If there’s one thing all working parents can relate to right now, it’s that juggling kids and work and home life during a pandemic is tough. Seriously tough. And the more we acknowledge that, the better. This is why a tweet from scientist, news contributor and mom Gretchen Goldman has gone viral.
Goldman’s behind-the-scenes look at her real life is so relatable.
“I guess I just wanted to be honest about the situation because a lot of people are struggling right now, and I think it’s helpful to be reminded that it’s not you alone. We all don’t have it together,” Goldman, 36, told BuzzFeed News.
Her membership in the Union of Concerned Scientists means Goldman is regularly called on as an expert on science news developments. She appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” last week, but there was a lot that the interview didn’t show.
So, in the interests of complete transparency, she took to Twitter to reveal the result of having only “45 minutes to prepare and that’s prepared both in terms of content and appearance,” as she told Buzzfeed. That time, she noted, was mostly spent on her physical appearance as well as setting up the room.
Here’s her post at @GretchenTG:
— Gretchen Goldman, PhD (@GretchenTG) September 15, 2020
Goldman was seen on CNN only from the waist up, wearing a yellow blazer, to discuss the dangers of appointing David Legates to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
But she gave the Twittersphere the full picture, showing that she was sporting casual black shorts underneath. She also had a chair on top of a table to ensure her laptop was at the right height, and the floor of the room was covered in kids’ toys belonging to her two sons (ages 2 and 4).
Goldman told Slate that the room does look like this normally and that the kids weren’t home at the time. Otherwise, she would not have been able to use the space despite its lighting advantages, because the kids would want to participate.
“The importance of what you’re doing is so irrelevant to them,” she said. “My older son, he’s kind of a performer, so if he knows you’re on a Zoom call, he’ll pop his head in, ’cause he knows that’s funny if a child head pops in.”
If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, an interview in the middle of a workday wouldn’t be as much of a big deal, Goldman noted to Buzzfeed. She’d simply walk a few blocks to the CNN studio and record there.
“We’re not near any extended family or anything so we really needed that paid, outside-the-house care to give us that time and space to work,” Goldman said. “Normally I would have a lot more freedom and the time and space to have uninterrupted time, and I think that’s one of the biggest impacts on professionals now is the lack of uninterrupted time.”
She points out that parents working at home are always worried about threats to their young children’s physical safety.
“By the end of the day, parents, employees are just mentally exhausted,” she added.
And that’s pandemic parenting, in a nutshell.