As my life evolves from being a mother of infants and toddlers to a mother of elementary age and *gulp* teenagers, I am surprised that my often biggest concern is making sure everything in our house is charged.
Never did I think my “to do” list would include “Plug in Cell Phone, Tablet, and Laptop” at the end of each day. Well, actually, that is on my “to do” list all day — I feel like I am plugging these things in morning, noon AND night! With one son driving, my work, and two children using computers for homeschool, the necessity of fully charged electronics becomes more and more important. Updating our phones, definitely helped but I still feel like I'm left 'drained' at the end of the day - if I am lucky to make it that long!
Although this may seem like a gigantic whine column of the added work electronics bring to my life, I am not unaware of the blessings. For instance, I’ll never forget that confidence and comfort I felt when I left my children home with a babysitter for the first time – armed with a handy-dandy new cell phone (like this one shown, circa 1999).
This new comfort comes with a new PANIC, that of being sure my smartphone has been duly charged for when I need to leave the house, and my children alone in it! In addition to the ministry making a huge leap into social media and Evangelization, it is important that I have enough 'juice' to make it to the end of a long conference or retreat --not all the good stuff is said at the beginning of an event! Nor can I predict when the the good photo op will happen!
That old phone would hold a charge for DAYS. All it did was send and receive calls – there wasn't much taxing its capacity. I am amazed at how quickly the battery on my new phone wears down: it’s not very SMART if you ask me!
I have discovered that unlike batteries of old, we don’t need to let them completely die before plugging them in for a fresh charge! The old adage was if you charged mid-wear than you would train the battery to only fill that much, and therefore shorten the battery’s life. I am so grateful that is no longer true - though I don't always have that luxury either of just plugging into an outlet. Though, I have been with a friend who asked the bartender to plug in her phone while we were catching up over a drink one night - he didn't even blink, just grabbed the phone cord, and hooked her up!
The new battery technology has advanced beyond that – so now mid-life charges no longer cause a crisis. Now, as soon as I discover I’m going to be away for any amount of time, I plug in my smart phone, to give me as much juice for the trip away that I can get.
It does make me lament the days when the only juice I needed to worry about were in sippy cups and little cardboard boxes. Even my car has evolved with the changes in my status of life. When my kids were little my key feature was a net in the back hatch for holding groceries bags, a door that opened on both side of the van to get the kids in and out of carseats, and the big innovation, SQUARE cup holders for their beloved juice boxes!
I thought my new car was modern enough for today’s world, but it only came with one power outlet and one actual plug…which is not convenient if we are using the GPS, and the kids are playing on their hand-held devices (another electronic to battle to keep charged), and either my husband’s or my phone needs to be charged. This did force me to cave in to use the WAZE App for navigating, and I have to say I absolutely love it!! For more on this great social navigating app see my TechTalk column at CatholicMom.com: Navigating My Waze.
“Ah, first world problems,” as my husband says; yet despite his sarcasm this really can be an issue in our modern day lives. One I'd love to hear your ideas for dealing with it, especially when traveling.
I just never thought I’d miss the minivan, but it has a plethora of outlets to accommodate the whole family.
What suggestions do you have for extending battery life or for recharging on the go?