• July 27, 2016
July 27, 2016, 11:28:15 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please Log In to participate in forums.
News: For all you tweeters, follow The Chronicle on Twitter.
 
Pages: 1 [2] 3
  Print  
Author Topic: When you need to travel to do research, but you have young children?  (Read 13026 times)
bromeliad
New member
*
Posts: 20


« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2011, 12:12:52 pm »

Is it possible for you to do "armchair" research and publishing for a few years (this is what I am doing until my children are older)? I am in a field where it is not uncommon to go back and forth between fieldwork and library work. In my case, the region where fieldwork is done is strife with violent armed conflict, so few people have been able to do fieldwork. There is little harm in working on the theory side of things, as well as working with data sets previously collected. Or, you might want to consider working and publishing collaboratively with others who have data collected from fieldwork.

Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and a few years of not doing fieldwork should not necessarily impact your career.

Good luck!
Logged
lotsoquestions
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,098


« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2011, 12:28:39 pm »

If you're going to DC, you might want to post on Craigslist as well as sittercity that you're looking for a college student/SAHM, etc. to watch your kids while you do archive research.  I did that a few years ago and got these amazing resumes from:
1.  the wife of an international academic who was working in DC who didn't have legal permission to work, but loved children and wanted to work someplace she could get to using public transportation
2.  assorted college and grad students
3.  assorted SAHM's, etc.
4.  a couple of older retired people with pretty amazing credentials, etc.

You'd have to ask for references and make sure you were comfortable with the person, but it might be worth a shot. 
I've taken kids with me on research trips twice but I waited until they were at least 10 years old.  They've had amazing experiences. 
Another thought:  any chance you could convince grandma to visit DC at the same time, and to take the kids sightseeing?  I've also contemplated 'borrowing' one of my sister's kids (who are about ten years older than ours), taking her/him along to watch my kids and to enjoy some family time with cousins.
Logged
fearless_winnower
Senior member
****
Posts: 592


« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2011, 1:04:38 pm »

While in the US, you may also be able to get reasonably priced short-term care from a center. My husband & I had to spend 3 weeks in a place other than my normal home in the US, and was able to find a place in a center for my then-1.5 year old.  It wasn't the kind of place I'd want him in forever, but it was nationally accredited (NAECY), had good child-to-adult ratios and was safe and affordable.  For what its worth, it was a national chain as well.  You may be able to find something similar.  My son is really flexible/outgoing and deals with change well (we've moved a lot in his short life), so that worked in our favor.

Have you considered taking one kid with you and leaving the other one home, thus sharing the care between your husband and you?
Logged
bluesocks
Senior member
****
Posts: 328


« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2011, 1:50:36 pm »

There is a website here called care.com.  I imagine it includes DC.  You can arrange childcare, etc.  The great thing is that they can do background checks for you.  So, you could possibly interview candidates over the phone or through skype or something like that and then do a background check on your first choice.

Just a thought--gotta run to class.

blue
Logged
britmom
Caffeine addict
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,248


« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2011, 8:44:59 am »

Sorry to have only just got back here; it's been hectic. Thank you all for so many useful suggestions. I'll try to provide responses below:

- I'm in the UK (really should have pointed that out before!) so the question of tenure isn't really relevant here. I certainly can not pull back on my research for a while.

Reneer It's not so much that my husband is refusing to look after the children. It's just that he's stressed to hell with his work (there's a horrible bullying culture) and I don't want to place any extra pressure on him if I can help it.

larryc I've considered using a research assistant to do some of the archival work, but the grants I've got so far won't cover that cost. The best solution to this problem would be to secure a large grant that would allow me to employ a research assistant. I'll just have to wait and see if my grant application(s) are successful.

Building on what others have said, I want to point out that you originally said that you do not have enough of a relationship with any of the families to arrange a playdate: playdates are how relationships are built. Who does your kid like to hang out with? Approach that family about a playdate. If you are not comfortable having them in your home, ask if they would like to hang out with you at the park on Saturday or if their child could come to park with you so that the kids could play together.

This is definitely something I'm going to have to work on. My oldest has developed quite a few strong friendships at nursery, but reaching out to their parents feels difficult. There is already a well-established friendship between a number of them because many of the mothers grew up together in this area. I am an outsider (which is very obvious to everyone from my accent). They're pleasant enough, but I've always got a 'back off' vibe from them. I was hoping that I might be able to develop a network once my oldest starts school next August. There will be a different set of children/families at her school.

Is it possible for you to do "armchair" research and publishing for a few years (this is what I am doing until my children are older)? I am in a field where it is not uncommon to go back and forth between fieldwork and library work. In my case, the region where fieldwork is done is strife with violent armed conflict, so few people have been able to do fieldwork. There is little harm in working on the theory side of things, as well as working with data sets previously collected. Or, you might want to consider working and publishing collaboratively with others who have data collected from fieldwork.

Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and a few years of not doing fieldwork should not necessarily impact your career.

Good luck!


Unfortunately, my research just doesn't work that way. I have an article in mind that would work on the theoretical (historiographical) side of things, but the only way my research is going to move forward is by getting in to the archives. (And it has to move forward as, in the UK, we are sadly forced to adopt a 'sprint' approach to our research. I won't whinge any more about the sodding government assessment of research or I may not stop.)

Thanks for the suggestions on how to find childcare. I'm really looking forward to taking the kids to the US. I think my oldest would probably cope with being put in to a short-term care situation and would love the adventure of travelling with me. The cost is still prohibitive at the moment, but once she's in school we'll be saving on childcare.

Although we love the two girls to bits, I think my husband and I are just hanging on until things calm down a bit and the youngest grows out of the non-sleeping/teething/kamikaze stage. We can already see how much easier things are once they hit the 4/5 year mark.
Logged
onelime
Junior member
**
Posts: 83


« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2011, 9:27:15 am »

Dear Britmom,

I suspect (not for the first time) that you might live where I live! Certainly I've gotten the same vibe at my older kid's school (where my younger is now in nursery). I spent a year feeling frozen out by all the mums who had grown up locally, and who were heading off for a collective jog after dropoff, and not to work. I watched them chat with each other and ignore me before the bell rang, or walk away in the middle of (rare) conversations with me when people they knew came up. I did not learn any names or the names of their children - and, being British, they never introduced themselves. When my kid chose 6 classmates to come for a birthday party, we didn't know who they were. And schools here seem to be much less communicative with parents in general. I felt absolutely awful, and knowing that my accent isn't going away made it that much worse.

This year is much better. We live near some other families in the school and the constant proximity has made us friendlier. People I didn't like I have come to like enough to leave my kids with, though we would never, ever have formed a real friendship on our own. I've found some other expats and one local mum who is unusually talkative and friendly. New people will show up and you will be a veteran who can help them. I agree with the other posters who suggest making this a priority. Even if your daughter is switching schools next year, try playdates with the nursery kids she's closest to... and have patience. Also, not like you have time, PTA?

Good luck!
Logged
pathogen
Senior member
****
Posts: 569


« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2011, 12:27:42 pm »

second care.com. My sister, a experienced child care provider, was on there between jobs picking up short term work.
Logged
onelime
Junior member
**
Posts: 83


« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2011, 5:52:47 am »

Oh, and btw, the thing about "being British" was totally tongue in cheek.
Logged
drspouse
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,621


WWW
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2011, 6:49:12 am »

Some thoughts from a non-parent, but one who's hoping to face this issue in the future, and who knows a reasonable amount about the British system. (So, any recommendations here for US websites - not so helpful).

I'm not sure if your toddler is in a nursery or with a childminder (you probably said but I skim read).  Childminders are a heck of a lot more flexible than nurseries - some of them do overnight care (a doctor friend has used this extensively when on call - she's been a single parent since her child was about 6 months old).

A colleague who does have a child, and has similar issues, says that she has found fellow parents are excellent resources, and she's generally quite a shy and non-pushy person, who would if asking for a favour phrase it in about 17 layers of "do you mind".  For example, she's dropped her son early at the house of another parent with a child in the same nursery, then both children go to nursery together, when she's had travel with an early start. I am not sure she'd really be "friends" with the other parents but she would at least chat to them.  She's also used the nursery workers for evening care.

I have to ask, though - would you cope with 6 days of solo child care? If so, there is nothing to prevent your husband from doing this (though I can see your parents might have some limitations). Some kids are really hard to care for one-to-one, but frankly, single parents manage, and with a bit of extended day care, your husband should manage.

Most of the places I travel to for research have a large underemployed and underpaid labour force so financially, I'd be able to take a child and afford childcare while there, but I'm not sure I'd want to given the length of the flight in most cases.
Logged
britmom
Caffeine addict
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,248


« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2011, 8:31:22 am »

I've gotten the same vibe at my older kid's school (where my younger is now in nursery). I spent a year feeling frozen out by all the mums who had grown up locally, and who were heading off for a collective jog after dropoff, and not to work. I watched them chat with each other and ignore me before the bell rang, or walk away in the middle of (rare) conversations with me when people they knew came up. I did not learn any names or the names of their children - and, being British, they never introduced themselves. When my kid chose 6 classmates to come for a birthday party, we didn't know who they were. And schools here seem to be much less communicative with parents in general. I felt absolutely awful, and knowing that my accent isn't going away made it that much worse.


This is similar to how it is for me. (Although my eldest isn't at school yet - this is the nursery crowd. Fingers crossed that school is different.)

second care.com. My sister, a experienced child care provider, was on there between jobs picking up short term work.
Hmm, you need a US address to register. I'll have to have a look at that in more depth some day.

Oh, and btw, the thing about "being British" was totally tongue in cheek.
No, you're spot on. (I'm British so I can say that. The problem with my accent is a regional one.)


I'm not sure if your toddler is in a nursery or with a childminder (you probably said but I skim read).  Childminders are a heck of a lot more flexible than nurseries - some of them do overnight care (a doctor friend has used this extensively when on call - she's been a single parent since her child was about 6 months old).

They're at a mix of childminder and nursery. The childminder is more flexible, although we're getting the sense that she's overworked and that's starting to show with our smallest having accident after accident. Sadly, it may be time to re-think our childcare arrangements - something that I could really do without.


I have to ask, though - would you cope with 6 days of solo child care? If so, there is nothing to prevent your husband from doing this (though I can see your parents might have some limitations). Some kids are really hard to care for one-to-one, but frankly, single parents manage, and with a bit of extended day care, your husband should manage.
He could manage 6 days of care. The problem is that it costs almost the same amount to go for 6 days as it does for 2 weeks. My grant money disappears quickly, whilst I make slow progress on my resarch. I need to figure out a way that I can get out to the US for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. I'm on sabbatical from January and I'm hoping to blitz the archives. This thread has been thought-provoking and raised a number of issues that I need to think about in greater depth.
Logged
drspouse
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,621


WWW
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2011, 8:41:45 am »

What would you do if he had to go somewhere distant for 2-3 weeks?

I do sympathise though as I say we don't have kids yet, because my own research trips involve fieldwork that really takes a minimum of a 10 day trip; it's often my own non-work commitments that suffer in this case. mrspouse was left with a huge number of wedding tasks (including a large amount of fabric buying, and I'm the sewist in the relationship) when I had to go on a 2 week trip, two weeks before my wedding.

My colleagues who do the same kind of fieldwork as me tend to leave their kids with their partners (but have more hours of child care to fall back on e.g. full time nanny), or take the kids (often with the partners, though a couple of people I'm thinking of have non-working wives) and hire childcare locally (but it's usually cheap, as I've said).
Logged
britmom
Caffeine addict
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,248


« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2011, 10:00:49 am »

What would you do if he had to go somewhere distant for 2-3 weeks?

I do sympathise though as I say we don't have kids yet, because my own research trips involve fieldwork that really takes a minimum of a 10 day trip; it's often my own non-work commitments that suffer in this case. mrspouse was left with a huge number of wedding tasks (including a large amount of fabric buying, and I'm the sewist in the relationship) when I had to go on a 2 week trip, two weeks before my wedding.

My colleagues who do the same kind of fieldwork as me tend to leave their kids with their partners (but have more hours of child care to fall back on e.g. full time nanny), or take the kids (often with the partners, though a couple of people I'm thinking of have non-working wives) and hire childcare locally (but it's usually cheap, as I've said).
In all honesty, I wouldn't try to care for them both on my own, but I'm fortunate that I get plenty of annual leave and would therefore stay with my parents for a little while. Yes, single parents manage, but I haven't got a clue how they do it. It wouldn't be a problem if we only had the one child, but, having the two and them being so young, just makes it too difficult. I'm sure I could manage - just the same as my husband could - it's just that I would try very, very hard to avoid it. I can see that it will get easier as the children get older, but - for now - it's not something I would like to do.
Logged
drspouse
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,621


WWW
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2011, 12:26:55 pm »

Can you pay the nursery workers to do some evenings/weekends? They are unlikely to be as expensive as a "proper" short term nanny.  My friend found this indispensable with her son when he was younger, and indeed when he needed afternoon/evening care more recently.

I think britdad might just have to get used to the broken nights, though. But time to go to an archive for 2-3 weeks is not going to come up again for another year, by which time your younger one might be better at sleeping.

I'm not 100% clear on how it would help if you took weeks of time off if britdad was away (or vice versa). I can see that finishing early each day would help a lot - less tired, can pick up from school, more time to do peripheral stuff. Can he take some hours of annual leave? There's a legal requirement in the UK to allow all parents a certain number of days off over the years, which isn't annual leave, this sounds like the ideal situation to use that in quarter-day increments.
Logged
niceday
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,007


« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2011, 10:39:55 pm »

Part bookmarking, part offering sympathies without an answer. I also face this issue, somewhat. No solutions except I keep reminding myself that this is only for a few years. It does really seem to get easier when they are older.
Logged
britmom
Caffeine addict
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,248


« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2011, 6:53:36 am »

Can you pay the nursery workers to do some evenings/weekends? They are unlikely to be as expensive as a "proper" short term nanny.  My friend found this indispensable with her son when he was younger, and indeed when he needed afternoon/evening care more recently.

The idea of hiring nursery workers is a great one. I'll definitely keep that in mind.

One thing that I didn't explain is that I've been in poor health since my second was born. It's put enormous pressure on my husband, who has done a wonderful job of holding everything together. Much of this problem of not wanting to leave him to cope on his own derives from my feeling that the really deserves a break. He's very supportive of my work. (Such as, right now, he's looking after the kids so I can get some work done.)


I think britdad might just have to get used to the broken nights, though. But time to go to an archive for 2-3 weeks is not going to come up again for another year, by which time your younger one might be better at sleeping.

I've got a sabbatical starting in January; I'm really hoping to do at least one trip during that time.


I'm not 100% clear on how it would help if you took weeks of time off if britdad was away (or vice versa). I can see that finishing early each day would help a lot - less tired, can pick up from school, more time to do peripheral stuff. Can he take some hours of annual leave? There's a legal requirement in the UK to allow all parents a certain number of days off over the years, which isn't annual leave, this sounds like the ideal situation to use that in quarter-day increments.
I would take time off so that I could go down to stay with my parents. They couldn't manage to look after the kids on their own, but they'd be a big help if I was with them.

My husband works long days Mon-Thurs so it's impossible for him to do nursery/childminder drop-off and collection on his own. (The oldest goes to nursery 3 days a week, whilst the youngest goes to a childminder full time.) Actually, another option would be to see if my parents could manage to come up to us and help out, rather than them looking after a kid/kids on their own. It's just a case of whether dealing with my Mum is actually harder work for my husband than being on his own.

This isn't an impossible situation, but it does feel very difficult, and -- in terms of getting on with research as a whole --I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

Niceday - my sympathies in return. Like you, I try to focus on the fact that this will get easier in a few years.
Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.