Scientist and mother Gretchen Goldman decided to let the world know the “honest” truth about working from home with children during the coronavirus pandemic by sharing a photo on Twitter that revealed a behind-the-scenes look at a Monday CNN interview.
Goldman, the research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at Union of Concerned Scientists, was the image of professionalism on screen as she spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on the appointment of David Legates ― a climate change skeptic ― to head the federal government’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
But as Goldman showed, just out of the camera’s view lay piles of strewn about toys. Not to mention that she was wearing shorts and using a chair on a table for a laptop stand.
Speaking with Slate and Buzzfeed News, Goldman said she only had 45 minutes to prepare for the interview.
“That 45 minutes is inclusive of preparing for the content and then also, because of expectations for women on camera, I have to also spend some of that time with my physical appearance, and the setup of the room,” she said. “All of that means that if I don’t have to do something, I’m not going to do it. Like changing into pants.”
Goldman told her husband to take the behind-the-scenes photo, of the scene at their Washington, D.C. home, and said that balancing a demanding career with childcare during a global pandemic was “laughably infeasible,” though she and her husband had been doing their best to make ends meet.
“There’s a lot of threats under COVID, and I do want to acknowledge that it’s a privilege to be able to work from home safely with your kids,” she said. “But at the same time, I am very concerned with how this is going to adversely affect women’s careers, especially in science where women are already underrepresented, and people of color are underrepresented, and this is going to exacerbate and dismantle a lot of the progress that we’ve made on that diversity.”
Despite these harsh realities, Goldman’s photo struck a chord across social media. Responses on Twitter ranged from cheeky suggestions about Wi-Fi to praises that at this strange moment in time, Goldman represented all parents stuck working from home, balancing career and childcare 24 hours a day.
Love this. You are all of us, except that I’m surrounded by knitting and dog toys these days.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) September 16, 2020
This unfiltered glimpse into your reality is so important for the mental health of working moms in a pandemic. If they only see the left image it can be very disheartening. The right image allows them to have a knowing laugh and cut themselves some slack.
— QONDI 💛 🐝 🇺🇸🇿🇦🇿🇼 (@WeAreAllOther) September 15, 2020
For future reference, use your ironing board to rest your laptop on – you can adjust to the right height and it’s much less precarious than a chair on a coffee table!
— Katherine Schofield (@katherineschof8) September 15, 2020
Moms like @GretchenTG are fighting for our nation’s future while raising our next generation.
Yes, moms are superheroes, but they deserve solutions that’ll support families and stop the pandemic from turning the clock back on women.
This mom is on it.https://t.co/nE4dfEGlPf
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) September 16, 2020
Major props to all the parents juggling the impossible right now.
So little support, and the work work work mentality continues…
“It’s barely a conversation nationally… it’s barely a blip on the map.” — @GretchenTGhttps://t.co/l1QSz86FJl
— Larisa Mănescu (@LarisaManescu) September 16, 2020
So far, sum of criticism seems to be
1. That is an insufficient wifi setup for someone on CNN.
2. Why are you wearing shoes indoors, you monster.
3. How dare you reveal to me that you are, in fact, human and not solely a very serious talking head.
I’ll take it.
— Gretchen Goldman, PhD (@GretchenTG) September 16, 2020