Scientist and working mom’s at-home work set-up goes viral
Since the beginning of the pandemic, working parents have either been laid off or forced to turn their homes into makeshift offices while also playing the part of at-home virtual teacher. The work-life balance is essentially non-existent and one working mom and climate scientist is pointing out that these at-home Zoom stations aren’t just relatable or a sign of the times, they’re potentially derailing parents, and especially moms, from their professional aspirations.
Gretchen Goldman, research director for the Center of Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists who holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, appeared on CNN on Monday to discuss David Legates’s troubling appointment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as he’s a known climate denier.
After the CNN appearance, Goldman shared what was really going on outside her Zoom screen and posted a photo of herself using a chair for a tripod, surrounded by her kid’s toys, and filming her news piece in a pair of exercise shorts.
“Just so I’m being honest,” Goldman captioned the pics. Goldman told Deseret News that she shared the behind-the-scenes snap 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.”
Other working moms slid into the replies with photos of their own at-home setups, showing themselves doing everything in their power to maintain their professional life while working with their kids, surrounded by toys, and using whatever household items they could to set-up their Zoom station.
Yes, it’s relatable, yes it’s “lol can you believe what working moms have to deal with now haha 2020 sucks,” but also as Goldman points out, it’s not just funny and/or relatable… it’s not okay.
“This is going viral because of the comic relief. But I want to be clear that parents are being put in an impossible situation now and it will derail entire careers, especially for moms,” Goldman shared in a separate Twitter thread.
“Moms in science are used to juggling parent and work duties. Here’s a time I gave public comment at the @EPA with my one-month-old while I was on maternity leave,” she wrote. Goldman actually wrote about why she testified before the US Environmental Protection Agency while on maternity leave for Scary Mommy.
“The pandemic is exacerbating inequities and struggles that parents — especially moms and especially moms of color — have long felt. Our entire support network has been ripped from under us,” Goldman continued. “Parents shouldn’t be gaslit into thinking they can hack their way out of this. We can create a facade of professional Zoom backgrounds but the problem is much bigger and it shouldn’t be on us to fix it.”
“Our political leaders, our institutions, our employers must step up and ensure that parents in STEM and other fields aren’t taking career penalties,” she added. “In the meantime, shout out to my fellow moms getting it done, with or without the support we need.”
Well said Gretchen. It won’t be like this forever, but in the meantime, it’s okay to recognize that the current set-up for working parents isn’t cutting it. Not everything is a meme, some things are just not okay.