It was about a month ago that I took off a few hours from work to take Syona to a specialist appointment. We were all packed up and ready to hit the road on time. I grabbed Syona and our diaper bag, balancing them both as I slipped on a pair of shoes. I set the alarm, walked out the door, locked it and opened the garage. I opened the front passenger door, put down the diaper bag, closed the door and opened the backseat door. I went to put Syona in to her carseat and realized something was missing: There. Was. No. Carseat.
In our rush to get all the things that needed to get done the evening before, Dilip and I had forgotten to transfer the carseat from his vehicle to mine. So there I was, in the garage frantically calling Dilip (who was already well on his way to work), telling him to turn around so that Syona and I could get to the doctor. For those of you that have specialists, you know that appointments are hard to come by and there’s nothing worse than missing an appointment you’ve waited months to attend. (We got there a few minutes late, but the clinic was graciously accommodating.)
I’m so happy to be back at work — it’s a great job in a field that I’m passionate about and allows me the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of children and families with special needs. I also have a chance to work with some of the smartest, most caring and compassionate people that I’ve ever met. It’s a pretty great thing. Dilip loves his new gig as well. He works with great people doing some really interesting work. We both work for organizations that are aware that Syona has special needs and are understanding. And as a family, we work a bit better when Dilip and I are both working outside of the home. We’re also fortunate to have an incredible support system around us that allows us to focus on work when we’re there and enjoy our time together when we are home. And I think that’s the key thing that makes our whole life a bit more functional.
For some reason, the carseat incident was the perfect example of some of the challenges that can arise when a family’s already impossible schedule gets even more jam-packed, even though we love our jobs and have an awesome support system. So we decided to take a bit of time to figure out how to make our life more workable:
- A second carseat. With Syona’s special needs we know that we will likely need a carseat a little longer than most kids. Because her muscles are tight, she can also get uncomfortable in a carseat. So when we needed a second one we did our research and ended up landing on the Diono Radian RXT. I gotta tell ya — this carseat is awesome. The seat is much flatter than a typical carseat, which is great for Syona’s hips and legs and allows us to take her in out much more easily. The straps are really padded so it is much more comfortable. The sides are also adjustable which gives us a bit more room in case Syona ever gains weight. The best part is that it doesn’t cost a million dollars like the special carseats that are made for children with special needs. It is a high-end commercially available product, which means the average family may find the price on the higher side, but for those of us that are paying super high prices for any of our kids’ equipment, it is reasonable.
- Coordinated calendars. We wound up syncing Syona’s schedule on my phone, Dilip’s phone, his mom’s phone and our home computer. I also needed to access my work calendar in the same view. Thank God for Google calendars.
- Regular meetings and conversations to discuss upcoming appointments, finances, schedules and late days. These conversations happen between Dilip, myself, his parents, my parents and Syona’s team of therapists. Lots of communication is the only way we can make it work.
- The ability to let go, be flexible and accept help. If I want to spend my time being happy and enjoying our life I have to let go of trying to do it all myself. Other people in Syona’s life might have different ways of doing things, but everyone that is involved with her really cares and does as much as they can for her in a way that works for them. And at the end of the day, that is what works best for our whole family.
How do you balance work and family life? Tweet me your ideas @AnchelK!