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Coronavirus log: When the juggling act of working and parenting sees you move from room to room (and abandon a tidy home)




It is now week four of working from home.

During week one I missed my colleagues and the buzz of the newsroom. Sitting with a laptop at one's dining room table is not quite the same as being at your desk, surrounded with the hubbub of ringing telephones and being able to bounce story ideas off those around you.

Otherwise, you could say the first week was pretty 'normal', other than the growing realisation this pandemic was not going anywhere and feeling like I was an extra in some kind of sci-fi movie.

Camille Berriman at her dining table during week one of working from home. (33016227)
Camille Berriman at her dining table during week one of working from home. (33016227)

By the time week two rolled around, schools and nurseries had closed and that meant I was home alone with my three-year-old. Suddenly, life got a bit more complicated. I envied my colleagues who were still able to work in any kind of traditional sense, whereas I was juggling keeping an exuberant small child entertained while trying to write the news.

No longer was I able to make telephone calls in peace. Instead, I had to explain to everyone that our conversation would most likely be interrupted by Clara, who insisted on saying 'hello' to everyone I spoke to. Luckily, everyone seems to have taken the interruptions in good spirit.

Parenting – or trying my best to be a good mother at least – means I've been splitting my working hours throughout the day: three hours each morning before a break for lunch, playtime and our daily walk; two hours in the afternoon before breaking for tea, play and Clara's bedtime; then finally whatever I can manage before I need some shut-eye.

It has been tiring and stressful at times, but fun at others. I love my job and I love my daughter. I worry I am not being the best mother or journalist, but Clara seems happy and I've somehow managed to write (most of the time), so we will keep on juggling as best we can.

And all credit to my little human, as she has taken it in her stride. From queuing outside the pharmacy, crossing on to verges to keep our distance from other walkers, avoiding all play areas or singing 'happy birthday' from the road outside her nursery friend Ernie's house when he turned four – she hasn't missed a beat accepting the new normal.

As time passes, I wonder where, when and how this all ends. Fear, love and a desire to help protect the NHS means most adults have adapted remarkably quickly to the new way of things and we are now living in a society nobody would have seen coming, which I pray is temporary. I can't wait for Clara to be reunited with her grandparents and friends, I can't wait for a time when I don't fear my husband's return from his RAF role at weekends as we are all concerned he could bring the virus home with him, and I can't wait to get back in the Bury Free Press newsroom three days every week again.

Until then, I'll be the mum with a bombsite for a house carting her laptop from dining table, to study, sofa and kitchen in an attempt to work and keep eyes on a resourceful and devious young lady. Wish me luck!

Highlight: Discovering Auntie Pam's Sweet Shop was offering home delivery.

Low point: Eating all the sweets purchased from Auntie Pam's and then avoiding the bathroom scales for a week.