Just two generations ago, my grandma gave birth without the use of modern painkillers such as the epidural and did not have regular ultrasound scans to check on the foetus’ growth.
Just one generation ago, my mother did not have access to the internet to order infant milk powder with free delivery, nor could she crowd-source knowledge about an erratic child’s behaviour from a portable device anywhere she went.
Source: Vulcan Post
I grew up having an internet connection for two-thirds of my life, better information on birth control, failing which I had easier access to birth pain-relief and post-natal support at my fingertips.
Technology has helped me overcome the probability of dying during childbirth or having a malnourished baby, troubleshooting an ugly napkin swaddle, and reducing postnatal depression with access to empathetic mothers online who can be total strangers before I e-met them.
Source: Jumping Baby Jacks
My consumption habits are swayed by factors such as:
- Microinfluencers: Fellow mummies who are avid testers of products and do not hesitate to share their praise or criticise online.
- Online shopping: I hate carrying big baby items with kids in tow. Online shopping with free delivery works.
- Delivery solutions: Thank goodness for last-mile delivery solutions such as ninjavan, although you cannot replace having a good neighbour to receive your online purchases with an app (or can you)?
- C2C platforms: I don’t believe in buying a first-hand item all the time. Item exchange, buying and selling groups on Facebook, Carousell and online forums are big money savers.
- Direct trials and sales: Direct marketing is not just about EDMs that are often trashed in junk mail folders.Brands I’ve switched to have won me over because their marketing teams mailed me the right samples with attached discount coupons at the right time, usually just before my kids hit a certain age milestone.But not every brand is doing this, why?
- Relevant, free-to-view content: I don’t pay for magazines anymore. Why should I when there are free-to-view content on parenting platforms, blogs and social media channels which share the latest sales, tips and happenings?
Yet as a mother living in the digital age, there are still fragments of outdated mindsets that are unbelievably pervasive.
- Outdated sex education: The silicone moon cup is one of the best things ever invented for managing menstruation, and has been around for decades.
Where oh where is the moon cup in our children’s sex education? Pads and tampons should not be the only tools in a modern woman’s bag.
The moon cup can be reused for years! Imagine how many pads and tampons you save, in terms of cost and Earth’s resources! Check out freedomcups.org for more info.
If you must know, yes I use a moon cup and it doubles the time I can wait before running to the toilet compared to a tampon (quadruple if I’m only wearing a pad).
And I’ve bought it as a birthday gift for someone close before.
- Presenteeism: Bosses, your staff are connected to the internet for a reason!If you expect them to be available for urgent matters even after office hours, it is not unreasonable to let them work from home when they really need to, or come up with some flexi-work arrangement with clear KPIs. You expect your staff to keep up with the times but you have a caveman management mindset?
- Breastfeeding: After millennia of breastfeeding since the first children of the world were born, some people still cannot tahan breastfeeding in public even when the mother is covered up.If you’re not happy, who asked you to look in the first place?
- A stay at home mum is more valuable than a stay at home dad: It doesn’t matter what gender you are.The important thing is you love your family and you’re trying to keep everything together to make things work.
- A working mother (or father) is a liability: Yes, and no.Yes if you’re an outdated boss judging staff on presenteeism, no if you’re a modern boss who values diversity and knows how to motivate your staff regardless of background to be the best he or she can be.
- An obsession with paper qualifications over skills: Can a scholar fix my leaking sink pipe?Can an academic mobilise different groups of people to change a systemic problem on the ground?
Singapore needs diversity and inclusiveness of skills to function like a healthy body, and not always fight to be the brains.
Yes it’s easier to be a mother today with better access to education, healthcare and support.
There is still much that technology can do to help mothers in future, such as:
- Charting out potential skills to further develop their children in
- Overcoming physical and mental disabilities via 3D printing technology, babble translators and communicators
- Advances in healthcare for children illnesses and preventive care, possibly using NanoTech against cancer?
- Monitoring kids’ vital signs to instantly alert and advise parents for appropriate medical care
- Creating automated feedback systems e.g. switching off the TV if the kid unconsciously walks too close to the screen and turning it on again when he backs off
- Playing matchmaker in adoption, foster care, counselling, tuition, caregiving, community activities and many other types of services which still suffer from information deprivation and mismatch
- Generating instant sound bubbles around their kids to avoid disturbing other people, or to enhance learning without external auditory distractions
There are so many possibilities that technology can enable mothers to delegate mundane routine tasks to and find solutions for everyday headaches.
I’m looking forward to being a modern grandmother of the future!
Also published on Medium.