When A Tornado Hits A Toy Store: Photo Shows Reality Of Working From Home With Kids

Sep 24, 2020
Originally published on September 24, 2020 4:13 pm

To paraphrase The Wizard of Oz, pay no attention to what's behind the curtain.

Gretchen Goldman, a scientist and mother, recently pulled back the curtain on her own life — and a lot of people paid a lot of attention.

CNN interviewed Goldman, a research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, to discuss President Trump's choice of David Legates to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's what CNN viewers could not see on television that created a sensation.

During the interview, Goldman's husband snapped a picture of her speaking into her laptop's camera. From the waist up, she was wearing a crisp, tailored yellow jacket. But the picture revealed Goldman had on black running shorts and was sitting in the middle a living room turned upside down by her two toddlers.

"There's a Thomas the Train Engine toy that's there, there's a box of balls and other debris that's on the floor of my house," Goldman tells NPR's Morning Edition.

The picture went viral.

"It's resonating with people," she says. "Parents are being put in an impossible situation now working from home while managing the emotional and physical safety of their children — and it's laughably infeasible to do that."

Goldman said she's lucky to be able to work from home. But at the same time, she says, "It is absolutely exhausting to both work and care for children all day. You feeling like you failing at both and I've just really been amazed to see how many people really feel this struggle."

Goldman says she doesn't expect her workspace to look much better any time soon.

To hear Goldman's Morning Edition interview, click on the audio button above.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's recall what the Wizard of Oz once said - pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Last week, a scientist and mother pulled back the curtain on her own life. And a lot of people paid a lot of attention.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER")

WOLF BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer. And you're in the situation room, where news...

INSKEEP: CNN interviewed Gretchen Goldman of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

GRETCHEN GOLDMAN: I was invited on to react to news that a person who does not accept climate science was just appointed to the federal agency in charge of weather and climate.

NOEL KING, HOST:

During the interview, her husband took a picture of her. And it shows Goldman with her laptop propped on a chair that itself is balancing on a coffee table in a room that's been turned upside-down by her two toddlers.

GOLDMAN: There's a Thomas the Train Engine toy that's there. There's a box of balls and other debris (laughter) that's on the floor of my house.

KING: Debris - it looks like a tornado hit a toy store.

GOLDMAN: Someone pointed out that a green triangle from my son's shape-sorter toy was wedged between the side table and the wall and said, if he's looking for that, note that it's there (laughter).

INSKEEP: Naturally, it would be there. Our co-host, Rachel Martin, said on Twitter, I love this woman.

GOLDMAN: It's resonating with people. Parents are being put in an impossible situation now, working from home while managing the emotional and physical safety of children. And it's just laughably infeasible to be able to do that.

INSKEEP: Goldman says she's lucky to be able to work from home. But at the same time...

GOLDMAN: It is absolutely exhausting to both work and care for children all day. You feel like you're failing at both. And I've just really been amazed to see how many people really feel this struggle. And I'm glad I can at least help make light of it in the short-term.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Gretchen Goldman, who says she does not expect her workspace to look much better anytime soon. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.