I’ve seen countless articles maligning parents’ use of smartphones, blaming our beloved electronic rectangles for turning us into distracted, checked-out moms missing beautiful, priceless moments with our children. As the mother of a six-week-old, I’m here to declare it loud and proud: I love my iPhone, and I don’t think it makes me a bad mom. In fact, I think it often makes me a better mom.
Let’s be honest: You can’t spend 18 years soaking in every magical moment because–news flash–some moments of parenthood are ones no one would be anxious to relive. I may only be drawing on 41 days of experience here, but parenting is HARD, and a digital distraction is often welcome. I think early motherhood can be an especially isolating and fearful time, and I’m not ashamed to say my iPhone has been a savior. Up with the baby at 3 a.m. when you’ve had four hours of sleep in two days? Sitting on the couch nursing your baby who projectile vomited her last three feeds, while the rest of your family enjoys a hot meal in the dining room without you? In these moments, it was all I could do to avoid completely breaking down. Here are seven ways my iPhone kept me chugging along with a relatively positive attitude during the darker times of caring for an endlessly needy human being lacking all ability to communicate except screaming.
Social media. While my husband and I have done a good job of getting out of the house and seeing other people regularly, we still spend considerable time cooped up in our house. Facebook and Instagram help us stay connected with our friends and family. Comments about how beautiful our daughter is and what great parents we will be boosted my confidence and made me smile. I’m also a member of several Facebook moms groups on which I solicit baby care advice almost every day.
Tracking the baby’s schedule with BabyConnect. We use this iPhone app to track feedings and diaper changes. It relieves a lot of anxiety to have concrete data rather than relying on our foggy, sleep-deprived memories. If I start to worry that my baby is dehydrated, I can check the app to confirm that she’s eaten on schedule and had plenty of wet diapers.
Podcasts/Audiobooks. I love to read, but my hands are often occupied by a tiny human. Listening to podcasts and audiobooks got me through middle-of-the-night nursing sessions when I was so tired I worried I might drift off and drop or smother the baby. Favorite podcasts include Dear Sugar, The Longest Shortest Time, Pregtastic, This American Life, Serial, Start-Up, Reply All, Invisibilia and The Moth.
iPhone games. By forcing my mind to stay active, games keep me awake much better than a more passive medium like TV.
Spotify. I love to sing, so I’ll often pull up favorite albums and sing along as I rock my sweet girl to sleep. She loves to be held, so during the day, we’ll throw on some upbeat tunes and bounce around the room together.
The iPhone camera. We bought 128G iPhones 6s before our daughter was born so we’d never have to worry about storage space for photos and videos. I appreciate the ability to capture so many wonderful moments with a device I bring everywhere I go.
Group texts with mom friends. I have quite a few close friends who have had babies within the last year, and the support they have provided me has been invaluable. From commiserating about breastfeeding challenges to sharing tips for postpartum recovery to exchanging cute pictures of our babies at all hours of the night, I lean heavily on these wonderful relationships. The words of trusted mom friends calm my fears and build my confidence in ways my extremely supportive husband simply cannot. As much as our partners love and support us, they don’t truly understand the experience of motherhood–the tremendous responsibility we feel for our children, so heavy it almost breaks us at times. Sometimes all I need is, “Oh honey, it will all be okay. I’ve been there. It gets easier.”
Of course, as much as I love my iPhone, it doesn’t gently sigh while sleeping in my arms. It doesn’t smell like heaven’s air freshener. It doesn’t flutter tiny eyelashes or wiggle minuscule toes or brush its velvety soft arms against my face as it stretches after a morning nap, looking up at me with wide, new eyes. These fleeting moments tick past, every second one I won’t get again, and I will never take them for granted.