Move over, Soccer Moms. The next generation of young moms is officially being named the “iPhone Mom,” something I felt it timely to discuss. In memoriam of the late Steve Jobs, I thought it fitting to talk about the way becoming an iPhone-toting Mom has changed my life. And why technology has found itself a snug little pocket in my diaper bag.
My iPhone Motherhood
I finally got my iPhone back in July. One of the “late bloomers” of the technology world, I had been resisting because I didn’t see much benefit to it. I had a basic cell phone to make calls and send texts, but I spend most of my days at home… where there’s a computer. Why did I need something that could do all of that stuff? Where was I going that I would use it?
Thanks to AT&T’s special offer and a fortuitously-timed upgrade, I walked out of my local Best Buy with a brand new, shiny iPhone. My husband watched it happen, shaking his head in amusement, and wondering what in the world I was going to do with “Apps.” It only took a few hours before I was totally and irretrievably hooked on my iPhone.
Why? What’s the big deal? It’s simple. All of a sudden, I was getting stuff done. I didn’t need to wait for my daughter to nap before I logged on to check my bank account, pay bills, respond to emails, or Tweet links to my latest published articles. My friends started hearing back from me more quickly. I downloaded Apps for Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, Paypal, Goodreads, Bank of America, Nook, Craigslist, Evite, IMDB, eBay, the NFL, MLB, and even Old Navy. Not to mention how much easier it is to bring an iPhone with me instead of a camera, phone, MP3 player, and “brag book” everywhere I go!
In my life before the iPhone, I couldn’t even open a laptop in my daughter’s presence. If she could reach it, she beat the keyboard or opened and closed the screen. On my hands. If she couldn’t reach it, she screamed or cried while I worked. You try and work like that—let me know how it goes for you. Instead, I crammed in all of my daily Internet usage into a two-hour nap window or I waited for her to go to bed. When you’re a work-from-home Mom, that’s just not practical. Luckily, the iPhone is easier to shield from her, works faster, and fits in my pocket.
Her iPhone Childhood
Of course, I’ve also considered the implications of my high-tech life on my toddler. She is growing up in a world where everything happens instantly, where you don’t have to wait for anything. Electronic devices filled with games are everywhere. Moms are dividing their attention between playtime and social networking. I’m hypersensitive to these things and it’s a special effort on my part that keeps me from being sucked into a full-time dependency on that handy device. I make a point to set it away from me for a good portion of every day and not think about it. And because I can get so much more done in, say, ten minutes’ time, I don’t feel like I need it on me all the time.
Even Words with Friends can wait for me to finish building a block tower with my little girl.
But the iPhone is also super useful when my daughter’s looking for a way to play. With so many games and cool “baby” Apps to download, she can play and learn from my iPhone as well. This is the best part about my new Smart phone when we’re waiting at the doctor’s office or somewhere similar. Some of the best Apps for Moms to share with their toddlers include:
- Elmo’s Monster Maker: Create a monster. Elmo helps your kids make furry friends with Elmo’s Monster Maker. Choose a monster body and give it eyes, a nose, and a hat. When you’re done, Elmo will dance and play with your new pal. $0.99
- Bumble Touchbook: Make anytime story time. With Bumblebee Touchbook, learning to read is fun and easy. Kids can watch and listen as words come to life at their every touch. Or they can click the narration bee to have the entire story read out loud. $0.99
- Old MacDonald by Duck Duck Moose: Start a sing-a-long. Keep your toddler entertained for with Old MacDonald. Explore 35 brilliantly illustrated and fully interactive landscapes. Listen to the classic tune in five languages. Even record your own duet. $1.99
I’m also partial to Baby Center’s PhonyPhone, which turns your iPhone into a “play” phone with buttons and sounds to make your toddler think she’s really calling someone! For 99-cents, you might also want to download Bubbles – a fun App that lets you create and pop bubbles on the screen. It sounds pretty boring, but my daughter loves it.
Of course, there are tons of Apps to explore for Moms and Dads, toddlers and babies, and expectant parents. Get 50 more ideas from Babble.com for starters. Yes, civilization existed before the iPhone existed, our moms didn’t need them to get by. But today, with so much emphasis placed on staying connected, parents (working, work-at-home, or stay-at-home) can find many benefits to owning a Smart phone.
If you already own an iPhone, I’d love to hear about your parenting experience.