Transcript – Episode 32: Chat with Chris Moran

Welcome to The GAC Files, a podcast about the people, issues and ideas driving Global Affairs Canada.

And now introducing your host, Global Affairs Canada's deputy minister of international trade, John Hannaford.

Hello, Chris.

Good morning, John. Yes, everything's good. You?

I'm very good. Hello, everybody. This is an opportunity to talk about strategy in the context concerning our type of work. When we are sitting at home. So I thought I would call our colleague, Chris Moran, who is at home with her husband, 2 sons, and just hear from her how it's going. What she is finding hard and what she is finding helps.

Maybe we can start with the challenges. Chris, what are the hardest things for you in this case?

Thank you. I would say that 1 of the biggest challenges is really the energy of children. I am trying to do something very important now, I am currently working on business assistance under EDC. So there is a lot of pressure because we are really committed to delivering on this program, and we have many, many calls, conferences, and there is a lot to do. But I still have 2 children at home, 1 who is 5 and 1 who is 7, and trying to manage their energy, try to deliver a little bit of activities that are a little more constructive than television. I find it very difficult. There are a lot of interruptions, anyway, I feel a bit guilty, I have “mom guilt,” because sometimes you have to ignore children, when I have something very important to do. So this is a balance that is very difficult to find.

What do you find helpful in this context? I'm really struck by kind of the creativity of people as they... as you know, we are all going through this experience. And I've noticed, you know, that there are deejays who are doing concerts and there are, at the level of the department, different branches are doing different things or to kind of relieve the tension of the current situation. But what are you finding helpful?

For me, I'm not even sure if I would call it creative. I think it's just practical. And for me, I am just kind of accepting the limits of what I can achieve. And I think that with 2 kids and, you know, the expectation that you're going to be able to deliver schoolwork to them and keep them constructively engaged on, you know, imaginative play while at the same time keeping them, you know, out of my hair when I'm trying to get work done and my husband's trying to get work done, it's, it's really too much. I'll be frank with you. I find it a lot. And so what I found helpful is to just accept that this is a tall order and that my kids are still little. I think it would probably be very different if my kids were in high school. But trying to... I can't teach and work and parent all at the same time. And I also had never realized, you know, with 4 people living in a house all the time how disorder can get, you know, the kids there are sort of taking free run of the house. And so there's, you know, their stuff is everywhere. And I'm just kind of letting some of that go. And I have found that to be kind of the number one strategy is to just say, I can't do everything.

Well, I think there's real wisdom there. You know, among other things, it's just an incredibly stressful situation. I mean, there's the demands of the jobs, but the overall situation is obviously demanding in and of itself. And I think, you know, some degree of just kind of accepting that not everything's going to be as you might wish it to be. As part of this experience, I think. Sorry, Chris, what were you saying?

No, I think you were probably going to ask me what I was about to say when you asked your question.

What have you found to be—have you been able to find any distractions with this period to sort of relieve what's otherwise kind of, you know, a challenging situation?

Yeah, absolutely. So I love music and I have been enjoying, as you say, these days. And then there's people who are doing sort of online concerts and finding their, you know, finding their audience there. And that has been for me something that has almost been sort of too much to keep up with. You know, periodically, when my sister and I have similar taste in music and shows. She’ll ask me if I'm tuning into something. And, you know, there's almost too many of them to keep track of now. But some of them have been really great. And the other thing that I would say is: You know, for us, we have actually sort of found the positive in the situation; so, you know, it's nice to have March break with your kids. It's nice to be able to, you know, take time in the summer, et cetera. But this prolonged period without being beholden to the clock has really had a positive impact on them. And I think having both my husband and I home—as crazy as it is, because we're still working—there's something kind of pleasant about it, as well. You know, that we're all together and we're going through this incredible experience. We've never experienced anything like this. And I think that, I think that it's a bit of a wake-up call to realize how fast our lives were moving before. And it’s sort of an imposed slowdown, but we're finding the benefits in that, as well. And I think that's been a really, really good thing.

There's a lot of wisdom there, too. Well, look, Chris, thank you. Wouldn’t want to distract any further from what's already a pretty dramatic situation. But I really do appreciate you taking a little bit of time to chat today.

Well, I appreciate the call, and I guess, John, I know that you ask me about concerts and I would say that that's 1 nice thing about being at home is you can have some music playing, so I've actually started to make some Spotify COVID-19 playlists of kind of quiet songs, and, you know, they're featuring some good acoustic music, and I'm very much enjoying that.

Excellent. Good. All right, talk to you soon, Chris.

OK. Thanks so much.

Thank you for listening. And we look forward to you joining us for future episodes of The GAC Files, a podcast about the people, issues and ideas driving Global Affairs Canada.

Don't forget to join the conversation online using hashtag GAC files.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for future topics or guests. Please send us an email at

Date Modified: