Montreal

Quarantine diaries: 8 things I've learned working from home with kids during COVID-19

A five-year-old on a video call with a friend will not give you the 20 minutes of respite you were hoping for, and other lessons.

A five-year-old on a video call with a friend will not give you 20 minutes of respite, and other lessons

Andrea Stanford, pictured in her... office, has learned a thing or two while working from home. (Submitted by Andrea Stanford)

CBC Montreal wants to know how you are living these days. What are you doing differently? Have you realized or observed anything?

Here is the next instalment of our series, Quarantine diaries: Life in the time of COVID-19 — a list of lessons learned by Andrea Stanford, a senior communications officer at CBC Montreal.


  1. Video calls are the equivalent to a chip bag opening. Kids could be anywhere in the house, but at that first sound of "hi everyone," they are suddenly pressed up against you, peering at the screen.
  2. A five-year-old on a video call with a friend will not give you the 20 minutes of respite you were hoping for. From screaming about filter changes ("don't wanna be pizza! Wanna be cat!") to all the accidental hang-ups, the chirp of an unplanned incoming "play date" now fills me with dread.
  3. Neglect breeds creativity! For example: when banished to the basement, your kids can learn an entire scene from Pee-wee's Big Adventure, then act it out for you!
  4. Your car is a great place to hide out in small increments throughout the day. Enough time to blast one good song, then yell "I CAN DO THIS" before your front door opens and they find you.
  5. It's possible for you to turn on your computer at 8 a.m, send one email and then somehow it's noon and the kids are screaming for lunch. Also: you never sent that email. It's still sitting in your drafts folder.
  6. These unyielding stretches of time together hold up a mirror to our unique family dynamics/personal idiosyncrasies and man, we're weird! For example, I talk to myself when I'm working and my husband is a day-long grazer (it starts with second breakfast and continues from there).
  7. Within this chaos, time seems to have expanded. No morning train to catch means longer at the breakfast table. No afternoon swim practice means a walk before dinner. There is freedom to be found within these constraints. This is a chance to hit pause — if not reset — on our busy lives.
  8. Eventually, life will pick up again and the hours in the day will retract as schedules snap back into place. So before we have to hustle again, let's at least acknowledge that all this togetherness is strange but also kind of great. You know, in a hair-pulling, when's-happy-hour kind of way.

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