Smart Moms Need Smart Homes

May 9, 2014

Lori Cunningham is a Family Digital Lifestyle expert and the founder of the Well Connected  and Both review and discuss a myriad of technology products to find those which relate most today's families and homeowners.

Perhaps you've seen the latest "gotcha video", created for American Greetings, that has gone viral around the Internet. It's about a company called Rehtom Inc. that is looking for a job candidate to fill their position, Director of Operations. Here are the main responsibilities listed on the job description…
Essential Duties & Job Responsibilities:
  • Oversee the overall day-to-day success and development of all associates. They are fully dependent on you.
  • Provide appropriate solutions to satisfy all associate needs, including but not limited to comfort, security, support, growth, knowledge, well-being, structure, consistency, discipline, acknowledgment, preparedness, safety, mobility, capability, facility and tranquility.
  • Track daily, weekly and monthly associate development against assigned goals and expectations.
  • Process high volumes of incoming and outgoing projects, deliveries, requests, complaints, feedback and special orders from associates and corresponding outside vendors.
  • Provide operational leadership to multiple associates at once.
The position goes on to say you must work 135+ hours a week, work overnight if needed, and work even more hours on holidays. Oh, and it's a pro bono position. 24 people actually applied and their responses are video recorded here. The interviewees thought the position was "inhumane."
At the end, the applicants learned that there was a person who had already done this job. Her name was Mom. As they thought about their own mom, they could see the truth in the job description.
Moms are the backbone of most houses and the growing family. They help nourish and support its infrastructure. As the job description says, a mom's job is to provide comfort, safety, support, structure, well-being, preparedness, tranquility, mobility, growth…and more.
Moms are often credited as having eyes in the back of their head and the innate ability to travel at light speed to save a child from imminent danger. But with today's rushed schedules, it's getting harder than ever to "do it all."
Moms have already embraced smartphones and tablets. In fact, in a 2012 study by Parks & Associates, Women are more likely than men to purchase tablets, laptops, and smartphones, the top three consumer electronics categories. But what about using these tools to make a mom's job easier in the home?
Technology can help in your home with….
  • Convenience adds to comfort. Ready for a movie? No need to get up, just press one button to dim the lights, turn on the TV and receiver, and enjoy the show with your family.
  • Your son wants to play XBOX, you want to watch TV, and your daughter wants to watch Netflix on Apple TV. Do you know how to switch the inputs on the TV to make each of these activities happen? Wouldn't it be nice if it was so easy, everyone could do it themselves by pressing a single button?
  • Did your child leave the lights on in his room again? Of course he did. Turn them off with a few clicks from your phone without having to get up. Nice.
  • Is your son or daughter a bear to wake up each morning? Wouldn't an alarm that plays somewhat loud music and turns on all their lights at 6:30am make it easier for you to come in afterwards to ensure they're up?
  • Home late with an armful of groceries? Open your door into your house and have lights turn on automatically to light your path to the kitchen.
  • Want to ensure your child arrived home safely from school? Just check your smartphone to see him open the door or have a text sent to you when the door is opened.
  • Worried about the safety around the pool? Motion detection cameras can show you at any moment what activity is happening around your pool. You can watch it from your TV, tablet, or smartphone...from within the home or outside of it.
  • Think the teenager down the street might swipe your package? Motion detection video cameras can help you keep an eye on things.
  • Bedtime is at 8:30pm. You kiss them goodnight and turn off the lights. Ahhh, finally time to catch up with your spouse. But are your kids really sleeping...or did they turn the light back on? Grab your smartphone and take a look to see which lights are back on.
  • Your kids know they are supposed to lock the door each time after they come in from playing. This is a household rule. But we know all kids aren't perfect. Set your doors so they lock automatically after 15 minutes.
  • Have a rough day? Wouldn't it be nice to crash on the couch and with your smartphone, dim the lights, put on some soothing music, and chill? (Pretend the kids aren't there!)
  • Having a small dinner party? Don't get up, play your favorite iTunes or Android Play music straight from your phone to your speakers.
  • About ready for bed? Set up an ongoing appointment with your bedtime for a certain hour. At 10pm, your bedroom lights are dimmed, music is on soft, the drapes are closed and the temperature is just right. Your sanctuary is ready when you arrive.
  • Home is where the heart is. So when traveling, wouldn't it be nice to check in on things using your smartphone to see that everything is as it should be? 
  • Your dog is alone in the house all day - what is she really doing with her alone time? You might be at work or soccer practice with your child...but you can still "check" in to see what she's up to.
  • Traveling and away from your family? Did everyone remember to turn off the lights around the house at bedtime? Check your tablet and see for yourself. If the house is lit up, you can turn the lights off right from the app.
  • Your kids only know touchscreens. They know that smartphones and tablets are one of the main entertainment and productivity gadgets in the house. Touchscreens are their world. Help them expand their minds by showing them how touching one button on your tablet can turn off a light in the the light turn on in their head.
Most projects that incorporate technology in the family home are initiated by husbands. They generally tend to be interested in the bells and whistles, the “wow” features. But many of the above great features might not be incorporated into a home automation project if mom doesn't contribute to the process.
I liken home technology to automatic windows. Once you’ve had automatic car windows, you would never go back to hand-cranked windows. The same is true for home automation. Once you realize what is possible to make your home safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get started.