By Elisabeth Grant (Washington D.C.)
It seems like working moms have to make dinner appear like magic, save the day like super heroes, and multitask like they’re more than one person. Now, to aid in accomplishing these feats is their magic wand and super tool: the smartphone. Whether it’s an iPhone or an Android, these fantastic treasures of technology can use apps or the internet to help you decide on dinner, make a list, find a gift, get in a workout, make sure you’re paying the lowest price, or even watch your favorite show on the go. Below we detail 5 apps and 5 web sites that can help busy working moms manage their lives.
“Feed us, feeeeeed us!” No, that’s not the call of zombies, but rather of your hungry family. Everyday they have to eat, but some days it’s easier to come up with a recipe than others. Get the Epicurious app (for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Nook) for ideas for what you (or your kids, or your better half) can make for dinner. From the simple and quick meal, to the complex and time demanding dinner. Need to pick up a few things to accomplish your culinary masterpiece? The Epicurious app also contains a shopping list function.
For those pockets of time that crop up when you’re on the go (waiting at the DMV, picking up your daughter from soccer practice, taking the subway to work), catch up on your favorite shows (including every episode of Grey’s Anatomy) and movies through the Netflix app (available for iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Android). It’s also a nice option for entertaining the the kids while you grocery shop or run errands in the car.
3. Remember the Milk
To-do lists, grocery lists, sports schedules, music schedules, and more. You’ve got a lot to keep track of, and a lot to check off, and the Remember the Milk app is here to help. It offers the option to send yourself reminders by email, text message, or instant messenger. Use it on your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.
4. Price Check App
You want to save money, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time running around town comparing prices. The Price Check App from Amazon will compare the price you have in front of you with prices online. Just scan the barcode, take a picture, or say or type the item name and this app will let you know how prices compare online. While this app is just for iPhone, Android phones can use a similar Bar Code Scanner app.
5. Fitness Apps
With so much to do for your family often it’s hard to do things for yourself. Often personal fitness is the first activity to be left behind. There are ways to workout though, without devoting a lot of time to it. Check out our past post on 10-minute workouts, or get your exercise on the go with an app on your phone. Since iPhone and Android phone users don’t always have access to the same apps, we’ve picked out a different, but similar, fitness app for each device.
- VirtuaGym for Android is a personal trainer on the go. Press play and the cartoon trainer marches in place, squats, does sit-ups, and other exercises right along with you, with a prominently displayed timer counting down how much longer you have to go. Workouts range from 7 minutes to 80 minutes and are tagged as newbie, beginner and advanced. The workouts are also split into two categories: home workout, which doesn’t any equipment, and gym workout, which shows your trainer working out on rowing machines, leg press machines, using weights, and more. There aren’t a ton of workouts to chose from, but it’s a great free app to start off with.
- Fitness Pro on iPhone is a more robust free fitness app. It offers a library of over 450 exercises, uses illustrations to show how to perform them properly, lists a number of workout routines, gives you details on anatomy, and allows you to track your runs and log your workouts.
Mint allows you to see an overview of your personal wealth. Track your checking account, savings, loans, 401ks, mortgage, and more all in one place. Set budget goals for the month and get analysis (through graphs) of where you’re spending your money. Mint also has an app for both iPhone and Android.
Want a night out but don’t know a babysitter? The Sittercity site links parents up with babysitters and nannies who have been thoroughly screened through background checks and references. Review babysitters in your area (who’ve been rated by other clients) and check out articles on how to hire the right sitter for your kids and even how to deal with nanny taxes.
Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, holiday, or wedding, there’s always the pressure to find a great gift. But it can be time consuming to search out something that’s special and unique. Thank goodness for Etsy, a community of crafters, jewelers, weavers, woodworkers, painters, and others who are selling their one-of-a-kind handmade gifts. And while handmade can mean expensive, this community is big enough that there’s the perfect gift in everyone’s price range. While you can just dive in to Etsy and start searching by keyword, be sure to check out their Gift Ideas for Facebook Friends tool, which offers suggestions by using info on friends’ Facebook pages. Also, the Etsy Gift Guides offer targeted lists, like gifts by price range, personalized gifts, gifts for your boss, hostess gifts, gifts for the tech lover, and more.
Is your little one’s rash really worth a trip to the doctor’s office? While it’s safest to get it checked out, go into the exam room prepared by doing some searching on WebMD first. Search through some of the most common categories (allergies, cold and flu, sleep disorders) and find facts, symptoms, treatments, and more resources. WebMD also posts helpful articles, like what foods to avoid when you’re pregnant and new FDA sunscreen guidelines. This site can help you learn how to stay healthy, but also what to do when you get sick.
5. Your Next Read
There’s hardly enough time to read a book, let alone figure out what you or your kids should read next. Your Next Read helps out by asking you to name a book you enjoyed, then it suggests more books like it. Drawing a blank on a book you like? Not to worry, Your Next Read also suggests books in different categories, like their pick of the 10 best children’s books, the National Book Award winners for 2010, and the New York Times’ 10 best books of 2010.