Renee Moilanen’s “Dirty Laundry”

Renee Moilanen's Dirty Laundry CradleRockingMama

Sigh. Well, I hate to do it, but I’m going to have to share a link. I don’t want to send any more traffic to this horrible waste of the written word, but you won’t understand what I’m talking about it you haven’t read it. So, go read why Renee Moilanen says “Parents Should Relax a Bit About Kids’ Food Allergies.

Finished? Good. Furious? You and a few thousand other FAM’s (Food Allergy Mama’s)! 

I hardly know where to begin with my disgust over this piece.

Look, the woman is entitled to her own opinion, and I’m grateful we live in a country where this sort of ignorant blathering is allowed; that doesn’t mean I have to like it, and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to take it lying down.

Because this article? Well, it’s a serious case of “them’s fightin’ words” to me.

How dare she presume to know a single thing about my – or anyone else’s – childrens’ food allergies? How dare she presume to tell mothers like me that we’re overreacting, that we’re inconveniencing her, that we’re wrong?

Has SHE watched her children suffer in pain from FOOD? Has SHE spent many thousands of dollars in medical bills trying to suss out foods that could kill or harm her child? Has SHE had the pleasure of sending her child off by air ambulance to a hospital hours away simply because the local hospital isn’t equipped to handle the dire medical condition of her 7 week old son?

No? She hasn’t?

Then she needs to shut the hell up.  Period.

Ignorance like this is deadly. No, seriously deadly. The fact that the Daily Breeze would run this opinion piece NOW, right on the heels of four recent childrens’ deaths from food allergies, is irresponsible, short-sighted, and as prime an example of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” as I’ve ever seen.

The Daily Breeze and Renee need to go read the following articles:

and then come back, look us all in the eyes, and say that the horrible piece they published had any merit to it whatsoever. I dare them. I’m confident they wouldn’t (convincingly) be able to do so.

Four children dead since the beginning of March, all of them before this piece was published.  

But, seriously, we just need to relax about our kids food allergies! Just keep feeding the food to our kids until they build up enough immunity to the food that it isn’t a problem anymore! After all, that’s what she did to her son!  (sarcasm, in case it didn’t translate)

<Deep Breath>

Okay. So what really bothers me about this article is that not only is she dismissive, demeaning, insulting, selfish, completely heartless and entirely wrong in her statistics (it’s more like 8% of children now, Renee, and you’re lucky you didn’t kill your son – oral immunotherapy is still in trial phases and hasn’t been proven effective yet) but that she missed a golden opportunity to actually start a valuable conversation about food allergies in children. She could have done some good here, and instead she spewed vitriol and falsehoods.

She could have pointed out that it is highly confusing to a mother of a normal food child when so many of her sons’ classmates have allergies, intolerances, and varying degrees of reactions to their conditions. It makes little sense, and makes her feel as though these parents are just jumping on some kind of band-wagon (because having food allergies is “cool”, right?).

That might have started a dialogue about how diagnostic procedures are widely variable.  That individual allergists offer different advice about how to treat and prevent reactions. That parents are inconsistent with how they approach food allergies in the classroom. That schools are all over the map in how seriously they treat food allergies in the classroom. That the rest of the children are often confused and inconvenienced by this, and while yes, that is annoying, it might just be a prime opportunity to TEACH these small children empathy, compassion, compromise, and that – perish the thought – the entire world DOES NOT revolve around their ‘need’ for a cupcake.

She might have started a conversation that did some good.  

Instead, she squelched anything resembling tact and good will from appearing in her article and created a conversation that is angry, scathing, divisive, and not at all productive.  

Well, unless she’s a stock holder in a Homeschool Education Company. Then it would be very productive for her.  Why would any Food Allergy Mama want to send her child to a public school with children raised by women like Renee? Homeschooling looks more appealing than ever after reading her article.

After all, WE love OUR children. Not only do we want them to stay alive and healthy (and no, Renee, hives and days of stomach discomfort are not worth the temporary pleasure of a cookie), but we want OUR children to learn compassion and humanity. It will be difficult to teach those lessons to our kids when every fiber of our being wants to (fill in the blank with whatever action you can imagine) a mother like this for putting our childs’ life in danger.

Over soy ice cream and graham crackers. 

Seriously. Is that so distressing, Renee? So hard to bear? Well, I know just who you should talk to about bearing inconvenient things as a mother. I’m sure they’ll be able to help you get through this terrible, life-altering ordeal of your sons 3rd birthday party not being what you imagined.  It’s actually four people that I think could help.

The mother’s of AmmariaTanner, Cameron, and Maia.  They know exactly how “inconveniencing” food allergies can be.

“Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down.  Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em all around…We all know that crap is king, we love dirty laundry…”

I think Renee is a lost cause, but seriously, if you are blessed to have no food allergies in your family, please use a little judgement and compassion when talking to those of us who do deal with food allergies. We’re constantly afraid for our children; the last thing we need is more people like this “kicking us all around”. Be a good human being. Feel free to ask questions; just try to ask them in a tactful, gracious way.

And in the end, even if you’re confused by the answers you received, ask yourself: “Is it worth killing a little boy or girl so my child can eat a PB&J?” 

If you can’t answer correctly to that question, then go hang out with Renee. The rest of the world would prefer you not poison our children – whether their bodies, or their souls.

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19 Responses to Renee Moilanen’s “Dirty Laundry”

  1. Lesley says:

    O.M.G.! That’s really just all I can say. That woman is a moron!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Good grief.

  3. Natalie says:

    What really burns my biscuits is that even in her follow up “apology” she maintains that intolerances shouldn’t be a real consideration. Ok, so you’re going to willingly put a child *a child* in horrific GI pain and cause them to vomit and/or have diarrhea because its not a “real allergy”??! I have a feeling if she’s this indignant over “lack of walnutty goodness” for her child, if someone else made her kid puke and scream in pain she would go all Tasmanian Devil and be singing a different tune.
    It shouldn’t matter if its a “true life threatening allergy”. You send your kids to school to learn and have a good time. Food doesn’t have a place outside the lunch room. If a child could be put into enough misery to prevent them from learning, the food should be kept away by the school. Period.

    • Carrie says:

      Oh, there you go, pointing out the truth! LOL You KNOW this woman would be organizing marches on Washington if her child suffered a hang nail at the hands of a food manufacturer, and Heaven help the classmate who shared his PB&J with her child if her child had a peanut “sensitivity”! But it’s okay for her to bash us, since she doesn’t have to deal with it. SMH What a selfish woman…

      And I agree with that last part: Food should be kept away by the school. Somehow I managed to survive to adulthood without a snack every two hours – our kids can manage it, too!

  4. Bryon says:

    We have been blessed with three kids without food allergies, but working with Darrel and listening to all the hardship you guys are going through I feel like I can in a (VERY) small way relate to what you are going though.

    I totally agree that freedom of speech is important and I am happy we all have freedom of speech, but just because you CAN say whatever stupidity that comes to your mind it does not mean that you SHOULD say it.

    Is this “journalist” entitled to write whatever she wants? Of course she is. But is is very irresponsible for her and the newspaper she works for to spew a series of opinions and false facts that in the long run could end up putting people (kids) in danger.

    Furthermore, this is the typical narrow-minded mentality of people that are completely removed from the situation but think they know more than those that are struggling through it every day.

    After reading some of her other posts it looks like she often picks a relatively small group of people and posts statements that she believe will be popular with the majority of the society. This is the same mentality of the high school bully (or “mean girl”) that tries to be popular by finding a small group of “different” people to pick on.

    This is an open letter that some other lady wrote in reply to the article:
    http://www.blogher.com/open-letter-renee-moilanen-who-believes-parents-should-relax-bit-about-kids-food-allergies

    • Carrie says:

      I love this: “just because you CAN say whatever stupidity that comes to your mind does not mean that you SHOULD say it”. That is it, right there, in a nutshell.

      I couldn’t bear to read more of her writing, so I’m glad you did and can report back that she’s just a “mean girl” at her core. It’s easier to dismiss this and not get too angry.

      I read that open letter – it was lovely! I’m not as tactful and gracious as that author when people are insulting me and endangering my children, though. :-/ I’m more of a junkyard dog at those times. It was a great letter, though!

      Thanks for being so supportive of us, Bryon. You and your family are awesome!

  5. Roger says:

    I have a problem with the schools and their irresponsible handling of medical issues with their charges. First, from experience, I know that the school nurse isn’t often in her office which compounds the problem of quick application of any medicine, especially an eppipen. Second, the school nurse isn’t usually quick to dose out necessary medicines due to legal repurcussions and other insane school board rules and regulations. Getting vital treatment is not swift in any schools I have ever had experience with in my 62 year lifetime and in these situations seconds and parts of seconds counts.

    This woman has done a great injustice to people like Carrie who has fought tooth and nail to educate herself and those around her about the severity of food allegies in their children. It just shows that any moron can garner attention with zero fact-base to draw on.

    Opinions are like a.. holes, everyone has one but when a childs life, especially YOUR CHILD, is involved you need to get educated and speak responsibly. Obviously, this moron of a woman has filled that requirement!

    • Carrie says:

      I agree about the schools lack of quick response to things, but I still hope legislation passes in all 50 states that allows for non-designated Epi-pens to be supplied to all schools. It could easily save lives. Fortunately, this is happening in many states right now; thankfully, not all people are as ignorant as this woman!

  6. Becky says:

    Wow…just wow. So much to say and yet, I’m almost speechless. What nerve! We’re fortunate to only have gluten sensitivity (that we know of) in our house. On the advice of our allergist, whom I later fired, I trialed my kids on gluten and it.wasn’t.pretty. At all. Her cavalier attitude about just feeding the allergens anyway is mind blowing. Her poor child is lucky he fared so well with eggs.

    I’ve become “that mom” at school and it’s in IEPs to not give any food without calling me first. No, a reaction wouldn’t be life threatening, but I’d be the one dealing with it and I don’t want up to a week of problems just so someone could enjoy gluten-y goodness. Fortunately the school is now largely food free outside of the cafeteria.

    • Carrie says:

      I know. I struggled mightily between “speechless” and “foul language” when writing that post! I don’t understand the way some people look at this stuff. If it would make someone sick, whether life threatening or not, why would you suggest someone eat it?

      Rock on for being “that mom” at school! Pave the way for future moms with your advocacy! It’s awesome!

  7. Julie Moore says:

    Exactly! Stumbled across your piece when I was looking through Google to see how much damage that article did (and found out it was published in several places!!!! (Google “Renee Moilanen food allergies” and you’ll see all the places – at least 4)). I also wrote a blog post of my own in response to that article called, “Food Allergies: Fact or Fiction” (http://fibrofitandfab.blogspot.com/2013/05/food-allergies-fact-or-fiction.html). She totally came across as a mother having a hissy fit, and it made me so sad to think that people could actually feel that way and give advice like that!

    I’m so grateful that we only deal with food sensitivities at this point to certain foods, but food allergies run in my family and my hubby’s family that vary in wide range of reactions from pain to hives to headaches to anaphylaxis. I also have several friends with food allergic children or who face food allergies themselves that are just as far reaching in reactions as they are in my family. I’ve seen a child struggle to breathe and swell up like a balloon to a MINUTE exposure to peanuts or eggs. They are no joke and nothing to make so light of. I hope that woman, and others like her, get educated!

  8. Joy R. says:

    Wow scary. Absolutely insanely scary that people like Renee are writing pieces like that, and getting PUBLISHED. Are you serious?!? Little Junior shows signs of allergic reaction to eggs, so you JUST FEED HIM MORE OF THEM?!? Yeah, that’s a GREAT idea. He’s only a little bit allergic, after all. And hey, I refuse to “give in” to my kid’s allergies, so I am just going to bully his body into accepting this food, whether it likes it or not.
    She is SOOO lucky. She could have ended up sending her son to the hospital to be added to the list of her so-called statistics.

    • Carrie says:

      I know, right? She’s just a prime example of ignorance with a platform. People like her seriously scare me.

      I love the way you characterized it: bullying his body into accepting the food. That’s exactly what it is/was, and I couldn’t come up with the right phrase for it. You nailed her! A bully. Ugh!

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  10. kristina says:

    such a good rebuttal!!

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