The ultimate mom phone – part III – do I really need a smartphone?

My cell phone broke last month. It was a basic cell phone with texting and a decent camera. Now I’m thinking of getting the Ultimate Mom Phone, which would be the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of things I could do on my phone.

As I do my research, I’m using a simple pay-as-you-go cell phone I keep on hand for relatives to use when they’re in town. It doesn’t have a camera and even texting is a royal pain in the rear end.

I’ve gone backwards to find out if I really do need to go forwards. Do I really need all the jazz that comes with the Ultimate Mom Phone? Would I really do more beyond what I’m already doing with my regular cell phone? Turns out it’s not just me questioning this.

Just because you can do everything on your phone doesn’t mean you will

I bought an iPod Touch over a year ago. I snapped up every app I could find that would make me more efficient, organized, and a better mom. I set up access to my email accounts and started tracking our budget, grocery lists, menu planning, as well as to-do lists.

But the apps I set up just seemed to add an extra step beyond keeping lists on the fridge, where I could see and add to them through the day. Plus, the battery started conking out every day when I used it a lot, and occasionally the touchscreen’s functionality went wonky. I’ve gone back to using a whiteboard and paper calendar, though I use a few basic things on the iPod here and there.

I want to be in tune with my kids, not email, when we’re out playing

You’ve probably seen moms out at the park glued to their smartphones. My son is not one to play independently when we’re out, so I’m not sure I could even do more than necessary calls or texts. And I’ve made at least one new mom friend as a result of NOT being plugged in when I’m out.

A recent study reported that moms spend on average over 6 hours a day engaged with their smartphones. While that replaces the time you might have to spend answering emails at the end of the day otherwise, the study found that moms actually spend more time online than when they had to turn on a laptop.

The latest gadgets are not a necessary part of our family’s budget

Smartphones don’t have a very long useful life. Plus, once you start getting into the latest and greatest, you find yourself replacing it every year or two (or sooner if it breaks). And as a stay-at-home-mom, I’m making lots of compromises in the budget department already. Do I really want to impose on my family the cost of upgrading to a new smartphone every year and then paying the higher monthly bill that goes with it, too? We haven’t even started saving for our son’s education properly yet!

If your life is on your smartphone, what happens when you lose it?

I’m sure there are ways to back up nearly everything. But how often will I really plug it in and sync all the apps, etc., to my computer? Wouldn’t I just be adding one more thing I had to do? (Let’s just say I rarely do this with my iPod already.) Isn’t having a smartphone supposed to mean I don’t have to open my laptop at night?

It’s just a little frightening, giving yourself over to one device so completely.

Maybe I’ll stay with one foot in the door, going with my old iPod Touch and a regular cell phone. What say you?

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