Living day-in and day-out with eczema, multiple food allergies and asthma issues with your children can add up to ‘a heck of a lot of stress.’
The kind of stress that can ‘suck the life out of you’…’put a strain on one’s relationship with their partner’…’put a marriage to the test.’
I seriously got to the point of not knowing who I was anymore…I had so many roles to play…wife, mother, nurse, doctor, teacher, caregiver, special education intervenor, friend, daughter, sister, aunt…I burnt out.
A trip to Scotland with my then 7 month old second son gave me the break I needed to refocus my mind, recharge my batteries…find myself!
It would become my ‘aha’ moment!
Over the years, my husband, Andy and I have made an effort to plan a weekend get- away…just for the two of us…to rekindle our relationship.
A weekend in Toronto for a dinner and show or taking a boating license course together, passing the test and celebrating in Toronto with a dinner and show are a couple of get-aways we have enjoyed.
Our most favourite weekend get-away to date…venturing back to the Niagara region…the setting for our wedding…20 years ago this July.
For the past 3 years, Niagara-On-The-Lake has been our destination of choice. Staying at a Bed and Breakfast in the heart of the town, bringing our bicycles to follow the bicycle paths out to Brock Monument, Niagara Falls and the many Wineries, enjoying an evening at the local pub…heaven!
Victoria Day Weekend is our weekend of choice…Friday and Monday are both holidays for my husband…the perfect opportunity to get-away!
I know what you are thinking…”What about the boys? Who is looking after them? How could you leave them with all their food allergies? Who can you trust?”
Yikes! My anxiety levels are up again!
Leaving my boys with food allergies is not ‘a walk in the park’ for me. First and foremost, I need to feel that I have left my boys in ‘safe hands’. Trusting your children with someone takes on a whole new meaning when food allergies are involved…anaphylaxis is at stake.
For the past 3 trips to Niagara, my mother has stayed with the boys.
My mother has been as good as my ‘right hand man’ when it comes to looking after my boys with their eczema, food allergies and asthma issues…she has experienced the lifestyle of living with eczema, food allergies and asthma hands on…witnessed allergic reactions…she understands the reality of the situation…I believe she ‘gets it’…I trust her.
When my boys were younger, I would leave explicit instructions covering Michael’s bathing and creaming, their medications, ‘safe’ snacks and meal options. Now that the boys are older, going on 16 and 14 years of age, they are much more independent with their basic hygiene, puffers and understanding of ‘safe’ food choices.
I still make sure there is enough ‘safe’ food in the house…I make Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares, Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick and Sub Buns.
I prep the meals ahead of time…I have the dough all ready to go in the Bread Machine for the boys pizza for Friday Night, the Pork Back Ribs and Pork Tenderloin are defrosting in the refrigerator for Saturday and Sunday night dinners. There are veggies, rice or potatoes for them to choose to accompany their main dishes.
Last minute instructions, extra Epi Pens and the boys’ health cards are all at the ready…just in case.
Back in the day of no cell phones, a quick phone call upon our arrival at our destination was our protocol of communication. I know that may seem ‘odd/selfish’ to some, but if I had to deal with the every day stresses of our ‘home life’ on my time away…I would be stressing the entire time…defeating the purpose of our little ‘get away’.
Times have changed and my boys have grown.Technology these days has me texting our arrival to my eldest son, Michael. He likes to keep me updated with their activities…often we share photos of our trip…any questions can be easily answered…we are just a text away.
The benefits of the ‘get aways’ goes both ways…the boys get to put to good use the skills they have learned living with food allergies, exercise their independence, learn to trust their abilities as well as others and share some quality time with their Nana.
Believe me, even though I have ‘prepped’ as much as I possibly can and I ‘know’ that my boys are in ‘good hands’…I will still be totally ‘stressing out’ right up until the time that Andy and I pull out of our driveway.
My mind will be racing through a check list as we drive to grab a coffee for the road…heading out on the highway my body will start to relax…with the tunes playing, my hubbie by my side and an adventure waiting on the horizon…I will finally feel the tension lessening in my shoulders and back…ahhhh…we are on our way!
Tip: I must thank two great friends/neighbours…Leslie and Linda…with whom I am most appreciative. I know they are both a phone call/walk away…knowing they are both there as ‘back up’ should my mother ever need them…having great friends who would be there for you at the ‘drop of a hat’…priceless!
Question: Does the stress of living with food allergies take a toll on your marriage? How do you keep your relationship with your spouse/partner together? What are some strategies that you find help keep your relationship strong?
P.S. I am hoping to have a post of our weekend away ready for Monday…it just might be Tuesday!
Update: Actually….more like Wednesday!