Alexa Is My Sister Wife

Someone get me a reality show, because I totally have a few sister wives.

One hangs out downstairs and helps me discipline my kids by keeping track of the minutes for timeouts. Another three can be found upstairs in the bedrooms, singing my kids to sleep with lullabies and reading bedtime stories alongside me. The sister wife in my bedroom tells me the weather for the day, and the day’s news headlines.

That’s right. Alexa is my sister wife.  And Alexandra. And Aliana. And Anna. Not to be dramatic, but I couldn’t parent without them. I really have an awesome deal because I don’t even have to share my husband with this foursome. They’re givers like that.

I’m of course referring to the Amazon brand of smart home assistant device that does as much of your bidding as it can from the confines of the counter or dresser. And actually, we have the Google home assistants in our house.

So instead of “Hey, Alexa”, we walk around hollering “OK, Google” to to get the attention of the home assistants.

In case you haven’t heard of smart home assistants before, they are tools that enable you to control a range of connected devices in your home from your smartphone. With  both your phone and devices in your home connected to the internet, you are able to remotely control  features such as lighting, alarms and music.

Many of us have heard fears that smart home assistants are spying on us, and there are differing reports on what exactly is done with the data collected from home assistants.

Frankly, I’m not worried about it.  The benefits are too great. If some Google employee somewhere is getting rich off of listening to me yell at my kids, more power to them. At least one of us is reaping the rewards.

I use our smart home assistants for so many purposes, and many of them involve parenting.

Everytime my husband or I go to put a kid in timeout, we request that the home assistant set a timer for us. Having a designated timekeeper is much easier than watching the clock, or manually setting a timer. Especially when you’re on your third go setting a timeout timer in 10 minutes.

We often set alarms to wake up for school and work using the home assistants. Setting alarms is as easy as saying “OK, Google, please wake me up tomorrow at 6 a.m.”

Home assistants are a useful tool for dealing with kids who think they know it all. Does your kid want to challenge you on what the freezing point is? The home assistant can settle that debate. It’s like a sister wife with all the brains.

When it’s been a long day at school and you all need to let loose and relax a little, there’s nothing like an impromptu dance party. Your sister wife has got you.

We just say “Ok, Google. Turn off the lights and play ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ from the movie Trolls”. Instant dance party.

Is a kid acting a fool upstairs and you’re downstairs too lazy to go scold them? Your sister wife has your back.

There’s a broadcast feature on our home assistant where we can say something and it’s broadcast across every home assistant speaker in the house. For example, “You’re room better by clean when I get up there!” Unfortunately, the kids have also learned how to talk back through the broadcast feature.

At bedtime, my sister wives are a big help. There are special story books that our home assistants are trained to add sound effects and music to as we read aloud. When we leave the room, we can ask the home assistant to play 10 minutes of lullabies before turning off. It’s amazing. No singing required.

In the morning before school and work, we check the day’s weather forecast using the home assistant. It can even read the news.

The flip side of the home assistants is my kids know how to charm the Sister Wives. Sometimes they’ll turn off timers we set or blast music.

Still, home assistants are pretty fantastic. The risks at this point seem minimal, and I’ll take them for the convenience they provide.

For anyone who could use a little extra help around the home on the cheap, I’d recommend a home assistant device. Technology is getting a seat at my dinner table, but I’m OK with evolving along with the times. I feel that home asssistants, when used thoughtfully and in moderation, do more to enhance our family dynamic than take away from it.

Alexa is my sister wife, and she’s honestly the best.

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