Like it or not, we live in a technological age. And, while there are definitely some hazards that come with that, there’s no denying the advantages.
Since many of us use smartphones anyway these days, I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of apps that might make your life as a parent a bit easier. Now, by no means does anyone necessarily need ALL of the apps listed here. Just pick and choose the ones that suit your lifestyle and discard the rest. And, hopefully, this at least gives you a range of ideas for ways you can use your smartphone to simplify your life as a mom or dad.
You’ll likely notice that I’m deliberately avoiding anything related to pregnancy tracking, baby milestones, breastfeeding--that kind of thing. Those apps really boil down to personal preference and, as I see it, none of them do better than talking to your doctor will.
Also, while I do believe Amazon deserves a place on this list, I’m avoiding all shopping and home delivery apps as well because almost every company that is keeping up with the times has their own version of this. So, just seek out the companies you prefer to shop with.
That said, here is a compilation of great apps for parents, some of which I use and some that I know are popular among other moms:
Makes meditation easy, beautiful and, dare I say, fun. Even has bedtime stories for adults and kids. Read my review of this app here.
A digital daily gratitude journal. Save photos, jot down notes of special moments, and review your archive of happy moments.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of heavy stuff happening in the news. It makes parenting a challenge because if anything requires you to stay hopeful, raising children would be it. This app shows you the kinds of stories that get overshadowed by mainstream sources. Use it to remind yourself of the good in the world.
If you're a reader, but are finding it hard to make time for books now that you're a parent, you might need one or both of these apps. Audible is great for multitasking: listen while cooking dinner, listen in the car, listen while out on your morning stroll. And, Kindle is great if you are rocking or nursing your baby to sleep and audio isn't an option.
Share calendars with your partner so you always know who has what when. (In-depth video tutorial on how to improve your relationship communication with Google Calendars coming soon!)
Create and share an infinite number of shopping lists. Easily update quantities, and cross items off with just a tap of your finger.
Perhaps one of the most useful apps that comes with your iPhone--because “mom brain” happens. Schedule to be reminded of tasks on a due date or when you reach a specific location. Even better when used in combination with Siri.
Do you have your best ideas when you’re driving in the car? Jot down to-do lists, reminders, grocery lists, do your journaling, even plan meetings, draft emails, or get your work done just by talking. Where Siri might fail you, this app won’t.
Three way tie here for these apps. Which you choose will boil down to personal preference, but all three of these are great for idea collection and task management. Planning to move into a new home? Or, maybe you’ve been inspired by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to reduce what you own? Bonus points to Evernote for its capability to be your virtual filing cabinet. Clear your files and lighten your load by scanning your documents into Evernote. Then shred, recycle, discard the papers! Pro-Tip: Find great how-to’s for each of these on Pinterest.
Ugh, passwords. If the dark ages of dial-up internet was the bane of internet existence, the many passwords we have to use nowadays might run a close second. And they’re not just annoying, they’re a security issue. Store them all (plus secure notes, credit card info and more) in Lastpass, a secure vault, and launch sites directly from your Lastpass account. Now, all you need to remember is one password.
Know what’s happening with your money with one glance. Set budgets and money goals, find your credit score, and more. All for free.
Find out if what you’re paying for goods and services is the best deal with just a couple clicks. Squeeze while show you where you can get more bang for your buck or whether you’re better off sticking with what you have. It also provides money advice on budgeting, careers, loans, bills, investing and more.
If what’s in the stuff you buy is important to you, you’ll love these apps. It rates the safety of bath and body products, household cleaners and more based on their ingredients and what scientific research is telling us about the toxicity of certain chemicals. I’m listing them both because they both seem to be equally good, but because of the mass amount of products available, it’s just hard for any one app to keep track of it all. You don’t necessarily need to download both, but you might find that if one app doesn’t have a listing for a product yet, the other will.
If you’ve ever had a pet go missing...If you’ve ever hosted a yard sale (or like to shop at them)...If you’ve ever just wanted to pay an older neighborhood kid to help you entertain your preschooler while you clean out the garage… you need this app. It’s social media for the people in your neighborhood.
I talk about Meetup a lot. It’s just a great way to meet your mom tribe or to find something fun to do with or without the littles. And if you're in the Sacramento area, you can check out the Meetup I host for new moms.
Facebook can be a real time suck. Anyone who has ever logged on knows this. You may or may not want the Facebook app on your phone, but if you use Facebook to get support from mom groups, you might love having the Facebook Groups app on your phone. Get rid of Facebook and just use the Groups app.
Stands for “Sitter Recommendations”. This is a new app, but it’s so great. Whereas Care.com can be hit or miss for people, this app is a social network of parents and sitters where sitter recommendations come by word-of-mouth from your friends and connections. There’s no better way to hire a sitter than by getting a rave review from someone you trust.
This is a private photo and video sharing app that allows you to create albums and share with others securely. This app is great for parents who don’t want photos of their kids on Facebook, or for those of us whose parents don’t even have a smartphone or Facebook account. Albums can be viewed, commented on, and downloaded from the app, by logging in on desktop, or even by email. I hear they’re also adding an option to order printed photo albums.
If you or your baby are the type that sleeps better with a little background sound, these apps are great. Sounds range from ocean waves and rain storms to cats purring and oscillating fans to soft classical music. More convenient than a sound machine, and great for travel.
Like the sound apps above, this app is great because you don’t need an extra gadget to peek on what your baby is up to. This could save you a considerable chunk of money, since some baby monitors can get up there in price. Definitely worth testing out.
Well, what do you think? Any apps you’re excited to try? Which apps would you add to this list?
P.S. Know what else makes parenting a lot easier? Great communication and clear expectations in your relationship! Join me for my next workshop, "Yours, Mine, Ours: Relationship Survival for Baby's First Year"!