With the holidays drawing near – which means lots of dinner parties, family gatherings and school celebrations – those of us with food allergy kids have to be extra vigilant. These festivities keep us on guard (beginning with the worry of Halloween candy and ending with the dreaded Easter basket) and add yet another layer of stress to our already overflowing basket of parental worries. (Which the stork dropped off on the sly a few years back along with the baby he magically left at the front door!) But in an effort to see the glass as half-full, I present the following:

Top 10 List: Why Having a Kid with Food Allergies Rocks
(And saves you money…This is a finance blog, after all!)

#10 – When Costco hands out samples, you’ve trained your kids to be polite and graciously take them. But, they’ve also been trained that when you round the corner to the next aisle, they’re to take those tasty morsels of deliciousness, smelling like bites of heaven in a paper lining, and hand them over to you – no questions asked. This puts you in a happy place and now there’s one less person you have to buy lunch for!

#9 – You could quit your day job and run a small pharmacy (locally owned and operated) out of your purse because it’s stocked with Epi-pens, Benadryl, hand sanitizer, bleach wipes and Albuterol at all times.

#8 – You’ve mastered how to pre-board an airplane (for free – no fancy frequent flyer status needed) before anyone, even those traveling alone with small children, because you need to get on that plane first and clean your seats and tray tables with bleach wipes to make sure there’s absolutely no leftover peanut residue. Just mentioning the possibility of an anaphylactic reaction at 30,000 feet gets you pretty much anything you want from an airline.

#7 – All those other PTA moms pining for the chance to be ‘Room Mom’ simply don’t stand a chance. Before the school year even starts, you’ve already met with your child’s teachers (and the entire cafeteria staff, office workers, janitors and school nurse) to go over your child’s allergies and accidental exposure action plan. This scares the bejesus out of most of the adults in the school and you are immediately given first dibs on ‘Room Mom’ (and PTA Prez, should you decide to run).

#6 – You pretty much started the movement to eat whole foods with the tasty and creative menu you feed your kids…everyone else is just barely catching on. Such a trendsetter you are, the way you avoid processed foods and skip goodies from the bakery.

#5 – You are superhuman. While most would argue people have five senses, you can legitimately claim to have 5.5 because your sense of smell is so insanely enhanced you can sniff out peanut butter on someone’s breath better than a breathalyzer can sense alcohol.

#4 – Family vacations are much cheaper because you rarely eat out, opting instead for an Airbnb rental that includes a kitchen. And your monthly entertainment budget is never in the red because you don’t waste your hard-earned cash on wining and dining. Yes, you’re pretty much a money guru!

#3 – You can stick it to the insurance company (and feel GOOD about it) by strategically waiting to refill your Epi-pen prescriptions until after you’ve hit your out-of-pocket deductible for the year. (Yes, you totally get kicks out of this and laugh all the way to the pharmacy.)

#2 – Halloween is pretty much like having two birthday parties each year with all the Reese’s you are gifted from the kiddos.

#1 – You have a unique perspective on parenthood – one that you wouldn’t have chosen but are grateful for nonetheless – and an amazing support system of family, friends and even strangers cheering you on as you do your best Mama Bear!