My friend loaned me a Fitbit in an attempt to recruit me into her Fitbit gang. I use the term “gang,” because I’ve noticed that people with FitBits band together, talk about their FitBits and then peer pressure other people into getting FitBits. This ruthless gang just happened to be a bunch of suburban moms challenging each other to get 10,000 steps a day…or else. It’s all very West Side story. Although, instead of knifings and street fights, the loser buys coffee at the next play date.
They all sing the FitBit’s praises and honestly seem healthier for it, so I decided to give it a shot. What did I have to lose, except a few pounds? A week in, after my brutal gang initiation (kidding), I gotta tell you, I’ve got a beef with the Fitbit.
Aside from the fact that it sat on my wrist judging me all day, pressuring me to do more cardio, I found it to be unprepared for my Mom lifestyle. For starters, steps are only counted when you aren’t carrying or pushing anything, which for most Moms, is never. I’m always carrying something, whether it’s a misplaced toy, a human, clothes, dirty clothes, a dirty human, or old food I found under the couch. Don’t act like you know me, FitBit. You think you’re better than me?!
When someone or something isn’t being carried, it means I’m pushing a shopping cart or stroller. I was outraged to find that the Fitbit did not record most of my steps at the grocery store. Much like all my weekly grocery trips, I clung to the cart for dear life, praying that no one would go all orangutan on me before I acquired the items on my grocery list. Ends up, the Fitbit requires that I’m gently swinging my arm in a rhythmic fashion to properly record the steps, which doesn’t sound like any outing I’ve ever had with my kids. Don’t judge me, FitBit, and then neglect to count those hard-earned steps! Didn’t you notice my heart rate was through the roof? Maybe my wrist was too sweaty from loading and unloading three squirmy toddlers, but go ahead and draw some conclusions; I’m sweaty with a borderline panic attack level heart rate, throw a couple extra steps my way.
The one silver lining to all those precious lost steps was that the pleasure of my kids’ company at the grocery store induced an elevated heart rate, which resulted in my time at the store being recorded as “active fat-burning minutes.” Thank you, Fitbit, for giving me hope that my stressful daily mom-tasks may somehow contribute to a slimming waistline.
In addition to ignoring most of my multi-tasking steps, the Fitbit also doesn’t distinguish between the varying degrees of difficulty that certain tasks require. For example, it may have only taken me 25 steps to haul the screaming toddler down the hall into timeout, but the Fitbit didn’t know that while I was doing that, another child was clinging to my leg. Yes, we went for a walk around the block to the tune of 1,500 steps, but the Fitbit didn’t know that I also had to drag all the bikes home after my kids decided, halfway through the walk, that they weren’t going to ride them anymore. I should get additional steps for that kind of monkey business. Don’t act like you know me, Fitbit!
In addition to tracking steps, the Fitbit claims to track sleep, calories burned, heart rate and distance. Unfortunately these are also ignorant to my actual level of mom-tivity. I was insulted when it claimed I got more sleep that I actually did. My Fitbit didn’t see me laying motionless in bed, NOT sleeping as I listened to the snores of my husband. Just because I wasn’t up walking around with a natural and leisurely arm sway doesn’t mean I didn’t startle and wake to any slight stirring. How about I tell you how little I slept, Fitbit, and then you rub my back and tell me I’m pretty. Now that’s something I could get on board with.
So make yourself useful, Fitbit. Track my caffeine intake and warn me before I go from “caffeinated enough to make grilled cheese sandwiches for the third day in a row” to “my eyes are bouncing in my skull and I keep calling you all the wrong names.” Start tracking my alcohol intake so those play dates that involve day drinking don’t get out of control. When my blood alcohol gets too high in the evening hours, send me a “you know your kids are going to wake up at 5:45am tomorrow morning” alert and cut me off.
Feel free to add these features to your next model upgrade, the “Fitbit Mom.” All I’m asking is that you track my curiously frantic and spastic movements and assume it’s because I’m tip-toeing away from a sleeping child or crawling under furniture to obtain lost toys. It’s definitely worth some sort of extra credit.