Ignorance out of Fear

Bringing awareness to difficult issues is very important to me.

I believe in speaking up and speaking out!

I also think change is an important part of our lives and our growth.

But I understand change is scary. I know that anything different, or unusual can be frightening. There is a fear of the unknown and the misunderstood and that’s normal, but this doesn’t have to be the “norm.” As parents it is our job to protect, educate, and encourage our children to embrace each others’ differences.

But that is not what we are doing.

Many of us are creating road blocks, refusing change, and preventing growth.

Out of fear.

This won’t make the child go away or change.

It will only bread more fear.

More anger.

I had no idea how ignorant some people were on the subject of allergies until my guest post the other day. Even when it involves children, the refusal to understand a subject, or put themselves in the other parents’ shoes is too much of an adjustment.

The fear of change became so frightening that it is easier to remain uninformed.

Schools making drastic changes to their regulations; parents asking for understanding and empathy; articles listing tips on how to educate children on the dangers of sharing foods; news programs on the importance of being aware of allergies; are all available to crush fear.

To bridge the gaps that are created by misinformation and ignorance.

Think about your child.

How would your world change if they had an allergy?

How would it affect your thinking if it was time for them to attend school and there was no regulations in place regarding what could be brought into the school?

And your child is only 4.

What if a classmate eats something your child is allergic to and then touches her skin?

What if they don’t administer the EpiPen on time?

What if her classmates don’t understand that it’s nice to share but they can’t share with her?

What if a parent brings in something home baked and the teacher forgets that she can’t have it?

These are the things that go through the mind of a parent who has a child with an allergy every day.

Fear.

But a different kind.

Not the fear of change or acceptance.

Life and death.

Parents are in this together and we need to build each other up not tear each other down.

Speak up and out and educate one another!

And keep kids safe!

 

*Owners of Tweets were not added in order to respect their privacy

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62 Responses to Ignorance out of Fear
  1. Natalie @MamaTrack
    March 6, 2012 | 10:39 pm

    As a parent of two kids, neither of whom has any known allergy, I just don’t understand parents like those. Yes, it makes my life a little harder. Yes, it complicates things. But that is nothing, NOTHING, in comparison to the alternative. I just don’t get the resistance.

    Stay firm, Mumma. I’m with you.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:14 pm

      Thank you Natalie!
      You’re right.. for a little inconvenience it is saving a life.
      Worth it I think.

  2. Galit Breen
    March 6, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    This is so very important, friend.

    And you’re right, change is hard but in this case, oh my – necessary.

    (I love the way you love fiercely, and advocate even more so. Inspiring, really.)

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:13 pm

      Thank you so much for this Galit.
      Really… truly.
      A wonderful comment that makes me feel really great about what I’m doing.

  3. Stephanie
    March 6, 2012 | 11:15 pm

    I do not and will never understand why parents are completely willing to put another child in harms way just because it is a tiny bit inconvenient to them. Does it suck a little that I can’t send homemade snacks on my sons snack days? Yes it does. It is not easy to afford store bought snacks for 27 kids but the alternative?!? Being potentially responsible for a child going to the hospital or even dying?!? It is totally worth a little extra expense to make sure that all children are safe to enjoy the snack.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:12 pm

      It does suck that home made snacks are missed out on. And it sucks for us parents of the peanut allergy child too. I want her to experience all of that fun homemade stuff in a bakery or at a friends house but she can’t.
      (not at my house… I don’t bake)

      • Stephanie
        March 11, 2012 | 12:35 pm

        I agree!! I am so glad that I do not have the day to day stress of a life threatening allergy. I feel for you parents that do. And for the kids who are allergic and have to turn down so many fun treats 🙁

        • multitaskingmumma
          March 12, 2012 | 9:27 pm

          Thank you for having compassion and understanding Stephanie!

  4. Alison@Mama Wants This
    March 6, 2012 | 11:32 pm

    It just astounds me that parents whose kids don’t face the daily fear of life and death for their child, could so easily put aside another’s. How could they not put themselves into someone else’s shoes when they themselves are parents?

    I admire your courage and conviction and advocating. Keep going, Leighann!

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:07 pm

      I have a hard time understanding how a parent could not understand or try to understand for one second how it feels to fear for you child.
      It baffles me.

  5. Sarcasm Goddess
    March 7, 2012 | 12:42 am

    I am absolutely appalled at the person who said why would I care. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Uh, how about because the child could die? Maybe if I punch her in the face she’ll start to care. Grrr.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:06 pm

      Hey!
      Lets have you come everywhere with me and when someone says something rude about the allergy you punch them in the face!!
      This will start a movement!
      AWESOME

  6. Kimberly
    March 7, 2012 | 2:09 am

    I don’t understand how parents can be so ignorant. It comes down to a matter of life or death.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:05 pm

      It’s really sad.
      Hopefully with the more information there is out there the more understanding people will be.

  7. Kristin
    March 7, 2012 | 6:36 am

    Willful ignorance scares me, the purposeful closing yourself to think about how it might feel if you were in their shoes. I have no time for that kind of person in my life, people without empathy and understanding.

    On the subject of food allergies I ask “how would your child feel if their lunch or snack caused their classmate into a life threatening reaction?”
    That’s not something I want my child to witness or cause.

    Carry on with your great messages good mama.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:03 pm

      Thank you so much.
      I had never thought of the other child’s perspective in all of this.
      Wow.
      That took my breath away.

  8. Kim@Mamamzungu
    March 7, 2012 | 7:24 am

    Sheesh! I wonder if people are so insensitive because when we grew up there didn’t seem to be so many lethal allergies (for whatever reason), so now if they don’t have kids who have such allergies they make the cruel assumption that other parents are needlessly inconveniencing them. Unfortunately, all it takes is one tragedy to set these people straight.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:02 pm

      I wonder that too.
      Or that if they think the child has an allergy because the parent did something wrong.
      I hope not.

  9. imperfectmomma
    March 7, 2012 | 8:48 am

    Wow. I am grateful that my kids don’t have a peanut allergy. But wow. To say those things? That would. Wow. Why do things like. Wow. I am just flabberghasted that people would say that to you. You are awesome and I hope more people come to realize how serious this is.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:01 pm

      Thank you.
      I really hope that there starts to be a bit more understanding on how serious the allergy is.

  10. Nic
    March 7, 2012 | 9:31 am

    Those comments make me so angry! I think of allergies the same way I do and ambulance on the road. We always pull over and get out of the way because you have no idea if that ambulance is on its way to save one of YOUR family members. Someone told me that once and it has always stuck! Makes sense! With peanut allergies you do the same kind of thing (help save a life) bc not only could it affect your child but someone else’s. It’s a life or death situation. It’s a parents job to protect there children. If I sent my child to school with peanut butter on his hands and it caused another child to have a reaction and die how could I live with myself! How would my child cope with causing another child harm or death! Why not protect my own child and the children with the allergies! I’m really proud to live in a community that protects children with allergies. Lunches are checked, items with nuts sent back, hands are washed, policies are in place and followed. All teachers and students are aware of the children with allergies and work together to protect them. I can not believe some people’s ignorance.
    I will always do my part to protect your child and others with allergies! Xoxo

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 10:00 pm

      Thank you my friend.
      I am so grateful that you are so dedicated to keeping your home safe for my daughter.
      You’re always interested in what you can do and you have so much knowledge on peanut allergies.
      You’re a great auntie!
      xoxoxoxox

  11. lostonthemountains
    March 7, 2012 | 10:46 am

    Hooray for your advocacy! Shame on those”adults” who reacted so negatively. just another example of the world being such a Gareth place because people willingly choose to spew ignorance. I could never live with the thought of harming someone’s child.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:58 pm

      Thank you so much.
      I have a hard time understanding why someone could just not care!

    • lostonthemountains
      March 7, 2012 | 10:02 pm

      Gareth? …who knows #damnautocorrect

      I think I meant hateful…

  12. Brianne
    March 7, 2012 | 11:27 am

    oh momma! Wow! You are doing a fantastic job! I admit I had a hard time with the sharing thing, but only because, how do you teach to share only some things? I understand “why” but not the “how”. So enlighten me Obi-Wan! :)As my one year old grows up, how do you start teaching all these things so she’s a good kid and empathetic of others without alienating kids.

    How other mothers can’t put themselves in your shoes is awful. What if your lil bit and theirs become BFF’s? That’s what I think anyway. I’d want a child in my home to FEEL safe and BE safe, just as I would expect my child in someone else’s home to feel.

    As a coach of a former athlete that had a deathly allergic reaction to peanut substances and having her awesome mom handy with the epipen , it was great of her to educate us and her teammates in a fun and helpful way. I can only hope that ignorant people will run across her and people like you to teach them to think beyond themselves. Yes it’s a hassle, but if it was YOUR kid, you’d want them safe.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:57 pm

      We’ve faced the dilemma of sharing already and our daughter isn’t even 2.
      We have always told her to share and to take turns.
      And with reminders she’s starting to do a great job.
      But kids also have to learn that with food, and we’re still trying to enforce it. She will take a child’s food at the play group and she’ll take a drink of another child’s sippy cup. These are things we have to teach her along the way and as she grows up she’ll begin to grasp them.
      I think from non-allergy kids viewpoint they should be aware that this is why sharing food isn’t a good idea.

  13. Jenn@Fox in the City
    March 7, 2012 | 2:27 pm

    You know what, before I had children of my own I opposed the idea of banning peanut products from school. Then I had children and I realized that it is the responsibility of the entire community to make certain that each child is as safe as possible and if that means making changes that will protect even on child then so be it.

    There is a child in my daughters JK class with an allergy to eggs and we were given a list of what items were not safe to include in her lunches . . . so I make certain not to include them. It really is as simple as that.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:54 pm

      I love your outlook on this.
      Thank you so much for your inclusive nature!

  14. Kristin @ What She Said
    March 7, 2012 | 3:47 pm

    Whoever wrote that second tweet deserves a swift kick to the junk. What an insensitive, self-absorbed a-hole.

    My child has no allergies that I know of, yet I am and always will be sensitive to those who do simply because I would want and hope for the same courtesy in return if it were me. And as a label-reader from a sheer nutritional standpoint, I really don’t see this as an inconvenience at all.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:52 pm

      That’s a really good point! Many people are already reading the labels, it doesn’t take anymore time to look for peanuts.

  15. Kristin
    March 7, 2012 | 5:47 pm

    Especially at the youngest ages, everyone needs to be on board. It’s a terrifying possibility to have a child react to something while we’re away (or with them!) and have the worst outcomes imaginable form as real possibilities. I like Nic’s analogy of the ambulance: Make way just in case!

    Of course schools, parents of children with allergies, and parents of children without must work together to protect our kids from life threatening reactions. And depending on the size of the school, there can be different options.

    My children’s preschool bans all nut snacks and lunches even when a child with known allergies is not enrolled. The entire school is less than 30 kids. In larger schools, I think less stringent accommodations can be made. Our elementary schools have an area in the cafeteria that is labeled “Nut Free” with cute and fun signs. Any kids can go eat there if they have a nut free lunch, and many choose to go. All children are required to wash hands afterwards. Frankly, I’m not sure that it would alleviate my fears if my children were allergic, but happily we have a very supportive community here.

    I think to educate people about something like this, it’s important to stay away from getting too harsh. I’m sure there are many things I am completely ignorant about (can’t think of any right now…) – and I’d like to think I can ask a question or wonder about them without getting attacked. No one opens their mind when they are on the defensive.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:47 pm

      I think you have the answer to discussing any controversial topic, being calm and not too harsh.
      Sounds like you have a great community!

  16. MommaKiss
    March 7, 2012 | 6:03 pm

    Being the mother who carries the epi pen, I am SO glad you wrote this. It is a LIFE and DEATH fear. That some are so non-nonchalant about it, breaks my heart. You think we’d choose this for our kid, or for them to feel left out because of their allergy? no way. Sadly, allergies are becoming more common {I have my own opinions about that} so perhaps it’ll make more realize it’s just gotta be acknowledged.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:41 pm

      The EpiPen scares the shit out of me!
      I hate that it is what determines my child’s safety and potentially her life.
      Thank you for your comment! Having someone who gets it.. really gets what it’s like to be on this side of the allergy is comforting.

  17. Sweaty
    March 7, 2012 | 6:56 pm

    I’m allergic towards prawn and certain shellfish, so when my daughter was born, I kept her diet free of those until she’s five, and then we did an allergy test for her. Turned out she’s also allergic to prawns and shellfish.

    Although my allergy is mild compared to others, that’s enough for me to NOT want anyone to suffer the same, much less my own daughter. I’m more aware of food allergies to the point that I’ll make sure to remember who’s allergic to what even when it comes to close family, and my nieces and nephews.

    I have also taught my daughter since small that she absolutely could NOT eat certain things. That she was to always ask what’s in her food, whether or not it contained the things she’s allergic to. I repeated this to her over and over, until the habit stuck. I might have scared her a little when she’s younger, but hey, it’s a matter of life and death!

    Luckily, the school my daughter goes to now is quite strict regarding its no-peanut policy. Basically, no food containing peanuts are allowed in school. Moreover, as further preventive measure, the kids are not allowed to share the meals they brought from home with others. While this doesn’t eliminate the problem completely, at least it reduces the likelihood of it happening.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:39 pm

      We’re doing the same thing that you did. We’re teaching our daughter from a very young age to understand that she needs to ask what is in something before she eats it, to not share food, to wash her hands properly, and to say “no peanuts.”
      It’s hard to teach a 2 year old that they can’t just dig into whatever they want.
      The School your daughter goes to sounds awesome!

  18. Jen {at} take2mommy
    March 7, 2012 | 8:01 pm

    I’m shocked that there are parents who see their kid’s classmate’s peanut allergy as an inconvenience… and not as the life & death situation it really is. Very sad.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 7, 2012 | 9:37 pm

      I agree with you Jen, it is sad.

  19. Margaret (mammacockatoo)
    March 7, 2012 | 10:05 pm

    The only thing I can think of is that there are still people who honestly don’t realise that it can be that serious. Thankfully, I have no first-hand experience with peanut allergy – I don’t even like peanuts, but that’s beside the point – but I guess people still think food allergy is only going to affect a person if they actually eat it, and it will “just” be a rash or something. Peanuts are one of those huge, scary ones that can mean just being in the same room will be life-threatening, and people just don’t get that.

    I’m not saying people have an excuse to be that ignorant, and I’m so sorry you have to fight for this. I join the chorus of people saying I just don’t understand how anybody can, when actually presented with the facts, still say “I don’t care, it’s annoying and inconvenient to me to change my kid’s PB&J to something else”.

  20. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
    March 7, 2012 | 10:57 pm

    Allergies and the attendant conversations about what to do about them in a school setting are this century’s fire and tinder. Nothing can inflame a crowd faster than telling them not to pack PBJ in their kids’ lunch.

    My friend bought t-shirts for her preschooler to wear every day of the week to remind anyone who comes in contact with her that she has a deadly peanut allergy. They are cute, and she is adorable, but the fact that my friend feels the need to do this makes me sad. Her daughter isn’t even in real school yet and she knows that she needs to be hyper vigilant and raise awareness every single day—an awesome responsibility. Great piece. Erin

  21. Lori
    March 7, 2012 | 11:25 pm

    I have read too many news stories about the tragic end of these situations — schools that “forgot,” nurses that didn’t administer the epi pen quickly enough and even parents who thought the affected child was just being “overly dramatic.” It just astonishes me that people can be so cavalier about a legitimate life and death situation. My heart goes out to all parents of children with any kind of allergy. We can’t fix stupidity.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 8, 2012 | 10:28 pm

      Thank you so much!
      I fear everyday that my daughter will eat something she shouldn’t or that someone will give her something that she can’t have and the EpiPen will be forgotten or they won’t get to the hospital in time.
      thank you so much for recognizing the importance.

  22. katery
    March 8, 2012 | 3:16 pm

    i don’t know why anyone would be so disrespectful of something that really needs to be respected. especially when it involves a child, if louise was in class with a kid who had a peanut allergy i would try very hard to make sure i never brought anything with peanuts for a treat. honestly, the results could be deadly.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 8, 2012 | 10:27 pm

      I would have thought that was the way that most parents thought until last week.
      Sadly not everyone gets it and they are angered that the children with the allergy are making it an inconvenience for their children.
      So sad.

  23. Rach (DonutsMama)
    March 8, 2012 | 3:33 pm

    What happened to “It takes a village?” We ought to do this parenting thing together. If you saw a child in harm’s way, you’d jump to save them so why doesn’t this apply to allergies that are life-threatening? I get that it’s “inconvenient” but come on, if a child needed a wheelchair ramp or an after school program to help with a learning disability, we’d be for it right? So why can’t we extend understanding to a child with a life threatening allergy??

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 8, 2012 | 10:26 pm

      You are so wonderful Rach!
      I wrote this post with that very thought in mind! “It takes a village!”

  24. Lenore
    March 8, 2012 | 4:55 pm

    Change is daunting for others up until the moment they experience the need first hand. Have ever noticed how that works?
    The school my boys attend is a peanut and tree-nut free facility. We’ve learned to live with Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches. (smile) It’s not a hard adjustment, and it is much easier than dealing with the allergy first hand.
    Your post is well-written. Great job!

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 8, 2012 | 10:25 pm

      Thank you Lenore.
      I agree, change is very hard to accept at first.
      The schools around me are all nut free and it’s just something that is the norm. But for people in other areas of the world that isn’t the case and can be a very huge change to deal with.

  25. heidi
    March 8, 2012 | 7:08 pm

    My son has a nut allergy, so I can definitely relate to this.
    We do need to band together and support one another.
    Thank you for bringing attention to this…very insightful and well-written.:)

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 8, 2012 | 10:23 pm

      Thank you so much Heidi!
      I’m so sorry that you know how this feels but I am comforted to have you understand.

  26. Kim Pugliano @The G is Silent
    March 8, 2012 | 7:19 pm

    Interesting. My son was shoved down two days ago at school by an angry boy he described as “challenged.” He ended up with a broken wrist. It made me think, as the auntie of a blessed “challenged” 8yo what if? What if that were him? Educationally he’s right there with the rest of his class but what if he can’t control his emotions? Should he be kept separate or have a ‘para-professional?’ Could he be like this one day? Will people be intolerant of him? I feel for my sister wondering what the parents of the boy who pushed my son must be going through. They are probably wondering how tolerant my husband and I will be of the boy who ruined track for this year and has to have his mom do his homework and is in quite a bit of pain. I know I’d be worried.

    Great post.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 8, 2012 | 10:22 pm

      I love how open and understanding you are!
      I love that you do not let anger over come you in this situation.
      Thank you for this.

  27. Jackie
    March 8, 2012 | 8:38 pm

    It just seems so simple to me, why would put our children into any dangerous situation knowingly? How ignorance can continue to be perpetuated in today’s age of technology makes me mad.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 8, 2012 | 10:21 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more. But it seems that people want to live in the dark ages because they are happier there.

  28. Kimberly
    March 9, 2012 | 2:31 pm

    Whoa…people are such giant assholes.
    The hell?
    Like really. Your kid can go without a fucking peanut butter sandwich for an entire 8 hours. If they are that hung up on it, they can eat the shit when they get home.
    Gah…

  29. Paulette (MsPDrama)
    March 10, 2012 | 12:16 am

    If I expect understading for my kid with behavior/mood issues I give the same. I expect people to understand my son is different and odd things trip him up. But he’s working on it.

    Even if I didn’t have that issue, I still think I’d be the same way. I wouldn’t want to accidentally be the cause of anyone’s kid getting sick or worse because I thought the no home baked goods or no peanut snacks was a pain in the butt.

    Respect.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 12, 2012 | 9:30 pm

      Thank you my sweet friend!
      You are always there to support and understand!
      I love you for it.

  30. Robin @ Farewell, Stranger
    March 11, 2012 | 3:01 pm

    Total ignorance. Keep telling your tale. It’s important.

    • multitaskingmumma
      March 12, 2012 | 9:25 pm

      Thank you sweet Robin!
      I worry about my daughter and the environments she is going into.
      I worry about the people she will be engaging with and their interest in keeping her safe.

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