Photo by: Marcopako

Motherhood. Is there an app for that?

Photo by: Marcopako

“It tells me where to stand on the subway platform to enter the train where the doors will open,” responded my sister’s boyfriend, as I quizzed him on his iPhone app. Each one of the apps he downloaded served a specific purpose to either simplify his life or entertain him on a whim.

I couldn’t help but wonder why there wasn’t an app for me? For motherhood. If technology was streamlining the lives of regular people, how was technology going to streamline and simplify motherhood? After emerging from the thick fog that was my first maternity leave, I returned to work full-time and realized just how much had changed. Really everything was different. My view of the world altered in a profound and totally unexpected way.

This is the banal reality that hits everyone after their first baby. Yet no matter how universal this realization is, it is very unique and profound to the person experiencing it. As I learned to manage both working full-time and devoting time and attention to my beloved baby girl, I began to wonder this – where could I find a clone of myself? A second me would simplify my life, I thought, and on many harried days, was it too much to ask for? The truth is we all know that no one can accomplish most tasks with as much skill and efficiency as well, ourselves, so a clone seemed a brilliant solution to my dilemma. My other me could have raced to the grocery store at a decent time of day and prepped for dinner, or ran out to purchase birthday cards and gifts, Halloween costumes, whatever was needed. It seemed a more desirable alternative to racing around like a chicken with my head cut off on the weekends. My other me would serve a purely utilitarian purpose.

While my husband was (and is) useful, my other me wouldn’t need detailed instructions or a written list, she would just know what to go and do. Yet no cloned me appeared. No matter how much I wished for her. Time raced on and we adapted to life with a child. I even forgot about my old days of yearning for a cloned self (would she be a more stylish and relaxed version of me, I used to wonder).

Three years later and still no cloned me in sight, our second daughter arrived. And just as life changed and we adapted to our first, life changed and we quickly adapted to our second. Not only was I a mom of two, which somehow seemed even more daunting and grown up than just having one, but I chose to become a full-time stay-at-home mom.

They say necessity is the mother of invention – so should I start inventing apps, I wondered, after quizzing my younger sisters on their apps? I’d grown tired of cloned me being a chronic no show. Is it a problem that I have no computer or math skills, really any technical skills of any kind, I wondered, as I went about thinking of the apps I would invent.

It seems that the frayed brain of a mom desperate for any help she can get, on any given day, no matter how much she loves her kids, leaves for some very creative thinking. So if I can get an app that tells me where the closest Lithuanian restaurant is, can I instead get an app that alerts me when baby needs feeding? It’s true. With my first, I was so organized. I had a book, I jotted down her feeds, how much she ate, I even noted when she pooped and peed at the very beginning. I tracked her feeding for an entire year. But see, I don’t have this kind of time anymore. Nor do I have much of a memory. The amount of times I have looked at the clock and realized in horror that second daughter should have eaten like an hour before, is well, shocking to my old first time mom self. That clone of me, she would be aghast.

So where can a tired mom of two get an app that reminds her to feed her baby? Turns out babies are no match for loud, boisterous preschoolers and forgetting these things is shockingly easy. How often do we find ourselves sounding like a broken record? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wondered if there will ever be a last time I have to say “If you don’t (insert any mundane thing you want here: go potty, turn off the TV, come to the table, put on your shoes, etc) by the time I count to ten, you won’t get a (insert again: popsicle after dinner, story with bedtime, etc).” All the while I know that to my preschooler, I sound like Charlie Brown’s mom.

We need a broken record app to keep our threats fresh – a veritable brainstorm of threats – if you will. With this app, the tired and stressed out parent taps into the pool of other threats that have a proven track record with other kids, and there you go – a new threat – a new punishment to keep the mischievous toddler on her feet. But alas, instead of an app for minimizing the drama in the day, of the three meager parenthood apps that turn up in a search, it turns out there is an app that allows you to track your child’s good and bad behavior; a virtual tattle tale that people are actually paying for. That’s right, according to the apps store, you can download karma kids to track good and bad behavior. Did anyone consider how depressing it might be to view all the bad behavior in any given day, if it’s a bad day? The thought alone hurls me into a parental crisis of epic proportions, depending on the day. And furthermore, who has the time to electronically note behavior to track for Santa? This app creates more work for me, instead of less. I’m aiming for less here. “Hold on honey, hold onto that tantrum for a second, and let me electronically track your behavior and email it to Santa, before he downloads his up-to-the-minute revised delivery route,” seems both anti-parent and anti-kid to me. In addition to seeking out apps that will simplify my life, not document my parental failings, I’m also seeking apps that just come to me. I don’t have time to search for them or figure out how to use them, they need to just arrive, ready to go, user-error proof. Am I asking too much? Maybe cloned me will handle this request.

Expert on nothing, opinion on everything, read Wired Momma for your jolt of parenthood.

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My 16 months old knows how to open the iPhoto on iPhone, and go to the album and particular picture of Santa she is in love with!
Besides amazement, I think Apple is so innovative as a company, their product can be used by a one yr old!
Kids love iPhone and more so to be rewarded by it. There's an app for that, and that's us :-)

As mother of 4 daughters and mother of this blogger I find this so amusing since she complained all through high school how badly my parent skills were in raising her younger 2 sisters. It is no easy job to raise children who are normal , intelligent adults ,especially since we had no family infra structure to assist me. My husband was a diplomat and we were overseas the whole time the girls were growing up...

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Fun piece, smart and witty and definitely made me smile. I've also dreamed of a clone, but then what if that clone either outshone me (oh hell no!) or else came with cloned babies and needed a clone of her own!

Apps or no apps, I think we just have to muddle through as best we can. Real mamas with all our flaws beat robo mamas any day.

We don't need a clone, we need a wife!
Too funny!

I'm also a mom of 2, 2 yrs. apart. I remember those days of forgetting feedings, & feeling like such a lame-o. The App Store is billed as the answer place that makes everyone's life simple. Let's face it...there's nothing simple about creating and raising little human beings. I don't partiularly thing the App Store is THE answer place, but it does offer a little help. While you may not have found much help in the way of parenting advice, it may give you a much needed break from time to time...

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I think that motherhood was the first "real" thing that I did in my life. It required no interference of directions, books, "apps" etc. It was heart to heart, flesh to flesh (if you will), timeless (nursing took as long as it took).

I have 5 children and now several beautiful grandchildren. I have also been a foster parent so have lots of experiance. I have compared parenthood to a theme park ride-- lots of excitement, twists and turns and did I say lots of excitement, a thrill a minuet and the laughter & screams that go along with it. BUT at the end you often want to go one more time to see if it's as much fun the next time. I will promise you that motherhood is one of the greatest things I have accomplished-- esp...

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