clinical trials. Online and through support groups and PTAs, allergy moms support each other. They show a tireless passion for being a shoulder to cry on, or an ear for some good old-fashioned venting.

Advances are Being Made

Cue music: Thank You by Celine Dion

I do wish for a magical Mother’s Day complete with a picnic. But the truth is that the magic is with us every day. Advances are slower than in my fantasy, but still, strides are being made.

Caroline Moassessi

New free-from products, with improved labeling and certifications, appear on shelves every year. Researchers are working overtime toward new treatments and testing for food allergies. More restaurants, colleges, and food-service providers are responding to the need for food allergy training and improved accommodations. 

In less than a year, the FASTER Act will add sesame as the top ninth allergen. We now understand that mental and physical well-being run together. Programs, such as food allergy mentoring, are emerging, and I find we are kinder to ourselves and each other.

Once treatments for all food allergies are available – this is my hope, as well as my dream – we’ll need to remember the mountains moved by our determined community. As we honor moms worldwide on Mother’s Day, let’s give a round of special applause to all the great food allergy moms. Thank you, for everything.

Cue music: My Universe by Coldplay and BTS

Contributor Caroline Moassessi is the vice president of community relations for the non-profit FAACT. Discover their educational resources here

Related Reading:
Gina Clowes: Finding the Positive Side of Food Allergies
Food Allergy Mom’s Advice: Visiting Relatives, A Balancing Act
Colleges That Go the Distance for Students with Food Allergies