Taking your baby with you

In our previous interview with Katharine Hayhoe, the topic of taking children along to academic conferences came up. Katharine described her own commitment to bringing her son with her as much as possible and promised she would share more in a future interview. We’re

happy to offer that conversation here.

Last time we talked, you promised to tell us about how you have navigated travel in your career while being a mother. So many women in our audience feel compromised, especially when they go to conferences or on trips. You’ve done some interesting things to accommodate your career trips and motherhood.


Yes. Having a family is hard. Having a dual-career family is even harder. And the reality is that the more kids we have, the harder it is. One is very portable, two are manageable, three becomes more challenging, and four…[laughs] well, with four you have to consider that at least one person’s career has to be full-time parenthood for a while. So it really depends on the choices we make.

The most important thing I would say is that there’s no right choice. The right choice is whatever’s right for you. For me, being a mother is incredibly important, but being a scientist, especially studying an issue like climate change that affects us all over the world, that’s really important to me, too. And that was one of several factors that played into our choice to have fewer, rather than more, children.

At the same time, I think family size is a choice that we should try to make as consciously as possible, not based on pressure or doubt from what we think society or our community (including our Christian community) might expect of us. In certain Christian circles, there’s more pressure towards having many children, while in other secular circles, it can be exactly the opposite.

Read the rest of the interview here.