12 Great Apps for Busy Moms
Multitasking mothers on the go can use these apps to make life easier, more organized and just plain fun.
If only a day was 48 hours long! Pediatrician appointments scheduled for five minutes after the school bell rings, science projects that require blue (not purple) construction paper and demanding clients who think they own you. Busy moms are pulled in hundreds of different directions all at once.
So how can the modern mom cope? Your smartphone and tablet are great places to start. There are tons of new apps that can make a big difference in your life and your stress level. But with new apps coming out every day, figuring out which programs are best for you and your family can feel like a task unto itself. So we've eliminated the guess work and streamlined your options down to some of today's best apps for moms -- ones that will educate your little ones, organize your life and tame your family's chaos. Share them with your nanny, who may benefit as well.
Do you feel like your baby's life is already flying by? Do you have trouble keeping friends and family in the loop on all your child's latest achievements? Karoo, the first mobile app from Care.com, helps parents, caregivers and relatives stay connected and share all the moments of childhood as they happen. You can create a private network of people you want to share information, pictures and milestones with. It's also great for working parents, as your nanny or sitter can send you updates on naps,pictures of your child's latest craft project and videos of play time at the park.
Google Calendar (Free)
Attorney and Virginia native, Stephanie Himel-Nelson, is one multi-tasking mom. A Navy spouse and mother to two adorable boys, Himel-Nelson is also a blogger at Lawyer Mama, a business consultant and communications director for Blue Star Families, a non-profit organization dedicated to military families. How does she do it? "I couldn't survive without Google Calendar," says Himel-Nelson. "I have separate calendars devoted to various aspects of my work life and family life. Google Calendar helps me integrate it all without letting me forget a thing." This free app organizes and shares your schedule with family, friends and co-workers, and can also send out event reminders, invitations and keep track of RSVPs.
Baby Tracker: Nursing ($4.99)
A life-saver for brand new moms, Baby Tracker: Nursing keeps tabs on the length of time and side you nursed on. Nursing history is stored in daily logs so you can access it on the go -- a huge plus for back-to-work moms who travel with a breast pump. Tired mothers of twins or triplets can even keep track of multiple children's nursing schedules.
Dropbox stores important photos, documents and videos in the cloud and on your phone, eliminating the need to send yourself emails as a just-in-case. Himel-Nelson uses this app to store medical and work-related receipts, insurance claims and important documents.
If you've ever realized you're out of diapers at 3 a.m., you'll be happy to find out about this app. "Running around NYC with a baby in tow means I need to rely on apps for shopping and delivery," says Sutherland. "This saves me time and stress and eliminates the need for midnight runs to the drugstore." It lets you shop in a hurry by voice activation or bar code scanning. You can purchase a full range of baby- and toddler-related products, including multiple brands of formula, baby food, car seats and strollers. There is even an assortment of green baby products available.
Catalogue by TheFind (Free)
Forget the bulky catalogs that pile up in your house. Save some trees and headaches by discontinuing your subscriptions and turning to this app instead. You can browse tons of your favorite catalogs and circulars, search for items you need and keep track of favorites. It's a must-have for back-to-school, holiday and birthday shopping.
With over 2,000 recipes, this app makes meal prep simple. No more worrying about finding healthy dinnertime options to serve your kids. You can browse recipes, personalize them (great for families with picky eaters!), create shopping lists and share ideas with friends. There is also a great hands-free voice option, so you don't have to actually touch your tablet with flour-covered hands.
Fandango Movies -- Times & Tickets (Free)
Every mom and dad deserves an occasional date night. If a movie is in your future, don't make a move without this free app. Fandango's "My Movies" list lets you keep track of what you want to see and alerts you when they hit a theater nearby. You can even pick and reserve your seating directly from the app. Fan and critic reviews, as well as movie trailers, are included. So hire a babysitter and treat yourself to a grownups-only night!
Leafsnap turns simple outings into nature walks filled with discovery and adventure. An electronic field guide designed by researchers from Columbia University, the Smithsonian and the University of Maryland, Leafsnap uses visual recognition software to let you and your child identify tree species through photographs of their leaves. This easy-to-use app features beautiful, hi-res photographs of leaves, flowers, seeds and tree bark and is great for quiet times together, or for due-tomorrow science projects.
Algebra Touch ($1.99)
Once kids get passed 2 + 2, most parents are lost when it comes to helping out with math homework. Apps to the rescue! Download ones like Algebra Touch, which gives you a quick refresher course on the basics of solving equations. Maybe after all these years you'll finally figure out what on Earth "x" is and where it goes.
Still not-quite-there on your New Year's resolution to get fit and start running? This app can help. Its aim is to get you from never running to running a 5K in only nine weeks. You follow a simple training plan and measure your progress by either time or distance.
Organizing a family's budget and back accounts is hard work. Those math and economics classes you took in school seem like a very long time ago and maybe you need a little help remembering how to best manage your money. Once you set up an account, this personal finance app automatically stays on top of your transactions, categorizes them into helpful groups so you know what you're spending money on and shows you how your monthly budget is doing.
All moms know that no matter how much time you spend organizing your life, you seem to spend double that amount worrying about how you're not organized enough! Apps like these are great tools, enabling you to free up your time and rid your mind of emotional clutter. And less time spent worrying means more calm, happy time to spend with those you love most.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found here.