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  • Professor Lyn Beazley talks about juggling motherhood and a career

    May 2020

    “If you stay at home, you wish you had got out more and viewed the world, but if you work, you wonder if you should be at home and what you’re missing out on.”

    My name is Tiffany and I’m interning with Reflections. It’s my privilege to write our Mother’s Day article which I have based around meeting our lovely Patron, Professor Lyn Beazley.

    A bit of background for those who don’t know what an incredible woman Professor Beazley is…

    After graduating from Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, Professor Beazley built an internationally renowned research team in Neuroscience that focused on recovery from brain damage. She has achieved many great things in her life such as Chief Scientist of Western Australia, science ambassador, she has been awarded Officer of the Order of Australia, elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, inducted into the inaugural Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame, the second recipient of the Governor’s Award for Giving, ambassador for the Western Australian Museum, on the Foundation Council of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame and named the WA Australian of the Year in 2015. The list just goes on!

    It was awesome to meet Professor Beazley in person and have the opportunity to ask her a few questions regarding her career, and being a mother was a significant part of the conversation.

    Asking why she became the Patron of Reflections, Professor Beazley responded, “I became Patron because it’s a marvellous organisation and we really need to know more about this awful disease (mesothelioma), and we have to know how we can prevent it in the future.”

    What she said next surprised and saddened me. Her father actually passed away from mesothelioma, hence she has a rather personal interest in Reflections.

    When talking about juggling work and trying to be the “perfect” mother, she believes there isn’t such thing as a perfect mum.

    “If you stay at home, you wish you had got out more and viewed the world, but if you work, you wonder if you should be at home and what you’re missing out on,” Professor Beazley said.

    She mentioned that Kate Middleton had recently been interviewed and even she said she felt guilty.

    “Essentially, guilt comes with a job, but you have to accept that and just do the very best you can.”

    “There’s a fascination in watching your children grow and I believe every stage was the best stage, which is truly special. Then, they leave home and you get all upset. But then they come and go.”

    The discussion soon shifted to creating a balance between work and motherhood. Professor Beazley explained you have to be prepared to work really hard and having a supportive, sympathetic and understanding partner is crucial. She takes her hat off to all single parents acknowledging how challenging that would be.

    “You just have to juggle things and make them work. It is going to be tough when you’re a woman, and you will always find that the bottom line is that you are the mum,” she said.

    “No matter how supportive and helpful your partner is, being the mum always carries that extra bit. You’ve always got to be there, and I don’t want to look back and think I missed out.”

    “At the end of the day, always put family first and kids will remember. They will remember those negative things, and so they should. Obviously, you don’t want any of those or as few as possible. And if you make a mistake, apologise because the kids will understand. But try not to have to apologise too often.”

    What an incredible example of balancing motherhood and career Professor Beazley is. I feel so fortunate to have met this kind-hearted, warm lady and captured this portion of her amazing life.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all!

    Tiffany Gossage