A fellow mom whose son was in the same class as mine asked me recently "so what do you guys do when you both have to travel for research in the summer?" A-ha! The question that every academic parent of a small child wonders about! The answer is a tad more complicated when the parents are in different academic fields, and often, by definition, have to be in different locations at the same time. We have sort of made it work, by either very carefully coordinating and staggering trips, and/or by bringing child along, with the other parent as a caregiver. - June 2015, we spent a week in Brussels, where my child (not yet 3yo at the time) and spouse hung out with friends and I did fieldwork. - June 2016, the three of us flew to Germany, and I left the next day for Italy (Standing Group on the EU in Trento). My son and his dad spent a few days in Heidelberg and then continued on to Switzerland, where I met them. I looked after our son for a few days, while his dad attended meetings; then I flew to Brussels for another conference (EPSA), before returning to Geneva. - August-Sept 2016, my son accompanied me to APSA while his dad was on a trip to London/Oxford. APSA is the one conference in my field that I know about that provides child care. - June-July 2017 (child was nearly 5yo), we all flew to Switzerland, where we spent a week (me and our son at the beach, his dad- in non-air conditioned offices). We then took the train to Milano where I attended EPSA meetings. Following two weeks visiting family in Bulgaria, we then all flew to Scotland, Edinburgh first then Glasgow, for the Council for European Studies conference. I presented and chatted with colleagues while the rest of the family explored the parks playgrounds. It was there, where a local dad, seeing my kid spin precariously on the merry-go-around asked: Is he yours? He's crazy. - I am taking a break from conferencing in summer of 2018, which allows my spouse to travel a bit more intensely. This results in me more-or-less solo parenting for 6 weeks. This time includes my first solo transatlantic travel with my son, to first visit his dad, then my family (where I will also look after my niece for two weeks), before his dad joins us for a conference in Sofia. - Next, we are planning a vacation travel that does not include work or visiting family :-)
Petia Kostadinova is a scholar of European politics. This page contains notes, posted very occasionally, on topics relevant to research and the academic experience.