The Pandemic Diaries: The 'extra challenge' Andrea Canning experienced as a mom of six during lockdown

By Andrea Canning, as told to Sarah Trumbley

This piece originally appeared as part of The Pandemic Diaries series in Issue 728/729 of HELLO! Canada magazine.

What were you doing when COVID-19 became a fact of life? We invited some Canadian stars to answer this question while documenting their lives during the pandemic – the highs, the lows, how they coped, what they learned.

Our celebrity-diarists – a mix of famous faces and behind-the-scenes superstars – are sharing those stories exclusively with HELLO! Canada readers. Their revealing, touching, at times humorous personal essays, accompanied by candid photos, show just how much we all have in common as we continue to navigate these unusual days, separately yet together.

Below, Dateline correspondent Andrea Canning shares how she and her family have been experiencing the pandemic.

It felt like a light switch had been flipped the day lockdown began. Suddenly every one was home and life changed in almost an instant. It was a shock to the system. I don't think our family had ever all been together, all day long like that. There's a lot of people in this house so it got pretty crazy!

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Hunkering down! #corona #homesweethome

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Our routine was immediately out of whack. We would wake up and eat breakfast and then start virtual schooling at nine in the morning. With four kids between kindergarten and fifth grade, it was very challenging, and its as one of the hardest things for us to wrap our heads around. Suddenly having to juggle work and teaching and trying to navigate all the new technology - that was probably the biggest challenge.

A couple of the girls had virtual tutors, too. My eight-year-old was really struggling with online school and her teacher took the time to have a private conversation with her over Zoom, which made her feel better. All of my kids' teachers were very soothing, understanding and helpful during it all. We really appreciated that.

Aside from school work, we were baking and cooking together every day in the early months of lockdown. Fudge, caramel, all kinds of crazy cakes – my kids were cooking up anything you could think of! We would also go for walks together every day, and bike rides – it's the only thing that kept us sane and kept the calories off from all the baking! We never went for daily walks like this together before the pandemic, so they became really, really important to me.

I loved being with the kids so much – a rarity since I am often on a plane, or they are at school or sports. Because of my job, I've never been able to spend this much time with my kids. But at the same time, there were also moments where I was on edge – mostly toward the end of the day. I would wake up and be like, "My kids are home, this is so great!" And then by the end of the day, I was like, "Oh my goodness, I need to go to bed!" At times it got very tiring, hectic and crazy.

And although I felt grateful to be safe in my house with my children and husband, I was also very sad about what was going on in the world. I felt anxiety from it all and there were a lot of conflicting emotions. I also started missing aspects of normal life – like going out to dinner with my husband and just having date nights. Not to mention my job was changing, too. Travel immediately stopped when lockdown began – which is such a big part of my job. I have definitely missed having in-person interaction during interviews ever since we stared doing interviews remotely. It's not quite the same, but it's definitely a good alternative.

I eventually went back to work, shooting new Dateline segments while juggling my kids' schooling, which became an extra challenge.

Overall, looking back on those months, I think I will always remember how much time we spent together as a family. I'll always cherish the little moments we spent with the kids. And just being able to spend all that time with Tripp as a baby was a silver lining to this whole thing. And one thing I can say for certain is that this entire experience has been one big lesson in patience. It taught me to just appreciate the moments together as a family and not sweat the small stuff.

In this challenging time, it’s really hard to be separated from family and friends. It’s also a time when everyone needs a beautiful escape. Here at Hello! Canada, we’re still busy creating the magazine you know and love, to spread positivity and provide some entertainment as a gentle reprieve from all the hard news. And with our new special offer for subscribers, there’s never been a better time to have Hello! delivered directly to your front door. Why not treat yourself, or someone you love, today?

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