When I gave birth to my firstborn son in April 2007, the iPhone had not yet been released to the public. It’s hard for my brain to imagine a world in which back-pocket-apps were not a part of my daily life, but there you have it. Now, ten years later, whenever I find myself in a conundrum, it takes about two seconds before the thought occurs to me: “There must be an app for that!” And there always is! Here are six apps that have changed my life as a mother.
7 Minute Workout Challenge (Free)
I know I need to work out, but being a homeschooling mother-of-three makes it hard for me to carve time out of my day for it, much less make it to the gym. However, with the 7 Minute Workout Challenge downloaded on my phone, I can work out anytime, anywhere. I know it’s not a long workout at all, but it’s better than nothing; plus, the creators of this app designed it to be effective, using methods backed up by actual scientific research. The app acts like a coach, telling me what to do, when to do it, and modeling the move on my screen. It counts down the final seconds for each segment, motivating me to push through when it’s hard to finish a difficult move. I know those of you who work out for hours at the gym each week are laughing, but those of you who get me? This app is for you!
She Reads Truth//Hear and Now (Both Free)
I’m in the habit of beginning my days with time for reflection and meditation, though I’ll be honest – the third baby has made that more of a challenge than ever. Still, even when it seems impossible, these two apps are there to make it easier for me to start my day off right.
She Reads Truth is an app that makes the Bible accessible for mamas who may have trouble finding time to sit still long enough to open up the Big Book. I can access my daily readings when I’m nursing in a dark bedroom, which is sometimes as good as it gets as far as “morning quiet time” goes. You can buy Bible studies for a small fee (usually under two dollars), and discuss it with other women on the app, or you can just read through the Bible for free. This works better for me than joining a women’s Bible study right now, and it is so inspiring to learn from other women all over the world as they respond to the same passages I’m reading.
Hear and Now, by Biobeats, has been a game-changer for me. I struggle with anxiety, and have always heard that taking time to focus on breathing in and out can help anxious thoughts even more than medication. The problem is, focusing on my breathing always heightens my anxiety rather than decreases it. Enter Hear and Now. I’m not sure if it is the calming voice, the soothing sounds of nature, or the image I can focus on that makes breathing in and out so easy, but breathing alongside this app has changed the way I handle anxiety. It is the surest way to peace when I’m feeling anxiety creep into my day. From the Biobeats website, “Using bio-metric feedback, it helps to teach a clinically proven deep breathing technique to reduce stress and helps you to understand when to use the technique to maximize its effectiveness.” If you struggle with anxiety, give this app a try. It only takes a few minutes and it has the same effect for me as a glass of wine. Score!
Happy Kid’s Timer ($1-2)
If you have trouble getting out the door on time, this app might be for you. I won’t lie – it has some annoying features. It’s listed as “free” – but there are hidden costs that you will almost inevitably need to spend, making it cost a couple dollars. But for our family, two dollars is worth actually getting somewhere on time.
I’m the kind of person you have to tell something starts 30 minutes earlier than it actually starts if you want me to get there on time. It’s not because I’m chill about being late, it’s just that I’m a horrible estimator of how long it takes to do things. That’s why this app is so valuable to me – it turns my kids’ morning routines into a game and times the kids for each task so that I don’t have to repeat myself over and over again each morning. Though I don’t think enough control is given to parents (it costs money to add activities and is only designed for one kid – super disappointing), it still acts as the perfect crutch for our family. If slow mornings are your jam and getting out the door feels like an impossible feat, give it a try!
Are you chore-challenged like me? For whatever reason, I find it difficult to enforce my chore charts, and even when I do that well, remembering paydays is a little too detail-oriented for this ENFP. That’s why I’m such a fan of this app – it makes it easy to keep track of my kids’ chores and allowances. Parents can assign chores with a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule, and will receive notifications when each chore is done, and when approvals are waiting. Photos can be added to each chore to help non-readers understand what needs to be done. This app micromanages chore-time so I don’t have to, which makes it easily worth the three dollars it costs. Plus it helps me instill a work-ethic in my children – win-win!
Side Chef (Free)
Cooking dinner can be less than glamorous, but this app helps make the bewitching hour less something to endure and more something to anticipate. Browse through over 25,000 beautiful recipes created by real chefs. Once you see a recipe you love, tapping it will enable you to learn more about the science behind the dish, as well as offer tips on technique and how to prepare it. My favorite part is that voice guidance means you can enjoy a hands-free experience, and don’t have to touch the screen to see the next step, which is especially helpful when working with kneading dough or raw meat. Also, integrated timers means the app does all the technical work for you, setting the timers at just the right moment for each step. You just do what it says and tell it when you’re ready for your next instruction. Need to triple the amount? Just increase the number of people you’re cooking for, and the recipe will automatically do all the math for you. So pour a glass of wine, put on your favorite playlist, and start cooking! Side Chef is bound to make dinnertime more interesting.
We hear so much about the negatives of screen time and the dangers of becoming a slave to our devices, but your phone can be your personal trainer, spiritual guide, task manager, and sous chef all-in-one. Let it hack motherhood for you. You deserve it!