May 3, 2016
Natalie AlbersStaff Writer
Parenting books? Yoga? Coffee and a cozy blanket? They all sound great, but they’re not how I, as a mom of three, keep it together while trying to keep it all together.
In the marathon-and-sprint circuit of parenting, technology is the one thing saving my sanity amid a calendar packed with work, school, sports, volunteering, friend time and family time.
Hear me out. I know I’m blogging for a technology retailer, but I’m also a real mom with real stuff to juggle. And yes, I know that we as parents sometimes create our own crazy by wanting to do everything, and do it all well. But sometimes the crazy is worth it.
My husband and I have jobs we love. Our children have a school they love (except the homework). We watch them grow socially and physically through sports. We choose to give back to our communities. And we will always want to stay in touch with the people we love. It’s a conscious decision to have a full life, and we reap the rewards.
But technology is really the glue. This Mother’s Day, many moms like me are passing on the flowers, jewelry and perfumes. What we REALLY want is to have what matters, and tech is helping us do it.
With two jobs plus three kids, we have a lot to juggle. Sharing a cloud-based family calendar that we can access on our phones, tablets, desktops (and even my pretty pink smartwatch) is critical. My husband adds the details about his varying work schedule and when he’s pitching in at the food shelf. I add my volunteer responsibilities and not-to-be-missed hair appointments. We update locations and times for sports stuff – and note when we’re carpooling with other families. And we love being able to know, in three seconds, whether or not we’ve scheduled the kids’ checkups (something they probably wish we’d forget).
Doing this working parent thing isn’t possible without help from other parents. We’re fortunate to be part of a network of moms and dads who help each other out. We help get each other’s kids on and off the school bus. We share boys’ dress clothes and shoes that otherwise would only get worn once (no matter how cute we say our sons look). We cover league meetings for each other. We do the PTO thing. The neighbor dinner thing. The “I’m running late, can you grab my kid?!” thing. The I-gotta-borrow-your-extension-ladder thing. Through text and app messaging, and sometimes an old-fashioned phone call, we’ve got each other’s backs, all the time, and in record time.
Having a connected home makes me feel like a parenting super hero. I can turn lights on and off using my smartphone, and I can also adjust our thermostat to save money on heating and cooling. And I love that, when the kids or babysitter enter their unique codes to unlock the front door, I get an alert on my smartwatch, my phone and my email. But, the thing I love the most, especially on beautiful sun-shiny days (the kinds made for kids to be outside playing tag and hide-and-seek), I can press one button and THEIR beloved technology – the TV, gaming console and streaming devices – goes blank.