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Scientist mom shows Twitter the reality of working motherhood right now

"Just so I'm being honest," the mom of two boys wrote.
/ Source: TODAY

Balancing motherhood and work on a normal day is tough. Balancing it all in the midst of a global coronavirus outbreak with limited childcare and school? "Impossible and ridiculous."

That's the message of environmental engineer Gretchen Goldman, PhD, who has served as the Research Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union for Concerned Scientists for the past decade, specializing in climate change and air pollution.

She's also a mom, and Goldman wants to be honest about the challenge of that juggling act.

Recently, Goldman appeared on CNN to discuss the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's newest leadership appointment. She tweeted a screen grab of her face, an orderly background behind her.

Then, Goldman shared the full picture: She's perched on a chair, wearing only shorts on the bottom and speaking into a laptop precariously placed on another chair, which was standing on a coffee table.

The floor of the room in her Washington, D.C. home was covered in toys belonging to her two sons, ages 4 and 2.

"Just so I'm being honest," Goldman captioned the photo.

The tweet garnered 295,000 likes in just two days.

Goldman included the behind-the-scenes look because she wanted to be transparent about "this impossible, ridiculous situation," in which working parents have been balancing childcare and school and work during the Covid-19 pandemic she told TODAY Parents. "This is so laughably infeasible," she said. "I just think we should admit that."

When people see pictures on social media like that of her television appearances, they "assume people have it all together, right?" Goldman said.

"The reality, of course, is that we're all just struggling to make ends meet, and then it feels like failing to me on both ends. I feel like I'm not getting all the work done that I need to get done, and I feel like I'm neglecting the kids.

"I'm deeply ashamed that my 2-year-old knows how to tell Netflix that yes, he's still watching," she said.

This is not the first time Goldman has kept it real about the struggle to balance motherhood with her job.

"I'm on maternity leave, but this felt important enough to show up for. Today I'm at the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) testifying against the agency's proposed restricting science policy. #sciencenotsilence" she tweeted in July of 2018.

In the photo attached to the tweet, Goldman has her newborn son strapped to her chest in a baby carrier, her ID sticker stuck to the outside of the carrier.

"I thought to myself, 'Well, the reason all of this matters is to protect my family, so why don't I just bring him and make that plain?'" she told TODAY Parents. "So I brought him with me and gave my my public statements with him there."

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Goldman hopes to help normalize the existence of children and give caregiving employees more visibility to employers. When she is transparent about the fact that she is working with her children at home, "I feel much freer to bring bring my full self to work in ways that I didn't before," she said.

The current situation, she said, is not working for anyone. "Do the best you can, and that's enough. This is not something we need to feel guilty about. I'm done feeling guilty. This is the best we can do in this environment until the virus is under control."