At the University of Oulu a task force on parenting has been established by the RESET project. Here, the task force presents the outcomes from a cultural probes study with personnel diaries of the task force members. The contribution shows personal impressions of mobility and questions around navigating scientific work and family life.
Research mobility is expected from us and it is among the true benefits of our work!
“I will be embarking on a research visit. My family will be accompanying me, which is a fantastic opportunity. This arrangement allows my family to share my experience, and we won’t have to live apart during this time. This is a unique benefit that many other professions may not offer.”
However, family may not always be able to join us in our journeys.
“My partner, who is a researcher, travels quite a bit and these times are especially taxing, as home duties cannot be distributed equally. Children wake up. Partner, who normally handles the morning shift, is on a work trip. As a non-morning person, this affects coping with the work and chores.”
“Leaving my son to day care crying (same yesterday). It feels like he is reacting this way for me being away for the previous week. He says that he wants to stay home with me and doesn’t want to go to day care. I know this feeling will pass and he will be just fine, but it doesn’t feel good.”
We need enhanced university support for parenting academics!
Research visits present a unique opportunity for academic growth and enrichment, and it is vital that we maximize these benefits, especially for those who juggle the responsibilities of academia and parenthood. A well-structured, university-level support system can play a critical role in facilitating this process. So far, many of our colleagues have had to navigate through these experiences largely unaided, dealing with complex processes such as visa applications, or understanding foreign schooling systems for their children. These challenges are not insignificant, and we believe that we should not be left to face them alone. To that end, we advocate for the establishment of a dedicated support team within the university for long-term mobility purposes. The aim of this team would be to provide assistance and guidance to our parenting academics, thus ensuring smooth transitions during research visits. By implementing this enhanced support system, we can ensure a more balanced and enriching experience for our parenting academics during their research visits.