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Women in Science

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Video clip: Helen’s mother helped her a lot when the children were small. They also went to a privately run nursery, which worked well.

Yes, so the children went to nursery. It wasn’t a University nursery. But they went to a privately run nursery which worked very well, and also we were lucky that my mother used to come up a lot. At the time, my children were her only grandchildren. So she would come up, she lives in London, so she would come up if I was away, in particular she would come up and be there if I was travelling. And that was an enormous help to me, to the children and to my husband. So, so I think, when I look at my friends and, and how they juggle things, everyone does it slightly differently depending on your circumstances, depending on what your spouse does, whether you have family members who can come and help.

I never particularly wanted a nanny. I wanted to try and do what I could with the children myself. I would cheerfully pay people to do every stroke of housework. But I wanted to do the childcare myself when I could. So we just got into a pattern of box and coxing. So I think one of the other things we did when the children were very small is I would come into work very early, and my husband would get them ready for nursery, take them to nursery and then I would pick them up, take them home, give them tea, bath them and he’d work late into the evening and, you know, actually that suited our body clocks. It suited our work schedules, and it meant that we both felt we were, we were seeing the children but also getting our work done.