career and children

Sarah L. Pallas spallas at bcm.tmc.edu
Wed Jun 5 16:00:47 EST 1996


In article <18166.guenzel at mail.rz.uni-duesseldorf.de> ,
guenzel at mail.rz.uni-duesseldorf.de writes:
[snip]

>In the meantime I know several women who work in the lab and have kids. 
>However, all except one are at about the same level as I am (no
tenure..). 
>Personally, I only know one female Professor with (3) children, however, 
>her husband gave up his job to look after the children (the other female 
>Professors I know are either single or don't have children). I wonder
what 
>will happen during the next 10 years or so, to all the "mummies in 
>science" I know at the moment. Will they drop out are continue their 
>career? (And, what will happen to me??)

In the US maybe 10 or 15 years ago it was like this, so you just have to
wait another decade.  ;-)  Seriously, have you ever considered a move in
the short or long term to a more women/children friendly country? 
Perhaps the foreign training would make you more valuable to employers if
and when you return to Germany.  Failing that, find one of those house
husbands your colleague found!  Or another single mom to share a house
and chores with.

My husband and I are both assistant professors in academic positions, and
we have one child, which we adopted after we started our faculty
positions.  I recommend adoption as a career strategy- no pregnancy,
labor complications, breastfeeding, and if you time it right, no midnight
feedings.  We obviously work long hours, but we try to spend evenings and
weekends with our son.  We work all day while he's in a good daycare (one
advantage to waiting until you have a decent salary to have kids).  Most
daycares here open at 7 and close at 6, so there's an 11 hour workday if
you can get up that early.  Public schools often have an optional after
school program for a fee.  We pick him up at 6, eat and play with him
until 8:30 or 9, and then work again while he sleeps.  On the weekend we
do errands with him or take him somewhere fun, then work while he takes
an afternoon nap.  We have a housekeeper who comes once a week so laundry
and cleaning are taken care of, reducing other house chores to shopping. 
About once every two months we hire a babysitter and leave the kid behind
for an evening.  I think it would be really tough as a single parent,
because the two of us have a tough time as it is.   When one of us has a
deadline or long experiment, the other can look after the kid, and we do
tag-team parenting.  

Good luck!  Things have to get better as more women enter the German
academic work force.

Sarah Pallas



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