When you become a mom, you don’t realize the love you can have for your child until you are away from them. My friend Amira is the perfect example of having it all with her career, and then choosing to be a stay at home mommy. To give a quick back story on Amira, she was the vale victorian of our high school (yes we went to school together), graduated college in Boston, went on to have a very successful career as a senior sales manager for an apparel brokerage firm. She found love right under her nose. Her and her husband who have birthdays two days apart went to my high school, to later fall in love on their 30th birthdays. Amira and Farhaad married in August of 2010 and resided in Los Angeles. Amira got pregnant with their son Dean while she was busy working, traveling, and trying to balance life. When Dean was born, they hired a full-time nanny. She traveled every month, sometimes several times a month and to different countries. She crammed meetings in and would rush home on a red eye to be home with her family. Her and her husband decided that the family was too important, and her long hours and traveling just didn’t work with her family life. They made a huge decision to move closer to family and have Amira stay home.
Once they moved back to our local town, they found out they were pregnant with their beautiful daughter Farrah (love her name). I got the pleasure of living just a few doors down from her a couple of years ago. I loved seeing her go on her walks with her little nuggets, and taking them to the park. Plus they are just a street away from her in-laws. Amira and Farhaad face a huge challenge every day, with Dean having a severe allergy to nuts. It was a learning experience, and it’s a daily job to keep him safe. She’s an inspiration to many of us because the family is first for her, and she will do anything for them. Please read her interview and get to know Amira’s Mother Effin Truth!
1.Honestly, what’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
I think one of the best things about being a mom is seeing the direct and profound impact you can have on one growing, learning, amazing little being. It’s mind blowing what your endless love and attention can do! Oh, and i love those run into your arm big hugs. I could live off those.
2. Mommyhood is a tough job, what have you learned through this journey?
Having kids has made me appreciate the small things I used to overlook. I stop and smell the roses with them now- I notice the little bugs passing on our concrete as we walk though the neighborhood, I hear each bird calling in the morning and I appreciate all the beautiful things around us that used to get ignored because my kids now call my attention to them. You start to see the world through your kids eyes.
3. How did you find out Dean had a peanut allergy?
We learned Dean had a severe allergy to peanuts and tree nuts ( almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, etc) when he was just over a year and a half. He had vomited and been covered in hives with swelling after I let him taste my Ben & Jerrys chunky monkey ice cream. I never knew what food allergies looked like before this- but luckily my sister Nathalie is our pediatrician and she noticed. She ordered blood tests and sure enough- he was allergic. Farrah may also be allergic but we will need to have her blood tested in the same way to be sure.
4. What are your challenges with his allergy, and what advice can you give to a mom finding out her child has an allergy?
First, the biggest challenge for me was dealing with the fear that something out there- readily available, legal, found everywhere (not to mention very sticky!…peanut butter!)-could potentially cause a life threatening reaction in your child. It is an overwhelming fear that was crippling for me initially. I cried alot. I dont think people who dont have to deal with severe food allergies themselves understand the severity of some of these allergies and so for that reason, there is alot of judgement. This is not a diet choice, it isnt a mild rash that some hydrocortisone can heal. if my child ingests even a tiny amount of nuts- it could cause him to be unable to breathe. There were 13 deaths in children last year due to anaphylaxis. Scary stuff.
This means i have to be hyper vigilant – like crazy planning ahead and controlling of every situation that Dean is in- which is the next biggest challenge. It is a constant job. Every party we go to, every play date and family get together and preschool day, I must ask what the menu is for the day, if any one else there has had or will have nuts, and then offer ways to make it safe which usually means I provide some or all of the food, or at least a safe substitute for us. Traveling is a whole other ordeal with airlines and safe meals. We dont eat out often but have found some safe restaurants and those are our regular go tos. A new place means a new scrutiny of questions. I am constantly educating about cross contamination and reading food labels. I am sure so many people have viewed me as a crazy control freak trying to commandeer their 3 year old’s birthday party! But its what i have to do to keep my kid safe, i will do anything.
My advice to someone new to food allergies is to educate yourself as much as you can. It is a new epidemic and the info we receive is constantly changing. food allergies are greatly misunderstood. Join a forum- I love Kids With Food Allergies and F.A.R.E. and connect with moms like you for support and info. I think knowledge was power for me and while i still have the fear- ive learned tools to cope.
5. If you had a babysitter tonight, where would you go and why?
If we had a babysitter tonight I think I would actually have them keep the kids downstairs and let Farhaad and I grab a bottle of wine and read upstairs in peace and quiet. We were just talking about how we used to get into these great books and read so many of them. I want to lay in my pjs in bed and get lost in a book uninterrupted.
6. What is something you miss pre-kids and explain?
I miss my uninterrupted 10-12 hour nights of sleep. Sleep used to be my drug of choice but those days are long gone…
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why?
Okay so the first mom id like to nominate is Starr Moon. She’s the mom of one of the busiest families I’ve seen- with 3 kids, each in sports, her husbands coaching and personal training, her own job doing hair, she still finds time for me time/outside interests like working out, going out, gardening succulents, and cooking for her fam. I really don’t know how she keeps it all together but somehow it all gets done. AND as if that weren’t enough, her and her family do commercials ( for major brands like Honey Maid) and even music videos! Unbelievable…
And the next mom I want to nominate is Katie Lake McGonigle. We met in a tot-soccer class and I don’t know her very well but think she has a very interesting story and her own set of challenges that might be compelling to moms out there. She has type 1 diabetes and constantly has to monitor her insulin while watching her 3 year old and 1 year old. She lives an interesting life out on a ranch in Somis and is always posting pictures of her kids with different animals and on farm equipment, etc.