As I read magazine articles on the passing of Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind Apple‘s iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and iTunes, I kept thinking about how life had been changed by the inventor’s tools (and toys). Jobs altered the way we do business, the way we communicate, and he changed the way we function as parents.
We have to admit that Apple products make life easier (yet more expensive) for moms and dads. Yes, there are other types of cell phones and MP3 players, computers and music sources. But for the majority of parents, Jobs’ creative devices (and Pixar movies!) have become the apples of our eye.
When I brought my new iPad home from the hospital — I mean, store — I held it in my hands like a newborn baby. Its shiny, fingerprint-less screen was absolutely perfect; its icons and Apps untouched. Swaddled in a pastel green cover, I stared in awe and thought to myself: Now what do I do with it?
The answer? Nearly everything. Now a few months old, my iPad has become a lifestyle coach and business co-worker. While I will never give up paper and pen, or the leather-bound diaries that capture my split-second thoughts, I rely on my iPad like Judy Jetson relied on Rosie the Robot. I check the weather to see how my children should dress for school, I check stock prices to see if my husband can retire one day, I check emails to see if a teacher has something to share, and I check the newspaper (in search of my column!). Music puts our morning in the right mood, and a quick game of Angry Birds kills the boredom of sitting in the afternoon carpool lane. My grocery lists are secured in the Notes section, as do calendar reminders of where I’m supposed to be, when and why. Most importantly, the Flipboard App — which makes my heart do flip-flops — helps me stay on top of the latest happenings in the blogosphere. I can read up on Grammar Girl’s writing tips and then download dinner menus created by Paula Deen. One of my personal favorite Apps, Blog Her, provides valuable advice on shedding mama guilt — which at the moment is about spending too much time on my iPad.
I always thought of myself as an old-school mom who bought hard-backed cookbooks and listened to CDs in the car, who played Scrabble with plastic tiled letters and kept literary favorites on display in the family room. Cell phones were for emergency use only, and I waited until 6:00 p.m. to advise my husband of leaking toilets and dirty furnace filters. But now, life is in the form of a tablet — tapping, swiping and browsing my way through the day — with expert help.
So thank you, Steve, for bringing this mom out of the dark ages and into a backlit world of modern parenting. As I say to my own children, “Leave things in better shape than you found them.” Clearly, you believed in this principle, too.
Jobs well done.