If you ask a any mom what’s the toughest job in the world, she’ll likely say, “Parenting.” It’s demanding, it’s hectic juggling the many demands, and almost impossible to find your own downtime. Even if you work a full day before taking on the parenting, your view isn’t likely much different.
Smartphones and wireless devices offer many conveniences–as long as you have the time to take advantage of them. With the ability to keep up with email, social networks, etc., these are only conveniences as long as you have the time to get to your phone.
IFTTT can help. IFTTT stands for “if this, then that.” Simply put, you connect a service or device (called a “channel” in IFTTT parlance) so they work together, and your action or a condition (such as disappearing sunlight) triggers another action (such as turning on a light). There are hundreds of these so-called IFTTT “recipes”. And, the IFTTT service is free. There is an IFTTT app for your iOS or Android smartphone, and you can use it or the IFTTT website to set up your recipes. As of this writing, there are nearly 300 listed on the IFTTT website.
Here are our favorite IFTTT recipes for moms.
Keep the Baby Sleeping
- Blink Hue Lights when SkyBell HD video doorbell is pressed
- Send me an email when visitor at front door
- Tell Alexa to turn off my doorbell chime
There are few things more frustrating than having your baby rudely awakened from a nap. But if you are expecting an important delivery, how will you know someone is at the door? Using this recipe for the SkyBell HD and Hue lights by Philips, your lights blink when the doorbell is pressed. Alternatively, you can have an email sent to you when someone at your front door triggers the SkyBell HD motion detector.
If you have the Amazon Echo, you can use voice commands to tell Alexa, its persona, to turn off the SkyBell HD’s door bell chime. This is especially handy if the baby has fallen asleep on you, and you don’t want to get up.
Find Your Misplaced Phone
Misplacing a phone while scrambling about, caring for a baby, is commonplace. And once that baby becomes a toddler, there’s no telling which one of you put the phone in a mysterious place. With this recipe, you simply send yourself an email with the #lostphone hashtag, and IFTTT will call your phone.
Keep Up with Friends and Family, Made Easier
All the major social media sites work with IFTTT, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To save time, you can use an IFTTT recipe to automatically share your Instagram posts on Facebook, or save new Instagram photos to Dropbox. Don’t have time to send the grandparents every new photo of the kids? Have an email automatically sent to your mom every time you save a photo to a particular iOS album.
Make Sure You Exercise
Sticking to an exercise program is hard enough on your own. Raising a family makes it even more difficult to find the time to exercise, much less keep track of your commitment. With this fitness recipe, you set your goals, which Fitbit tracks. When you fall short, IFTTT sends you a notification. No more cheating.
Better than Just a Baby Monitor
With the video recording and motion detection capabilities of the Manything app, you can set up an old smartphone to serve as a baby monitor. If motion is detected, you can have the app send you the video as an email attachment. You can also have a daily digest of these short videos sent to you, as well as view live video on another smartphone or computer. These same capabilities enable you to turn your previous smartphone into a security camera.
Be Prepared for the Weather
Weather apps are great. But it’s easy to forget to check. Don’t get caught in the rain: Use IFTTT to have a text message sent to notify you of rain. Or, get an email letting you know there’s rain in the forecast.
Wake Up Your Coffeemaker
If your coffeemaker isn’t programmable, or just too much trouble to program, you can wake it up at your convenience from your smartphone. With the coffeemaker (or any appliance, for that matter) plugged into the Belkin Wemo switch, you can control on and off times using IFTTT.
Don’t Miss the Book Your Friends Are Reading
If there’s one thing that falls by the wayside quickly when parenting duties mount, it’s reading. IFTTT won’t create more reading time, but at least you can use this recipe so you’re notified by email when a book has been added to the Kindle Top 100 free list.
Get Some Help In the Kitchen
Could you use a little help in the kitchen? If you have an Android Wear watch, you can use IFTTT to alert you when the oven timer is done on a Wi-Fi-enabled oven by GE. You also can set Hue lights to flash when the timer is up, and set the oven to turn off when you leave home.
If you have a Crock-Pot WeMo slow cooker, you can change the temperature to low using the smartphone app, or tell Alexa to do it if you have the Amazon Echo. When the timer is up, you can have an email sent to you.
Set Up Some Security
Lastly, you can set up all sorts of security functions with IFTTT, such as when to begin and end security video recording automatically (when someone leaves home, for example). One of the most basic burglary deterents is to have lights turn on when motion is detected. This can be done by having the SkyBell HD’s motion sensor talk to a Philips Hue light, which will turn on at the sight of movement near your entryway.
Author: Andrew Thomas, co-founder