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Google Pixel: A Mom’s Best Friend

Google Pixel: A Mom’s Best Friend

I’m a mom, so I rarely buy myself anything new. When I saw the Google Pixel at the Google Event, I knew it was time to treat myself.

I had been using an old 16GB Samsung S4, one that had been handed down to me. Sure, it was still functioning, but it was getting slow, and I wasn’t happy with the photo quality anymore. I took the plunge and pre-ordered the Pixel, and in it, found my new best friend.

Meeting the Google Pixel

google-pixel
    Image by Google

    The first thing I noticed, after I unboxed my beloved new Google Pixel, was that there were no earphones in the box. It’s not a big deal to me, as I still have my good old Samsung earbuds, it’s just one of those things one has grown to expect when getting a new phone. One less pair of earbuds I have to hide from my child, I suppose.

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    Another thing I didn’t realize: The Google Pixel uses USB-C cables to charge, not the Micro-USB that many phones use. The Pixel comes with a wall charger and not one, but two cables. One is USB-C to USB-C, which plugs in to the wall charger. The second is USB-C to USB. This is great because I can leave one plugged in at home, and one plugged in to my computer at work. Not that I ever have to top up the charge on this phone part way through the day.

    The first full day I had the phone I played with it all day. I took pictures and video, changed settings, streamed Netflix, scrolled through Pinterest, asked the Assistant dumb questions, read an e-book. By the time I went to bed, it still had 58% charge. It was then that I knew I was in love.

    Picture Quality

    Google Pixel photo
      The morning sky, captured by my Google Pixel.

      The picture quality of the 12.3 megapixel camera is unlike anything I have ever seen on a cell phone. One of the reasons that I wanted to upgrade was that the picture quality on the older phone was noticeably poor. Because I am primarily using my phone to take pictures of my child, I obviously want these to be the best they can be.

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      While I did notice some of the lens flare that seems to be angering others, I’m not too concerned with it. Google is working on a software update that will reportedly be out in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’m considering the occasional flare a bit of artsy panache added to my pictures.

      Video Stabilization

      The video stabilization in the Google Pixel is glorious. I have a toddler who doesn’t sit still, so I am constantly chasing her with the camera. You will have to take my word on how remarkably smooth it is. It really is as good as the demo at the Google Event.

      Google Photos

      Can we talk about unlimited online storage for photos and video at full resolution? Google Photos is obviously the best thing that has ever happened to parents who take far too many pictures of their children. This is perfect for me, because:

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      1. I rarely take the time to transfer the astronomical amount of photos I have stored on my phone to my computer.
      2. I am terrified that a natural disaster will wipe out the thousands of baby photos I have stored on my computer.

      Any time you need to free up space, you just go in to Google Photos and click ‘Free Up Space’. It will tell you if the photos have been backed up to your Google Photo library, and if it’s safe to remove them from your device. It couldn’t be easier.

      Google Assistant

      The Assistant and I are in the early days of our friendship, but I already like her. She makes it easy to schedule appointments and send texts when my hands are full of kid. She helps me build my grocery list and will give me a briefing on my day. I can even take hands-free photos!

      google-pixel-screenshot

        Google Assistant is able to remember the context of a line of questioning, so you can ask several questions in a row about the same subject. The Assistant, like Siri, also has some great scripted answers to certain questions. Go ahead and ask her who shot first. And don’t forget to try “I’m Feeling Lucky”.

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        It is, of course, a learning process, and not all answers are witty, nor is everything I say understood. I look forward to seeing what a more personalized experience is like as the AI gets to know me better.

        Reduced Bloatware

        I like my carrier, I’m with them for a reason, but I never use any of the extra apps they install on the phone. Sure you can disable some, but rarely can you uninstall them, only their updates. It was the same thing with the added Samsung bloatware. Here I was, stuck with apps taking up space that I could be using for other apps that actually interest me. With the Google Pixel, you can actually delete the pre-installed apps that you don’t want.

        Fingerprint Reader

        Having never had one, I am especially happy with the fingerprint reader. My daughter discovered a work-around to the locked screen on the S4: if you press the home button enough times, the phone will access S Voice and just unlock. Like it’s been broken under torture. This doesn’t happen with the Google Pixel. It’s really handy having the reader on the back of the phone, as you can hold the phone naturally and unlock it. And you can set up prints for more than one finger, so I can use either hand.

        I would definitely recommend this phone to those who are looking for something new, and a little different than what they are used to. I particularly recommend this to the Mama Tribe. The smartphone has become an important tool for modern mothers, and the Google Pixel makes using a smartphone even easier and more convenient than it has been in the past few years. You’ll want to keep this phone all for yourself, and out of the mitts, and mouths, of babes.

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        Published on September 21, 2018

        11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

        11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

        Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

        Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

        If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

        For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

        1. Find your community and ask for help

        As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

        Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

        Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

        After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

        If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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        2. Make peace with the past

        Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

        You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

        3. Make plans and set goals

        The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

        In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

        Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

        4. Look for role models

        A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

        It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

        5. Rethink your priorities

        Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

        Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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        Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

        6. Make time for me time

        Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

        If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

        Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

        Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

        7. Stay organized

        With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

        Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

        8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

        Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

        When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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        For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

        Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

        9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

        Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

        You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

        Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

        10. Live within your means

        When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

        If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

        Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

        After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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        Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

        11. Spend quality time with your kids

        The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

        Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

        When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

        Final thoughts

        Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

        Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

        Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

        Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

        Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

        Reference

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