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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 December 14, 2018

        14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

        14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

        According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

        One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

        But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

        1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

        Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

        Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

        Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

        2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

        At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

        Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

        Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

        Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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        3. Build a Community

        In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

        Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

        4. Accept Help

        Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

        There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

        5. Get Creative with Childcare

        Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

        If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

        When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

        6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

        As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

        Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

        7. Create a Routine

        Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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        If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

        Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

        8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

        If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

        When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

        This article may help you to discipline your child better:

        How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

        9. Stay Positive

        Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

        Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

        Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

        10. Move Past the Guilt

        In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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        Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

        Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

        11. Answer Questions Honestly

        Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

        Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

        Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

        12. Treat Kids Like Kids

        In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

        There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

        Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

        13. Find Role Models

        Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

        Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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        Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

        14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

        Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

        Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

        Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

        Final Thoughts

        Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

        However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

        Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

        More Resources About Parenting

        Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

        Reference

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