Guest post by Amanda Morrow Jensen
When Apple markets its iPhone, they focus on its appeal to music lovers, to business people, to tech enthusiasts, and to young people who like to be on top of trends. What their market research clearly missed out on is what a useful tool the iPhone is for parents, especially mothers. Bravely stepping into the void, I am guestposting here to share [drumroll please] the Top! Ten! Ways! My iPhone! makes parenting so much easier.
1. It provides music for sleeping. My son is addicted to his mobile. We took off the rotating top a while ago. Now, all he wants are the songs. But it is not exactly easily portable, and sometimes we need him to take a nap in places without his clunky music machine. The solution? His own playlist of songs, mixed up on iTunes and loaded on the iPhone. Select the playlist, hit speaker, choose repeat play, and exit the room. Voila, sleeping child.
2. It gives you more than enough photos to share. People often make the mistake of asking me if I have any photos of my son. I always laugh. “How much time do you have?” Right now, I have 2,984 photos of my son loaded onto my iPhone. The Boy Scouts and I have the same motto when it comes to parenting photos: always prepared.
3. The bubble wrap application is amazing. You can download for free a sheet of virtual bubble wrap. It’s better than the real thing, because it refills itself ten seconds after a bubble has been popped. Endlessly entertaining for toddlers, and, okay, adults too.
4. The light saber application brings out the jedi knight in your child. This application turns your phone into a light saber that makes electronic swishing noises as you wield the phone like a sword. I highly recommend this one for the doctor’s office wait. Nothing delights a doctor more than to enter the examining room and find a diaper-clad toddler light sabering them.
5. You can email discreetly during Little Einsteins. While watching Little Einsteins, or Dora, or whatever your household’s favorite, you can discreetly return emails and conduct business while still commenting enthusiastically on all the new concepts the show has introduced. Multitasking at its best.
6. You know when to sell. The iPhone’s built in stock tracker lets you also check your portfolio’s performance quickly throughout the trading day. So you know when to hit pause on the DVR and call your broker before things totally wipe out. It is not recommended to use this feature while also watching Barney or SpongeBob, as the combination of bad news and scary cartoons can be deadly.
7. You know how to dress your children. The built in weather feature is equally handy. We have 30 to 40 degree swings in temperature highs and lows here during the winter. Without a glance at the weather, I would have no idea what to dress my child in each day. Nothing is worse than being the kid that shows up in sweats the day it hits 85 degrees.
8. The cloud computing “push” feature keeps all your schedules for you. You can keep all your calendars neatly divided in iCal between professional, personal, friends, family, health care appointments, after school activities, and birthday reminders. The iPhone will then automatically push your updates from your computer to your phone, and vice versa. This means you record that next well baby check up when you make it, and then forget about it until your phone reminds you to show up there.
9. It has YouTube for those really desperate moments. My child thinks nothing is as funny as the baby in the bumbo videos as she fights off her archenemy, the household dog. When I have exhausted all other methods for keeping a squirming child still, I break out the ace: baby bumbo on the iPhone via the built in YouTube button. Victory for mom.
10. Surf time for the parents during proximity play. My son is very big on “proximity play,” where I am near him and in the same room while he plays. He doesn’t actually want me to always play with him, but he wants to know that I am there and not doing something more interesting than he is doing (like typing on the computer, which always counts as more interesting than anything he is doing). Much of my business is done online, and the iPhone’s built in web browsers make discrete surfing easy to do. My son feels secure, I feel happy to have helped him, work gets done, and the little iPhone churns away.
I really feel like Apple has missed the boat on this one. What other profession requires a person to be both janitor and CEO than motherhood? Who else would need to distract a toddler and check a stock’s performance within five seconds of each other? The iPhone was made for mothers more than any other demographic. It’s the ultimate multitasking tool for the ultimate multitasking profession. I’m so glad I have one. And as soon as I recover mine from wherever my son hid it, I’ll be all set.