At least not if you’re a mum. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sparkly jewel as much as the next woman but in this busy time of my life I’m lucky if I even remember to put my wedding and engagement ring on before I walk out the door. Not to mention that necklaces can be somewhat hazardous with an infant learning to grasp! No, what this new mum cannot do without is technology. Heck knows what they did in our parents’ and grandparents’ day because technology is what seems to get me through even the most difficult of days.
My iPad with Kindle app is a god-send. A darling friend has a one-year-old with a similar temperament to CJ (I call him the little emperor for a reason) and recommended the book “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” to me in order to understand his personality better. There was no need to churn through the local book store or to try and keep a baby quiet in our tiny local library; I could simply download and read during his nap times. Fabulous book by the way; would recommend it to any new parent. The iPad is also good for some mindless fun, catching up on television shows and playing my favorite app game “Middle Manager of Justice” – yup, I’ll own it, I am a complete nerd!
Online shopping is AMAZING for a new mum. In the first few weeks with a newborn, we even did our grocery shopping on line but we now use that as “grown-up time”. What it’s great for is browsing! With a demanding little dude, it’s very hard to have any time out where we aren’t keeping at least an eye and an ear on him, not to mention his cantankerous attitude if we leave him in his capsule when we stop moving. Not exactly easy if we’re hunting for bargains or for a particular item, right? Plus there’s the continual eye on the clock, checking for when the next feed or the next nap is due. My poor husband is getting comments about the packages that arrive for him at work – it’s so much easier to get them sent to a freighting company – but the reality is that I’ve managed to get some great items (like cot sheets for over 50% off) by being able to browse amazing sales during nap time and late at night. It’s a god-send for slightly quirky items too, like the ear muffs being handsomely modeled above!
The next one is a little controversial, but I always said I’d strive for honesty on the blog. Technology is great for entertainment; not just for mama but also for baby. My iPod Touch is now his iPod touch and it alternates between having a white noise app playing (when he’s in bed) and playing Rockabye Baby lullaby instrumentals (Foo Fighters edition) during his last feed of the day. The white noise app totally works as a sleep cue for him and we have very little difficulty in getting him down for most naps. The more scandalous item of technology, I have recently introduced. Yup, I let my twelve-week-old baby watch TV. I have a teeny-weeny TV lover. Ever since he was a real little dude, he’s managed to contort himself around to watch whenever there is music or sports news on TV – don’t even get me started on how bizarre it is that he seems to have worked out when sports news is on! I have myself a spirited young lad and the stimulation of the television doesn’t seem to affect his ability to nap at all. I limit his exposure to it, however – for example, this morning he had 15 minutes of watching Rugrats cartoon while I was hurriedly getting dressed before a morning appointment. Yesterday it was 20 minutes of the end of a Friends episode and the start of the sports news while I prepped part of dinner. I pop back and forth and figure that as long as I am more interesting then the television when I am in the room, it can’t be too shocking. Each to their own, and I totally support parents who feel that their children should not have any screen time but I’m also a firm believer in that each mama has to do what works for them.
What has to be the most helpful use of technology for me, however, has to be how easy it has made it to stay connected to the “outside world”. Any new mother will tell you how isolating it can be; I went from a job surrounded by literally hundreds of people each day to having an audience of one. It is so helpful for me to have blogs I can follow, Instagram to live vicariously through, world news through Twitter and the support of amazing friends through many social media channels. I don’t actually have any local friends in the small town that I live in – we’re more spread out through the district that I live in – so popping in on each other requires a bit of planning. It’s so helpful, then, that friends in different parts of the district, NZ and even the world are just at the end of a text, a Facebook message or a Tweet. I may be physically alone with my son for eleven hours a day, but I know I’m not ever truly alone and I have technology to thank for that.