Tech-Challenged Mom Trying to Stay Ahead…of the Kids

“After dinner, we’ll show you our PowerPoint presentation,” my son said.

That’s not our normal Sunday evening, and the kids weren’t talking about schoolwork. The kids have been making PowerPoint presentations just for kicks featuring sports teams and now penguins. I’m not sure I can do anything beyond open the program. My husband and I tried to figure it out one day last year when we got our new computer. We sat scratching our heads and a few weeks later my son clicked away on it. “How did you do that?” I asked.

He gave me some pointers and I got lost in all the mumbo-jumbo.

I am a technology-challenged mom. My kids attend a science and technology school. It won’t be long before they know more than I do. I know my lack of skills limits me in many ways, but I get by with the help of Google and a husband with a pretty firm grasp in digital media.

But it’s starting to dawn on me that my kids may catch up to me sooner than expected.

They use iPods and iPads at school and I can count on both hands the number of times I’ve used them. My kids still have to show me how to turn them off, and my husband has to show me how to get to the screen I need. I just prefer to navigate my enormous computer screen.

When I began tweeting, I couldn’t wrap my head around the logic. I had to see it in action for a while and I couldn’t figure out why people kept tweeting the play-by-play of their favorite shows or who was talking to whom. I admit, my husband set up my Twitter account and even sent out my first tweets. I do manage my own now.

He helps me with the technical side of blogging and any computer issues I have. But for all of his knowledge, he can still be a dinosaur right along with me. When he left his last job of 13 years, of course he was sad. But leaving behind his cool Droid phone and going back to our pay-as-you-go plan stung a little. Well, it stung a lot. Being in the digital market, it’s hard for him to not have toys like the big kids do. But neither of us talks on the phone much and we don’t see a need to pay for a big plan.

flip phone, mominthemuddle.com

Hey, at least it’s not a bag phone. Remember those? Anyone?

So when my husband started his new job with a company full of fresh, young employees, he described the meeting scenario: Everyone grabs a seat and places their hip mobile device in front of them on the boardroom table. Everyone but him. We screamed at my husband’s suggestion of him placing his outdated flip phone on the table so he could join the crowd.

One of his first days on the job, he called me because he couldn’t figure out how to turn his snazzy new computer on. If only the kids had been home to help. No doubt they would have known from school. I Googled it and watched a video to instruct him over the phone. At least I’m resourceful even if I am challenged.

At some point, I know my kids will surpass my brilliance in some aspects of my life, but I always assumed it would be in math. And I didn’t think it would be this early. If they keep this up, I’ll be going to them with my technology woes instead of my husband.

Is this what parenthood is like? Not letting your kids know they’re getting smarter than you? I’ll hide it for as long as I can, but it won’t be long before my kids are helping me with my blog design and programming my phone, when I finally do graduate from the flip. They already know how to push my buttons.

The thing I hate about technology is just when I think I have things figured out, everything gets upgraded and I’m lost again. I try to do it on my own and inevitably my ignorance shines. Like not so long ago, when I wanted to send a message to a fellow blogger and tweeted two direct messages…to myself.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Tech-Challenged Mom Trying to Stay Ahead…of the Kids

  1. Even with a Masters in Ed. Tech I count on the digital natives to set up my phone. They’re not smarter than us, they are just more intuitive when it comes to technology because they were born with it. Your husband’s flip phone saga reminded me of when I was checking my email at a college cafe recently. “You’ve got mail” proclaimed my Netbook loudly. Heads turned, some laughter, and then one kid said a bit condescendingly, “I haven’t heard that since I was five.” I’ve had my AOL account for 20 years; it may not be trendy, but it has allowed me to stay in touch with all of my former students (some of whom may have been in your husband’s meeting). BTW if you want to really impress your kids, try Animoto.com (you can make 30 second clips for free and it is very muddle mom friendly).

    • Oh that kid’s comment is hilarious! My kids make me feel really old when it comes to technology. I can still remember trying to figure out the Internet in college. I didn’t know there was a back button on the browser so I’d write down every web address. Just trying to find my way back to my original page took forever. I couldn’t even begin to grasp email but when I did, it was so much fun!

  2. You sound like me! I hope someday my kids do grow up to manage my blog, wouldn’t that be great? I had a hard time just putting widgets in my sidebar. I still can’t figure out how to add a twitter button properly (and I still don’t tweet anything more than my blog posts) I do try to keep up with technology…but honestly I get tired of all of it and just want to give up.

    • I don’t like Twitter. I can’t understand why anyone cares about most of the stuff on there. I’m sure that shows my age. It took me a long time to figure out widgets too. My husband did all of that for me and I have since added a few things myself, but honestly, I’m afraid to touch it when he’s not home. Who knows what would happen.

  3. Twitter was so crazy and confusing to me until I downloaded tweetdeck and made a column for each list of people I follow. Now I can tell who is talk to whom! I already feel like an old lady because all my friends have smart phones now and smart phones are conversation killers… unless you want to converse with Siri. I get real cranky about it.

  4. Your post makes me smile. I know the secret delight to not getting in with the whole smart phone, Twitter, know everything right-this-second trend that is becoming the norm anymore. It’s called a LIFE.

    My husband and I still use flip phones. The real benefit? My bill is only $30/mo for two phones (we talk to each other for free), never mind that it is not a constant. He’s a higher-up at his company and attends a lot of meetings. He plunks his useless phone-only-unit (not even texting is enabled) on the table with all the smart phones, proudly, shamelessly. He has something that many of his other co-workers do not — a life outside of work.

    Now, being able to do a decent PowerPoint presentation, a MUST! You should get on there and let your son show you how. It’s really fun. You can make up stuff to present (like research project of your choosing), and then have your hubby show you how to plug it into your TV so you can “present” to your family. Your kids will love it!! (That and get an “old” computer that you don’t mind trashing and tinker with it with your kids. Particularly a keyboard which looks very cool all taken apart. THAT is just pure fun. Even funner when it still works after you’re done with it.)

    Forget the social media stuff. It’s a complete waste of time. Oh wait! I need to go. The kids are making bottle rockets in the kitchen…

    • Yeah, I only use Twitter for blog stuff, but when I read it then, I’m pretty clueless. I’m certain there are people on there all day. I don’t even have my TV during the day most of the time.

      We stayed with our pay-as-you-go plan because we literally put money into our account and use maybe $20 every few months. There’s no monthly fee. For now we’re grandfathered in because I don’t think the plan exists anymore. So when my phone dies, it’s back to a monthly bill.

      My kids learn PowerPoint at school and will eventually be able to do some really nice presentations with it. They’ll have to teach me how to do all of that. I’ve had instances where I could have used it with freelance-related things and didn’t know how.

  5. even at 16 i still have a hassle keeping up with technology,everything gets outdated once they’re sold its almost ironic really.
    anyway great post 🙂

    • That’s so people will keep spending money on the latest gadgets. Another reason I have my trustworthy flip phone and pay-as-you-go plan! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I could’ve written this. It took me years to take on a cell phone — I worked for a politician who wanted to have access to me and my coworker all hours of the day and all week long. It was so liberating to be able to tell him that I didn’t have a cell phone so, no, I didn’t get his call while I was out at the restaurant. When I got pregnant with my daughter, I knew I’d want a cell phone for emergencies. I have a prepaid one and I’m pretty sure your flip one is a couple years ahead of my model. I remember a friend had the exact model I currently have — in 1999. Not joking here.

    My husband’s work now covers his tech stuff, including an iPhone. He got so hooked that he bought me an iPad for Christmas. I dig it. And it’s helped me ease in to the Apple world. Once you learn one Apple product, the rest make more sense. But I’m still not caving on the smart phone.

    My kids will have one before I do. Oh, and they are only 2 1/2 and 5 and can easily work the Netflix streaming. Not good. I have left the room for 10 minutes and returned to find them watching a vampire movie. Fortunately they hadn’t made it through the opening credits.

    • Yes, I have an Apple computer and there is no turning back there. Of course, I don’t know how to use everything on it, but still.

      Netflix. See, I still use the Redbox. And cable. (Only because we can’t get Philadelphia sports any other way.)

  7. I love the line “I am resourceful even when I’m challenged.” I am too and I’m convinced that will get us through anything! Tweeting has been a new adventure for me and I’m intimidated most of the time. I’m actually looking forward to my kids knowing more than I do about technology – they can teach me (my husband is less techie than I am and that’s not saying much). My kids leading the way will save lots of money on tech consultants in the long run! Great post!

    • One day they will be hooking up and fixing all of my gadgets, just hopefully not until I’m done trying to stay one step ahead of them and doing what I need to do as a parent. If they know more than me, I’m in trouble! But true, hadn’t thought about the savings!

  8. You want to really blow the kids’ minds? Try doing a Prezi presentation. Or Glogster. They love it. One reason I stay in teaching – all of the free technology training! One reason I stay in elementary – I’m usually a half step ahead of my students. But they are closing the gap every year…

  9. You’re so right about the kids knowing more. They’re exposed to it so much, that they pick it up just being around it. I wish I was more techy, but I do have trouble with blog settings for sure. I do love to learn, that’s my only positive take-away! 🙂

  10. lisa

    Thankfully, I can rely on my husband who’s a tech geek to beat the kiddies down but as for Twitter – the silliest invention ever.

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