Being A Dad Seriously Cuts Into My Gadget Time

When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I had “spare time.”  I’d dive deep into the ins and outs of my newest gadgets, and in a matter of hours I’d have the iPhone figured out, my Jam Box synced with every device, and all the software on my devices running the most recent version of whatever system was available.  I’d have remote access to desktops (when that wasn’t easy), my playlists would be synced with that weeks’ new releases, and my TiVo would be almost empty because I was up-to-date on all the newest shows.

Then... I had kids.

Being a dad is a serious time suck (even if it is great)!  By the time I roll around to 8 p.m., the baby is asleep and my oldest son is playing in his room. With the most desperate hope that he will fall asleep within the next hour, my wife and I sit down for the first time, exhausted.  Sometimes I can barely keep my eyes open.  All that time I used to dedicate to myself, when I would stay up late and multitask with multiple screens, is lost. The same goes for my wife.  Now I understand why technology early adopters are typically a younger breed.  It’s devastatingly hard to keep up when you’re older and have more demands on your time.



Companies like Apple and Samsung, when not embroiled in bitter legal disputes a la the siege of Troy, understand this fact and market to a youthful demographic.  The recent Samsung ads mocking the iPhone 5 buyers (of which I am a faithful devotee) are brilliant in their ability to point out the “silliness” of the Apple hardware culture.  While it won’t make me buy a Samsung phone, it does make me appreciate the power of good creative. The ad points out that the younger audience are the shapers of the zeitgeist -- these are the folks we emulate most of the time.  As an advertising and marketing guy, that makes me smile -- but also grimace as someone closer to 40 than any other number.

Maybe it’s just a stage.  Maybe when I get out of this phase and my kids are a little bit older, I’ll have that time back again.  Or maybe this is why our parents always seemed so “behind the times” when we were younger.   They couldn’t possibly balance the role of “aging hipster” with “responsible parent.” Maybe, just maybe, all our parents were super hip and cool before we were born, and once we emerged into the world we sucked all the coolness right out of them.  After all, it takes effort and time to be cool.  Time is not something we have much of anymore, and effort is in short supply when you’re exhausted.

To my defense, I did figure out my most recent gadgets, just not at the same pace as in the past.  The iPhone 5 is up and running, my Jam Box is synced with what it needs to be synced with, and most of my devices are updated with the most recent software.  With everything running in the cloud, it’s a whole lot easier to be up-to-date than it was in the past. I do have, for better or worse, a virtual desktop that uses Chrome, Google Apps, Evernote and Dropbox.  My virtual world seems to be up and running in good fashion, even if my sleep schedule is still a bit awry.

So, a toast to finding balance in life while handling the role of marketer, father, husband and gadget-geek.  And a “cheers” to all of you who’ve also found the way.  I’ll be seeing you at some technology-oriented meet-up in the next few weeks -- if we’re lucky.

7 comments about "Being A Dad Seriously Cuts Into My Gadget Time".
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  1. John Jainschigg from World2Worlds, Inc., October 10, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.

    LOL. Great article! So true!

    Mine are 9 and 12, and here's my report from Your Future: It does get better for a short while, between the time the youngest child becomes less utterly dependent and the older starts staying up later. We managed to put about 3-4 years together where the kids were asleep between 8 and 9pm and we weren't so plowed we ceased to function. And then it changed again.

    At this point, homework is cranking up, bedtimes are pushing back. And as the devices and their integrations proliferate, the demands on domestic IT are, in some senses, getting worse (though as you say, improved integrations make life easier in some ways, as well). At this point, the TiVo's propensity to crash, and the printer's to disco from the network have gone from 'semi-ignorable quirks' to 'tear producing nightmare emergencies affecting scholastic reputation.' But on the upside, I now have two awesome companions on the domestic IT staff, busily discovering stuff, showing me new apps, and feeling their way into digital creativity and coding. And overall, I feel like: "OMG ... I loved being a parent of young children, but _this, now, is my moment_! I can teach more, faster, in and around this tech than by any other means; and I can help give these kids control of and comfort in the world they'll inherit." And that's pretty cool ... at least until the next time we have the talk about "you're too young to be on Facebook."

  2. John Jainschigg from World2Worlds, Inc., October 10, 2012 at 3 p.m.
  3. Sean Tracey from Sean Tracey Associates, October 10, 2012 at 4:15 p.m.

    Sorry Cory,
    My kids are now 13 and 11, and I still have little time to be up on my gadgets. Not long after the kids sleep thru the night, you'll find them needing rides to sports (where you have to sit in the bleachers, engaged in their every point or goal, not just looking at your iPhone). My Jam Box now has issues syncing with my laptop and has the same lame sexy chic voice as when I bought it. I'm sure there are cooler voices now.
    Sean Tracey

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 10, 2012 at 4:28 p.m.

    So more content on more channels and more games are going to increase your viewing/activity time ?

  5. Zachary Cochran from CPXi, October 10, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.

    Thanks Cory. Yours is my favorite column on Media Post. And it was fun seeing my comment in the email this week! I found the same time-suck happened in the months after I got married. The same thing again when I switched to work at CPX Interactive. Newness, in addition to added responsibilities, takes away some freedom we'd otherwise invest in "learning our tools." I see the world in terms of "identity" and "tools" or people and stuff (non-people). People should always outrank stuff. Then again, our tools help us connect with people (think the Brewster iPhone app).

  6. David Carlick from Carlick, October 10, 2012 at 5:35 p.m.

    Cory, just think of your kids as complicated gadgets to figure out.

    There, see!

    Also, re: Samsung, I confess to find their advertising age-ism (the guy holding the spot for his parents in the Apple line) to be, like Romney's 47%, a needless insult to a large part of their target base.

  7. Noah Wieder from SearchBug, Inc., October 10, 2012 at 6:42 p.m.

    Cory, you must have had a spycam in my house a few years ago. Now that my boys are 7 & 10 and screens are dominating our lives, I can't even pretend to try and keep my gadgets in sync. I loved that Samsung ad, very clever and creative.

    Don't forget, about the keeping the kids gadgets and family gadgets up-to-date also, ha.

    Whole house theater, routers, repeaters, PC's iMac, Denon Receivers, 7 channel surround sound, Ethernet, WiFi, & HDMI.. oh my.

    Wii, internet radio, PS3, Roku, Tivo, Driod Maxx, iMac, Apple Tv, ipads, ipods, portable HD's, flash drives, digital Cameras galore... I adore..

    Wow, now that I'm typing all that out I know why I finally went insane and learned to just "Let Go".

    It's just not possible to keep everything updated. The cloud with dropbox, google drive, evernote and springpad are helping (or are they)?

    How important is it that my digital life be in order. We only go around once and family comes first, so enjoy them while you can!

    BTW.. now I have to look at a Jam Box.. thanks a lot.

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