Addressing the Generation of Plugged-In Parents
Though terribly addictive, smart phones are handy little devils for parents. Directions to everywhere, 24/7 access to all the information we can’t keep in our heads, and useful kid distractors at the bank. My phone can act as my wallet and computer. It’s my stereo in my car and how I control music throughout my home. Already my kids are the same.
One of the things I adore about our elementary school, is its commitment to technology. It is mandatory that grades K-2 have an iPad, and all grades above that must have a chromebook. Seriously. At first I was like, Christ, do they think we are millionaires?! Now I realize we are like every other one of our peers in the suburbs; eager to raise the worlds next generation of developers, engineers, digital artists, musicians, photographers. Everything in their future requires not only comfort with technology, but accepting it as almost a sixth sense, a third arm.
Parents are responsible for teaching children the appropriate usage of these devices. What that means to each family is different, as everybody’s values are different. I was raised by a dad who worked on the computer all the time. To me, that’s what a “working dad” looks like. A guy on a computer. My first husband demonstrated that and so does my second. And me? My children see a woman who listens to history podcasts on her macbook while making dinner. When they sneak into the kitchen to steal snacks they have to creep around me as I’m typing away on my blog. So, the point is, we are very much a family of gamers and computer nerds. Top to bottom and extended family included.
Today I want to share the different apps I have found that have the routine, clutter, and information of parenting under control 24/7
See my guiding principles to see my general philosophy revolves around maintaining balance in my family’s life.
The Stoner Mom’s Essential Apps
Mac’s calendar is the backbone of my schedule. It took a lot of diligence, but now any time a date comes up I enter it into my calendar straight away. If I’m out I use my phone, at home I use my Macbook which is always nearby. Using the calendar that is always on my phone has proven to be the only way to consistently get appointments “written” down. Calendar syncs across all my devices so there’s no need to worry about entering appointments twice.
Wunderlist is my list keeper. I use this app all week to keep track of all of my to-do’s. Daily To-do’s, task lists for specific projects, lists of things I need to buy. Grocery lists all go here, and since all tasks are kept, making my grocery list each week is extremely simple. And, like the calendar, having my list on my phone ensures that I will never forget my list when running to the store at the last-minute.
Best part, iCal subscribes to my Wunderlist tasks. As I check things off in Wunderlist, they disappear from my calendar. Ah the brilliant sense of completion!
Alright, so far we have Calendar keeping track of time, Wunderlist tracks to-do’s, and Evernote is for everything else. Evernote is a powerful archiving and note making tool, taking place of random bookmarking. Think of Evernote as where you store information. Your notes can be placed in stacks of notebooks, easily organized and sorted with tags.
Everything that comes through school email goes to Evernote. Instead of using my email as a dumping ground for information, items of note get sent to the assigned notebook. When I receive the monthly newsletter from one of the kids teachers, it gets sent to Evernote and filed appropriately.
The power of Evernote is substantial. Here is a list of the Notebooks I have:
- The Stoner Mom “stack” which holds the following notebooks: blog posts (drafts), blog references (where I store web clips I reference), and strain notes.
- The School stack holds a notebook for each child. I keep their school information there.
- A Thoughts notebook, with diary entries and notes on all my family members. When it occurs to me that I need to work on something specific with one of the children, I’m able to quickly enter it on their specific note.
An app that you forget about until you find yourself wondering why you’ve been such a bitch lately. Not kidding, it seems every month after a particularly nasty fit it dawns on me that maybe I’m PMSing. A quick glance on my phone confirms this, and then I can apologize to my dear husband for being so hard to please during my “special” time.
I LOVE Pocket. Pocket is how I read stuff. A lot of things I read are from the internet, be it a several page magazine article, or a long-winded blogger. A lot of these websites aren’t that easy read on your phone. Pocket saves everything you send to it so you can read it offline and in a much more eye pleasing format. The ability to tag everything makes organizing all the things I save to read effortless.
Starbucks is the unofficial sponsor of stay at home moms. I don’t know what the problem is really, but we all are addicted. Far more money is spent on my monthly Starbucks then eating out in total. Here’s why, where I live most Starbucks have a drive thru, making this the only option for fast food that isn’t soaked in antibiotics.
Okay, but why the app? After seriously YEARS of Starbucks consumption I finally registered a gift card and started using only that for my purchases. The app makes this absolutely painless. It takes the place of my physical card should I lose it, and right there I am able to reload the card directly from my bank account.
The benefit of using your registered card is the rewards, which add up very quickly. I get a free latte every 12 stars, and earning stars is super easy.
An App or bookmark to a local pizza place (Blackjack Pizza)
Pizza is reserved for those days where I failed the daily mom challenge. No protein, nothing defrosted, no ideas, extreme fatigue, whatever the reason was. Mine is usually spending the morning cleaning a whole bunch and then passing out. Next I wake up, rush to school and while sitting in the car waiting for the kids I realize I forgot to pick up some ingredient, or to put something in the slowcooker.. That is what pizza was made for. It’s a gift for mothers. I force raw vegetables along with the pizza and done. No guilt here!
This is why having the app to your local pizza place on your phone is a dinner saver. I have customized and ordered my pizza from school many times, without having to speak to stoned teenager or having to put the phone on my face (I have phone/zit phobia).
Other Smart Phone Tips
The first page on my iPhone is what I call the “car page”. It has only the main apps always in the dock, and then Maps which I use for navigation, and Spotify, which I use for music. No visual clutter to sort through when driving.
I got one of these bad boys for the minivan and I love. Keeps the phone from sliding around or being picked up all the time, and when texts pop up I can scan them quickly without messing with the phone.
Smart phones are a smart tool for modern parents. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and have picked up a few ideas to help use your phone to it’s full potential. Until next time, stay lifted stoners!