Porridge Report


A blog about the sometimes explosive, sometimes rewarding, and always engaging effect of digital media on the modern family. Anecdotes, tips, and current tech news to help parents tackle that ever-present family member – the screen.

Danielle is a winner of Top 25 Tech Moms - 2012

What's the biggest way that technology has made your life as a mom easier?

I'd be a big liar if I didn't admit that technology has been a huge benefit in its ability to keep my kids entertained. Whether it's during road trips or at the hockey arena, when I need to get work done, or when I want peace and quiet. Easily accessible video games has made my life easier on many a frustrating day. On the other hand, it has also been the cause of more arguments than I care to count, making this complicated, yet dominant, aspect of technology a powerful tool that can both resolve and frustrate several times over in just one day.
Unfortunately, for today's parents, balancing that love-hate relationship with our technologies will be a never-ending struggle. And, lucky us! We're the first generation of parents to try to make sense of it all.

What's your favorite app for moms?

Hands down, my favourite app, as it applies to motherhood is by Common Sense Media. With three boys ranging in age from 8 to 11, I am endlessly bombarded with requests to see this movie, or buy that video game, or DVR that TV show. Yet, protecting my kids from inappropriate images or language that may pop up in any of these media is impossible without a decent sense of what to expect.
That's where Common Sense Media is my saviour. This free app has, at your fingertips, family-friendly reviews for every movie and video game ever made. Forget relying on MPAA ratings (they're usually terrible if you even understand them - which many parents do not). There's nothing worse than sitting in a theatre and seeing a woman topless or a man being bludgeoned to death while your 7-year-old watches beside you.
One of the biggest challenges today's parents face is protecting their kids from content that is meant for adults (and often adults who may not share your distaste for, say, porn). Apps, such as Common Sense's tool, that can aid in this difficult task will come out ahead for concerned parents, like me.

What's the coolest gadget you've seen that could help moms?

I've yet to find a gadget that folds my laundry and puts it away. If that was invented, it would definitely be the coolest gadget to help moms. BUT since there are still no pending patents on this fabulous idea, I'll have to choose the iPhone as the coolest gadget for mamas. I know - original, huh?
Let's be serious. If, five years ago, while I was struggling to keep my three climbing toddlers from destroying every waiting room we ever entered, someone had told me that "one day, you will own a small device that will offer thousands of games to entertain kids at the touch of their tiny finger tips", I'd have asked what they were drinking. And, maybe, to put me in touch with their supplier. That's how awesome the iPhone is. Enough said.

Why is the stay-at-home vs. working moms debate so passionate?

Danielle Bileski

It is passionate because it is based on our own sense of insecurities over our personal identities as both mother and professional. For 7 years, I stayed home exclusively for my kids (I freelance now from home), and during that time, I grew immensely insecure in my professional and intellectual capabilities. While my professional female peers moved up the ranks, I couldn't help but feel as though they belittled my days of laundry folding and finger painting. Meawhile, I'm sure many of the working women I resented felt that moms like me belittled them for putting their professional lives before their kids. I realize now, that my resentments were created exclusively by my own personal insecurities, and did not necessarily reflect those of the working moms whom I knew. The old adage that hindsight is 20/20 is so true. Looking back (my kids are in full-time school now), I am so grateful that I was able to stay home with my kids, even though I sacrificed my professional advancement. And, hopefully, those mothers who chose to work through their children's toddler (and beyond) years, are at peace with their decision, as well.
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