Special needs

Solo parenting when your spouse is away

As tough as it can be sometimes, solo parenting allows for perfect one-on-one bonding with your child.

Anchel

Anchel spent a week solo parenting Syona.

Last week was the first time Dilip spent a week away from home in about three years. He had to head out west for a work trip and it was a big deal because Syona is about as big of a “daddy’s girl” as a 24-pound three-year-old can be.

I’m lucky because we have family around that helps us out (a lot!) and some really trusted caregivers who make our lives much, much easier. But I was concerned that Syona would spend the week so upset, missing her dad and having it show up in her behaviours. But in true Syona fashion, she completely surprised me.

Read more: Solo parenting: The good, the bad and the ugly>

Even though she missed her dad, she was incredibly well-behaved all week long. We actually had a lot of really nice moments and even though solo parenting is a lot more work, it is a lot of fun.

There was something nice about being the one to put her to bed every night and get a chance to lie down with her. She’s at an age where she actually likes spending time with me, and I know these years won’t last forever so I appreciate the moments where I get to stock up on the cuddly memories.

We also spent a lot of time laughing, making jokes, dancing and singing songs. And there was even a night that she spent with her grandparents that left me with an entire night to enjoy a dinner out with friends and eight, glorious uninterrupted hours of sleep.

There were things that went wrong: a summer cold and sore throat that hit me the day after Dilip left, Syona’s attempt to sit up by herself on the bathroom floor that ended with her falling over and thunking her face on the tile and endless battles to get the kid to drink water.

Because there were more times I was doing things on my own, I also got a refresher in how much longer things can take when you have a child with special needs. Breakfast in our house takes an hour when you’re feeding Syona. The kid loves to eat, but her cerebral palsy impacts her mouth muscles so she takes longer to chew and you always have to keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t choke. Getting out of the house is also more of a challenge. There is a lot of stuff to pack up plus you need to actually carry Syona from the house to the car. Everything just takes more time. Or more people.

The pace of our life can be hectic—between home, work and Syona’s therapy schedules—there aren’t a lot of quiet moments.

But last week forced me to slow down, take a breath and just enjoy whatever it was I was doing with Syona, including welcoming Dilip home from his week away.

Do you enjoy one-on-one time with your kids?

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy. Read all of Anchel’s Special-needs parenting posts and follow her on Twitter @AnchelK.