Sometimes I feel like life might just be about driving the kids to the places they need to go. Most days I suspect that life is really about figuring out what to cook for dinner next. Ever since I started working on the Sophie Safe Food Guide, I thought that life should be about working on that. Whenever something new comes up with my health or my kids' health, I'm certain that life is really about managing health--allergies, endocrine system, strep throat, sinus infections, asthma, etc. But in the end I always realize that life is about balance.
I struggle to balance the needs of our 6 person household with my desire to have a successful business. Most days this struggle results in one of two things: either I work on the couch using my laptop while there are children snuggled in as close as they can get with me still being able to type, or I work late into the night, past the kids' bedtime, and mine as well.
I wrestle with managing the day to day requirements of the house while keeping up with my business goals: every day at 5:00 I feel panic surge through me as I realize that I must, once again, make dinner.
I wonder if I'm doing the right thing when I give Sophie an extra treat because she couldn't have what everyone else had at a party or event. Is it enough? Is there a better way to compensate for what she misses? Is it unfair to the other children?
And at school, with friends, at church, I debate about taking care of Sophie's allergies completely by myself, or asking others to make accommodations. I feel the constant need to balance her (and my) need for acceptance and friendship with the desire not to burden others. Do I ask her to "just make do" too often? Have my requests for others to adjust been too demanding? When it's an issue of safety, the question is easy--I won't put my child in danger for anyone's convenience. But often it's an issue of desire, not safety. Yet how often can a child's simple wants be denied before there is emotional damage?
I hope that I am balancing things in a way that will teach my children that through prioritization, they can accomplish great things. I hope that I am managing Sophie's allergies in a way that will help her understand how to accommodate others and be compassionate. I know that she feels the compassion of others as our friends frequently pack her a special little bag of treats for Halloween, or go to multiple stores to find cookies that she can have, or offer to make something Sophie Safe for the class Christmas party, or keep their pantries stocked with a handful of Sophie-Safe snacks for when she comes to play. I hope I can teach her to focus on the blessings of love and kindness that have come into her life because of her food allergies. I hope I can set that example.