Monday, September 15, 2008

Online tools for parents

As some of you may know I have been on maternity leave for the last 3 months. My days (and nights too) have been consumed with feedings, changing diapers, trying to keep up with the endless amount of laundry (who knew someone so little could produce so much laundry), and staring in wonderment at this amazing person. Now that I am back to work and my former life at Sentient has resumed I am spending my days talking to clients, writing proposals, reviewing reports, and managing projects again. Two very different roles. And as many working parents before me I am learning to manage and balance work and family. So how do we manage it all? Fortunately for me I work for a company that is my “village” so to speak and has been very supportive, generous and accommodating during this time of adjustment. In addition to working for a great company, I have discovered a plethora of online tools (many of course sponsored by brands) to track, answer, remind, and verify my every parenting move, question, task and concern.

Here are a few of my favorites. – everything from mommy and baby horoscopes, to baby milestone videos, community blogs, development calendar, recall finder, deal finder, and much, much more. – Their tagline is “Family Life. Simplified. This tool is a multimedia organizer for busy parents. The tool keeps track of calendars, shopping lists, family journal postings and pictures and you can coordinate it all from your desktop, notebook, phone, or PDA. You can sync your outlook and cozi calendars, send or leave a message to a family member (dinner at Hula Hut at 7pm!) or send your shopping list to your cell phone. See a tutorial here. – a widget that lets you customize your own pregnancy countdown so you can watch your baby grow from a tiny dot to a full grown fetus. Check it here.

These online tools and forums were not available to my parents when they were raising me. They had to rely on more archaic means…like calling their parents in a panic in the middle of the night to find out how to treat a fever and of course there was and is always Dr. Spock (he is online now too). So as the diffusion of parenting information evolves, I wonder what tools my child will use when she becomes a parent. What’s next?

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