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Having a Family Affects Your Research

Posted on December 6, 2007

Celia B. Fisher (bio) found a way to have both yin and yang in her life.

 

In terms of balancing family life, I have two children. I had both of them after my post-doc. And I’ve been married 36 years to a non-academician. And what I have found in terms of balancing is that number one, it has to shift with the age of your children. Children have needs and you have to prioritize their needs at different developmental points in terms of having a fit in moving your career ahead.

My position has always been that the age at which my children are, will never come again, but my opportunities for different career aspects will always be there. I never stopped working, but what I would do would be I would schedule different hours. I would schedule time, for example, when my children were very little, I would do mother-daughter breakfasts with my daughter when she was two years old and we would have this very special time together before I would go to work. I would do something else with my son, maybe take him to a toddler program, but the children always knew that we had these special times together and I always knew because I think sometimes it was worse on me than it was on the children because I missed them.

Also I found that having children made me look at my research in a very different way. I began to be very concerned about the effect of research on participants and it was because I saw my children as people that I needed to care about and I really wanted to understand how I could blend the yin and yang of my life, this love for science, this love for objectivity, this love for scientific validity and structure and organization and my love for my children, my love for my husband, my love for this relational quality that has no real structure and that you have to be amenable to being open to new experiences and new way of thinking. And I think by putting together research on research ethics and research on vulnerable populations, I was able to meld those two and continue to do so.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 SRCD Biennial Meeting in Boston, MA.

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