A tribute to Allergy Mamas this Mother’s Day

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“Mama, why do I have allergies?” That’s a question most of us allergy mamas will hear at some point as little ones grow and learn how to manage multiple types of allergies, especially food allergies. It is not an easy question to answer, particularly when the question is posed during events with nut-threatening cupcakes or crab claw cracking summer cookouts.  As an allergy mama, you are given special gifts to help ease anxiety, carry special treats and create a sense of connection during times when your child could feel isolated. Many could argue that is the gift of any mama. But being an allergy mama is the dairy-free icing on a nut-free cake.
On this Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of the gift of motherhood and want to take a moment to give special thanks to all of the allergy mamas and supporters who seek understanding the complex answers to one simple question, “Why do I have allergies?” Many of you are on a mission to find answers on how to best protect those you love, just like me – with an epi-pen in one hand and a phone in the other hand with doctors, caregivers and schools on speed dial.
As I reflect on a food allergy conference hosted by FAAN I recently attended a few weeks ago, it was clear that mothers are the conduit to create change and understanding. Now, there were many papas there too who are doing great work, but more on them around Father’s Day or future posts. I met many mothers, including a few Twitter followers, who shared personal experiences and have gone through great steps to get schools, caregivers, friends and relatives to understand and manage their children’s food allergies and other related conditions. One mother even paid for her child’s preschool teachers to attend the conference.  Allergy mamas have to truly go the extra mile to protect their children and educate others.
While I’ve been fortunate to work closely in partnership with my daughter’s school in managing her nasal allergies, food allergies and asthma, I know it’s not that easy as we unfortunately witnessed at Edgewater Elementary School in Volusia County, Florida. There are many other hurdles I understand you face while managing allergies in your children, including those that are life threatening.  It’s only appropriate that Food Allergy Awareness Week starts on Mother’s Day, May 8, through May 14. I’ll be on a mission to help increase understanding this week, but I hope you’ll join me on this lifelong journey by following The Allergy Mamas blog.
Through my experience and the shared experiences of others, I hope you’ll gain further insight and support our work to help businesses, communities and schools understand multiple allergies and related conditions.  There are many mamas on this journey, but I hope all mamas and mother figures take a moment to rest today and celebrate the impact you make in the lives of others.   
Happy Mother’s Day!
-Tia Howard, 

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