As my life evolves from being a mother of infants and toddlers to a mother of elementary age and *gulp* teenagers, I am surprised that my often biggest concern is making sure everything in our house is charged.

Never did I think my “to do” list would include “Plug in Cell Phone, Tablet, and Laptop” at the end of each day.  Well, actually, that is on my “to do” list all day -- I feel like I am plugging these things in morning, noon AND night!  With one son about to drive, my work, and two children using computers for homeschool, the necessity of fully charged electronics becomes more and more important.

Although this may seem like a gigantic whine column of the added work electronics bring to my life, I am not unaware of the blessings.  For instance, I’ll never forget that confidence and comfort I felt when I left my children home with a babysitter for the first time – armed with a handy-dandy new cell phone (like this one shown, circa 1999).

This new comfort comes with a new PANIC, that of being sure my smartphone has been duly charged for when I need to leave the house, and my children alone in it!

That old phone would hold a charge for DAYS.  All it did was send and receive calls – there wasn’t much taxing its capacity.  I am amazed at how quickly the battery on my new phone wears down: it's not very SMART if you ask me!

I have discovered that unlike batteries of old, we don't need to let them completely die before plugging them in for a fresh charge!  The old adage was if you charged mid-wear than you would train the battery to only fill that much, and therefore shorten the battery’s life.

The new battery technology has advanced beyond that – so now mid-life charges no longer cause a crisis. Now, as soon as I discover I’m going to be away for any amount of time, I plug in my smart phone, to give me as much juice for the trip away that I can get.

It does make me lament the days when the only juice I needed to worry about were in sippy cups and little cardboard boxes.  Even my car has evolved with the changes in my status of life. When my kids were little my key feature was a net in the back hatch for holding groceries bags, a door that opened on both side of the van to get the kids in and out of carseats, and the big innovation, SQUARE cup holders for their beloved juice boxes!

I thought my new car was modern enough for today’s world, but it only came with  one power outlet and one actual plug...which is not convenient if we are using the GPS, and the kids are playing on their hand-held devices (another electronic to battle to keep charged), and either my husband's or my phone needs to be charged.

“Ah, first world problems,” as my husband says; yet there are real issues in our modern day lives.   I never thought I’d miss the minivan, but it has a plethora of outlets to accommodate the whole family.

My fix?  I discovered the world of portable charging devices.  These are battery packs that you can either attach to your phone as a cover, or plug in when needed.  Here are two my family uses:

For my Android, I use the Energizer Energi to Go Portable charger (it can also be used with your camera, gaming systems, and laptops).

For my son’s iPhone, we use an external battery built into his case.  The irony that it is called the Mophie JUICE Pack Air is not lost on me.

For more information on cases that extend the battery life for you iPhone 4 or 4s, here is a great article from one of my favorite go to tech sites.

How do you keep your electronics charged? Share your tips in the comments, please!

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Copyright 2012 Allison Gingras