Hi everybody! My name is Liliana, I am a pediatric oncologist and a Young Investigator. I would like to start a discussion about what I consider is one of the most important challenges in our life as researchers, clinicians and scientists: How to “balance” a family life and a demanding professional life.
I think we agree that an academic career demands many hours per day (if not, the whole day!) for dedicating to read about latest findings, write about research, submit new manuscripts for peer-review, apply to grants/scholarships, working in the lab, etc. At that very moment in your life, when you feel you are making a great progress in your academic life, there is a tiny person (your child) who demands also all your attention and ask you to play all the morning/afternoon with him/her. You are his entire world.
When I was at college, I knew I wanted to have a family (maybe three kids, nice husband and big house). Then after making the specialty of pediatric oncology I got married and became a first-time mom. A big challenge started. To balance time for family, education, research and work is not easy; even more difficult if domestic chores and care for a family members with special needs are required.
From my point of view, the key of a nice balance as a parent/spouse and work is always to keep looking for new and creative solutions of all challenges/multiple activities. For me, three thing have worked out: (1) It is important to recruit some friends/family when you need them most. Family is a great support for helping you in all activities you have planned or need for your family. (2) To think that I won’t be a “perfect mom” or “perfect wife” and live by my own standard rather than someone else´s. (3) Dedicate special time for vacations/holidays with my family.
How do you balance your work life and family?