I never thought I’d be turning to technology for self-care as a new mom. But during the hours I’ve spent nursing my baby, driving the baby to sleep, waiting in a parked car while the baby sleeps, and sitting in restaurants trying to figure out how to distract my kind-of-unruly toddler so I could eat a meal that I didn’t have to cook or clean up after, my phone has been my savior. Here are some of my favorite apps for moms:
1. Netflix-ing and mom-ing
I swear I never saw it coming. The hours upon hours of sitting or lying down to nurse my newborn. Wow. The long nights waking up every one or two hours to nurse. Would you believe me if I told you I watched all five seasons of “Breaking Bad” and all 11 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” in those early months? I could only gaze at my beautiful newborn for so long. Read a book? Are you serious? I was so sleep deprived, the act of focusing my eyes, concentrating, comprehending, and turning pages just wasn’t an option. Izzie Stevens, Meredith Grey, and Cristina Yang were my girls, and believe me, I needed them at 3 in the morning while the rest of the world was sleeping.
2. Pandora’s driving and diaper-changing service
In the early months, the only thing that would soothe my daughter in the car was Pandora’s toddler channel. Even now, at 18 months old, when she’s throwing a fit while having her diaper changed or having difficulties transitioning, I throw on some music and she’s good. It works like magic.
3. Serenity now!
I have always benefitted from yoga and other forms of meditation. Now that I’m a mom who doesn’t get lots of opportunities to do formal yoga or meditation (or anything really), I have to meditate on the fly. It has to be easily accessible and guided. I’ve been using an app called Insight Timer. It has TONS of guided meditations from reputable practitioners all over the world, and a timer if you are doing a meditation on your own. Full-time mom-ing is draining, busy, and unpredictable, and there isn’t much time for pause. So my best bet at squeezing in some downtime is at the beginning of my daughter’s nap time. Using the first 15 minutes to quiet my mind allows me to stop, check in, and reset. I usually get exactly what I need and can make the most of whatever is left of nap time.
4. YouTube kids
Yes, my kid watches YouTube on occasion. How else am I supposed to do the dishes without her grabbing knives and climbing in the dishwasher? All you mommies out there who do zero screen time, I praise you. There have been days when the only way I could get a second to go to the bathroom or eat some food was to put on Baby Einstein or Elmo. That was my oxygen mask when nothing else worked and I was alone with no help and a crying baby. I feel no guilt, because I know that my kid gets outside in the dirt, plays with other kids, and plays independently like a boss.
5. Text therapy
I joined some new moms groups when my daughter was born, and I met women who have become such good friends. There are two friends in particular who I have an ongoing text conversation set up with. We use it to plan meet-ups, but these women are also the ones I go to when the “you know what” hits the fan. When I’m pulling my hair out wondering whose idea it was to have a kid, I turn to them. It is very easy to become isolated and feel like you are the only mom on earth struggling with a cranky, sleepless, food-throwing toddler.
So when times get tough, I text my girls. And I get exactly what I need — the reminder that I’m not alone, this will pass, and it’s totally fine to hate your husband even though he’s doing his best (my husband is awesome, but when I’m tired and cranky he gets blamed for everything). They get me and never judge me, and if they do they don’t show it. I can’t say enough about staying connected with women who get it. We all need people we can be real with!