Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Staying Connected, Even When Far Away

Technology can help you stay connected to family and friends even from far away.

A big thank you to NUU Mobile for sponsoring this conversation about motherhood.

Forgive me if I never want to read another blog post chastising moms for their cell phone use. I just can't. You see, for some of us, it's more than just a time waster. In fact, I'd dare to guess that for the majority of us it's a connection. A very important connection to family and friends.

Let me tell you my story. I'll bet that many of you can relate.

For most of my adult life, I've lived at least 10 hours away from my family. Ten long hours. I've missed weddings, funerals, holidays, and many informal get-togethers.

I didn't move so far in an attempt to escape anything. In fact, my family is pretty darn awesome. I moved so far away because that was where my life led me. It led and I followed.

I've lived more than half my life now away from the physical presence of my family. We do see each other as often as we can. But it requires deliberate planning, vacation time, and lots of driving for each visit. It's well worth it. But it also means we can't make it to an impromptu dinner. And it's also prevented us from making it to some big life events. (Boy, those break my heart.)

It's been 22 years now since I've lived close enough to my family to make it to those impromptu events. Since then I’ve graduated college, fallen in love, and gotten married. I moved a few times and had children. I’ve been a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. And during all that time I’ve been creating a beautiful life for my own little family.

It's also been 22 years without the ability to call up my mom for emergency babysitting. Or to stop by and visit my cousins when they brought new babies into the world. Or to laugh the night away with some of my favorite people in the world.

Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets. I don't wish for a different life. I love the one I have. But one of the challenges of this life has been staying close to my family with so much physical distance between us. And I know I'm not alone. I know many people who don't have family across town. For people like us, our phone becomes a way to carry our family with us.

I don't think I could have handled a life like Ma Ingalls where letters were the only way to communicate. And those letters took months to travel back and forth — no pictures, either.

Thank goodness for smartphones.

Now, I can carry my family in my back pocket. It's easy to snap a photo and share it in an instant. Text messages, Facebook, and Instagram all help me connect daily. You can talk real-time and face-to-face. You can laugh and cry together.

Sure, nothing can replace a good old-fashioned hug, but at least at least I don't have to wait months for a letter like Ma Ingalls did!

  1. Embrace technology. Even if you're not a big fan of technology, realize that the tools it provides can help you stay in touch. Utilize email and text messaging. Get a Facebook account. You don't have to be Facebook friends with everyone you've ever met. Keep it to just close friends and family if you prefer. Let people know they can easily connect with you here. Take advantage of all the new advances in technology to help you stay closer. And carry all that technology in your pocket with your smart phone.
  2. Snap a pic and share. Use this to keep grandparents connected to events that they're unable to attend. If you're missing an event that you would love to be at, see if someone will snap a pic and send it to you. It's not a replacement for being there, but it's a good way to keep a connection and enjoy the event in your own way.
  3. Skype or Facetime can help you attend an event even from a distance. Can't make an event? See if someone there will set up a face-to-face chat on their phone. It's a fun way to be a part of it and a good chance to chat with family who you might not normally chat with. 
It's never easy to be far from family. Loneliness can be a major problem for some of us, so we have to take care of ourselves by maintaining strong relationships. Your smartphone can be a great way to do this.

And if you’re on a budget, you might consider a NUU Mobile unlocked phone. These phones work on networks that use SIM cards — like T-Mobile, AT&T, and their partners. You can use unlocked phones without signing a contract (so it’s easy to change networks whenever you want — just swap SIMs!). For smart shoppers, unlocked phones offer peace of mind. You can find some great deals if you know where to look. For example, all NUU Mobile smartphones come with a 2-year warranty, plus free over-the-air security updates.

Check them out
here for exclusive Mothers’ Day deals — 20% off on all phones until May 9th! Use the promo code NUUMAMA25 for an extra 25% off on all accessories! Happy Mothers’ Day!

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