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
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
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
There are many advantages to working part-time and having breaks, and I think one of them is that it slows things down, so that you have more time to think, develop ideas, see PhD students through their candidature … Slowing down can be a very good thing, particularly in a world where ideas matter, and maturity helps.