Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stay Home, Stay Happy - Chapter 7:Put Technology To Work

A timely chapter since we are in the computer age and we all know that if we can't beat it, better make use of it! Technology has its pros and cons. But if we know how and when we can make use of it to make our lives better, we are way ahead of the game.

Again, here are some important words from this chapter.

Nurturing yourself, your relationships, and your passion

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire! - Ferdinand Foch

The decision to be home with a child for a period or season of life is a weighty one that has a lot to do with how we view at-home motherhood. For our grandmothers, and some of our mothers, staying at home was not really a choice but an expectation. Even those women with a college education and some professional experience were expected to put these interests aside to be a "good" wife and mother. Others who were married young, with little or no professional experience, never had the opportunity to test their skills in anything other than family and motherhood. Many of these women have yearning and relentlessness. 

At-home motherhood is so different now! It has been transformed by many factors, but in so many ways, the technological revolution is the crucial component in the evolution of at-home motherhood, giving moms time-saving tools, the freedom to nurture their passions, and often the ability to work part-time or stay connected in some way to their former work lives. Technology enables moms to explore and delve deeply into virtually any subject in the comfort of their robe and slippers.

Technology has made it much easier to run a part-time business, participate in job-share programs, freelance or consult - all from home. This freedom is why modern moms know that being home does not have to be stifling or isolating experience women once complained about. 

The ability to simultaneously be in both worlds - at home with your kids and contributing to your profession - can be an intoxicating feeling for moms who feel most liberated and truly creative when they are satisfying both essential parts of who they are.

Make technology work for you

The internet is giving moms back time that was once needlessly wasted. Time saved is time that can be spent doing something enjoyable or rejuvenating  - yoga, reading, freelance consulting or writing, painting, or playing dolls with your daughter.
  • Need to help your daughter with her research paper? You can do it from your laptop in the kitchen.
  • Want to ask your child's teacher about the scale of the Indian Village project due on Monday? Just e-mail her.
  • Don't know what to do with your soon-to-be limp cabbage in the vegetable drawer? Put "cabbage" in the search engine, and in under a minute, you have a recipe.
  • Moms and dads can synchronize their calendars so that Dad doesn't schedule a business meeting during the kid's school concert.
  • Order things online. 
  • Grocery shopping online.
No question, the internet saves moms time and allows us to access an unprecedented volume of information, create online communities, and pursue personal interests to a degree unfathomably by at-home moms of any previous generation. All of these advances address the problem that Betty Friedan famously exposed as the chief drawback of at-home motherhood: isolation and monotony.

Stay connected to family and friends

The cell phone is a mommy essential. It not only makes us more efficient  but it also gives us peace of mind. It's a huge bastion against isolation.

Technology is bringing the miles between us. Without technology that we have today, my children would probably not have that much connection with their grandparents back in the Philippines. Although phone calls and snail mails with pictures are good forms of communication, nothing beats seeing them eye-eye using Skype or YM.

Internet is expanding our network beyond our family and friends and allowing us to meet and share ideas with mothers all over the world! It was actually in one of the motherhood forums where I met my close friends on our sixth year here in Singapore. We've been friends for 4 years or so now and I'm really glad I've become part of that forum. The internet is also a memorable "place" for me. This is where where I met my husband some 13 years ago! I can't be more thankful.

While online commentary can sometimes bring out the worst in people, it also has the ability to bring  about great insight and understanding of other people's lives, cultures and perspectives.

The connection to other women is invaluable, and real friendships develop - sometimes even moving beyond the anonymity of screen names to the real world. Like what happened to me!

Just do it! Nurture your passion

Use today's technology to make space for you!

Nurturing your passion is essential to both your soul and your work as a mom. Every mom needs to explore and discover an activity or pursuit that brings her joy. You feel recharged, replenished and ready to pour yourself back into your family.

Your training (job experience) could well be employed in the service of your community or your child's school. Your education and skills are not wasted as an at-home parent! You won't be getting a paycheck for that, but it isn't any less significant to your family, your town, or even our country.

Whether your passion is volunteering or baking, you should rightfully feel proud of making your corner of the world better or sweeter!

If your passion is reading, painting, cycling or gardening, your family will benefit if you just do it! Make time and create time. Make the nurturing of your passion a priority.

Being home with your children is a lot of work, but it also has an incredible amount of flexibility. Focus on the positive: the flexibility and the fact that you are your own boss.

Time spent immersed in your passion, or in the pursuit of a hobby, or exploring a different side of yourself, is good for your soul and, therefore, good for your family.

Many at-home moms have the experience  of discovering their true selves after becoming mothers. The key to making this discovery is make yourself a priority!

Fight the technology demons!

If the technological trappings of modern at-home motherhood have done nothing to create free time in your days, you probably need to reprioritize. Uh-oh. This is gonna hit a chord. I, for one, am a victim at one time. But I could say, I'm a recovering addict - internet addict that is.

We simultaneously have to battle the technology demons - you know, the temptation to be hyperefficient and constantly tuned in, thereby losing sight of the underlying purpose of our decision to be home: spending quality time with our kids.

Today's moms are the most efficient multitaskers in the history of mothering. We pack more than twenty-four hours of work into a twenty-four-hour day!

Is technology helping you to spend more or less time with yourself or your family? If you suspect there is a problem, the best thing to do is to remove it from your life for a period of time.

Your spirit is an inspiration to your kids and to other moms!

Ending this chapter, let me just say a few words. Let's use technology to our advantage - to make our life as an at-home mom more "convenient". Let's be aware of our technology demons so we can make the possible steps to fight them. And remember that help from at-home moms is just a click away!

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