Language is also important. Discussions about parental leave often assume the only people caring for babies are heterosexual women becoming mums by birth.Read More
It is important not to put yourself last. You need to fill up your own tank, as the happier you are, often the better a parent (and employee) you will be. This includes the obvious things such as eating well, prioritising sleep, and exercising (exercise has been found to decrease stress and help prevent perinatal depression). It also means regularly doing things you enjoy just for you. Looking after yourself means that you are more able to care for your child. When you look after yourself you are also looking after your child.Read More
Now that the kids are a bit older, I look both into the safety and cultural practicalities of travel, and also into the areas of town that have playgrounds or outdoor areas to explore. General online searches can help with the first items, but I have found going on Instagram and looking for hashtags about the location can be very helpful. This is how I found nice outdoor play areas to explore in Budapest. Also checking websites that focus on family-friendly travel, like Bebe Voyage, can be very helpful.Read More
Often, academics don’t have loads of time to do the grunt-work necessary to find the right place for them and their family. Online research can only do so much. One thing that helped us overcome this struggle was reaching out to my future colleagues. This was helpful in many ways. Which neighborhoods are actually safe (even if the online peanut gallery disagrees)? How far is too far out of town? What sort of commute is there, and options for ride-sharing/public transit? Of the options of nearby cities, what’s the flavor and culture of each? Asking (and getting answers!) to these questions were instrumental in our family finding a home that fits who we are and want to become, within our small budget.Read More
Be clear about what you value and what you can afford. Academia can be flexible but make no mistake that a part-time role (I’m 0.4 for the remainder of my daughter’s first year) is not going to allow you to deliver on all your research goals. But I want this time with her, and I want to support my wife’s return to her work and career, so it’s a no brainer for me. However, it won’t be for everyone and that’s fine, just ensure you have that conversation with your partner (and bank balance!) so that it’s a planned decision and not one that happens by default.Read More
Things change, what works with one child, for one field site, one year, may not work the next, so constantly reflect, be responsive, flexible, and adaptive. Whenever I decide to take my kids in the field I always tell myself, if it doesn’t work, and I can’t do any work, or I have to come home - it’s ok, and I’m fine doing that.Read More
I make sure my kids understand what I do. I have involved them in a lot of things: they have come to conferences, they have gone to work events, and they have even helped set up stands for public events. My 12-year-old helps with my citizen science project, in fact she knows it inside out. I have asked my girls if they wish I was a stay at home mum, and they say ‘No! What you do is important!’ They understand what I do and see value in it and I think that really helps us all be more comfortable with the situation.Read More
Today it is a much better situation, with a number of parents leaving work at reasonable times to collect children or be at home, however I still find that there is an expectation that fathers are more likely to be able to travel for work, to attend meetings early or late in the day, and that they won’t be at home as much.
Be strategic in how you allocate your time and put yourself first. Make a list of everything that you think you have to do, and rank into a priority list. Think about what you want your CV to look like.
Be kind to yourself – it is not easy returning to work after an absence. Colleagues and fields move on and advance in your absence. It is important to not compare yourself to others - even those who have taken career breaks such as maternity leave, as every career break is very different