Friday, September 6, 2013

TRUST & the Tug of War!

Perusing through blogs and FaceBook posts I see the tug of war amongst food allergy parents. It ranges from "put your kid out there in everything and let them live life" vs. "hold on to them cautiously and monitor them closely". I've heard comments like "it's in God's hands", or "you can't expect others to change". To start my thought,  I have an inexplicable respect for any parent who manages Food Allergies in a world so content on supporting the wrong end of the cause. I think that the tug of war comes from the social frustrations accompanying our lack of control and trust in society. Frustration that we aren't going to be able to control things so we have to give up a little of that control and put responsibility on others. By doing this you are allowing a little room for error and therefore leaving the control in "God's hands". An example of this invisible trust is sending your kids to school and trusting others to replace your vigilance. After all, is there even another option? What about if you HAVE to go to work to even feed these children, as metaphoric as that thought is. Working to feed the mouths that are allergic to most everything in the mainstream American diet. Not to mention the school system that's full of pizza, cupcake, and ice cream parties. Trust that a note home with the kids will make the other parents know how to prepare their children to share environments with yours, without making FA children feel like they have leprosy. My point is not to compromise the integrity of the choices FA parents have to make, it's to point out that this society makes them have to.

Being a FA parent is tougher than anyone outside of it gives credit for. We learn how to keep our little ones safe, teach others (across all the personality barriers) how to do it, try to get others to care enough to do so, and hold people responsible for their actions when we are passing around trust. We don't just trust people because we share bloodlines or have known them forever, or because they have a title like doctor or teacher. Then, in seeking out camaraderie, we look to other FA parents and either get judged because what is working for them isn't something we are comfortable doing, or we feel stupid for asking anything anyway. I'm homeschooling my daughter because it's what's best for her and we have the means and ability to do so. I have recently, and not so recently, received much criticism regarding that fact. Someone even told me that they would do that for their child, but they really want them to have a "good" education. Um, that is the point right? I respect everyone's decisions on how they choose to parent their children, but let's not step on each other's toes while trying to support one another. We need one another because we have enough of an uphill battle without pulling one another down along the climb.  I don't like to see this bantering back and forth about who's parenting better and who has the right answers. The only thing that really matters is that we are all doing our best and reaching out to the only other people who face the same obstacles for comfort and support.

As for me, I don't leave much rope to get ourselves hung on in my parenting style. I am conservative and protective, but please remember that my daughter is anaphylactic to even the touch of a milk protein, so it really comes with the territory. I don't judge anyone in complete honesty, but I do remember every time someone thoughtlessly puts dangers (milk proteins) near my daughter.  I wouldn't be able to teach her and protect her if I didn't pay attention to this.  I remember every time people don't care (or think) enough to remove their shoes at my house, or wash their hands, or just blatantly show up   with a cheese sandwich, when so much thought and effort was put into keeping everything safe. Our home is our sanctuary for our daughter. It's the ONLY place in her world that she can be free from worry and fear of an allergic reaction. Don't compromise that sense of peace to my family for any reason. To me there is a difference between what's in "God's hands", and what He put in my hands. We have some level of control over our lives and all of us need to be accountable for that.  My parenting style is what works in my family. The choices I make for my daughter are just that-- my choices and I am accountable for those choices.  Telling someone to change is not supporting them. Respecting their choices is.

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