For the average mother, life is a roller-coaster. There’s the highs, the lows, the curves, the loops…the occasional vomit. Sometimes the mother is in the driver’s seat, belt on, and blissfully in control; other times, she’s stuck in the back, cringing at what just happened and wondering when the ride will end. Regardless of where she’s sitting, she will likely confess that motherhood can be difficult no matter the track or direction. Dorothy from The Golden Girls television show acknowledged this when she said, “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”
Thanks to modern-day technologies, however, there are inventions that can make a mother’s job a bit easier. It’s been a few years since I’ve had babies, and I’m continually discovering new (and improved!) car seats, diaper pads, bathtub accessories, infant carriers, oh…and digital cameras. It would have been nice, for example, not to have to scan all my children’s baby pictures before they fade or discolor. But I digress.
There are many great products that can simplify a mother’s life, but here are my favorites!
1. The Keurig
Coffee is my vice. Maybe it’s the caffeine, maybe it’s the flavor, or maybe it’s just the idea that I’m sipping something that won’t pack on the calories, but coffee is a glorious beverage. Have you noticed though that Starbucks has stealthily been increasing their prices? Or, have you ever prepared an entire pot of coffee only to be “done” after the first cup?
For some of us busy moms, we can’t afford the daily Starbucks runs or waste the time to sit down and consume an entire pot of coffee. It’s why the Keurig is a magical invention. Its name comes from the Dutch term for “excellence” — and how apropos! The Keurig is a single-cup coffee maker that brews all types of gourmet, coffee, tea, cider, and hot chocolate drinks…in only 60 seconds. In the time it takes for my sons to sit down at the breakfast table and beg for pancakes, my cup of caffeinated delight is almost brewed. All my mom friends rave about it, and we’re dreaming that the Keurig will one day be a portable convenience or car dashboard staple. Some movie theatres are actually using the Keurig to sell cups of coffee…at $3 to $4 a cup!
2. The Giant Remote
With video game units, a DVD player, cable, and a TV, we have about a zillion remotes but can never find the right one when it’s needed.
I’m fully expecting TV’s Dora the Explorer to one day embark on a journey for somebody’s TV remote because I know it’s not just me whose family members misplace (or hide) remotes.
Sometimes the TV remote is found (like in our freezer once!), and sometimes it disappears into oblivion. One day, my husband — the problem-solver– returned home with the neatest gadget: “The Giant Remote.” Glance at it, and you know that losing that thing is like losing your arm…it’s that big. Use this extra-large remote to control all your equipment: TV, VCR, DVD player, cable, etc. I bet a few moms were part of its invention process because it also includes big glow-in-the-dark buttons. If you’ve ever searched in the dark for something in your sleeping child’s room, you’ll especially appreciate that feature.
Before all the Blockbusters started closing, my family would eagerly browse the movie wall every Friday and truly have a “Blockbuster night.” Finding and returning those movies, however, became an annoyance because, as some mothers would tell you, it’s already hard enough keeping track of our kids’ homework, text books, library books, and matching socks. It’s why Redbox rentals never worked for me, for apparently I now “own” my second (and last) Redbox movie because my kids fell asleep half way through the movie and weren’t able to watch it again during the short rental period.
So, imagine my joy at discovering Netflix, a movie disc rental and streaming service that is on demand. A fun fact according to Wikipedia is that Reed Hastings was inspired to start Netflix after being charged late fees from a movie rental. I no longer have to depend on the Disney channel, SpongeBob, or the Cartoon Network to provide mindless entertainment; my kids simply scroll through the G-rated or PG-rated movies, click, and watch. Easy.
We all know how to Google, and I wish it had been around when my kids were little; it would have saved many calls to my pediatrician regarding certain questions–questions like, why is my son’s stool purple, what mom clubs are out there, am I a bad mom because I didn’t nurse my son as long as Marvelous-Mommy-Mary, why is little Suzy talking before my little Tommy, etc.
Of course, Google can be a double-edged sword…especially when it comes to trying to diagnose your child’s illness. That can be very scary. Sometimes, less is more. Web-MD may have caused more hypochondriacs than ever. One mom thought her kid had Ebola last week, turns out it was just gas.
5. Shutterfly and Snapfish
If you’ve been a mother for a while, you probably have the big photo albums (Creative Memories, etc.) that have beautiful pages of pictures, captions, and stickers. Back in the day, each page would inspire hours of me meticulously cropping and arranging the pictures and embellishing them with stamps and borders. I don’t have time for all of that now, so thank goodness for online photo sharing and digital album creating sites like Shutterfly and Snapfish.
I’m now only two years behind in documenting my children’s memories, which, I’m told, is not too bad in terms of progress. I even take pictures of my son’s artwork and scan in the pics to create a digital art book for him. If you want to create “books” that will record your children’s stories and poems, try www.lulu.com. You can basically upload a PDF document and use the service to create a softbound or hardbound book. Again, easy.
It’s the little things that can make life a bit more convenient for a mom. For example, baby wipes are great for cleaning up diaper mess and purifying children’s hands, but they can also be used for removing your eye-makeup.
Motherhood is not without its hardships, but that just means we should embrace the tools and gadgets that can make raising children a bit easier. After all, love is easy; it’s the schedules, expectations, responsibilities, and the unexpected curve ball that can throw us off track. That’s when we need to step back on, drive forward, and maybe even enjoy a cup of coffee along the way.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” — Confucius
About the Writer: Cori Linder is a Featured Blogger of Modern Mom. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.