Greg received the gadgety item on his Christmas list- a FitBit- last month. It’s a fancy pedometer and activity/sleep tracker, and you can connect with your friends who have FitBits via their app. The default personal goal is to take 10,000 steps per day- apparently quite a ‘feat’ for most. (Spotted a pun!) Greg loves it and was excited for me to get one so we could be nerdy and athletic together. I was not very interested at first except for the sleep monitoring part; I’ve had terrible sleep since I was a kid plus I’m still getting up 1-2x per night with June, so I thought some data might be interesting and helpful. But the more I thought about it, the more interested I became in quantifying my steps and activity as well when I’m home with the kids.*
No one truly gets to observe a stay-at-home parent in their natural habitat because a visitor/observer’s presence changes the environment; the visitor might be entertaining the kids or alternatively the mom might be trying to settle the kids into different activities than usual to allow her to focus on the guest. Either way, this activity is different- less active, at least it is for me- than when the parent is the only authority figure, the only tall person, the only food preparer, the only referee, the only animal tamer, the only appliance operator, and the only entertainment director present…and is also getting chores done all the while. I became quite interested in how many steps I do take in a day, because I suspected it was close to 10,000 already, just from my activity around the house.
While, fortunately, few people believe the “eating bon bons and watching Oprah” stereotype anymore, this stay-at-home parent lifestyle remains mysterious to many. Here’s a tiny piece of the puzzle, courtesy of my new FitBit:
This was an average weekday with the kids, and we didn’t go on a walk or exercise. Apparently I walked 4.64 miles within our house and at the grocery store after the kids were asleep. (Actually, it missed some of my steps at the grocery store because when I’m pushing a cart, the FitBit on my wrist isn’t moving with my steps.) Here’s a little more of the picture:
And here’s the sleep data page, for those interested. I’ve always wanted info like this, but the free phone apps that record it rely on transferred motion of the mattress, so they don’t work with certain beds like TemperPedic. Since the FitBit is worn on your wrist, it can accurately track your movement during sleep regardless of what kind of mattress you have. But wearing it while you sleep also takes some getting used to.
I’ve officially been converted- the FitBit is a pretty cool gadget even for those who simply want to monitor their existing activity rather than aspiring to any new goals.
*You can also input your food and water intake into the app, which I thought might be useful for my pregnancy; I’m 7 weeks along, still off dairy and soy, still breastfeeding June, and I have a history of weird pregnancy symptoms so it might be handy at some point to watch my nutrition carefully. My doctor has already let me know I’ll need to take an early glucose tolerance test in a few weeks because I failed my 1-hour test last pregnancy (but passed the 3-hour). I think the probability of developing gestational diabetes is low, but I wonder what exactly I might end up eating if I have to cut sugar or carbs in addition to dairy and soy. So if I do develop it, at least my curiosity will be satisfied- if not my appetite!