It’s been a reality of mom life since the dawn of time. No matter how much you want to get out of the house, sometimes, you just can’t. Maybe the weather’s bad, or someone’s sick, or the day’s just “off,” the reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you feel isolated and alone. How do you connect with the outside world when it feels like the walls of your own home are shrinking in on you?
If you look back at old television shows and movies, you’ll quickly realize that there was a stereotype of the woman who was perpetually on the phone. Whether it was a teenaged daughter or a stay-at-home wife or a gossipy senior citizen, the trope was born out of a woman’s need to connect with other people in meaningful ways. The same is true today. But we’re in an age where phone conversations seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur. They’ve been replaced with texting, Facebook and Instagram. But here’s the problem, there’s something really lacking in those forms of communication. The written word is powerful but it’s easily misinterpreted. And it’s no secret that relationships and conversations on social media aren’t exactly the deep, soul nourishing conversations for which you’re searching.
Today, I wanted to share with you a few apps that have helped me feel reconnected with the real world when I’m stuck in my little world.
Founded in 2007, Voxer is billed as a “Walkie talkie for teams.” It allows you send an audio message and pictures to other Voxer members. The recipient’s phone will signal them that they have a message but there’s no pressure to respond right then. The message will be saved until convenient. You can just go back and forth like a walkie talkie if you’d like or wait until later. There is something about hearing the other person’s voice, being in a private conversation, and having the freedom to respond at your own pace that makes for much meaningful connection. It also makes it easy to send someone a quick message saying you’re thinking about them.
Marco Polo is like the video version of Voxer and it’s so fun! Unlike Snapchat which has been popular for ages, Marco Polo messages do not delete once viewed which means the recipient can go back and reference a message again if needed. That’s a huge plus if you’re sharing a recipe, resource or tip with a friend who may want to write it down later. Of course, what visual app wouldn’t be complete without filters to help you always look your best. Just like Voxer, you can either go back and forth conversationally with your friend or respond to messages at your leisure – perfect for mom’s juggling small children! You can also create groups so you can share your video musings with your whole crowd at once. I have a group set up with my husband and my mother-in-law to make it easy to coordinate family happenings. Kids love this app too because there is nothing more fun than seeing Grandma and Grandpa in video form when you can’t see them in person.
Skype is the grand-daddy of these sorts of apps and has been around for YEARS! But don’t write it off yet. If you’re just craving that face-to-face, give-and-take conversation, this is the one for you. You can do just audio or video. It uses no minutes (only data or wi-fi) which makes it great if you’re trying to limit those sorts of expenses. It can sometimes be temperamental but if you use it regularly, you’ll get the hang of it. It’s also a fantastic, cost-effective way to chat with people outside of the US. Of course, if you both have iPhones, Facetime is a similar option you might consider.
The key with these apps, as with so many things on our phones, is to not let them become time suck. Use them purposefully and effectively. It’s easy to get drawn in and have your whole day escape you.
So what about you? Are you using any of these apps already? Do you have others you really like? I’d love to hear about it! Have you discovered other creative ways to get your friendship fill when stuck at home? Comment below!