Special needs

Working mom: Why I'm OK with leaving my toddler

Anchel Krishna heads to a conference for work — and she explains why she’s OK leaving Syona for a few days.

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Anchel sneaks in a picture of Syona and Dilip before she leave for work. Photo: Anchel Krishna

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

By the time you read this I will be on the tail end of a work conference. This is the first time I’ll be away from Syona for a semi-extended period of time. We’ve left her with her grandparents in the past (usually to have a night off, once because we were both so sick). But this time it feels different. I think because it’s just me who is leaving, while Dilip takes over solo parenting duties at home. I have every faith in his abilities. In fact, I think Dilip will be a much better solo parent than I am. Syona is a daddy’s girl through and through.

Read more: Confession: I’m scared of solo parenting >

While the omnipresent shadow of “mommy guilt” lingers in the background, I don’t feel too bad about it now. Here’s why:

1. Syona is going to be spending time with her dad and her grandparents. That’s a great thing.
2. I’m not too far away and will be back in three days.
3. Facetime/Skype and frequent phone calls and pictures.
4. Two uninterrupted nights of sleep. In a bed. By myself.
5. No responsibilities (other than work and spending time with some incredible parents and colleagues).

I’ll miss Syona and Dilip. Seeing them at the end of the day is the best feeling in the world, but I’m lucky enough to be attending the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Centres annual conference. This great organization advocates for children with special needs. It’s going to a wonderful, thought-provoking event that helps advance a cause that is so crucially important on both a personal and professional level.

As I was writing this post, I got to thinking: Do we give our partners enough credit when it comes to caring for our kids? Dilip and I have a pretty even division of responsibilities that plays to our strengths (and our dislikes). He takes care of Syona’s bathtime/bedtime routines, while I tend to organize our schedules, communicate with her therapy team and complete most of the extra paperwork that comes from having a child with special needs (although this is a big one, and sometimes we divvy things up). I do the majority of the cooking, and he will often clean up. We don’t keep track of who does what. There are weeks where I’m busier at work and he picks up the slack at home and vice-versa. It’s a system that works for us.

Read more: Can being a dad make your husband a better man? >

When it comes to parenting, Dilip is a fantastic dad. His style is different than mine, but it works for him and Syona. I don’t expect — or want — him to do things my way. I want him to have his own relationship with her, and that is exactly what has happened. It is awesome.

And hey, while I’m away maybe he’ll be inclined to learn how to cook. Now that would be a bonus!

Have you ever left your kids for a few days? How did you feel?