Just as being a child in the age of technology offers a whole host of benefits and challenges, so too are mamas in for both the good, bad, and ugly of cell phones, social media, and more. Now I do not want to downplay the potential negative effects of being too attached to your computer or cell phone screen. Pointing out phone use has become yet another way to shame mommies. But good things happen on that technology, and I’m here to point out a few perks to remember next time you feel guilt or wonder if you’re using tech too much.
Savings. This may come in the form of coupon apps or access to online store sales and price-comparing with ease. Savings also comes in the form of time. Being able to pull up lab results for your child or schedule an appointment online at leisure instead of only during office hours are just some ways technology makes our lives easier. Online banking, printing out postage, emailing a teacher, or texting your hubby to grab more bread on the way home without having to catch him or leave a message. All of those seconds and minutes add up to help a mama out.
Connection. Having a support network is critical for all of us, working or not, and isolation can occur whether we are literally or figuratively isolated. Sometimes you need to vent or find some solidarity, someone somewhere who can acknowledge your pain or frustration. We all have times when we need a little hope and, for many of us, there exists a very real struggle to actually survive much less thrive. Access to information about mental health and support from groups of friends or other like-minded hearts can offer a critical dose of support.
More connection. We personally live far from one side of the family. Email and “secure” social media (assuming that exists) are great ways to stay connected and share photos and updates. Texting, FaceTime, and Skype have revolutionized the ways loved ones can stay connected and share joy in life.
Dr. Google. Okay, this technology really is a double-edged sword with worry and fret dripping down one side. That said, having access to basic medical information is a boon at 3 AM, like when you can’t recall what constitutes a fever based on child’s age and where you took their temperature on their body.
Other expert and parent opinions. Unsolicited advice aside, we often seek out what others think. How to handle expectations around children gift-giving, which stroller to buy based on my specifically preferred specs, and which cloth diaper brand should I buy are all questions that technology helped me answer… and about seven-hundred thousand more. Mommy bloggers and YouTube videos can fill you in on almost anything mommy from what fits in your bag to swaddling 101. Perhaps this is why we see so much advice as unsolicited these days—back in the day literal word-of-mouth was the norm, a primary mode of gaining knowledge.
Inspiration. Sure fitspiration has many downsides, but there are plenty success stories out there of women being inspired by someone else’s story. There are many examples of mamas stepping up to advocate for their child or others signing up with a like-minded stranger in the journey toward healthy weight loss. Apps and other gadgets also give us inspiration. Maybe you track your water intake, steps, or other goals you for yourself. Well done!
Income. As much flack as multi-level marketing businesses get, many mamas get their bread and butter from them. Or maybe you work from home, telecommute, or buy, sell, and trade. Forgot to send that email to your boss about something very important? All of these things are made easier with technology. And going back to the idea of savings, isn’t a penny saved a penny earned?
Crises. Consider the following scenario pre- and post-cell phone age: Flat tire, three children in tow, and 90 degrees outside. Need I say more?
So rest easy, mama who wonders if her use of technology is too much. At least some of it is not only useful, but even life-sustaining and inspiring. Of course, there is a flip side to technology that is not so great, but for now let’s focus on the positive and save that for another (soon to follow!) blog post. And the next time you see a mom nose-deep in her phone at the park, consider which of these lifesavers she may be taking advantage of.
Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.