By Richard Singleton
A few things in life occasionally make me feel old: the sprinkling of gray in my hair, the wave of whimsical suggestions that I dye my beard and the ponderous aching in my back after church softball. Actually, these just make the contenders list. I think maybe at the top of the list –especially related to this article –is the amazing new world of organization apps that exists for parenting new babies. There was no app for that back in my day (see, now that I’m on the way down the hill, I can use that phrase. Keep an eye out for it in future articles, as well as, “whippersnapper”and “knee-high-to-a-grasshopper”).
My kids are 15 and 11 in chronological years. In apple-of-my-eye-time, however, they are but a few days old. It really was just yesterday that my wife and I were driving them home from the hospital, wasn’t it?
Wow, how mercilessly the clock ticks!
When our children were born, my job was flexible enough that I was at home with them quite a bit. It was a life-changing blessing. I prepared bottles, mixed that Gerber goo rice cereal, changed diapers, changed more diapers, tried to coerce, coax and cajole naps, changed more diapers and loved every minute of it.
Being mommy and daddy was a busy time for my wife and me, but it also was a simpler time. We weren’t navigating tablets, cell phones, laptops and myriad other things at the same time. In fact, as I remember, I really was a glorified pillow most of the time. And I was always at the top of my game with the requirements of that job description—have pudginess and a rocking chair, will travel! I think I’ll be good grandpa material one of these days (long, long, long from now)!
Perhaps you’ve noticed. Times have changed a little in the last decade and a half. New parents are busy. Likely both of them are working, and likely both of them need or have a sense that they need to be connected with the world at all times. Consequently, scheduling for new parents and baby is a challenge like never before.
A few of my co-workers from this younger, busier demographic shared some insights with me as I was sorting out the research for this article. When I first asked if they used any of the many apps out there for organizing the care of their children, I thought that there would be relative silence about the question.
I was wrong. Patently wrong, indeed.
As soon as I reached out to them, replies came streaming in right away with the various apps that they have implemented with their parenting to help them navigate the joys, blessings and challenges of their adorable new food processing factories…I mean, babies!
Here are a few of the apps that new parents I’ve surveyed have found helpful:
What to Expect. A household name, this app carries on the tradition of the ballyhooed “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”books, giving you at-the-fingertip expertise about you or your partner’s pregnancy journey. It provides personalized content based on the due date of baby, connects you with other moms and taps into a wealth of parenting articles as you prepare for the new arrival.
My Pregnancy Today from Baby Center.Similar to What to Expect, My Pregnancy Today app from Baby Center helps you track your pregnancy day-to-day and week-to-week. Additionally, it has award-winning videos that can help you understand what’s happening as baby grows in the womb and also, for the most intrepid among us, videos of moms welcoming their babies into the world.
The Wonder Weeks.This app has received awards and high praise from a number of sources. It’s the mobile companion to the well-received “The Wonder Weeks”book. As you likely know, the world of brain science has exploded in growth. The Wonder Weeks app taps into developmental research and helps you track important milestones of your baby. It’s a fascinating and practical way to stay connected with and help meet the unique needs of your baby.
Feed Baby. This clever app helps you—you guessed it—track feedings for your hungry little bundle of joy. One mom noted, “During the first few months when you are sleep deprived and hardly know what hour of the day it is, the app reminds you when a scheduled feeding might be coming up based on your baby’s feeding patterns.”The Pro version allows both parents to have their phones synced, so that they can track their baby’s patterns and be prepared for possible needs that are upcoming for their baby. Dads might especially like the pro version, so that they can share in the understanding and participation of just how exhausting it is to care for a newborn, providing mom the help she needs to navigate exhaustion when Junior’s patterns look like more like a Richter Scale than a sleep graph.
I have to admit that part of me (the old curmudgeon that is starting to develop somewhere down deep inside of me) wishes that we lived in a world without care taking apps. But that part of me quickly sees the value of them and wishes that they would have existed 15 years ago. Had they been around, perhaps I would have been a more responsive, better-equipped dad. I can’t imagine my wife being a better mom. She was and is an award-winning app unto herself!
The fact that young parents these days are working so hard to know the right thing to do for their pregnancy and for their new babies gives me great hope and confidence that the next generation of little ones growing up right now will have had a wonderful beginning to their lives. You don’t have to have an app to be a good parent, of course, but why not use everything at your disposal to be the absolute best parent that you can be?
As I sign off for this month, let me say a word of praise and thanks to all the new moms and dads out there. You’re doing one of the most important jobs on the planet. May you be thoroughly blessed in your noble parenthood pursuit. Your children are our future and for that, we are grateful.