I asked Sandra Lopez to do a guest blog post talking about her experience as a parent and the role technology plays in her life. As a working mom, I am very supportive of the challenges working parents have in general. Whether male or female, it feels like the demands on us to be successful in our careers and role model parents just continue to increase. Our children are growing so quickly, and they have more access to information and products, than we ever did. Sandra’s day job is Director, New Businesses Strategy at Intel. She manages a team of marketeers that are focused on the growth products and technologies ranging from smartphones, tablets, software, etc. Take a look and see how she’s used technology in her personal life to suit the needs of the multiple roles she plays.
With advent of the holidays, family gatherings are more frequent and there is always a point in the conversation in which the conversation gravitates towards reminiscing about your childhood days. Now that I have a child of my own, the conversation is focused not only about my childhood but also about how different it is to raise a child today. My family often asks “How Do You Do It?” A demanding job (professionally as a marketer and personally as a mother), volunteering as board member for the MissionY, active participant in professional communities, and driving a PowerPlay Group, a group of working moms that meet monthly to share survival tips. My simple answer is that I just don’t think about it and remain focused on the road ahead, but the reality is that I have an amazing support structure in both my family and in technology.
In conversing with my mother, I have realized that while I may have a more demanding life than she did as a stay at home mother – technology has made parenting easier. As a first time mother, my first business trip was extremely traumatic. I felt as if I was abandoning my child but quite frankly, I had a harder time than my child. Well, going on a business trip was a lot easier with BabyConnect – an application that gives you visibility into your baby’s activity, e.g. napping, playing, feeding, diaper change, etc. The information sync’s across your PC, SmartPhone, platforms and is accessible anytime, anywhere. For me, it provided peace of mind. I always knew how and what my daughter was doing regardless if I was in China, New York, or at my headquarter office. Furthermore, the application was so easy to use that our babysitters were able to use the application with no explanation.
Which leads me into babysitting. In the past, my parents relied on neighbor’s kids or the children of family friends. Unfortunately, I live in the city and do not have friends with teenage children. As such, finding sitters was a challenge. And with ever-changing schedules, you can’t just rely on one sitter; you need a bench of sitters. Thank goodness for UrbanSitter – a service that pre-screens all sitters as well as provides sitters availability, user reviews, and personal bios. We were able to find three standout sitters that speak both Spanish and English. What would have taken me weeks or months took me a week.
So calendaring…when do we need sitter help? It can be pretty crazy with two working parents. We have found Google Calendar as an easy way to track our personal & joint activities. It is accessible across all devices and platforms, and I can even import it onto my Outlook Enterprise account to ensure I have one master calendar for a comprehensive view of my activities. To identify our sitter needs we coded our events blue. It has provided sanity to our insanity.
Some of my activities involve dining at some of the most amazing restaurants in San Francisco. People often indicate they would never take their child to a restaurant because they typically get restless 30 minutes into dining. Well, I have found an old iPhone (No data plan required just games) or iPad to work brilliantly. I have loaded up my daughter’s favorite movies as well as educational games. Lunchbox Monkey is an amazing educational app for toddlers focused on memory, counting, and problem solving.
Finally, as a working mom I have found myself needing to find time to let my daughter play while I sneak time to work. Historically, I have found my experience cumbersome – a PC is too heavy to take to the Park, my IPAD does not have Office, and my SmartPhone is just nearly impossible to type – it is great for killing 5 minutes of time.
That changed this past Thanksgiving when I received a Samsung ATIV Windows 8 Tablet with Intel Atom inside. Just like the other technologies that I highlighted, they have all made a tangible difference in my life. And while I only just started using my new tablet – I have been able to do things with my new tablet that I haven’t been able to do with my iPAD or Kindle HD Fire. For example, as I am writing this blog I am using Word, listening to iTunes, editing some images with Adobe Photoshop, and using the attachable keyboard to type. Once I am done working, I plan to flip over to my Kindle App detach my keyboard and read my book. I get the best of both worlds – work and play.
At the end of the day, I could not imagine a life without technology. It has not only made parenting easier but has also made my entire life easier. And what is fascinating is that the majority of the technology that I am using is being powered by Intel technology. So I am not only a proud mother but also a proud employee of Intel. It is Intel’s relentless commitment to enrich the lives of every person on earth – one of the several reasons why I joined the Intel family.
Director of Marketing, New Business Strategy Intel