Eliza and I enrolled for a morning at Google School this week, as we went along to an event held for mum – and dad – bloggers designed to show how you can use technology to simplify and enhance your day-to-day life.
The Google offices are as quirky and cool as you’d expect (grass carpets, floor TVs, croquet sets and so on). And as usual I spent most of the morning running around after my toddler, but what I heard was both interesting and useful, we met some some brilliant bloggers and there was lots of cake.
Do you use technology a lot? Following the event, I’ve been thinking about the place it can have in your life as a parent.
And for us, it plays a subtle but significant role in our household, from the old-school tech right the way through to the newer devices. Here’s ten of the ways that we use technology, and how it can help you out as a parent:
1) It helps you stay close when you’re miles apart
Due to the wonders of FaceTime and Skype, Eliza sees and speaks to her relatives on a near-daily basis. She can sing songs to cheer my dad up when he’s having a bad day, watches her cousin spin around and say her name, and say ‘hiyoooo’ to Uncle Fred’s new dog George weeks before they’re likely to meet in person. Obviously, nothing can replace face-to-face contact, but while distance is between us for the foreseeable future, it’s the next best thing.
2) It can help take the mundane hassle out of everyday life
Online banking, bill paying and so on – technology can simplify all of the tedious household tasks that previously consisted of going to places and standing in a queue for ages. Freeing up more time to do the fun stuff instead.
3) Technology can help you stay in touch
So yes there’s video calling, but we also stay in touch with friends and relatives via Flickr (to avoid the social overshare, we have a closed group that we upload Eliza photos to), email, text, Twitter and so on. My newest favourite is Touchnote, an app that lets you send postcards made out of your own photos from your phone.
4) And it helps keep you in touch
I didn’t read a newspaper or magazine for weeks when I had a baby, as I didn’t really have an attention span. Twitter kept me up to date with everything that was going on, no matter how mundane.
5) It helps you do something with the time previously called ‘the evening’, aka that bit before you go to bed
I don’t know how parents coped without on demand TV and Sky+. Used to an interrupted night, we record most things to watch later and also watch a lot of box sets on Netflix.
6) It helps you remember the small things
My post-baby memory is like a sieve – I walk into rooms and forget what I went for, fail to remember the smallest of shopping lists, and what was I saying again? But due to the wonders of Timehop I know that a year ago I was thinking about second babies, and a year before that I was thinking about what to do before the arrival of our first baby (and mourning the sad state of my belly button).
7) Stop the clocks! It can help save time
There’s loads of useful ways you can save time. Here are my tips on breastfeeding and social media; mainly based around how you can use the time you’re sat down to multitask and get other things done (with my number one parenting essential, a smartphone).
8 ) It helps get your baby to sleep
We spent so many of the early nights of babydom sat in the dark with only the sound of our white noise app in the room. There’s also the amazing Rockabye Baby, if you want something slightly more musical.
9) It helps put the wine in your hand and food on the table
Online supermarket shopping. Especially brilliant when you don’t have a car.
10) And finally, it helps keep you sane…
5.30am, never-ending journeys, the end of the longest day when you’re exhausted; sometimes, only YouTube and Peppa Pig will do.
Thanks for having us, Google!
You can also follow my personal Google+ profile…
…as well as the A Baby on Board page.