Combining Intercontinental Parenting and Research: Dilemmas and Strategies for Women

One of the biggest challenges for parents conducting research abroad is how to manage either with one’s children or without them during that time. These days, the pressures of dual-career marriages have meant that it is rare to find a woman bringing her spouse along to “the field” to help with the children unless the husband is also involved in his own fieldwork project in the same locale. I have heard of only one situation where a male research with children took the children along with him to the field, leaving his spouse behind to attend to her career, although no doubt there are other exceptions. Because so many of the difficulties still fall primarily on mothers who are field researchers, I am focusing in this article on women’s dilemmas as they negotiate these temporary working/domestic arrangements with their partners, families, and academic departments.