Thinking like a mother: How I found the right balance for my development career

Yassica’s son, Jack, during one of Yassica’s trips to Central America. How does an international development professional balance work and family time? Photo by: Yassica Ferrer

I wasn’t thinking like a mother when I went back overseas for the first time after my son's birth.

I was so accustomed to development work without a child that when I did have my son, I was the one who couldn’t adapt to my career.

I had my son when I was 36. Until then, I had lived and travelled to many countries working on U.S. Agency for International Development-funded projects. Opportunities came quick and unexpectedly, and I was used to taking them at the drop of a hat.

I learned three days before moving to Bolivia in 2003 that I would be travelling there for three months, but I ended up staying for nearly two years. I was based in Cochabamba, but the project implementation took place in the Chapare region, where I traveled quite often. Similarly, in 2009, I was out the door in three weeks to be based in Pakistan for nearly a year and a half. The project focused specifically in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas region so, although I was based in Islamabad, I would travel to the other office in Peshawar from time to time.

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About the author

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    Yassica Ferrer

    With over 14 years of experience, Yassica is an accomplished senior manager who has spent most of her career working in the international development industry; primarily supporting donor funded projects. She has worked in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East; in subject areas related to economic growth, governance, agriculture, rule of law and legal reform.