As a wife and mom of four kids ranging in age from 16 to 3, there are several apps on my phone that help keep me sane on a daily basis by helping me to simplify my life. In no particular order, those apps are:
I go to my Hallow app regularly for my Bible in A Year podcast (not always daily and that’s okay) and to help guide a Divine Mercy or Holy Rosary. It’s also wonderful for novenas. It is a wonderful aid to help me stay on track with my prayer life, which can be a struggle. [Editor’s Note: The Real Deal of Parenting readers can get Hallow free for 30 days with zero commitment at this link.]
This app helps me keep track of my oldest son, who is a new driver at age 16. I try not to be a stalker, but it is a comfort to be able to check his progress on a journey to and from his destinations. It keeps me from calling or texting him while driving and gives me peace of mind. It also tracks his driving habits and so lets me know if there’s something—like distracted driving or high speed—that I need to address. It also helped me know where he was in D.C. when he attended the March for Life a few weeks ago. The basic version is free, but we upgraded to a higher version so we could get real-time accident alerts and more.
This a free Google app on my Android phone and it’s perfect for noting things I want to remember. It has replaced scribbling on a random receipt in my purse and keeps my notes handy if I need to reference them in the future. My Keep notes are fairly broad—they range from a list of items to pick up at a store, updates to our schedule, or just something I saw or heard online and want to remember to go back and research later.
I wasn’t a fan of this payment app at first. I find it strange that people treat it like a social media channel and share who they’ve paid and for what. I’m a much more private person than that, but you can set your settings to private. I use Venmo regularly to pay for a lot of things, especially small dollar amounts needed for coach and teacher gifts.
So I’ve learned to love this app. Not just because it tracks steps, but because it tracks food and water intake, too. I also love checking it after a workout to see my calorie burn and my heart rate. I’m not always diligent about making physical health a priority, but when I do, I find the Fitbit app very useful.
This is the app that tracks my kids’ progress at school (the school chooses what system they use). It gives me a daily update about my kids’ standing in terms of grades and attendance. It’s useful, but I caution that it can also make you crazy and easily turn you into a nagging parent. I have found myself questioning my kids on every less-than-stellar grade and I immediately regret it. I think kids should have the freedom to work their way through the semester without a parent nitpicking on every little assignment. I would have hated that as a kid. I try to check just once a week and use it only as a guide for conversation, not admonishments. And, of course, it’s great for attaboys or attagirls!
This is the app for my home security system. It enables me to check on my house when I’m away from it. I can set and disable my alarm from my phone and even check cameras. It sends alerts when there’s an issue and it’s connected to emergency personnel in case of need. It gives me great peace of mind, especially during travel.