Special needs

What I've learned from working outside the home

Anchel Krishna celebrates a one-year work anniversary—and reflects on her experience as mom of a child with special needs.

1Anchel

Anchel and Syona.

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

It’s been one year since I started working outside the home. For those of you paying attention to the date, yes, my work anniversary is April Fool’s Day.

There was a lot of thought and support behind my decision to work outside the home, and I know I am lucky to be able to make this choice. The past year was a bit of an experiment to determine whether working outside the home was the right fit for our family.

Read more: 6 things no one tells moms about going back to work >

There are moments that I miss being home full-time with Syona. Delegating some of the extra duties that come from having a child with special needs has been a task that has taken me a long time. I’m still working on that one. Managing our schedule and always working ahead has been one of the tactics that enables us to stay organized.

Read more: Special needs parenting: Balancing work and your child >

Prior to having Syona, I worked in corporate communications. I enjoyed my work and was good at what I did. When I decided to stay home it was the right decision for all of us. And it felt right. But there were times that I missed working, so I picked up some freelance work—including the awesome opportunity to write this blog—did some communications consulting and speaking engagements on a variety of topics. When I returned to work I decided to keep up my freelance work, and I continue to do so. I do this by very carefully managing my time and working on letting other people help out (see above).

I chose to work at an organization that helps children with special needs. It would have been easy for me to go back to the corporate grind and private sector. But having a child changes your world. And having a child with special needs changes your world even more. That’s the reason I chose to work in the children’s rehabilitation sector. I get to do what I love and, ultimately, I’m working for families and children with special needs. Nothing is more fulfilling.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s still work, and comes with all the ups and downs that working comes with, but these ups and downs feel worth it. I know what I’m working towards and the impact it will make.

There are times where it’s hard. Resources are always tight and hours can often be long. It’s tough when Syona looks at me and the first thing she says is “Mommy, go to work,” or when I get home after she is asleep. But we find ways to work around it. I get up earlier in the morning and get ready so I can spend a few extra moments with her. And I know that I’m working way too much when Syona starts acting out.

The last few weeks I’ve found a nice balance. I think our week away was a wake up call to me to realize just how lovely Syona can be when we have enough down time together. I’m making the effort to leave the office earlier and check my Blackberry less.

Of course there are exceptions when work is really busy or we’re under a deadline and I’m sure to explain that to Syona as well.

As parents we’re all just trying to do the best we can—whether we work outside the home or not. Each option has its own unique challenges and benefits. My hope is that as Syona grows up she understands all of these things and knows there a multitude of working options for women.

Did you change up your work after having kids? How do you find the balance?