A Single (and Exhausted) Mom with Celiac Needs Support


Dude Note 1: Celiac Awareness Month starts tomorrow. Well, the “official” month starts tomorrow. I think I have a good idea for this year. Check back tomorrow.

Dude Note 2: I am WAY behind on emails. I promise I read every one and will do my best to respond.

Let’s get right into it today. I received the following email recently:

Dear Gluten Dude,

I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now but this is the first time I’ve ever reached out to you (or anyone for that matter). This isn’t really a rant but more of a need of support. I’m a single mom to three boys and have Celiac disease. I work full time in an emergency department and have no help from any family. This means long nights, busy days, crazy days off and pure exhaustion. I’ve been getting really sick lately and very run down.

Sometimes I put my kids to bed super early just so I can go to bed early too. I have tremendous guilt.

My kids say I’m always sick and I’m always tired and I’m doing the best I can but the struggle is real.

To be completely honest between finances, kids, and work, my health is the last thing on my mind and I know I’ve reached a point where if I don’t start taking care of myself my kids will be without both parents (the father of my kids took himself completely out of the picture).

Do you or your readers have any advice on how to learn to take care of oneself when when you feel so guilty?

My short answer: If you don’t take care of yourself first, everyone will suffer. I know it’s tough with three kids, but at times, you’ve got to be number one and that should come without guilt. Know that the healthier and happier you are, the more energy and focus you’ll be able to put toward your family.

Of course my answer comes from a married man so perhaps I’m not the one to offer advice.

Anybody want to share some words of wisdom/support??

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35 thoughts on “A Single (and Exhausted) Mom with Celiac Needs Support”

  1. I am totally there with you, I’m in the process of a bad divorce and I have 3 boys and a girl. They also say I’m always sick, but I didn’t know what was wrong with me. In the last 30 days the docters found celiac and hoshimotos which explains a lot. You have to take care of yourself first. You must have sleep. And the kids may not get it now but you can teach them valuable lessons like taking care of their own stuff, being responsible and when you take care of you? That sets a good example as well that they need to respect their health, to get enough sleep and to respect you as a amazing mom. You Rock, tell yourself that everyday.

  2. From another single mom with celiac, take it easy and take a break. We have to do it all: homework, laundry, cooking, shopping, etc., usually without help. You didn’t say how old your kids are, but if you can afford a babysitter, get one and go for a walk or do something you enjoy and turn off the brain for awhile (or see if a friend/relative can watch them). If the kids are older, do the same thing. My kids are young teens and I still tell them mom needs a time out. Sometimes I sit in the car for 5 minutes before I pick them up so I can regroup and change gears from work to home. The food part is hardest for me still. I also work at a hospital and they have nothing to eat except junk! Go figure. Food planning is crucial and I have to admit that is my struggle right now. Have snacks with you, that helps. I have also found that I have to take care of myself first, because if I don’t, then I’m not giving them my best. I feel better when I eat right and exercise and so while its doesn’t happen everyday (because I have to run to the store at 6:30 a.m. to get the cupcakes, poster board, etc. someone forgot to tell me they needed for school :), i try to make it a priority. When momma’s happy, the whole family is happy!

  3. Hey.
    As a single mum to a coeliac with visual impairment, that previously worked as a psych nurse for many years, I understand your commitment and stress levels. It is not easy and I hear your frustrations.
    I became very run down post-separation from her dad, all whilst my daughter was in and out of hospital. My only suggestion is that I found swimming as a therapeutic way to keep my stress/health levels in good order. It would give me some me time (if only 30 minutes) to think without interruption, get my stress out and I would eat a better meal afterwards because I had built up an appetite. And I always slept better after, so my tiredness levels actually always decreased by the next day. Might not be feasible for you but its important to break the vicious cycle of stress.
    Be kind to yourself, even if it’s means a lot of firm no’s.
    I hope this helps.

  4. I have no idea how old your kids are, but maybe they’re at an age where they can start to help and pitch in. I’ve taught my 7 year old how to work the washing machine and my 5 year old helps with putting dishes away (non-sharp items of course). Both kids also love being in the kitchen and helping with what they can. The more you can teach them, the less you’ll have to do yourself. If one can learn to work the washer, they can do a load of laundry every other night, then you’re not left to do it all. On your days off, *try* to meal plan, or cook some items in bulk, for example, cook several pounds of ground beef mixed with carrots and onions to “fluff it up,” then you have meat to use for any number of things, from taco night, to sloppy joes or spaghetti sauce, it’ll make hectic nights a lot easier on yourself. Bag it up in 1 pound increments and freeze/thaw as needed. I’m definitely not suggesting spending 4 hours in the kitchen cooking 30 meals ahead of time, the moms that have time for that, great for them, but that’s not realistic for all of us. On nights that you’re exhausted and wanting to go to bed early, if you have the room, suggest a family movie night and snuggle in bed together…or set up a “slumber party” on the floor. They’ll get more time with you and you’ll feel less guilty about needing an early slumber. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing everything you can to provide for your kids and they’ll recognize that some day! All supermoms burn out at some point and taking the time you need to re-charge is perfectly normal and very necessary.

  5. My mom was a single mom of 2 girls, also a nurse. She went through nursing school when I was 12. It took many years for her to learn to take care of herself first. What I remember the most, is that life was a lot better for all of us once she did.
    I think it is one of our jobs as parents (I have 2 Celiac kids, age 8 and 9) to take care of ourselves, and show our kids that we are important too. It shows them to respect others.
    Also, even very young, kids can be taught to help out around the house. I am still walking down that road to recovery from going undiagnosed for 13 years with Celiac, so there are days that my kids don’t get as much from me as I’d prefer, but I tell them whats going on, and why.
    They both also help with many of the household chores, dishes, laundry, even some cooking.
    Don’t feel bad about the days you put them to bed early, if you need to, you must. Depending on how old they are, you could set a ‘reading’ time for them, with an alarm, so they can be quiet in their beds for a bit before lights out. Just tell them that you need to sleep.

  6. I’m not a mom but had a lot to juggle and I had to realize that I had to change my lifestyle to become healthy. Number 1 has to be taking care of your health or you can’t do any of it. If you are not part of a support group, find one so that you can talk to people that understand. It really helps and you never know, someone there may be able to help with you with the other stuff from time to time. You are not alone. 🙂

  7. First of all, good for you for reaching out for help. Seriously. Give yourself a very big, very strong pat on the back. I hope you find that you are not alone in your struggle, that it’s normal, and that there is some help here. Asking for help is sometimes the hardest thing to do, and you’ve done that. I encourage you to continue to do just that in your local community. Remember how it feels when you are able to help someone else and allow others to have that experience in helping you. It is through this gift of giving and receiving, not things but our time and compassion, that we build communities and better lives for ourselves.

    Look for people and groups in your community that might be helpful, and be creative. When I was struggling to keep up with meals, I asked other women to join me at my house and we made freezer meals all day. These gatherings are social – SO good for a weary, tired soul – and productive. If the kids come, they can entertain each other. There’s nothing like a freezer full of healthy, diet-appropriate food to reduce stress. (If you want help with recipes, get in touch with me through GD or my blog and I’ll send you some ideas.)

    I’m not a single mom, but I have a number of other challenges, so I get it, and even though I’m not always parenting alone, I am frequently parenting alone. I am tired too, and the guilt is hard to ignore. But that’s just what we need to do. The guilt can be as debilitating as the fatigue. Your children, if not now when they are older, will understand your situation and will sing your praises for the sacrifices you have made for them. Guilt will only diminish any precious moments that do occur now. Continue to tell your kids how you are feeling, without apology, and then tell them what you CAN do. For example, I can not play soccer with my son after school, but I can read to him, or play a computer game with him, or we can bake his favourite gluten-free, dairy-free treat together. Ten minutes of attention from us is often all kids need to feel connected, and then we can all get on with the chores that need doing. Be sure to involve them in those chores. They may whine about having to work, but again, they will thank you for teaching them responsibility and a good work ethic when they are older. Put on their favourite tunes while you all work.

    And hang in there. You are definitely not alone and you WILL get through this too!

    1. Also… please give yourself credit for what you ARE doing SO WELL. Set the bar low, if necessary. 🙂 Use humour too: as long as the kids are not starving and not in jail, you’re doing okay. We tend to compare ourselves to other parents who seem (‘seem’ being the operative word) to have it all together. No one has it all together. If you have love, you have everything you need.

      1. Yes, this is great! Attitude has so much to do with getting through each day. And having snacks on hand! Really, it takes time and effort, but if you are getting sick from eating things you probably knew would make you sick (or even if it’s all accidents), you’re going to wear your body down and have even less time and energy! I try to approach prepping snacks and food-to-go as a meditative, self love, and family love activity. When I’m on the run, stressin’, checkin’ things off the list, I LOVE having a little snack of carrot sticks and cashew butter, or an apple, or cucumbers and hummus. It keeps me going and keeps me from getting tempted by food I’m offered that pose a glutened risk I shouldn’t take. There are some rhythms you can get in to with prepping weekly snacks (involving your kids too), and when you feel that little, healthy, balanced burst of energy during a busy day you will look back on the little bit of chopping and packing you did the day before and say, “it was totally worth it!” Just as eating food that hurts you can be a feedback loop, leading you to keep eating the bad stuff, so can eating really good food. Find easy shortcuts in the bulk section, like powdered hummus, dried fruit, raw nuts, dehydrated soups, etc. where you can also find some great grab ‘n go meal options when you are out of your kitchen longer than expected without a gluten free food option. Finding someone to watch the kids is a good idea. You need time when you can focus on your needs while they are cared for by someone else you trust. There’s a great site called Care.com where you can connect with people willing to babysit if you don’t already know someone.
        A good friend of mine made a great comment to me regarding guilt surrounding all this stuff, and she said rather than focus on taking out the bad things focus on adding in more good practices. With gluten it has to be full elimination, but if it happens that you eat something that has gluten, choose to eat more easy to digest things to help your system handle it afterwards. Drink lots of water. Give yourself credit and appreciation and gratitude for all that you do 🙂

    1. OOPs don’t know how that happened!!
      On to my actual reply….. I think it’s def important to have help from the kids if reasonable..
      I think a lot of Celiacs don’t realize that there are many other health factors involved with our disease. My journey has led me to understand many things…Check your B12 and D vitamins…most traditional docs will tell you your levels are normal…not so in our case we need more…GET the B12 shots at least once a month…I can tell every month when I am due..take your D… If you can and you are one of natural methods..get your hormones checked…I promise you Bio-identical hormones are the best thing in the world…again traditional docs may fight you and you may read they are not safe or are not FDA approved..it because the big Pharm companies can’t use them they are natural…. Really understanding your body and what it needs to function properly is the first step..If you feel good all the stresses and responsibilities will be easier to handle…. This is for anyone who is still suffering…also checking to see if there are other foods that need to go…I am completely grain free my body just doesn’t like them..or eggs.. Really focus on the body as a whole working machine that needs balance not just a change in diet…I am a new person with all these additions. Hormones are essential to digestion, bacteria overgrowth, and over all function..many women think they don’t have to worry until later not true..Finding a doc that has moved into holistic is your best bet…not replacing meds with herbs …looking at the body as a whole and natural remedies.
      Good luck…

      1. Ps… Candida overgrowth is also a major issue hence why the original Celiac diet removed all starches (scd diet)
        …look up the symptoms or actually read the site candidadiet.com ..you’ll see what I mean…I’m convinced that over prescribed antibiotics and an overgrowth of candida is why we have developed Celiac.. we all now know
        %75 to %80 of our immune system is in the gut and having the proper balance of good and bad is essential. I promise you this site is an eye opener….everyone should read it… there is an amazing gluten/ candida likeness that I think will shock most…
        Stay strong..warm wishes and a heart felt understanding for what your going through!

  8. My girlfriend who has celiac disease (single mom with two teens) became completely exhausted. Her doctor did bloodwork and found that her iron, B12, and folic acid, we’re extremely low. The doctor said that this is common with celiacs. So she went on the supplements recommend and is now doing much better. Hope that helps. And keep reaching out, it’s a good thing.

  9. First, re-read all that precedes this comment. Great advice from folks who are there! I have not been a single mom, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 55 (12 years ago!) Then the chronic fatigue set in, and you could be where I was. Get as much sleep as possible (8 hours is perfect), and if you can’t sleep, there are herbal things to help — 3mg of melatonin for one. See a GOOD thyroid doc. You may need help there. And have your levels of Vitamin D and Iodine checked; supplement if necessary — you need both and most of us are low on both. And look for a local support group. I am president of Gluten-Free Erie, and if you came to us we would do all that is possible to help you. Lastly, no more guilt! It’s a killer and does no good. I have been there and done that (still do a little). Say to yourself (out loud), “This is not my fault,” and “I can’t change/fix everything.” And you will come to believe it. The first step is done — you reached out.

  10. Being tired is a symptom for me. So I get my gluten intake way-way down. This means avoiding processed gluten free foods. And I eat meat too. It’s harsh, but it works better for me than happy thoughts.

  11. Check with your local Boy Scout (and Girl Scout) Troops. These boys and girls are always in need of community service hours for their merit badges and might be able to provide some time to help around the house, do laundry, mow the grass, babysit your kids, etc… and especially with the Boy Scouts would be able to work with your three young men as mentors. Hugs, Holly

  12. You always have to remember that you’re modeling behavior for them, including how you take care (or don’t) of yourself. Kids learn from your example – your actions – not your words. So, if you need to sleep, sleep! No guilty feelings allowed over real, biological needs!

    I’ve seen some good advice that people have already mentioned. One thing I find really helps me is taking just a few minutes for some deep breathing, just to center myself. I do it while I’m in traffic or at lights or while waiting for a kid pick up. I find it helps when I’m super scattered and have a million things going on. Two or three minutes is all you need. Nothing fancy, just some deep breaths into your belly will do it. It will also help give you the strength to get your kiddos organized if you need to.

    I’m also a super-quickie food prep person; nothing fancy, just real food, fast. Chicken pieces covered with salsa and baked in the oven; chop up some broccoli florets and bake them in the oven, too. Total work time is under 10 minutes. Make extra for leftovers. Burger patties with mashed cauliflower (rough chop and boil the cauliflower, drain it, then mash it up. It freezes well, too.). Chili is great. I have type 2 diabetes as well as Celiac disease so I just leave out the starch. It takes so long to cook anyway or, if you go for the GF stuff, it’s expensive; even worse is when boxed stuff has hidden gluten. Also, more veg = more nutrition. You’re stressed so you need to eat the very best that you can.

    Don’t feel guilty if you need to cry sometimes, too. Stress-crying releases stress hormones and gives you that emotional release. I know our culture looks down on that, but who cares?! Screw that. We need to do what we need to do to be strong mamas. 🙂

    And ask for help. I know this will sound a little out there but everyone has guardian angels that watch out for them. Ask them or God, whatever you believe in, for help. They’ll send help your way.

    Good luck to you and know you’re not alone!

  13. First, big hug to you, and congrats on reaching out for help. You’re already learning to care for yourself. I was sick for 4 years until I started taking care of myself. I thought by eating GF, I was taking care of myself. Nope! The switch has to turn on in your head and heart, but if you are reaching out it’s on the way to “ON”. Small steps become bigger steps become even BIGGER steps. For me, I found cutting out most carbs and processed foods made a huge difference. Food is more work, but it tastes amazing! Drink more water, less fake or sugary beverages if those apply. Bring your lunch to work, don’t go out as much. Those kinds of little actions really begin to make a huge difference.


    I am blogging (not always faithfully) my journey to wellness. Feel free to follow if you have time to read my short posts.


  14. Is there any support groups for celiac in your area? I have one in my small community and I am on an online support group that talk me through hard times. I have the full support of my family and it was rough I can’t imagine your battle but taking gluten out of your diet no matter how hard will help you think more clearly and give you more energy to battle things. I know on gluten I am a downer, negative can’t see the bright side make bad choices type person not to mention mean. but when do you find time to take care of yourself? I have been known even with full support of the family to put my kids to bed early just because I have had enough, so don’t feel bad about that. You are helping those kids verses harm them in that aspect. Teach our kids to cook gluten free, my 9 year boy old whips up a mean spaghetti and meatballs. eat all whole foods, fruits and veggies and splurge on that box of GF cookies for yourself and statsh it somewhere. But most of all find someone to talk to. gfcfrecipes@yahoogroups.com is a good one. Find church friends, or a support group for gluten intolerant. Talk talk talk, it really helps. I am sorry you are battling this alone, again I know how tuff it was with full support but remember you have people behind you, praying for you and understanding you. Wish I could offer my physical support but not sure where you are at. Hang in there, Its worth the fight to stay gluten free.

  15. I was a single mom with six kids, working by day and going to school at night, so I feel your pain. Those days are behind me now but I remember how stressed I was , and I don’t even have celiac (though one of my daughters does, and we are all gluten-free now, just because gluten isn’t good for anyone.)
    I have friends who work in the ER and I know from their experience that it is one of the most stressful jobs a person can have. You didn’t say whether you’re a nurse or clerical worker in that department, but, whatever your position, you obviously have skills. Consider trying to get a daytime job in a less stressful environment, say, at a skilled nursing facility or a doctor’s office. Even if you have to take a cut in pay, the reduction in stress would result in more energy to put towards taking care of your health and being more resourceful with your money. Every decision you make should be based on how you can reclaim your life so you can feel better and have more to give to your boys.
    You didn’t give much detail, but I infer that you’re still eating foods with gluten because you don’t have the energy to change your diet. The thing about celiac is that you have to completely eliminate all sources of gluten…even a tiny bit will make you sick. Put yourself on a one-month challenge; say to yourself “I can do anything for just one month”. Thankfully it’s so easy to buy gluten-free products these days, and most of the substitutions you make for yourself you can feed to your kids, ie, gluten-free pasta is delicious and the kids won’t know the difference. Things like bread…just keep a loaf of gf bread in the freezer; you can make sandwiches for the kids on regular bread and just pull out a couple of pieces of gf bread from the freezer. The extra effort you expend to buy some gf products and eat the way you need to eat will be far outweighed by the energy and wellness that you experience once you get gluten out of your diet.
    You should have a support person; if you knew just one person with celiac that you could connect with, that would be a huge help to you. I know my daughter would love to talk to you! Maybe the Gluten Dude could facilitate a connection.
    I hope this helps….I hope to hear how you make out.

  16. Dear mama:

    Think that there are other people in worst situation than you who learned how to take care of themselves. In my case, i.e., I have celiac disease like you, but I do not have a job and health insurance at this moment. In order to take good care of myself I avoid the situations that make me sick; I do not eat at restaurants that are not completely GF or eat other food that can make my stomach ill. If I see people that have the flu I take the necessary precautions and everyday many times daily I keep washing my hands. When I go shopping I make sure I get GF food that is processed in a dedicated facility.
    When you have kids that do not have celiac you make isolate your own GF corner in the kitchen to yourself, instructing the kids not to do their gluten messes in your corner or they will be punished. You have to do every single thing to avoid being contaminated with gluten or you are going to be the patient in the emergency room.
    Also you may take the kids to the doctor to check if they have the disease, one of them may have celiac and you can save his or her life. Yes, this is a serious business that cannot be taken lightly. It is your precious life and your kids’, too. If you can, try to set aside some time for you when the kids are sleeping, when you can do thing like listening to music, dancing while you listen to it. If you can, hire somebody who takes care of the kids while you go out to do some fun activity(with friends or by yourself). I wish you the best and know that you always will have support here in this website, where you can come anytime you need. We listen to you.


  17. I am a single mom with a five year old daughter who is ALWAYS on the go.. I also run my own business and am on the go in and out of my car all day long. I found that unfortunately when I over due it and burn the candle on both ends (sometimes trying to burn through the middle) is when I hit a breaking point. When I was diagnosed I had already been bedridden for 31/2 months without any explanation. My daughter was 2 and I could barely get myself out of bed to change the channel on tv which was at that point all she was doing. To say the least not only was I digging but she was in many ways as well. I knew then I had to slow down, even if it meant making less money and not working as much. Since I made the choice to take care of myself, yes things are tight… There is not always enough money, but the life and relationship I have with my daughter is and can not be replaced by any of that. I started involving her in cooking with me packing snacks and she is so excited to be a part of it all.. Good luck with everything and just remember your health is ultimately what will take care of you and your family!!!! Peace

  18. I have a good analogy for taking care of oneself FIRST and why it is critical!
    When one fly’s on a plane and the oxygen masks come down, we are counseled to “put on your mask first, then assist others with their masks.” If I pass out before helping my child, then both of us die. If I put mine on first while she passes out, I can get oxygen to her before she dies.

    Take care of you is critical to caring for them.

    And I totally agree with those suggesting that the children learn to help out around the house. Mine helped me a lot before and after diagnosis. It gave them a sense of being very important.

    And there is nothing wrong with putting the children in their rooms so you get a break. I used to tell mine, “Mommy needs a time out. Unfortunately, that means you need to go play in your room for a little time.”

    Children need to learn that even adults need breaks.

  19. First of all, great job mommy raising three kids by yourself! Not easy at all.

    I was a single mom raising a son for many years before I was diagnosed with Celiac and it was hell. I missed a lot of precious time with him and needed help from everyone around me just to survive. My ex-husband was also out of the picture and did not help at all.

    Side Note: What is it with all these dead-beat dads anyway!?! Come on MEN, if you want to have sex with a woman and you get her pregnant you need to step up and be a man and help her! Children do not raise themselves. (stepping off my soap box now, I feel a real rant coming on)

    The silver lining in having missed so many years with my son, being unable to do anything for him because my organs were failing and I could not get out of bed, is that since I’ve recovered my health, we spend lots of time together (he is now 18 and graduating HS in a month!). If I had not taken the necessary time needed to recover I could not have the health I have now and we have lots of fun! Since I’ve recovered my son is no longer depressed. He is visibly happier because he has a thriving and healthy mom. I plead with you to care for yourself right now. No guilt at all. If you do not do this, they will suffer. They need you healthy and you must do whatever you can to make that happen. If you need to focus on diet more and make it healthier and cleaner and of course gluten free, do it. If you need to rest, rest and get someone else to watch them while you’re doing this. Enlist family, friends, everyone to help you. There is no shame in asking for help. I realized that if I didn’t ask for help I would never recover and it just had to be done. If you need to make time for some mild exercise, do it. Whatever you need, you must make time for yourself, to heal yourself. It is imperative for their health and happiness. Never give up and always ask for help.

    I hope you rest and recover soon.

  20. Wow…the support here is incredible. What a fantastic show of our capability for humanity. If I lived in this woman’s city I would be over at her house in a heartbeat! Many people underestimate this diseases capability of quality of life interference. I and both my kids are Celiac. There is not a day that we do not acknowledge it somehow.
    After the Celiac diagnoses. I found out I was also allergic to all yeast and corn. They were actually more toxic in my body than the gluten. Bed ridden as well. Body nor brain worked at all. But it did pass. Find that damn thing that is keeping you down and fight it! get mad …be strong….take control. You have celiac disease….it doesn’t have you. Sending luv from Canada

  21. Coming from a newly minted 18 year old, your kids may be annoyed at first if you take some time for yourself, but keep with it. One day they’ll understand and appreciate that you were strong enough to put yourself first, and they’ll realize that in the long run, you were doing it for them as much as you were doing it for yourself

  22. hi! I saw this and had to respond. My passion and calling in life is to help support people who are struggling with the gluten free life style. I wanted to let you know that I am a gluten free lifestyle consultant and I offer services for exactly what you are talking about – gluten free lifestyle support. Please visit my website and sign up for a free session if you would like to consider working with me.

  23. I get it. I really do. There’s no easy answer but remember this – it’s EXACTLY like being on an airplane…

    You have to put the oxygen mask on yourself FIRST or else you won’t be any good at all to the people who need you.

    When that doesn’t work, remember that you don’t want to model damaging self-sacrificing behavior to your kids because if you do, they are likely to either repeat that behavior themselves OR expect it from their spouse someday.

    There are times I had to throw all my expectations out the window (including the idea that I HAD to stay at a particular job) and figure out what my core non-negotiables were.

    You can do it. We’re all behind you! (And if you happen to live in Austin, Tx – let me know and maybe I can help in person…)

  24. Echoing what others have said, especially Cookie’s Mom – please do give yourself a lot of credit for everything you’re already doing, and for reaching out! Asking for help is hard (especially for those of us who work in the helping professions), and it’s clear that you’ve been pushing yourself past your limits to be able to be there for your family.

    As for concrete suggestions, I have a few that weren’t mentioned above:

    – Do you have someone in HR you could talk to about taking a bit of paid time off? It sounds like things are at a point where you’d be a candidate for short-term disability, which might give you some breathing room. I know some groups I’ve worked for have had anonymous phone lines you could call with questions like these, if it’d feel too weird to talk to someone you already know from work.

    – Oftentimes, friends really want to help, but don’t know what to offer. If you can ask someone to do something specific, they may leap at the chance to lighten your load. Some possibilities:
    – Someone could make up some casseroles for the boys so that you only have to focus on making dinner for yourself.
    – Maybe someone could do an overnight babysitting jaunt on a weekend.
    – You could ask a friend to research options in your town for different types of assistance that might be available to you (after-school programs for the boys, free babysitting, Big Brothers mentoring programs … Often, the guidance counselors at their school have a line to a lot of local programs that you’d never even know of otherwise, and some of them can be really helpful.)
    – Even something as mundane as taking some of your laundry to a laundromat, or coming over to do house/yardwork for a few hours.

    Whatever you choose to do next, good luck! You sound like you’re doing really well in a really rough situation.

  25. I have been celiac for over 20 years. I understand your fatigue and your lifestyle. But you must take care of yourself first – its important not only for you but also to your children. If they are able to help you with chores or just making their linches, let them. I’m writing this and thinking about the Duggars, you know 19 kids an counting. With that many kids in a family they have to help each other. Watch the program and see what you think. Try to find some time alone for yourself, even if its a cup of coffee at McDonalds. Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself. The children will survive and younwill be better for it. Try to join a singles group, there might even be babysitting services in these groups. Us celiacs do tire easily but you know what, so do no n celiac mothers only you have been hit with a double whammy. Good luck and do take care.

  26. Life is exhausting for so called healthy people, let alone us with autoimmune disease. You might qualify for some free assistance like at your YMCA. Hell, if you don’t have time we can research for you if we know what are you are in.

    Jersey Girl

    “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain.”

  27. Sorry for your challenges right now. Remember; they are right now, not forever.

    Teach your boys to cook/prepare food if they are over 9 yrs. old. They will be better people for it. And let them cook gluten free! If your house is mostly gluten free it helps. I have just one drawer of gluten containing items that my kids are very careful about having so me and my celiac daughter don’t get contaminated. Health is a priority. Also, our vitamin d was really low and we were exhausted all winter b/c of it.

    Take it easy on yourself, find some help. Even a young person/sitter/mother’s helper can make a difference and doesn’t cost much. You are the most important person to your boys and your well being is vital to their happiness. I wish you lived near Boston, I’d like to help you.

  28. I am hyper careful that I don’t get glutened. The fatigue and other general autoimmune symptoms…no one seems to understand. I have 3 teens, my 13 yr old has severe autism. I wake up tired and go to bed tired. Where I am I haven’t found any help of any kind. We live on disability so I can’t even afford a sitter. My child with autism also has celiac and those who I have trusted to watch her, they have all glutened her. They think I’m ridiculous. They think I’ve made it up. For me, heat and sun are a horrible trigger for the other symptoms that are less celiac associated. A few minutes too long in the heat OR the sun and I can end up in bed for weeks. Turmeric does provide me with a good bit of relief! That’s my experience, wont make any medical claims…I can’t give you much advise, just that I was happy to read this only because it made me feel less alone and less worthless! No one gets it and it comes with harsh judgement.

  29. I was a single mom working in healthcare, too. Keep your goal in mind. You want to raise compassionate, confident responsible adults, not grown selfish adolescents. At the same time, you are building your career in a giving profession. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. You are the head of the household and the only adult in charge. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you may not be able to hold it all together. Your children will learn to take care of themselves and others by your example. They will learn important life skills like cooking and cleaning by having responsibilities at home. They will learn how to take care of their future spouses and your grandchildren by looking out for you a little. Don’t fill up every spare minute with frenetic activity. They will learn to prioritize and chose wisely by choosing one or two activities and finding their own rides or riding their bikes to practice sometimes so you are not running ragged. It’s good for them to want; it gives them something to aspire to and work for, so don’t give in to too many material desires out of working mom guilt. Be honest about the sacrifices you make and ask they do the same. The short term battles are worth long term results. And get some sunshine.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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