By Marjorie Adams, President / CEO ForlaneTop financial technology consulting firm in the United States.
Parents working in the use and adoption of technology are a special breed. We’re evaluating and navigating technology for ourselves and our families and looking for the latest technology to keep our kids occupied and in some cases turn off their devices. Of course, once kids have reached a certain age, you can add “keep trying” to the list of technology tasks that we as parents have to deal with.
Aside from supporting me as a CEO and entrepreneur in business, technology has enabled me to adapt to some truths that are rarely discussed in the workplace. If you are a working parent — mom or dad — you know what I mean. We aspire to be high-performing in all areas of life, especially in our careers and in our role as parents.
Perhaps if we talk more openly about these facts and how technology can solve some of the “difficult things” related to being a working parent, we can avoid some of the negative consequences of the great resignation that is happening around us.
As a working mom, I know a lot of women who put their careers on the back burner and eventually stopped working because the pressure of trying to do it was so great. How can we use technology to address some of the common pain points associated with being a working parent?
In my own experience as a mother of three young children, I offer these technical truths.
Tech can really teach my kid new techniques. Of course, sometimes I feel guilty for giving screen time to my own conscience or work schedule. However, I’ve noticed that iPad games like Kiddopia or BYJU on Osmo make me feel less guilty about screen time. However, I believe that the amount of screen time my kids have in a given period of time and what learning moments they can engage in when using technology-driven content is moderation. For example, thanks to the kind of content I am publishing for my kids, my two year old knows the ingredients and process of making cupcakes.
Technology makes it easy to keep in touch at work and on school days. School technology is amazing for our boys school. As a mom, during the day half of my brain wonders what they are doing or learning or whether they are sitting aimlessly in day care or school. Thanks to technology and collaborative efforts between our family and my carers, I can, instead, use the combined brain power to focus on my work.
For example, my kids’ current school sends an email every day about potty and eating activities and food updates. I get a weekly email from each head teacher in my kids’ classroom about what they did that week and what is coming up next week. In addition, I receive a school email weekly with updates and parental information. All I get is a picture of the day, not just what they’re doing, but what milestones their activities are related to and how I can help encourage that activity at home. The school also has a milestone tracking system to let us know what they have done in the classroom.
Remote work apps have helped me recover my time As any working mother would tell you, there are never enough hours in a day. Now, thanks to my remote work technology, I can leave my kids breakfast table at 7:50 am and go to a virtual meeting in the next room between 8 am Every employee of our company is remote. The technology that has kept me away from traveling has really allowed me to create a better work-life balance. Also, it’s great to see my kids during breaks in meetings. Those small moments add up to a long time.
Technology has made my time more fluid. Theoretically it sounds great, but without the right technical infrastructure, more work-life balance is just a parent’s pipedream. If you want to create a better work environment for your team or for yourself, learn about what it looks like. I know for myself, a flex-time policy fits well with working moms in my company, for whom no two days are equal.
Taboo discussions are no longer off the table. It’s not something I often share in a professional forum, but since I’m talking about technology, home, kids and work integration, I want to talk about the role of scientific technology that our family had to use for me to get pregnant. While this may not be for everyone, I am grateful for it because it gave me a huge gift for my kids.
Also, the online technology that I have access to through the Facebook group has helped me to go through the isolation that can often be felt with infertility problems. I hope people would talk more about these kinds of issues. The ability to connect and give courage and comfort that can deepen our relationship is invaluable.
Tap more than one app. As a working mom, technology has allowed me, my husband and our kids to tap more than one app. This allowed me to tap into some important truths as I shared above.
The technology I use is deeply involved in my daily routine as a tool to simplify the strategic parts of keeping my kids engaged in a healthy way when I need some time to focus and as a way to touch the base with their carers and teachers. Beyond functional technology, some apps have also provided a personal way to honestly connect with other mothers and women who are facing some common challenges. We all need to have a network, whether we are parents or just navigating our busy lives.