Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Awesome New App for Parents

By today's standards, I had my kids young (at 22 and 23 years old).While being a young mom has lots of benefits, one thing that is particularly hard to navigate is starting a career and making a name for oneself while also juggling motherhood. I realize this is a struggle at any age, and "mommy-guilt" (or "daddy-guilt") creeps in no matter what path one chooses.

I was fortunate enough to make a career shift just over three years ago and begin working for myself. It hasn't always been easy or fruitful, but I think it's been the best decision for my family. In order to make it all work, Edith and Eric go to a preschool/pre-K program three days a week. It has turned out wonderfully for us - the kids love their teachers and I feel they are receiving great educational and social benefits. Despite all of this, I can't help but feel like I'm missing out on all the fun they have! I can't monitor their sniffles or take part in some special milestones. It's a bitter pill.

Now I have an ally in the work/motherhood balance. It's called Karoo and it's a free app from the team that brought us Karoo is currently available for iPhone users, with an Android-compatible version out later this year. Karoo allows you to stay abreast of the details of childcare while you are away from your kids - everything from pictures to medical updates to sharing emergency numbers. Caregivers can post videos, pictures, and stories to your Karoo account and share information on how the day went on your child's carelogs. Parents can comment back on the updates and participate in the day, even though work and other obligations keep them away from the kiddos. But just like, this isn't just for childcare; use Karoo for eldercare and petcare, as well!

iPhone Screenshot 1

The features I like best about Karoo are that everything becomes centralized and I choose who sees what. No more sifting through all my text messages, or my Twitter or Facebook feeds (or emails) to see what's up with my kids. I only have to look one place to find everything I need. The same is true for my kids teachers and our lovely babysitter, Carissa; they only need to look on Karoo to find feeding, nap, or medication schedules or emergency numbers (because that chart on the fridge always gets lost!).

I also really like that I can choose who sees updates about my kids. My parents or Dave can sign-up for a Karoo account (ps - this is a FREE app, and all someone needs to use it is an email account for username verification and a password) and request permission to see updates about the kids. I control what they see (you can always deny access to anyone, at any time. This includes former childcare providers to keep sensitive or private stuff on a need-to-know basis) and can decide if they can see all updates on my Karoo page or just fun stuff like pictures or videos. I can also determine if they can comment or not, which is great. Even though I feel most people are good at heart, there are some crazy folks out there and we need to do whatever is needed to keep our kids safe. Karoo helps me do that by regulating how much information I share about my kids and family and keeps all my Facebook "friends" and Twitter followers from knowing everything about my life.

I definitely recommend Karoo. You can download it for free on the Karoo website or in the Apple iTunes store. If you try it out, let me know how you like it!

Oh, and just a heads-up: This post was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own. Thanks for understanding my need for sponsored posts to support my family. I would use Karoo either way, as it is a really outstanding app for working parents, like me! You can learn more about Karoo and by following them on Twitter.

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