This Scientist's Tweet Exposes the Reality of Being a Working Mom in the Pandemic

Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock

A research director went viral after sharing an all-too-relatable, behind-the-scenes photo. It shows her juggling parenthood in tandem with a live interview on CNN.

Gretchen Goldman, Ph.D., spoke to Wolf Blitzer on the network’s Situation Room last month to discuss President Donald Trump’s appointment of Dr. David Legates to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In sharing her thoughts on Legates, Goldstein appeared unflappable to viewers. 

However, below her business-appropriate top — and the camera’s viewpoint — Goldstein was rocking a pair of shorts and water shoes. In a side-by-side snapshot of her on-screen look and her beyond-the-screen look (taken by her husband), the research director for the Center of Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists tweeted: “Just so I'm being honest. #SciMomJourneys.”

The second photo shows the rest of Goldstein’s outfit, her makeshift desk (a chair stacked on top of a coffee table), and toys strewn about. Goldstein and her husband — also a working scientist — are raising 2- and 4-year-old boys.

“I think I had 45 minutes’ notice about that interview,” she told Slate after her tweet went viral, receiving more than 300k likes. 

“The Trump administration just appointed a person to a federal agency that manages all the weather and climate science that the U.S. does, and the person’s a climate denier. Sometimes things like that happen where I’ll have to really quickly react. 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. All of that means that if I don’t have to do something, I’m not going to do it. Like changing into pants.”

On why she chose to share the photo, Goldstein told Desert News that she “wanted to be honest about the situation that we are all struggling with now.”

“It almost felt disingenuous to act as if I have this home studio and everything is great. So I think I just want us to be honest about the reality of the situation and make it more visible that parents are dealing with these challenges right now,” she shared.

The working moms advocate, who runs the Sci-Mom Journeys campaign — a resource group for mothers in STEM fields — also told the publication that it’s been “really neat to see the response, especially from moms and other parents struggling right now.”

“[Moms have the] added challenges and burdens and mental load that is required to care for kids and also be expected to be in the workforce,” she said. “And the way that parents have made that work is by having external support and that’s been removed in this situation for the pandemic. I think the stress of all of that really makes parents exhausted by 5 p.m. every day.”

We commend you, Gretchen, for all of your hard work — both on-screen and off.

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