I’ve been a working mom—in video games and technology—during most of the pandemic. I’ve always been involved with technology for parents. Mostly, that meant I could work from home, play video games with my kids, monitor a news team from my living room and have the best of both worlds, stay-at-home mom and working mom. Now that the world is opening back up, people are catching the travel bug again and companies want to get together after almost three years apart. Enter, the working parent’s panic.
This is all new to me, and something I’m learning to balance between my children, work, family and social life. All moms out there know how mom-guilt can sneak up and bite you, even when everyone around you is supportive. How ever could the family survive if I were gone for three days, right? It turns out, our families, partners, friends and childcare are more capable than we think.
But what about us? What is going to help parents when they’re having a hard time being away from the family? Technology has come a long way since the 1950s business trip, especially technology for parents. It certainly comes in handy when travelling as a working mom.
“Technology has come a long way since the 1950s business trip, especially technology for parents. It certainly comes in handy when travelling as a working mom.”
I literally do not know how people survived before smartphones and instant messaging. For starters, having access to anyone or anything you want at your fingertips at any given moment is a massive bonus. If I’m missing my kids—or they’re missing me—it takes no effort to make a quick phone call, send a little text, or jump on Facebook Messenger for a video call. It’s so much more than that, though. Smartphones give us access to a wealth of information we have never had access to before.
Take my daughter’s daycare, for instance. They have their own Facebook group. I’ve seen this in other daycare centres or nursery schools too. This way, the daycare provider doesn’t have to update 14 parents a day, and can just post updates and photos throughout the week, so parents can see what their little ones are up to. As a working parent, being able to see my daughter playing in the pool or running around with other kids has a huge impact on my day. Seeing her happy helps so much when I’m far away. I can check in with her wherever I am, and it’s great.
“As a working parent, being able to see my daughter playing in the pool or running around with other kids has a huge impact on my day.”
That can go a step further, too. I’m missing bedtime stories, forehead kisses and sweet dreams whenever I’m gone. I’m missing checking in on my children before I head to sleep too. But, technology has my back there too. We have the ecobee Sweet Dreams Baby Kit monitor. It doesn’t have its own dedicated screen, it hooks up to your phone, so you can check in anywhere, even halfway across the world.
My mom also has the Nooie Cam 360, technology for grandparents rocks too. I was able to peek in on my little ones sleeping whenever I wanted, wherever they were. I could also hear them, and use the voice function to speak if I felt like it. It’s just another way to feel connected, even when I’m so far away.
The last one may be a little out there, but I recently took my Fitbit Sense with me to New York. I thought it would just be to monitor my sleep and check out how many steps I took in the big city. It turns out that the messaging function is really helpful for a working parent too. Travelling for work means meetings and social gatherings, so sitting on my phone talking to my mom, partner or children is sort of frowned upon.
“Technology for parents is more important now than ever. With everything from LEGO to educational tools, technology and parenting are permanently intertwined.”
What I loved about the Fitbit Sense is that all my messages went right to my wrist (with the ability to mute it if needed). So, even though I couldn’t reply, if my kiddo was thinking of me, I would know. Or if my family group chat was discussing something, I could discreetly check in. Technology for parents is a wider category than I thought. It all seems a little co-dependent, but being able to be included and present really helps ease that sense of homesickness as a working mom.
Being a working parent is not a breeze by any means. If you’re not feeling guilty, you feel like you’re missing out. Technology for parents is more important now than ever. With everything from LEGO to educational tools, technology and parenting are permanently intertwined. As a working parent, these are some of the best ways I can cope when I’m away, but I can’t wait to see what comes out next.