Don’t forget to take our Date Night Quiz! Then, check back on February 1st to find out: Are parents making time for date night?
You know from past posts that I’m happiest with 10 toes on the ground. And I love to be home with Ron and the boys. But the reality is that I do have to travel for work. Although one of my New Year’s resolutions is to take fewer trips this year, I still have to be away from my guys more than I’d like. And with Ryan off at college, it is even harder to get everyone together. Thankfully with technology these days, we can stay connected even when we're not together.
I know modern parents have so many different methods to ensure that they know what is happening with their families: from the moms who spreadsheet their weeks down to the hour to those who go with the flow. But every mom stays in touch. I've embraced the many ways that technology enables me to have meaningful moments with the boys when we're not together. And it goes beyond texting and phoning. I'm skyping. I'm on Facebook.
Here are a few of my tried-and-true tech-savvy options for staying connected – post a comment and add your own:
Read “Goodnight Moon” – via Video Chat
Don’t miss out on the goodnight ritual just because you’re miles away. I love using Skype to be face-to-face with Ron and Adam if I’m away in the evening. Especially with the little ones, try Skype out or use Google Video Chat to read your child’s favorite bedtime book. When they’re older, talk about your favorite moments during the day and lessons learned in school. Each evening, we ask Adam, “How were you a good friend today?”
Sync Up with your Spouse
If crazy work schedules keep you and your partner from even seeing each other during daylight hours, try Outlook, Google Calendar or any program that allows everyone access and enables you to find time to be together. With Google Calendar, everyone in the family can have direct access to add and monitor events, meetings, or appointments. Similarly, share To-Do and grocery lists through Google Docs. Ron and I ping each other constantly – through texts, e-mails, and instant message – and we stay connected.
Check in with Social Media
I’m friends with my son on Facebook. From our survey last fall, I know that 75% of parents are using Facebook and social media to monitor their kids these days. I’ve actually found that my son’s Facebook page serves another purpose – it keeps me connected to him, even when he’s away at college. I love seeing pictures from his last crew race, something I would normally have to miss out on completely. I also try to walk the fine line of learning about his life, while still respecting his privacy as a college kid.
Evolve the Family Dinner
While we absolutely value the family dinner, the Marcelos have had to evolve our mealtimes to fit our modern lives. Although I would love to ask Ryan to come home from college each day to have dinner with us, I do realize that is a little unreasonable. Instead, we meet every other Sunday for brunch – it works for us! While I haven't read it, a number of our moms here have raved about this book that provides great tips, meals and activities to encourage family dinners.
Remember Memorable Moments
Over the holidays and during other memorable events, we all take pictures. But rather than having them end up dusty in a photo album or in some hard-to-find file drive on my computer, we stay connected with our family members by putting together a video montage right after the event – sometimes even on that very day. We use an online program called Animoto – it’s so easy to use. You upload the photos, select music and it does everything for you. Check out our holiday party in Michigan. I posted it on Facebook right away and my friends also felt part of our special day. If you notice in the last few pictures, my eldest brother couldn’t make it this year, so he skyped in for our family photo!
Know When to Get Help
Finally, over the years, it has been incredibly helpful to me to recognize when I am stretching myself too thin. Help with the kids, help with cleaning the house, help with homework tutoring – these all made such a difference in the battle for quality time with my family – and inspired me to create Care.com!
I’m always looking for tips to streamline and balance the CHO (Chief Household Officer) with the CEO job. How do you keep your family going and manage to stay connected? Post a comment and let us know!