My partner Marian and I both work as scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Because he also wants to spend time with our son and I did not want to pause my work completely, we decided to share the parental leave. We both reduced our working hours to about half and Marian goes to work on the days when I am at home and the other way around.

This model was not always well received beforehand, and people insisted that a baby needs in particular its mother. Thankfully through JuWinHPC I had the chance to meet other colleagues who had already gone through these stages of life and shared their experiences with me. These colleagues not only served as a role model for me as a working mother, but also provided me with advice on the challenges of everyday life.

The first weeks after the maternity were a little bit hopy, because Marian and I had to get into our roles and synchronize with each other: For instance, my son was brought to me for breastfeeding on my first day at work because the milk I had prepared was not sufficient or I had a crying baby in my arms at online meetings outside my office hours. In all these situations I was very happy to be able to exchange experiences with colleagues of the JuWinHPC network.

In the meantime, the alternation of working and baby-days works out nearly without any incidents. I am happy to continue to do my work, which I have always enjoyed and I am happy that my son has such a good relationship with his father. Because I miss my son during a workday I am especially motivated to fulfill his needs in the evening and relieve my tired partner. Switching between both worlds gives me a good balance and Marian and I are both very happy.

About Ruth Schöbel

Ruth Schöbel is working at Jülich Supercomputing Centre. She studied Mathematics and is also trained as a mathematical-technical software developer. Ruth recently became the head of the ATML “Advanced Time Integrators. In collaboration with the FH Aachen, University of Applied Sciences, she holds mathematical lectures and also as a leader of the Joint Laboratory for Extreme Scale Computing she is particularly interested in promoting young talents. In addition, the topic of underrepresentation of women and the compatibility of work and family is particularly important to her. She is about to start a family and is happy to report on the challenges this brings to her professional life.

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