Now that the new school year is well underway and the holidays are on the horizon, keeping our lives in balance is the challenge. There are many things that our boys want to do and many things that my husband and I want them and us to do, but the challenge is finding the priorities and the balance. When things get out of balance and we take on too much, the result is exhaustion, poor behavior, illness and toxic overload.
As any parent knows, balancing school, homework, baseball, piano, play dates and free time can be difficult when there are only twenty-four hours in a day. Stretching the day-time activities into the night-time sleeping hours never works. A short term gain in accomplishments leads to a long term loss in effectiveness.
Food allergies are an immune system disorder. I believe that when the immune system is stressed by exhaustion, emotional needs or illness the body then further succumbs to illness. I’ve found the old wives tales of keeping healthy to be quite effective. Specifically, “don’t get a chill,” “get plenty of sleep,” “eat right,” and “keeping a good attitude” can impact the body’s ability to handle the exposure to viruses the come through sneezes and coughing from schoolmates.
Our older son puts a lot of pressure on himself to help others and be a leader in school. But he pays the price in exhaustion after school. As we were waiting at the bus stop last week, he told me how tired he was, how his legs and back ached. His little chin trembled a bit as he told me and he looked a bit pale. My heart ached as I wondered what to do. Is he getting sick? Should I keep him home today? I’d have to call work and not go in as well. Was there a compromise? That’s the constant struggle I feel when trying to do the right thing for my children. We decided he would go to school, but I picked him up a little early so he could avoid the bus ride home and spend an extra hour on the sofa eating and relaxing. I think it helped--he was tired at the end of the day, but felt better the next day.
I find that the medical studies and often many physicians dispute these sort of esoteric factors that a mother (or father) might take into consideration when deciding how to best take care of her child. I often see or hear, “There is no medical basis,” or “There is no proof,” with the undertone of “you are being silly, woman,” but I believe and see evidence of these intangible factors as being significant. A person’s child body isn’t a composite of parts, but a whole. Understanding that one thing impacts another that impacts yet another is important when it comes to health.
That’s where the toxic load evolves: The more “toxins” we put upon our bodies or our children’s bodies, the harder the immune system must work to overcome them. This “stress” can negatively impact the body’s ability to handle allergic reactions as well. It can reportedly make the reactions up to two hundred percent worse at times of high stress according to some studies.
So I believe that striving to keep our lives in balance is of utmost importance for health at many different levels--emotional and physical as it pertains to illness and allergies, both of which rely on a strong immune system that itself can reach a more healthy level of balance by not overreacting to allergens and by being strong enough to fight off the true enemies in the world of viruses and unhealthy bacteria. Finding balance in a nebulous world of issues and outcomes is a true challenge for parents.