155095122They say with gift giving it’s the thought that counts and you should be grateful no matter what you receive. But whoever said that has clearly never received a festively wrapped box from my mother.

When my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I was prepared. I really wanted a new set of makeup brushes, partially because I needed them, partially because I saw a photo on Pinterest with makeup brushes displayed in a mason jar that I wanted to replicate so I could get my smug on for a day or two.

My mom told me what she bought for my kids at Target, and since Target has nearly an entire aisle dedicated to makeup brushes; I thought I was good to go. I may or may not have purchased a mason jar in anticipation. So when the time came to open presents, I was not prepared for what actually happened.

She bought me a Fitbit. For those of you who don’t know, the Fitbit is a device that tracks your sleep, monitors how many calories you burn, has a GPS function for running and comes with an online program to record what you eat. It’s basically an accessory made of shame, self-loathing and metal.

I tried to hide my reaction, since I’m not a child and I didn’t want to spoil Christmas for everyone else, but inside I felt like this:

Never mind the fact that she gave my sister a trip to Hawaii for a week and gift cards for a whole new wardrobe, never mind the fact that she got my lover-of-all-things-nerdy husband a magic wand that functions as a remote control (which, according to him, is best gift anyone has ever given him, period, so I can never top it and shouldn’t even attempt to try), or the fact that I emailed her a link to the makeup brushes I wanted when they went on sale for her convenience. Socks would have been a better choice; they would fit no matter what I weigh. She could have at least been passive aggressive about her opinions on my body and got me yoga pants, at least those I would actually wear (you know, because I’m a SAHM who doesn’t do anything but sit around all day)

But no, this Christmas my mother skipped the passive part and went for just straight out aggressive. 24/7 fitness tracking and the capability for her to spy on my stats from her own computer. I’m pretty sure the mob gets more privacy from the FBI. At least the Don and his underlings can still stuff themselves on pasta without it being recorded.

And the Fitbit does not mess around. It doesn’t pretend to be anything but functional; unlike the Nike Fuel Band which resembles a rubber bracelet. But no, this Fitbit is a little metal clip thing, which, my mom told me excitedly “You can hide in your bra so no one sees it!” Great, so now I’ll have this calorie chastity belt jabbing me in the milk makers all day as a constant reminder of your disappointment. Awesome.

The aesthetics aside, I’m not sure how I feel about the Fitbit’s individual functions. The GPS feature for runs is great if my husband wants to look online and make sure I haven’t been kidnapped when in reality I’m just doubled knotting my sneakers for the umpteenth time. But I don’t really want my mother to look over my runs and point out all the times she thinks I didn’t run fast enough, a.k.a anytime I slow down.  And the sleep tracker/calorie burn functions? I can imagine how that conversation is going to go:

 “Megan, why did you go so still from 9:30 am to 11am, were you sitting at the computer that whole time? “  “Uh no Mom, I took a nap with the boys.”

Awkward pause and judgment filled look.

”Megan, what were you doing at 10:25 at night for 22 minutes, your heart rate was through the roof, did you have a nightmare? “ “Um, no Mom, we were awake…”

I know I’m being a bit over dramatic. I’m not fat, and I know my mother doesn’t think that. And in her defense, fitness and exercise are one of our biggest shared interests. We are both certified personal trainers and fitness instructors (though I don’t currently teach).We are training to do a half marathon together and we ran our first 5K this past Halloween.  We talk a lot about health and exercise and she has been very supportive as I’ve put myself back together post pregnancy.

My mom has a bit of a history with giving me upsetting gifts wrapped in good attentions. For my sweet 16 she got me a high tech fat analyzing scale. Yes, I had mentioned I wanted a scale, but not what I had in mind for such a landmark birthday. But she was just trying to get me something I said I had wanted and something I would use, which I understand. In my opinion, a perfect gift either something you actually need or really want but just can’t justify spending the money on for yourself- like Pitch Perfect on DVD. No one wants to give the gift that sits around unused or even worse- gets returned for store credit.

So it’s not like the Fitbit is completely a “I think you’re fat” message in a box, but it would be nice to feel like I’m always being judged for my weight, especially on Christmas morning when there are homemade cinnamon buns in the oven that I very much want to devour with a side of extra frosting, not a side of shame.

But after Christmas sales are awesome, and my husband felt bad and gave me his credit card, so I’m heading out now to buy my own damn makeup brushes. Maybe the store will be crowded with gift returners and fellow sale seekers so I’ll have to park far away from the entrance, or throw a few elbows to get to where I want to go. That should be good for burning a few calories, and keeping my mom off my back- for a few days anyway, until she starts asking me about my New Year’s resolutions.

(Image: getty images)