03/28/2016 10:04 EDT | Updated 03/29/2017 05:12 EDT

How My Fitbit Helps Me Slow Down

Daly and Newton via Getty Images
Woman napping on sofa with baby boy

Originally published on

I have a FitBit because it helps me take fewer steps.

I got it because I needed to know -- do I spend as much time running around as I say I do? Do I really put in miles and miles just bringing toys back from the living room to the bedrooms? Because it feels like I never, ever stop moving.

Imagine this scene: we finish breakfast and I start clearing dishes from the table. My one-year-old is happily sitting in his high chair and playing patty cake with the yogurt that now coats the tray, so I take the opportunity to dash downstairs and start a load of laundry.

When I turn to leave the laundry room, I step squarely in a pile of cat puke. Now I have to hop up the entire flight of stairs and all the way to the bathroom so that I don't leave a trail of kitty vomit. I get to the bathroom and wash off my disgusting foot, then hurry back to the kitchen table because my one-year-old is getting antsy. Oh, and he's covered in yogurt.

I head back to the bathroom to grab a cloth and then return to the table to wipe down his hands and his face; this is apparently one of the 53 recognized ways to torture a one-year-old. My normally chill toddler flings his head from side to side in protest, but I'm persistent and I get the job done. I put him down on the floor and -- what was I doing? Right, the dishes.

I let the toddler dig through the pantry while I start washing pots. He tries to lift up a big bottle of vinegar and I figure that's perfect because if the bottle opens and spills, the floor will actually be cleaner. Win.

OK, the kitchen is looking good and the toddler is happy. I run out of the kitchen and up the hallway to tell my oldest that we're going to start homeschool lessons soon, and then I head back to find that the one-year-old has opened a bottle of Worcestershire sauce and is dragging it into the living room. After taking it away, I run to the bathroom to wet another cloth and I try to wipe the thick sauce off of his hands before he can make it to the couch. Wiping is much harder this time around because he's not strapped into a high chair and he thinks this new game of tag is hilarious.

Do I look like a fun mom that plays tag?

No. I cut him off and then hold him down between my knees so that I can clean his hands. Then I wipe the floor and run halfway to the kitchen before I realize that I left the bottle of Worcestershire sauce in the living room and, yes, the one-year-old is pouring it on the floor. I take it from him and then head back to the kitchen to grab another cloth. In the kitchen, I find my four-year-old stuffing dish towels into the drawer. She tells me that she spilled all of her milk but that she cleaned it up herself life a big girl. Using every single towel in the drawer, of course. I shower her with praise because this really is progress, and then I gather up all the towels in my arms and carry them straight to the laundry room. Where I step in cat puke.

Oh, right. That.

This could be any and every morning of my life. The worst part is that I never stop moving long enough to rest or regroup or realize that keeping the Worcestershire sauce in the bottom drawer of the pantry is stupid.

Well, I decided that FitBit was going to fix this, because it would actually confirm that yes, I spend all day running around. A FitBit would justify my exhaustion at the end of the day. It would give me tangible proof that I do not spend all day on Facebook -- well, OK, I do spend all day on Facebook, but I use it on my phone while simultaneously chasing the kids down the street.

A FitBit would give me permission to stop moving. Because some days, I don't even know how to take a break. I have a hard time sitting down and doing something I enjoy, like knitting or blogging, when my house is a mess. And, yes, I know that having a clean house isn't the most important thing in life (save your comments), but right now I have a one-year-old that wants to put everything in his mouth. If I stop cleaning for a moment, he is going find some week-old meatball that my preschooler hid or the cat barf in the laundry room. Wait -- have I not cleaned that up yet? Seriously, why do we even have cats when we're already outnumbered by kids?

But listen -- I need a break. Enter the Fitbit.

I set two goals for myself: first, I want to get my 10,000 steps in before the kids' bedtime and then I want to sit down, guilt-free. Second, I want my Sundays to be more relaxed than other days -- and I want to see a noticeable decrease in my step count as proof of that. I think those are both reasonable goals, no?

The first Sunday went well. I confirmed with a great deal of satisfaction that my step count was still under 5,000 by dinner time. And to top it all off, I happily noted that there could be no Worcestershire sauce spills, since my toddler had hidden the bottle and no one could find it. Except then I suddenly realized that I needed it to make dinner.

And with that, I was up and running.