Finding Out My Baby Has A Peanut Allergy

Our refrigerator was covered from top to bottom with brightly colored alphabet magnets and an array of faded pictures.It was the perfect snapshot of life with two young kids, smiling faces and the chaotic remnants of my daughter’s Word of the Day efforts. Amidst the family portraits and the mermaid stickers, there now sits an 8 x 11 sheet of paper documenting a food allergy and anaphylaxis emergency care plan.

Shortly after his first birthday, my son was diagnosed with a life-threatening peanut allergy. He suffered a mild reaction after eating peanut butter for the first time. Out of an abundance of caution, we visited an allergist the following day for testing. A positive skin test and blood work later confirmed the allergy.

Tears rolled down my face as I called to tell my husband the news. I knew enough about food allergies to understand the threat to my son’s life. The realization that a measly peanut, a food so ingrained in American culture, could cause him serious harm was (and remains) really difficult to wrap my head around. I walk through the grocery store now and nearly gasp when I see a bag of peanuts. Pushing aside the big fears we all have as parents, I am petrified my son might simply take a bite from a peanut butter cookie. The threshold for keeping him safe has become significantly lower and the pressure to do so that much higher.

It has been a few months since his diagnosis, and thankfully we haven’t had any issues. We are slowly adapting to our new life as an “allergy family” and learning the ins and outs of what that label really means. We are educating ourselves (and those around us) about cross-contamination and EpiPen procedures. It’s a constant battle between obsessing over the allergy and not being careful enough. It’s finding the balance between not alarming everyone around you and treating his allergy more like a personal dietary choice. When I see Nut-Free signs posted around our neighborhood in my daughter’s school and dance studio, my heart nearly skips a beat in relief.

When my son was first diagnosed, I told my husband that I didn’t think I was cut out for the role. I spent many nights wondering whether or not I was strong enough to advocate for him; whether I would ever be able to overcome the anxiety a food allergy brings to a parent. But a mother’s love is truly stronger than any fear. Through this experience, I have found a voice for my son. I am met with daily challenges and situations to navigate on his behalf. I have called countless companies (regarding their handling of allergens), visited doctors, and researched every possible avenue to help him.

Caring for a child with a food allergy is not easy. Food allergies are not linear or neat; they do not follow a reassuring and predictable pattern. It can feel like you’re constantly living with an elephant in the room, but the good news is that eventually the elephant kind-of becomes your elephant. You learn to adjust and discover a new version of normal.

When I thought ahead about my son’s future, I never envisioned a food allergy – that curve in the storyline didn’t fit into my unicorns and rainbow theme. I saw a lot of laughter and smiles shared with his big sister and probably some type of delicious cupcake in his hand, frosting smeared across his face. So now, I still hear that same laughter and see those smiles, but maybe he’s just holding a balloon instead.

My now 15-month-old son is blissfully tottering around and mischievously plotting the ways he can pester his sister. He is incredibly fortunate to be healthy and completely unaware of his allergy. For now, I am his voice and his protector. There is great hope in the future for him and for the food allergy epidemic.

So, maybe we will get our rainbow after all.

Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.

This article was sponsored by Earth Mama Organics. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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