Podcasts

Podcast – Managing family life and research career

Reading Time: 26 minutes

This weeks podcast is chaired by Dr Jo Barnes from University College London. Jo is joined by Dr Gemma Lace-Costigan from University of Salford, Dr Tammaryn Lashley from UCL and Dr Angelique Mavrodaris from University of Cambridge.

‘Work life balance’…. When that work is research, it brings with it an added layer of complexity. The way research posts are funded and delivered can make the decision to start a family or even have a ‘life’ difficult (assuming it’s a conscious decision, rather than a happy curve ball that life threw your way, and assuming you make it through the dreaded PhD years). Keeping the plates spinning is a challenge. Combine family and home life with the demands of the research process itself, and the funding, and it isn’t surprising to hear that career can impinge on family life too.

So like all busy mums and dads, we find creative ways to manage, not just our time but the resonance that engaging in research can have on our way of living. And when you get the balance right… its fantastically rewarding.

Our panel talk about their experiences, and share some top tips for those working in the field.


Click here to read a full transcript of this podcast

Voice Over:

Welcome to the Dementia Researcher podcast brought to you by dementiaresearcher.nihr.ac.uk, a network for early career researchers.

Jo Barnes:

Hello, my name is Jo Barnes and welcome to our podcast for the NIHR Dementia Researcher website. This week we’ll be looking at rather hot topic, which is how to manage family life and a successful research and academic career. I am joined today by three people who I know have lots of experience on this topic. We have Gemma Lace-Costigan, who is a Lecturer in Biomedical Science from the University of Salford. We’ve got Tammaryn Lashley who is a Principal Research Fellow working at Queen Square Brain Bank and is funded by an Alzheimer’s Research UK Senior Fellowship. And we have Dr Angelique Mavrodaris who is a Clinical Research Fellow and consultant in Public Health Medicine at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, which is part of the University of Cambridge. Importantly, Angelique can discuss the additional difficulty of balancing work and family life when work has research and clinical components.

Jo Barnes:

Today, people frequently talk about work-life balance. When that work is research, it brings with it an added layer of complexity. The way research posts are funded and delivered can make the decision to start a family difficult. Assuming that it is a conscious decision, and that’s before you even try to find a balance and work out how to keep everything running smoothly. And this isn’t just a problem for women. However, we must recognize that the number of women who continued into senior positions is improving, but there is still a long way to go.

Jo Barnes:

Combining family and home life with the demands of research and the funding cycles, it’s not surprising that a career can impinge on family life too. So like all busy parents we can find creative ways to manage and when you get the balance right, I’m told it’s fantastically rewarding. If we can start with a quick round table, can you tell me a little bit about your research and your life outside work? If we start with Dr Lace-Costigan.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

No problem. So I’m Gemma Lace-Costigan and I’m from the University of Salford. I’m a Biomedical Science lecturer and I’ve got a research group which is really interested in looking at why abnormal proteins build up in disease and why the systems that usually function to clear these abnormal proteins don’t seem to work in diseases like Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementia. When I’m not at work and managing my teaching and admin and research workloads, I’ve got two kids. I’ve got a seven year old girl called Eve and a four year old boy called Jax and we like to go on adventures together and we like to do martial arts together.

Jo Barnes:

That’s sounds really exciting. Can I come and spend a day with you, that sounds great. Moving on to Tammaryn, do you tell us a bit about yourself?

Tammaryn Lashley:

Yeah. Sure. I’m Tammaryn Lashley, I’m a Principal Research Fellow at Queens Square Brain Bank at UCL. The focus of my research is pathological investigations of dementia. I head up a team of three postdocs, a research technician and 11 PhD students at the moment, as well as do sporadic teaching on MSc and BSc courses. Outside of work I’ve got three children, Eden who’s 16, Ethan 14 and Aaron who’s nine. They keep me busy outside of work. Yeah. Busy life.

Jo Barnes:

Very busy, you have three and Angelique.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

I’m Angelique and I’m a Clinical Research Fellow based at the Institute of Public Health at Cambridge and my research looks at the impact of infections on dementia progression. The idea being that if there is something that infection is doing to progress dementia a little bit faster, that we actually have a lot that we can do about it. I’m also a bit of a hybrid, so I’m a consultant in Public Health Medicine and I lead on our older people services portfolio where I design, commission and deliver on services for older people. Outside of work I’m a new mom. My little girl is eight months old. Her name is Vanya and this is a mini disclaimer as well because I’m still seriously suffering from the effects of baby brain. I will do as best as I can.

Jo Barnes:

So am I.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

It doesn’t go away.

Jo Barnes:

Not really, no. And just to say a bit about me. My name’s Jo Barnes. I work at the Dementia Research Centre, which is in Queens Square part of the ION Institute and Neurology, part of UCL. And I look at the presumed avascular components of Alzheimer’s disease and I look at imaging mainly to sort of quantify vascular load in individuals and see how that is associated with progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Outside of work I have two children. I have a six year old boy who’s at school and a two year old girl who’s still at nursery. So that’s me. If we start off with the first real question, what is your ideal work-life balance and do you have that currently? If I pass to Gemma to answer that.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

Okay, so there’s, I would say, this ideology of work-life balance is something that is up for discussion. I think at any given time it’s very difficult to have what I guess people assume is a work-life balance. Me personally, I tend to fluctuate between being really wrapped up in work and a hundred percent head in the zone and then snap out of it again so that I can hopefully be a decent parent. I think having work-life balance will mean different things to different people. For me it means being able to do things, to be able to do the things that you want to do and not have to say, Oh actually I can’t do that because of work. It’s being able to go and do things with the family and be there for your family and attend the school plays and the sports days and do everything that you hope and you aspire to do as a parent without your work-life suffering. So I think-

Jo Barnes:

Do you manage to get to most things or do you find that you only get to some of the things that you want to get to?

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

I think I manage to get some most of them, but there are certain situations, I think that’s just a way of how the culture is set up. Some things you can’t get to. One example is if you know of a parent’s evening a couple of weeks in advance, you can probably make provisions to get swept. However, there are some things that you can’t. So one thing that happens at my kid’s school is that there is an award ceremony every Friday for a child. You find out at one o’clock, you get a text to say that your child’s been nominated for an award or he’s going to receive an award and can you be at school within an hour.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

And so things like that as a working parent is really difficult. It’s quite prejudiced against working parents because it means that you can’t get to those kind of events. However other things usually it can be quite flexible. I manage to do most parents evenings. I missed the last parents evening because I was at the Alzheimer’s Research UK conference last week so and I’m going again, I’ve got a repeat one set up for tomorrow.

Jo Barnes:

So you can usually sort of schedule in something.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

Yeah. I think if you have your kids at a school which has some flexibility, any obviously your employers are supportive as well, we’ve got really good initiatives in place at the University of Salford to kind of empower working families to be able to have some flexibility in the workplace as long as you manage your own workload effectively. I think there are ways of overcoming some of the challenges that you face.

Jo Barnes:

On Tammaryn do you find the same, because you, you have children at school.

Tammaryn Lashley:

Yes. I think my work-life balance is so intertwined. I mean my laptop travels practically everywhere with me. So any spare five minutes, half an hour, you know, I can catch up with a bit of work. Ever since I started my PhD and I had two children during my PhD, as if it wasn’t busy enough as it was, I’ve always worked at home on a Friday and that was just the working setup that I had with my supervisor at the time. He was very understanding of me having children during my PhD, which was amazing because even though the children were with me at home on a Friday, I still had hours when they were sleeping that I could work and then you’d catch up with work in the evenings or a weekend. But also saved me money for childcare costs, which meant I could pursue the PhD because having two children at nursery… It was just extortionate amount of money to put them there.

Tammaryn Lashley:

Also for me having a completely understanding and supportive other half has meant I can pursue my academic career. So he works at home, which is amazing. So one of us will attend the parents evening, and having three we have quite a few parents evening as well. And our youngest has special needs so we have double, triple the amount of parents evenings for her as well as medical appointments for her.

Tammaryn Lashley:

So there’s always one of us around and shared diaries are amazing. We know where everybody is at the same time. We added the older two children on now they’re more independent then they’re out and about doing things as well. So yeah, any one time we know where the other person is. So organization is I guess the key, but it’s just so intertwined and having the academic career, it’s not a nine to five career so things are often done to catch up with admin work in an evening when the kids are in bed and often I need to take an hour here or there to support the kids with something during the day. But that’s doable. And having the academic career is quite flexible in that respect.

Jo Barnes:

So it sort of works, it works its way out.

Tammaryn Lashley:

Yeah.

Jo Barnes:

It’s quite, it’s difficult to actually-

Tammaryn Lashley:

It is difficult but as long as you stay organized, plans, I’ve got lists coming out of my air work list, home list, kids lists that never get completed. But you just live with that and you just move on from day to day and just do the best you can each day really. And don’t feel guilty about anything because you just can’t, you just wouldn’t be able to.

Jo Barnes:

It’s a waste of energy,

Tammaryn Lashley:

It’s a waste of energy to feel guilty. So sports days that I can’t make, you make up for it in other ways with the kids or you try and make the next one. But yeah, at the end of the day the kids come first. So if there is an emergency then I know from this kind of career that I can just go and support them when needed. But likewise, I still put the effort in to pursue my career as well.

Jo Barnes:

And support students as well, because that’s it.

Tammaryn Lashley:

Yeah.

Jo Barnes:

Sometimes it feels like everybody’s pulling, doesn’t it?

Tammaryn Lashley:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Jo Barnes:

Yeah. Angelique. You’re rather more new to having children than the rest of us. Are you? How are you finding things?

Angelique Mavrodaris:

I mean it’s, she’s amazing. My little girl. And I always tried to just remember that she’s now the priority and something that I just, I’m crazy about. But I think I’ve had to, even from before, I was struggling, not struggling, but it’s something you’ve got to be conscious of managing a clinical plus an academic career and getting that balance right. So now there’s an added dimension to getting the balance right, I guess.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

So I’ve had to become lot stronger in terms of managing expectations. So I think before I wanted to be stronger just so that I could protect my academic career in a sense because maybe I was a little bit more flexible and your clinical work then tends to jump into that and people tend to kind of encroach on that. But now I’m having to sort of protect academic time as well. So I’ve had to be a lot stronger about managing expectations, both at work with myself as well and saying that you can’t get to some things you won’t get to some things it’s okay. So it’s just trying to understand and be quite open about what you can achieve with all your bosses, with yourself, with your partner, et cetera. And then trying to do your best to make it work.

Jo Barnes:

And do you feel guilty at all being relatively new to this? I know eight months actually feels like quite a long time and-

Angelique Mavrodaris:

Yes it does.

Jo Barnes:

You feel like you can’t imagine life without them by that point. But do you feel guilty at all, as we touched on that a little bit?

Angelique Mavrodaris:

I think I started out feeling guilty, especially when I was missing things. I’ve been quite fortunate in that my mom’s been helping out at home, so she’d send me pictures of my little girl clapping for the first time and I’d feel, Oh, I missed that, I missed that. And I know I’m going to miss other things as well. But I think I’m really lucky that I have two great bosses, both my academic and my clinical boss women, they’ve had three kids each and a great group of friends who are all working moms as well. And I think that really puts it into perspective. So for us it’s just something we talk about, something that’s normal, we’ll get to some things. We won’t get too many, to all of them and it helps with the guilt. So I don’t think I feel as guilty anymore because there are a lot of people out there doing it. I’m just one of them. And I think in the end you can actually do both pretty well. And they can complement each other too.

Jo Barnes:

Yeah. I was thinking when I was preparing for this a little bit. Surprisingly I did prepare but for a very short time because that’s the problem with this nowadays isn’t it? Trying to shoehorn everything in. But I was thinking when was the last time I felt guilty, and I think it was last year when my son was Joseph in the nativity play and I couldn’t go because I had to do reviver, which, you know, that’s somebody who’s exam. I can’t ask them to reschedule that. So I said to my son, I’m really sorry but I’m not going to make it. And he looked at me straight in the eye and went, Oh boo hoo hoo.

Jo Barnes:

Yeah. Me feeling guilty is not helpful to anybody. He doesn’t care where I am. You know? And actually some of it got recorded anyway. So I have, sort of most of the time, move past that feeling because you almost don’t have time for that feeling after a while. And I think they, that my children certainly don’t see anything different. You know, both their mom and dad work and that’s what they see and they think it’s quite normal.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

And once it becomes normal and you know it’s wasted energy, feeling guilty, because I think you can do anything that you want, but you can’t do everything that you want, but you’ve just got to prioritize. You’ve got to look and see what’s most important at any given time and weigh it all up and you know, make plans for when you know that you’re going to miss something. Just have something in the pipeline then. If you know you’re going to miss a play, for example, like you just said, then okay, so we’ve got the seaside at the weekend then we eat too much ice cream so you compensate, don’t you?

Jo Barnes:

Yeah.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

And I think that’s how you learn to manage it and eventually that guilt does go away because you just plan for it.

Jo Barnes:

Yeah.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

You know that it’s coming and so you just kind of have a plan in place. You just get very good at plotting. Like Tammaryn said, you just write lists and plan it. You have a very full diary.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

And I think that the benefit of it as well because I actually feel like a better mom going to work and doing my thing. I feel I can actually go back home and now I’m better.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

I think you appreciate and use your time more effectively when you’re at home because if you’re not with them all the time, then you kind of make it real quality time when you can. You can’t do it all the time, but I think, I know especially when my kids were really little at the age where they can be quite difficult, when they’re really little. Just being able to step away and then step back in again. It makes you kind of a stronger mum or more confident mum, more patient.

Jo Barnes:

And you’re also a role model and I think that’s important for both girls and boys. You know that they do see that things are equal if we are, if the ideal society in that, well that’s a whole different podcast, for society then actually seeing mums and dads working is really very important. And very important for boys too, to see moms working that they don’t think that necessarily mums, you know there’s nothing wrong with making the choice that one parent stays at home if you can afford to do that. But that isn’t necessarily how things have to be.

Tammaryn Lashley:

For me as well though. I mean, picking the kids up from school, I used to pick them up on a Friday, but I’d get looks from other moms that were able to stay at home or chose to stay at home. But they were like, how could you give the responsibility? My husband is that the next of kin on everything at school. Any school trip, they’ll call him if there’s an emergency. So as a mother, I’ve handed that responsibility over to him, but that’s fine. He’s part of the team as well. But other mothers were questioning that when I would go and pick the kids up. It doesn’t bother me at all. It seemed to bother them more than it does me for some reason. But I think it’s working as that team to have that other, you know, we are a team, he’s their father, I’m their mother.

Jo Barnes:

It shouldn’t matter whether-

Tammaryn Lashley:

No. Not at all.

Jo Barnes:

Which of you actually is the person that goes and does that? On that note, do you feel in sort of your groups of friends or people that you know from school or nursery or whatever, do you feel that you should ask the woman say that I really do want to be at home, I just can’t. Is there ever that pressure to sort of express that or do you feel the pressure at all in any way?

Tammaryn Lashley:

I’ve never felt that because I never wanted to stay at home? So I’ve always wanted to have a career or contribute to the household in the way that I do. So for me that was never a question of me never saying that at all.

Jo Barnes:

Does anybody else feel that that is the pressure from other. I don’t even know whether it comes from within, but I sometimes feel it that I should be explaining why I am working as opposed to, why not?

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

I remember my daughter was really young. I remember going to a baby group and listening to all the moms sat around, essentially slugging off working moms, say, why do people have children if they are going to go back to work. And as I was sat there, my daughter was about three months old. I was really looking forward to going back to work and embracing a new job. I think it’s an issue with society. I personally didn’t feel any problem. I didn’t feel guilty at all. And I’ve never felt guilty about wanting to go to work. And because like you said, it made it makes you a better mother, I think. If you’re addressing all parts of your personality where you get to be all versions of yourself, the motherly version of yourself, the leader, the academic, the mentor. If you’ll get to be all those, all those different parts of you essentially make you a good parent.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

I’ve never felt the pressure from myself. I’ve never felt that I’ve had to conform that I might just say something about my personality other than anything else. But I’ve got, I’ve got friends who, who don’t work. Most of my friends do work, but I do have friends who don’t work and they would never say to me, Oh don’t you ever just think you could just stay at home. Because they all know me well enough to know that I would go out in my mind very quickly.

Jo Barnes:

I think to some degree, and I’ve spoken with my female friends from particularly those from Uni that I’ve known for a long time and we’ve all had children actually, and we all work. Most of us are part time, but we have all gone back to work. And one of my friends said to me, I think my children would just become a project if I stayed at home. And I think that was a quite a good way of putting it really. Because you’d be so involved with everything that they’re doing and you’d be getting in their hair the whole time. And I think actually, as a society, I think we need to sort of think about supporting parents to do what they need to do for themselves as well, so that they don’t sit at home and stew and think about every little test their child has to do and in a competitive way or whatever. So no, that’s really interesting. Does anyone feel that it’s getting easier to be a working parent and have a research career? Angelique how do you feel about that?

Angelique Mavrodaris:

Easier in general or easier in my particular circumstance?

Jo Barnes:

I think from your own experience to start with and then what you see within your Institute potentially.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

Okay. I mean I think it’s certainly getting a bit easier for me now that I’m sort of getting better at being more effective at work and then coming home and switching off. Because I think before I was sort of at work thinking about my baby and then coming home and then thinking about the work I hadn’t finished. So I’ve tried to make a bigger effort when I’m at work. And I know this is, in theory it sounds great and often you can’t do that. But when I have good days where I can just focus on my work at work and then stop at five I know I’m done. When I get back home I’m mommy again and I put my phone away up at my laptop away and then I can just really be with her. And I think I’m getting much better at doing that. And when I get that right then it starts feeling really nice. I don’t feel like I’m cheating on either end, which is what I was feeling before. So I think it is getting a bit better in that sense.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

In general, as I said, I’m really lucky in that I have two bosses that are both working moms with three kids each and they’ve been super supportive. They really have. And they’ll see a lot of the moms that work that will have to pick up kids at five and they’ll say, go fetch your kids. They don’t want us working in the evenings and stuff. And they’re super understanding and that makes such a huge difference I think.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

And I think institutions, at least certainly the ones I’ve been in, are getting a bit better at that. I think there’s still a long way to go and obviously it depends on who’s there and who your boss is, but that has helped. And I think also just being quite clear with your team and your bosses about where you stand, what’s important to you, what you can achieve, what you will do in a day or a week or whatever is also really helpful. Because I found that with myself a lot of the pressure or a lot of the times that I wasn’t getting to things I sort of was self-imposing in a way. I sort of was trying to get back into my research career. So I was signing up to all these things and people would then question why I was late or not there. So I think you’ve got to kind of just understand your limitations, manage the expectations, and then just be open about it and say, I can’t get to that this evening. I’ve got to go home and bath my baby and that’s it. So yeah.

Jo Barnes:

And that becomes part of the culture then the more people that do.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

Exactly.

Jo Barnes:

Then it’s more acceptable.

Angelique Mavrodaris:

I think we’re on the upward trend. I hope.

Jo Barnes:

Yeah. Tammaryn, you have the eldest children here of all of us-

Tammaryn Lashley:

I am really old.

Jo Barnes:

No sorry. No. That wasn’t what I meant. Have you seen culture change in the time that you’ve had children?

Tammaryn Lashley:

Where I’ve been at, I’ve only ever had my career at UCL, so I’ll have the same boss for… He was my PhD supervisor. Then he was my boss for my two postdocs. He retired five years ago, but I’m still looking up to work with him. He’s in two days a week, but he has always been super supportive of me having children. They’re the priority. If there’s an emergency then I go home to the children. So for me, I’ve not really had any hurdles or barriers to having that work life balance with the children, I think because of him. But I think nowadays people are talking about it more people are more open about it. I think with any supervisor or any boss, communication is the key.

Tammaryn Lashley:

If you’re having problems at home, talk to your boss or your supervisor, work things out, communicate. Be honest. If you’re not managing things and there’s people there that you can talk to or can advise, they’ve been there before. So yeah. Just be honest and talk to people if you’re struggling. But obviously if you have got a particularly difficult boss, then I suppose the university you can approach for work-life balance measures or-

Jo Barnes:

and they [crosstalk 00:25:20] within your appraisal scheme, which I assume that the universities sort of have those questions-

Tammaryn Lashley:

Yeah. Once a year we’re all appraise so you can raise those with your supervisor or your boss. But I definitely think because we’re talking about it more of these issues are being raised. So I think the culture is changing slowly, but I think there is still a way to go, not just for females, for male young males with young families as well. This affects them as well. It’s not just females.

Jo Barnes:

No. Absolutely. And at Salford, how’s the culture there? Is it very supportive?

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

It’s extremely supportive. Yeah. So I had my son while I was at Salford and I was absolutely supported all the way through it. And I think there is a lot of… It’s definitely an upward movement now towards talking and addressing issues associated with equality. For example, we’ve at the Athena SWAN movement, what I would say to people is really get involved in that. Get involved and there’s still a long way to go, especially for early career researchers who for example are working on postdocs and they’ve got a fixed term contract. Both of my pregnancies were in fixed term contracts and they were so strategically planned to make sure that I would actually be able to afford to have a child. And there were so very intricately mapped out into my career because I didn’t know whether I would be able to afford to go on maternity leave.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

My first child, I was in a was an 11 month contract.

Jo Barnes:

Right.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

And so I had to basically decide to fall… Try to fall pregnant immediately at the start of that, otherwise I wouldn’t have any kind of benefits, maternity benefits. And so it’s quite a daunting place to be. Once you get into a permanent contract, then at least you’ve got that kind of extra reassurance that are in place. There’s still a long way to go. So there needs to be some issues address with respect to how do you support PhD students, how do you support postdocs who were on these short contracts if they are to have children. Covering issues such as maternity leave and pay, paternity leave and pay because at the minute I think that’s where a lot of the problem lies.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

Once you are a permanent member of staff seems to be much more support and I think it’s really putting systems in place to protect the early career researchers that we need to be talking about. And that’s why it’s important to have a voice on panels such as your institutions, Athena SWAN and anything associated with equality because these are issues that are still there. We’re definitely getting better. We are talking about it a lot more. There is more support, but there’s still issues. I think that needs to be considered.

Jo Barnes:

Yeah. And in terms of my background, when I had… It took me two years to get pregnant with my first child.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

Yeah. So you can’t always pick and choose. Oh, I’m going to have it. And I was lucky I managed to do that.

Jo Barnes:

Yeah. I’m amazed.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

I was like, I’m going to have to get pregnant in March, otherwise we’ve lost a window for a year.

Jo Barnes:

To wait for the next contract.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

That’s it. But that’s terrible really. Thinking back that’s terrible.

Jo Barnes:

Yeah. You have good planning though. I didn’t even think about contract.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

Well, [crosstalk 00:28:56].

Jo Barnes:

I didn’t by the end because you know when, when things don’t happen as you know, you can plan when you try, but you can’t plan when you actually get pregnant. That is something that’s beyond you. And that’s quite difficult to deal with as somebody who’s quite goal oriented. You’ve been able in your life, your work towards something, you get it. And when you’ve got problems with fertility or whatever, then all of a sudden is something you can’t instantly do something about it. There’s no magic pill. So, yeah. And then if that’s compounded by a difficult working environment, then it makes it very stressful. So yeah. But I was rather lucky in that, although I’d finished my fellowship… My first junior fellowship at that time, I was on a contract that actually I managed to get the UCL benefits, so I was very lucky. UCL were very supportive.

Jo Barnes:

Summing everything up, what do you think the… If I come around to all of you, have you got a sort of one tip that you would give to younger men and women who are thinking about families and a career in science? Anybody wants to go first or shall I pick

Tammaryn Lashley:

I’ll go first. There’s no good time to have children. If you want children and just go for it. You never have enough money except for the right time in the academic career, but everything will work itself out. Organization, just be super organized. Just critique yourself. There’s always ways that you can organize yourself better no matter how many lists you’ve got up. But yeah, organization and communicate with your supervisor or your boss.

Jo Barnes:

That’s great. Gemma have you got-

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

Absolutely agree with Tammaryn and there isn’t a right time to have kids. You just, you got to go for it if you want to do it, but be part of your institution’s movements towards equality because if you’re not happy with your situation when you do have children, then be part of the fight to kind of correct that and make changes. Accept and be gentle with yourself. Accept that you can’t do everything. Learn to say no. Learn to prioritize and speak to colleagues who have been through the same thing. You get the most amazing advice off of the people around you who’ve been in that situation. So you know, talk to people and see how they’ve, I don’t say dealt with the situation as that sounds quite negative but-

Jo Barnes:

Survived.

Gemma Lace-Costigan:

How they’ve survived the joys of childhood and parenting. No, speak to your colleagues, have a really good support network around you. If you haven’t got a support network and create one, just be part of the movement. I would say.

Jo Barnes:

That sounds very wise. And Angelique, have you got any additional things?

Angelique Mavrodaris:

I really liked the last one. I think surrounding yourself with mentors, colleagues, friends that are in similar situations is really so important. It’s made the world of difference for me because you can do it and a lot of the time it works out really, really well. And being able to share that with a supportive, positive group of people just makes all the difference. And then I think sleep, sleep is king. It was probably a dream in the far distant future. But if you can sleep well, then you’re able to tackle a lot more. So that would be mine.

Jo Barnes:

Stay asleep as much as you can and find your way to a movement of people. Surround yourself by nice people and be nice to yourself. So that’s all good advice. And the only bit that I can add to that as you will muddle through and it will be muddling, but that’s what it feels like. But you will be able to do it. So it’s time to end today’s podcast recording. I’d like to thank our panellists, Gemma. Tammaryn, and Angelique for coming here, particularly those of you who have travelled. We hope you’ve enjoyed this recording. Profiles on our contributors are now available on the Dementia Researcher website, and please remember to subscribe to this podcast through SoundCloud and iTunes. Tell your friends and colleagues, particularly those that you think might be having children soon and share via social media using the hashtag #ECRDementia. That’s good. Now I’m back to sleep for me. Thank you.

Voice Over:

This was a podcast brought to you by Dementia Researcher. Everything you need in one place register today at dementiaresearcher.nihr.ac.uk.

END


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