Every parent in every generation has a different set of tools that they rely upon, and well, technology hasn’t always been kind parents in the 21st-century. Because of the prevalence that screens and other advances have in our lives, we’ve become arguably more disconnected from each other than ever before. However, I can’t pretend that it also hasn’t made my life easier in a lot of really small ways. I catch myself using the same little hacks over and over again to make life a bit more manageable, and they’ve become nearly indispensable in the way I raise my kids. So I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to my top five tech-hacks that make parenting a tiny bit easier.
This was a gift from my husband, and at the time I figured that it would be something that I could use to track my workouts and yoga classes. I just knew it wouldn’t have any practical application–it was just an expensive toy that I wanted. However, any millennial mama knows that toddlers love to steal your phone, and I was constantly missing messages and phone calls from work and my family because of it. The Apple Watch lets me keep an eye on what’s going on even when my phone is marathoning Bubble Guppies or I’m trapped with a sleeping kid on my lap. I also use a lot of the other features, like the timer, the Breathe app, and the Hue widget. Seriously, I could have written an entire post on how all my Apple devices work together to save my sanity and keep me somewhat on the grid. Also, if she’s watching something on my phone, I can also use it to turn down the volume from afar.
Speaking of which…Netflix is amazing. Back in my day, we used to have like three channels for children’s programming–you have no idea what a relief it is to be able to track down her favorite show at any given time. It’s available on her phone, it’s available at home, and since my car has a mini-TV, it even keep the kids entertained on long road trips. Plus, a lot of the shows are actually pretty educational, and there’s even a number of movies and shows in foreign languages. Yes, I know, we watch too much TV, but I don’t remember asking.
Holy shit. Hats off to the moms of the 20th century who actually had to drag our asses to the grocery store to buy things and cook them. My family would starve to death. I have absolutely zero interest in making unnecessary trips out of my house. Amazon Prime and Instacart make all of the necessities available to me, mostly without me having to think about it. I have 90% of our groceries, diapers, wipes, toddler essentials (like new potty seats and books), prenatal vitamins, snacks, juice, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags and so many other things delivered automatically to our house. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to having a personal shopper, and I’m so, so thankful.
4. Samsung Induction Stovetop
Just before we first renovated our kitchen, I realized that my toddler was able to reach the gas dials on the stove. She started turning them on and waddling out the kitchen. Terrified that she was going to burn my house down, I switched to an induction cooktop. While most people I know swear that they could never live without gas, I love it. It won’t heat, even when turned on, unless the stovetop is in contact with a magnetic metal pan. The stove top cools down rather quickly, but it is effective enough to boil a pot of water in under three minutes. Even though I don’t do all the cooking in the house (I leave that to my husband) I like being able to check and see if the stove is on from the connected smart phone app.
5. Hue Bulbs
We are not as disciplined in our household as I’d like for us to be. While I’m working on getting us, and my toddler, on a stricter routine so that I’m not ready to pull my hair out when the newborn arrives, it’s nice to have technological back-up. We have the Phillips Hue light bulbs, which come in handy for a variety of reasons. First, my husband loves them, since he’s a photographer and he’s all about aesthetics. Second, I have a preset on them, so that the light start dimming at around six or seven p.m. and go off completely before eleven. While this hasn’t gotten me completely in the habit of enforcing a regular bedtime, it does give the entire family a cue that it’s getting late and it’s time to settle in. It’s really nice to be able to control the lights from our phones, so when we’re nursing or Phoenix has fallen asleep, or you find that you’ve gotten all the way upstairs and forgot to turn off the downstairs light, you can handle it from anywhere.
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