Parents in Science: Links edition

Since establishing the Parents in Science series in March of 2013, I have come across many great posts by others describing their experiences of being a parent and an academic. Below are links to some of my favorites, which I have organized wherever possible based on career stage (in no particular order within category). Please let me know in the comments if there are other posts you feel should be added. I’ll update this list regularly.

Graduate students:

Graduate School With Children: A father of two describes his concerns and tries to remain optimistic as he and his wife prepare to enter graduate school.

Graduate School With Children Part 2: “My life in graduate school with kids could no longer be compared to working on an assembly line. It was more like juggling bowling pins…someone was tossing in more bowling pins, and I was struggling to keep up.”

Graduate School With Children Part 3: A father of two reflects after a year in graduate school on how being a parent has made him a better scholar, and the reactions to his choices from those around him.

Why So Few Doctoral-Student Parents? (HT Balancing Jane): Some sobering numbers on why many women choose not to have children in graduate school, including lack of paid maternity leave and the stigma attached.

Giving Birth in Graduate School (HT Balancing Jane): On timing, the struggle to graduate while pregnant, and the decision to apply for the tenure-track route as a mother of two.

Grad School and Parenting: If I knew then what I know now: Some practical advice for graduate students with children. “…furthering our education and achieving our personal goals sets a good example for our children.”

Mamacademic: how I hack parenthood, grad school, etc.: Practical advice for graduate students with children, including find a guidance committee, write something everyday, and try not to panic!

So You Want to Be A Grad Student Mama: “There are penalties and benefits to being a graduate student mother, but given the decision again, I could not choose between these parts of my life.”

Fieldwork, Forest, and Babies….how mothers do it: One woman’s amazing story about taking her daughter into the forests of India to do field work.

Postdoctoral researchers:

Postdoc Purgatory (via @5BrainyBirds): “I am going to live my life, day by day, keeping my eyes and ears open for opportunities as they come, academic or other.  And I am going to breed on my own terms, dammit!”

The Guilt: One Mama’s Thoughts From the Field (via @5BrainyBirds): “Because I choose to have such a career doesn’t mean I love my kid or my family any less.”

What a generous maternity policy you have! (via @5BrainyBirds): A postdoc’s perspective on the ways in which institutions could help women by providing more options for maternity leave and childcare.

Of Babies and Interviews (via @5BrainyBirds): A postdoc openly describes the difficulties of preparing for a job talk and interviews with a new baby.

The Balancing Act: A Postdoc’s Perspective: Some things institutions could do to help academic with families, including the option for longer postdoc appointments.

Should women in science have to choose between starting a career and starting a family? (via @NothingInBio, HT @BabyAttachMode): “To the extent that our system is incompatible with the familial constraints, we should ask why.”

Unsettling Stats About Women in Science: See especially #6. Work culture favors those without families.

I’m a Mom in Science – Hear Me Roar! (via @TenureSheWrote): A woman writes a brilliant response to a female scientist who chastised her for speaking about the difficulties of being a mother and an academic.

On parent-friendly science (via @BabyAttachMode): “it is the academic culture that makes it incredibly difficult to pursue an academic career as a woman/parent/both.” Some thoughts on how to fix it.

Scientist parent (via @mwilsonsayres): “It is not impossible to be a rock star career woman and rock star mom…It isn’t about choosing one over the other, but finding a career, and a way of parenting, that lets you succeed at both.”

Adjunct faculty:

Contigent Mother: The Role Gender Plays in the Lives of Adjunct Faculty (HT @krisshaffer): “women academics who are mothers become caught in a bind that facilitates a secondary status as contingent faculty.”

Tenure-track or tenured professors:

Breastmilk isn’t free: high points and challenges as a Professor + Mother  (via @TenureSheWrote): A tenure-track professor at a R1 university takes a positive but realistic look at her experiences.

Female Professors Face Family Quandary on Tenure Track: 3 female professors talk about their experiences, decisions about timing, and the stigma attached to having children.

Managing Motherhood and Tenure: Female professors discuss the importance of family-friendly institutional policies.

Finding Work/Life Balance in Academia: “Your child does not need you 24 hours a day. Your students don’t need you 24 hours a day.  Your research is not important enough to be done 24 hours a day.”

On gender, parenting, and academic careers (via @hormiga): Fathers face many challenges and stigmas in academia. “my male Dean expressed concern about my request for paid parental leave…because that was intended only for mothers and not fathers.”

Juggling summer parenting and research (via @hormiga): Summer is the time research programs ramp up, but it’s a difficult time for academics with children.

Unspecified or multiple career stages:

Getting a research career established with small babies: Some great advice from a female academic with two kids to a colleague who had just learned she was pregnant.

No kidding: research is as demanding as a newborn (HT @BabyAttachMode): For many female academics, maternity leave doesn’t really mean stopping work.

On Being a Great Dad vs a Great Mom (via @drisis): About the unequal expectations placed on female and male academics with children.

In The Ivory Tower, Men Only: At all career stages, there are very real penalties for women academics who decide to have children.

How does she do it?: Experiences and advice from female professors who had children at different stages in their careers.


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