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One day at a time

OkotoksToday and Western Wheel reporter Krista Conrad's daily update on working from home and raising five kids suddenly out of school amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Day 10: Some days are easier than others

Do you know what’s harder than being away from home during the dinner hour and evening to cover something like a council meeting?

Still having to cover the same meeting from home during the dinner hour and evening.

My kids are catching on to the whole, “Mom is working, please be patient” mentality, but Monday was hard.

Not only were we crashing into the week after a couple of days of living schedule-free, I wrote all day and then had to hunker down in the dining room to watch the Town of Okotoks council meeting via its live stream.

I will say, I’m grateful for the streaming option so I didn’t have to be in public at this time and was able to continue working from home – unfortunately the County isn’t quite there yet, but I’m looking forward to a telephone update from Reeve Suzanne Oel shortly.

As I sat, earbuds in, working on one laptop while watching on another, all the things started happening in my house.

Kevin arrived home with the baby from her day home, and of course she wanted Mommy. Everyone else worked very hard to distract Jordan from the woman in the dining room, and it worked – but I missed her, too, and staying focused wasn’t an easy task.

By 5:30 dinner had to be made, and council’s discussion was running long. Here’s the thing: on a regular council Monday, the kids know to start cooking and not expect me until just in time to eat, if that. And they do a great job; every one of them has been chopping, stirring and sautéing since they were four years old.

But this time I was in the house. So I was asked repeatedly for instruction and help, which of course I could only offer in snippets.

“How do I slice the onion?”

Seriously?

“Cut it in half and then cut it into slices.” (Was that a real question?)

Then a few minutes later – “How do I slice the meat?”

“With a knife.” Yeah, I’m a sarcastic mom. They’ve learned to deal with it.

Council broke for its supper break and I hustled into the next room to finish cooking ours, gulp down a few bites, and kiss Kevin and the kids before I had to get back to it.

They met for a while longer, had a public hearing, and there was a late-breaking story that had to be written all on Monday night.

Jordan and Hannah needed a bath – again, something anyone else would normally do if I wasn’t at home. Kevin was on a videoconference in the basement, I was covering council from the dining room, and chaos erupted from my en suite.

The baby was crying, Hannah was talking loudly, Christian was calling his older sisters on repeat. Brooke materialized and, I thought, handled it. Minutes later, the baby was crying again, Hannah yelling over top of her and Christian calling for help over that.

I don’t think I hid my frustration well. I ripped the earbuds out and threw them on the table, got to the bathroom to realize they didn’t have any towels or anything else ready – so off I went to track down everything needed to get Jordan out of the bath water. I may have muttered under my breath a little – vented a bit once I was in the basement, even. I brought the towel, took the baby out of the tub and dried her off, ran her hair lotion through those curly locks, and then left her in their hands to get jammies and a bottle.

The rest of the council meeting went better. Hannah got dressed and came to the dining room to snuggle up against me and have her bedtime story while I continued watching, then begged to stay up long enough for me to tuck her in.

Everyone was settled and I was finished work by 9 p.m.

Some days are harder than others.

Today was a good day, and it washes away some of the more difficult moments. I spent my hours writing at the counter, taking interview calls in between bouts of typing and helping kids with homework questions at all levels.

I even got to assist Hannah as she completed a lesson printing the letter “d” and made a leprechaun hat, a craft supplied by her kindergarten teacher with her supplies last week, which they were supposed to have made in school on March 16.

While she waited for the glue on her hat to dry, she wrote in her journal.

"This feels like real school, now that I'm doing these things," she said excitedly, beaming from ear to ear. "By the way, after journal we're supposed to have our morning snack."

Sure thing, Kiddo.

These are the moments that keep me going as we continue to learn how to squeeze work and school into the confines of our home.

Krista Conrad, OkotoksToday.ca

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Krista Conrad

About the Author: Krista Conrad

Krista Conrad is the news reporter for Okotokstoday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper covering Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips contact kconrad@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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