Being a mom in 2017 is drastically different from being a mom in any other era in history. In addition to more women working outside of the home, the use of electronics for all members of the family, and the invention of online shopping – we live in a more virtually connected world than we did when our parents raised us in the 80’s (yes, I am talking to you Millennial, and Xillennial moms). This isn’t a blog post that will go into the pros and cons of being a digital mom (no judgment here), just some thoughts on the digital world we live in today. I’ll let you decide if it is for better or for worse….
Being a Digital Mom vs an Analog Mama
Smartphones are basically cameras that fit in our pockets. Photographs and videos are at the tip of our fingers. We now have to worry about storage space versus not having the time to develop film and then having a place to put everything. Facebook and Instagram have become our scrapbooks to share with friends and family. Currently, my mother-in-law is searching for a specific photo from the 80’s. She has about 20 boxes of photos she is going through. Meanwhile, my toddler has his own private Instagram page where I can save photos into albums and easily come back to them.
We have Google for those middle of the night searches when your kid won’t sleep. Of course, this means there is a lot of misinformation. But then again people used to think it was a good idea to give whiskey to babies to get them to go to sleep.
Having a two-year-old have his own tablet. I know this is a controversial parenting subject, but an iPad is really useful as a last resort for eating out (note, as a last resort) and going on long trips. I know my parents would have used a tablet if they were around in the 80’s. It is so much easier using YouTube, or iTunes with Elmo downloaded versus lugging around a VHS player and tapes like my parents did when we went on road trips.
Two words: Amazon Prime. Online Shopping. Target Cartwheel.
GPS in cars and maps on Smartphones. I would make a bet this digital invention has stopped lots of parents from fighting about directions on road trips. Yes, my husband and I are included in this.
Connecting as a Digital Mom
Connections are different. Before it was more common for families to stay in the same town they grew up in so there was a built-in support group. Now we have smartphone apps and social media support groups (like Wine Country Moms Blog on Facebook, heyyy) for parents to plan playdates, girls nights, or even simply vent to others who will understand.
I remember using Siri to talk into my phone while breastfeeding so I could connect with friends through text and Facebook during a few instances when I felt out of touch with my old life.
Facetime, Google Hangouts, or Skyping with grandparents/family/friends that live far away has become a necessity. I do weekly Facetime chats with my in-laws because they want my toddler to always remember them. When I was a kid, my mom’s mother lived in San Diego so I only saw her on holidays. We missed out on getting to know her because she was so far away.
Smart Homes for Digital Moms
Digital rock n plays to get babies to go to sleep. In addition to rocking, some even hook up to your phone so you can play baby lullabies on Pandora.
iRobot vacuum. Kids are messy, and who has the energy to vacuum every day.
Baby monitors and digital security cameras make it so much easier to know if you have to get up and rock your toddler to sleep, or if they will fall asleep back on their own.
The latest version of Apple TV also has Siri, so you can quickly find any show or movie on Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, HBO Now or a cable network app (there are still some people who pay for cable still). As a kid of the 80’s I would get up super early to watch cartoons during Saturday Morning Cartoon time, and yes, our kids are missing out on that. But, I would rather have access to Elmo at all hours of the day. Thank you HBO Now!
Smart technology for your home is getting smarter. You can now buy a digital onesie that you can hook up to your wifi coffee maker and set it so it brews coffee if your baby wakes up in the early AM. There is even an app that alerts you to when your teen gets into your wine fridge to try to steal your booze (important for wine country moms who have wine fridges). Being a digital mom is pretty freaking cool if you ask me.
Non-Digital Mom Stuff, but Still Important
My go-to beauty routine each morning involves dry shampoo, face wipes, topknots and yoga pants. We live in a time when messy hair is trendy, and we don’t have to wear sweatpants in public. This makes me happy.
Coffee culture. Parents used to have coffee makers, but we have a coffee shop on almost every corner. I don’t feel like a human being until I get my iced, tall, soy chai with an extra shot of espresso. It may be the extra sugar rush from the chai, but I am okay with that. I have built my coffee habit into my budget. In my opinion: coffee should mandatory in every park. Honestly, instead of ice cream trucks, there should be coffee trucks that deliver coffee (or wine) to moms at busy playdate times.
Striking a Balance for Digital Moms
I am all for technology to help sometimes (aka a tablet for car rides), but parenting should be a balance. Kids and parents should NOT be digitally connected 24/7. Nothing can make my toddler laugh as much as chasing bubbles or getting tickled by his daddy or me. And, it did still happen if you didn’t break out your phone to capture the moment. But it’s okay if you do.