The new year is the perfect time to arm yourself with the best tools to survive #momlife. These apps make life easier, more organized, and more fulfilling, all from the palm of your hand. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.
Chatbooks allows you to create fast and easy photo books. Sync photos directly from your phone’s camera roll or straight from social media, then add, edit, and rearrange your favorite photos with a few taps within the app. The app is free and the books start at $10 for 60 pages.
The Backstory: Co-founders Nate and Vanesa Quigley have seven kids, and like many parents, they didn’t have time for projects like creating photo books. Vanessa realized that she hadn’t printed any photos of her then-five-year-old youngest son. She decided to create the app as an easy way to get photos off of her phone and social media and into the hands of her family.
A Mom’s Take: My phone was full of moments and memories that never made it into a book. The photos consumed all of the memory on my device. I was that mom—asking other people to photograph my life and text me the images. I discovered how easy it is to create quick, affordable, and high quality photo books right from the comfort of my couch, with one hand, while enjoying a glass of red wine in the other.
Sitter takes the hassle out of getting a babysitter when you need one. Book and pay the sitters you already know and love through the app. Connect with other friends on the app and get their recommendations for new sitters.
The Backstory: Sitter was co-founded by Colorado mom Kristen Stiles and Matt Stueve. Stiles realized that her inability to get a sitter she trusted affected every aspect of her life. She frequently canceled plans when her sitter bailed, or simply didn’t make plans in the first place because she dreaded playing the texting-and-waiting game to line up a sitter. When her work suffered from missed meetings and her marriage suffered from lack of date nights, she created the app to make organizing childcare easier.
A Mom’s Take: Finding trusted childcare at the last minute is one of the hardest challenges of being a modern mom. Sitter takes my ninja mom-skills to the next level.
Tactac is a new shopping application that allows users to collaborate with friends and family on purchasing decisions. Shop for anything, chat with friends about products, then check out securely.
The Backstory: Ned Stankus founded Tactac, in collaboration with Boulder Bits—a startup building team—after seeing too many people struggle with the overwhelming number of products available online, often buying and returning several products before finding the right one. After discovering that many online reviews are fake or incentivized, team Tactac was determined to empower consumers with product advice from people they trust, making the shopping experience more fun and efficient.
A Mom’s Take: Who has time to shop with their friends anymore? Next time you need advice on baby gear, or just want your bestie’s opinion on that date night dress, use Tactac for virtual feedback from your circle of trust.
The Fresh Fitness mobile app delivers daily workouts wherever you are. With very little equipment needed, workouts can be completed in your home, on a lunch break, or in a hotel room. Workouts are programmed and changed each day to produce real results. Compete with your friends and get strong while doing it.
The Backstory: Denver’s own Sarah Fox and Jourdan Baldwin are certified personal trainers with over 15 years of consecutive experience in the health and fitness industry. They have partnered to host large groups of women for monthly small-group training programs for the past four years. The Fresh Fitness App developed after realizing their clients’ demand for at-home and travel workouts to continue their progress even when they couldn’t get to the gym.
A Mom’s Take: When you can’t get to the gym, Fresh Fitness keeps you accountable. After just one workout in my basement, my legs were so sore I couldn’t walk. What I want to know is: Do I get bonus points for doing pushups with a child on my back?
Cozi simplifies organizing a busy family with a single, shared calendar that the whole family can see and update. It also includes shared grocery lists (which can integrate with Alexa), to-do lists, a recipe box, and meal planner.
The Backstory: The founders of Cozi, Robbie Cape and Jan Miksovsky, realized that the real challenge of family life revolved around the difficulty of keeping everyone’s schedules straight, and keeping everyone up to date. Cozi was born to help families answer questions like: Who’s picking the kids up from school? What time is soccer practice? Do we have weekend plans? Who is picking up the groceries? Cozi evolved from a desktop product into an app with a shared model, so everyone in the family looks at the same calendars, grocery lists, chores, and meal plans.
A Mom’s Take: An app that helps me delegate the mental load of keeping my family’s schedules straight is a game changer. Not to mention, communication between parents is much more enjoyable when you are both sure no one left little Jimmy on the soccer field in the cold.
$9 per month or $99 per year
Bark is an internet watchdog, monitoring your children’s social media and digital communications for signs of cyberbullying, depression, sexting, and drug related content. Using machine learning, pattern matching, and statistical analysis as well as keyword recognition, Bark helps monitor what kids are saying. Now you don’t have to read every single tweet or dig through old text messages to feel secure knowing your child is safe.
The Backstory: Bark was founded by a parent and digital media expert who wanted to keep kids safe online while maintaining their privacy. After just two years on the market, Bark has won several awards and made headlines for saving at least 25 lives and intercepting dangerous activity like buying drugs.
A Mom’s Take: With stories of bullying and child suicide cropping up all too frequently in the news, I breathed a sigh of relief when I was introduced to Bark. Bark not only monitors kids’ digital activity, but the company also offers an educational blog with practical posts like “What Parents Need to Know About Snapchat.” Bark stays on top of the latest slang and lingo so we don’t have to spend our free time trying to crack teenage code. And since Bark is a “set it and forget it” app that only alerts you when something is potentially concerning, your kids will appreciate that their privacy around everyday communication remains intact.
7. Daily Vroom
Vroom turns everyday moments into brain-building moments. Backed by the latest research in neuroscience and early childhood development, Vroom offers age-appropriate suggestions for simple and creative activities to implement with kids age five and under during mealtime, bathtime, bedtime, and more.
The Backstory: Vroom was developed on the premise that brain development is most rapid during the first five years of life. Helping kids exercise their full range of creativity, ingenuity, and imagination during these formative years will lead to greater success when they enter school.
A Mom’s Take: As a working mom who often feels like there is never enough quality time with my children in the day, I love Vroom for turning the mundane daily routines of bathtime and mealtime into moments my kids will remember. Vroom offers quick and easy conversation prompts and activities that require little to no work or preparation, yet make everyday moments more fun. With ideas like imagining where the woman across the street is going in her red hat, or having your two-year-old empty your pockets at the end of the day and telling the story of what you did, the app provides you with quick ideas to get your kids thinking, making brain-building a habit.