Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fight! Fight! Fight!

I think I just got into my first fight with a stay-at-home mother. I think.

This "Stay-at-home" mother is also a "freelance writer."

Anyway, this Freelance Writer did a Mother's Day column criticizing me for having a blog and also having a nanny.

Apparently, I'm not worthy of having a blog about mothering because I have a Nanny, so therefore couldn't possibly know what it's like to be a real mother. (If being a real mother means changing diapers and all that shit, as she suggests, well I've done that, many, many, many times.)

I had no idea this Freelance Writer even existed (and neither will most of you) until a friend of a family friend e-mailed me her story.

Usually, I don't respond when people write nasty things about me, because usually they are so wrong I laugh it off (No, I didn't yell at a former editor for buying me a salad for lunch. No, I wasn't wearing Prada heels when that didn't happen. No I didn't make the amount you said I did on my first book. I made more.)

But this writer really pissed me off because she was attacking my mothering skills. And she's a mother. And a woman. And, nuh-huh. I was sticking up for myself because I hate women like her.

I wrote her an e-mail, explaining that, just because I work and have a nanny, doesn't mean I don't spend time with my child. In fact, because I'm a writer, I can work anytime I want - so I usually work late at night, while The Dictator sleeps.

I also wrote she shouldn't judge me as she's never met me or my child.

And, fuck you too, I can start a blog about knitting if I damn well please, and I've never knitted a thing in my life. Ok, I didn't write that part, but it's true. I could start a blog about knitting if I wanted.

Then this Freelance Writer wrote me back, writing that she "chooses to be a stay-at-home mom" (Um, sorry, you fucking are "working" even if you tack on freelance - and my guess is, if someone offered you a book deal or a full time columnist position, you'd jump at the chance. Oh, really? You wouldn't? Liar.)

Then this Freelance Writer writes me that she has the "studies to back me up," that being a stay-at-home-mom is best for your child. Whatever. For every study you show me, I'll show you another one that says being a working mother is good too. It's a wash.

Oh, and also, this Freelance Writer wrote she has a "sister who gave up her six-figure job because she also believes a mom should be there during the formative years."

Ooooohh, you have a sister who gave up a six-figure job! Woweee!! You must be right then!! You have a sister who decided to stay at home, after all! How could anyone argue with that?

Then she writes something about actually enjoying changing dirty diapers (Oh, really? You actually laugh at a shitty diaper the day after your baby only ate peas for three meals and think to yourself, 'Oh this is so much fun!" I think you're lying.)

But the topping of the cake was this line: "I think it's really sad that feminists have brainwashed women into believing that they have to plug away at their career in order to be worthwhile."

No, dear Freelance Writer, it's so much better to attack me. Does that make you feel worthwhile? You can't come up with your own ideas, so you read ninepounddictator, even though no one forces you too, to find things to criticize? Does that make you feel worthwhile? Can my daughter please grow up to be like you? Please?

No wait.

There was another line she wrote that made me laugh my ass off. Which was something about me having a nanny when it doesn't "appear" I have to work at all.

I will say this only once: I choose to work because I like my work. It was this way before I had The Dictator and might always be this way, or it might not. But whether I'm making $20,000 a year, or making $400,000 a year, whether the fiance is a billionaire or if he's dirt poor, I work because I like it.

(And, to me, dear Freelance Writer, it "appears" you are a bitter woman, but that doesn't mean you have to be, does it?)

And if this Freelance writer thinks the way she thinks, then I want to tell her she should maybe leave her home once in a while, because obviously she's been watching too much Barney. (Let me guess, dear Freelance Writer, you also don't believe children should watch television?)

There are hundreds of thousands of mothers who need to place their children in day care and don't have the option of staying at home because they have to work. (Are they bad mothers too?)

And there are hundreds of thousands of women who go back to work because they do like it, and they may want to raise their children to believe that they can do anything they want. (Does that make a woman a bad mother?)

I want to make this clear. My very best friend is a stay-at-home mother. She got knocked up, the first time, right after graduating university and has never had a job.

She stays at home raising four children. We are complete opposites. I love her. She loves me.

The point is, I couldn't give a rat's ass if you want to be a stay-at-home mother. Do whatever makes you feel good.

I've never once judged my best friend for her choices, nor does she judge me for mine. Nor do I even blink when I meet a woman who says she stays at home. Why? Because I don't care. The Modern Woman should do what she wants.

So dear Freelance Writer, do not judge me for wanting to work. Do not think I'm a bad mother for having a nanny when it "appears" I don't have to work. Maybe I do have to work for my mental sanity? Did you ever think of that? Did ya? Did ya?

When it comes down to it, I don't think that this Freelance Writer really thinks I'm a bad mother. I think she's just a tad bitter about her life and the only way she can find happiness is to criticize people who are happy with their choices. At least that's the way it "appears" to me.

Let's just say this: I could say I'm really happy this freelance writer is not my mother. I'm not sure how I could live in a household where my mother was so bitter and judgemental over people she doesn't even know.

But I won't.


Blogger Julie said...



Mom who has to work but loves it too (what does that make me?)

2:05 PM

Blogger DM said...

What a tightly argued, cogently reasoned, deliciously nuanced outburst. This post will no doubt usher you into the pantheon where the great writers and thinkers of our time reside.

Why don't you provide a link to this article, so we can all decide for ourselves whether you have been as grossly slandered as you claim?

2:20 PM

Blogger Cindy said...

She sound like a real cow if you ask me. Glad you fought back.

Also? I giggled every time you swore. It kinda ruined the seriousness of the posts tone. But good for you. I just don't understand how people can be so judgmental.

2:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tell remembef...happy mommy=happy family....Do what makes you happy!

4:21 PM

Blogger pmb said...

You Rock!!!! Freelancer is a big FAT LIAR if she says she loves to change poopy diapers. Like you said, she's just bitter. Tell that dumb b to go to hell.

4:29 PM

Anonymous Kirsty said...

I really don't understand why women are always attacking each other...what does it matter to this freelance 'writer' what you or I choose to do with our children?

4:30 PM

Anonymous Helen B. said...

this is such an age-old fight and so tiresome. can't women just be supportive of their choices? and if you're a stay-at-home mom so bent out of shape about mothers who work, doesn't it suggest you are unhappy? you can't take it out on your kids and your husband, so working mothers become the target.

i'd too like to read the piece so i could send her a piece of my mind.

4:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it sounds to me, that she wants to be like you but doesn't have the talent. People like her usually lash out at the people they secretly admire.
you have never given the impression of not being a good mother and yes the peas make stinky poops!!

6:06 PM

Blogger Kristen said...

I hate how a woman thinks that as soon as she becomes a mother, she has the right to pass judgement on the other moms of the world if they don't do things the way that they do. I don't understand why moms aren't sticking together, or at least supporting each others' differences. I agree, it sounds like this mom freelancer is bitter. And most definitely jealous of you. I think most (if not all) of the people who criticize you (and other moms or women) are just jealous.

6:16 PM

Blogger Sheena said...

I never really understood this whole "freelance" concept. Where I grew up the only difference between an amateur and a professional was that a professional gets paid for it.

Methinks the lady spends too much time away from her precious bio-cargo worrying about other peoples life choices.

6:22 PM

Anonymous Shandra said...

What are they putting in the water in Winnipeg these days? :)

No mother I've ever met in person has taken another mother down for their choice on the stay home/work 100 hrs a week spectrum. It seems to me sometimes like the whole "mommy wars" is just lazy journalism when the real story is elsewhere. I prefer your actual experience to these stupid mud slinging contests. I hope it doesn't put you off blogging.

6:41 PM

Anonymous Toronto Gal said...

wow...found that "article" (if you can call it that") online...what a bitch...i don't have kids but love your blog and know i'd be fuming if someone attacked me as a mother! she should devote more of her time to looking after her own munchkins rather than commenting about your family...on Mother's Day no less...I think you should save the article and send it to her kids years from now to remind them how their mother spent mother's day...and send her one of your unwanted and expired spa certificates!

6:44 PM

Anonymous Ginny said...

So I'm a fairly new reader to the ninepounddictator but I feel I have to comment on this. Why? Because at this moment I have nothing else to do except sit here and read this and it was highly recommended to me that I read this particular post!!
I'm sitting here thinking this: If she said "I think it's really sad that feminists have brainwashed women into believing that they have to plug away at their career in order to be worthwhile." Can't the same sort of thing be said before the feminist movement?
In the 30's, 40's and 50's can't it be said that society, religion, government and even men were brainwashing women into thinking that all we were good for was to serve them and their needs? I mean seriously you see these old articles from Good Housekeeping about how women were to keep the children quiet, keep the house clean and keep yourself fresh for when your husband came home. You were suppose to serve him a drink and not ask about his day because he had a long and difficult day. You were suppose to make his meal and have it hot on the table. Tell me, please tell me that is not brainwashing?
I would like to know then, all these women who choose to stay at home and give up their six figure incomes (and I only speak of the ones who shun those of us who work and *gasp* have children) do you follow the old rules? Do you have a quiet, clean household where you keep the kids away from Daddy because he is tired, kindly give him his favourite cocktail when he comes through the door and have his favourite meal hot on the table?
My guess is no but in all honesty, I just don't care because I know what works for me and honey, it ain't living in the 50's.

6:45 PM

Blogger Susie Sunshine said...

I sincerely wish females could accept the fact that way THEY do things is not necessarily the ONLY WAY and have a nice cup of SHUT THE FUCK UP with the whole"Mommy War" bullshit.
Seriously, petty crap like this is what keeps us from being taken seriously (and ruling the world.)


6:47 PM

Blogger Jennifer's Encouragement Blog said...

Well, Some people have certain views about being a mother. I for one say Rock on. I have faced many mothers who work and feel this sort of pressure from other mothers. I do not do it to others.

6:50 PM

Anonymous Toronto Gal said...

grrr...still angry..did a double take at the article and somehow missed the title the first time around...if we lived in the States you could probably sue her for slander or something considering now much of your livelihood if based on your personal credibility and as a mother...what did the fiance have to say?

6:51 PM

Anonymous Jennifer said...

It is sad when other women or moms make comments such as these. I have been the recepient of such comments. Good job--Rock on!!!!

6:52 PM

Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I am so 100% behind what you said here. I hate mothers who criticize other mothers, especially in a public forum. (It's bad enough at a playgroup when you can laugh it off or not).
I, too, am a working mom. I don't always love my job, but I have to go there and work. So, I do my best in my job and I do my best with my son.
Is it good enough? Maybe not. But, I'm a lot nicer with my son than I was as a frazelled stay at home mom (for a brief time). I, too, have a best friend, my sister, who stays at home full time. I have a ton of respect for her and what she does. But that respect is bred from the fact that we understand each other's decision. No judgement.
And, you're right - I bet you anything if she were offered a column in any paper she would take it hands down.
What a bitch.
PS sorry for the long comment - I feel strongly about this.

7:12 PM

Blogger ninepounddictator said...

Just got home from taking The Dicatator to a birthday party - and yes, people who have nannies do that.

I'm not posting the link to freelancers piece, because it is not worthy (at least of my time) to post it.

If people really want to read it (although the e-mails she sent me after were way more stupid) they'll find it.

I'm just not going to help out her pathetic career. Oh wait, she doesn't want one, because that would make her a bad mommy.

7:44 PM

Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

I found it and it wasn't just what she said about you... what she said about EVERYBODY was so crappy. And it was a crappy column too. Vague and dumb assertions about people about whom she couldn't possibly have a clue what kind of mothers they are.

Sorry if that last sentence doesn't make sense. But you know what I mean, and I'm in a hurry because I'm not supposed to be reading blogs right now and you made me google for fifteen minutes trying to find that damn thing. ;)

9:28 PM

Blogger Paige said...

Well, if I googled the right "article", you can take some comfort in knowing that the freelancer loves you enough to be VERY well aquainted with your blog.

Because while all the other 'bad mom' attacks were based on generalizations and cliches--nothing more than summarizing a month's worth of US Weekly covers--at least she had to do some "research" to write about you!

9:36 PM

Blogger each-day said...

*grrrr* You should have asked her if you could employ her as your nanny-diaper-changer. Cow!!! She has absolutely no right to criticize. It sounds to me as if she is a bored, stay at home wife, who's husband is never there and she has nothing to do with her time but to complain about other people (oh, and change diapers). I respect you for being a mom and for working. Good on you.

1:36 AM


Every mother has to make her own decisions about her family. You have to please yourself. Children will always grow into adults.Responsible adults well that's another story.

5:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa! This was from Winnipeg! EEP! As a Winnipegger myself, I apologize...
I'm a stay at home mom, and financially it wouldn't make sense for me to work. I would barely make enough to pay for the childcare. I'm not always happy with my life, myself or my children (grumpy mom days)... but it is the path we are on at the moment. I do not "get it" with this whole work v. stay at home thing? As I tell my clients (I'm a doula, so I do work. Just not a "high paying" job, and I can take clients when I want/can take them), you do the best you can for yourself and your child at THAT MOMENT.
End of conversation. At the moment!
Now I'm off to see if this person is an actual Winnipegger or an import! Heck I've even got my father cutting out your articles from the Globe and Mail for me! Sheesh!

6:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay the Winnipegger is back.
It was the SUN... people use it to line birdcages. Trust me, not the stellar literary source of information that one might believe! =)

6:29 AM

Blogger Gabriella said...

Why do women pick on other women for choices we make in our lives??? I just don't understand don't see men out there acting this way!! It's absolutely juvenile...Women should be free to make whatever choices they need to make and that's it!!!!

6:47 AM

Blogger Ali said...

it's ridiculous how quickly mothers are to judge other mothers.

i have a nanny.
i have a job.
and i'm a pretty fucking good mother, too.

women can't win in today's society. if you are a stay at home mom and don't have a career, it's the wrong decision. and if you work and don't stay at home, it's the wrong decision.

6:53 AM

Blogger Maddie's Mom said...

Yes, not much of a career having to work for the
'Star' in winnipeg of all places...she would be just as qualified as Greeter at Walmart, especially with all of her direct quotes from "STAR and US" magazines. What is that all about? Sure, we all read the odd weekly for its entertainment purposes but I sure wouldnt admit to it OR worse quote it directly in a newspaper.

I can see why you would be so upset with such a 'personal' attack but clearly she is bitter, envious of your success and possibly deranged. I wouldnt suggest meeting her for lunch...HAHA.

This is such a glaring example of how women often dont stick up for one another...instead of her talking about the issues that we all face with the lack of childcare options or that 50% of marriages end in divorce and where does that financially leave a "stay at home" with no relevant work experience, she attacks your success.

Anyways-got to run-I have to interview a nanny for Miss Maddie for when I have to return to choice.

7:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i saw you at a wedding once. we don't know eachother/we didn't talk...kind of that 'friend of a friend of a relative of a friend' type wedding i think for both of us. while we didn't talk or cross paths that night, i did notice the dictator was there with you. i was so impressed with her. well behaved and super cute! and you were such a good mommy that evening too. you didn't take your eye off her for a second, and you mingled with the other mommies/babies in the room. you put your jeans on one leg at a time just like everyone else. you are a fabulous mommy and it's too bad not everyone has the opportunity to see this as i did. i have great respect for you - you really appeared to have the knack of 'worklife balance'. bravo. this writer obviously doesn't have any evidence to support her argument. pooh on her.

7:42 AM

Blogger sunshine scribe said...

She has as much right to criticize your choice to work as anyone would to criticize her choice to stay home.

She is completely ignoring all the mom's that need to work for finances. And the single moms. And the moms who do a great job at raising their kids and having a job because the work hard at it.

And I'd like to ask her...would she be so critical of you if it was your mother or sister helping you out with the Dictator instead of a nanny? Women have relied on the support of other women for years. Yours just happens to have another title. And that doesn't make you a bad mom - it means you have carefully chosen a caregiver to help you, and from what I have read, Mimi is a gem.

You give it to her. Fight. Fight. Fight. We've got your back.

7:48 AM

Blogger Ashley said...

For years I was against feminism, then, as I became more educated and more mature I realized there was nothing to oppose. Feminism doesn't mean you are in the office, it doesn't mean you are required to stay single and without children so you can make it in the big leagues, it means that you have the right to choose the path you want to follow. Even if that means staying home with your children. I think that most people do not understand this concept which is a crucial mistake

7:53 AM

Blogger Tasha said...

Hi. I'm here via Kristen's at Mommy Does It All. THis is my first visit and this was the first post here I have ever read...LOL. ANyhow, it's good that you stuck up for yourself. I would. I am a Stay-At-Home mom and I work on the internet on my own time, but I feel like everyone can have an opinion but you should keep them to yourself. That woman has no right judging someone she doesn't even know....not only that, but putting it on her blog?? I see this alot on blogs and I think its pretty fucking stupid. I WOULD however stick up for myself like you did, but why can't people mind their own business? Most of my friends actually degrade me for Staying At Home, but I don't care. I have the right to choose what I want to do. Let's face it, I am too lazy to work..LOL. Raising my kids is hard enough right now. But I couldn't even hold a job if I had one/ So Kudos to all the moms that can! I'm glad I came by:)

8:05 AM

Anonymous Laura said...

Good on you, Rebecca, for shedding some much-needed attention on this subject. I am so sick and tired of other women telling whomever will listen that women's place is being a SAHM. Like many of the other posters, I feel that women should make their choices based solely on their own situation and what they want--who am I or you to decide for anyone?

I think a good idea would be to take all the Dr. Laura's in the world, Caitlyn Flannigans (sp?), and the other anti-feminist tyrants (let's throw in your naysayer for good measure) and give each a big soother to shut them the hell up for once. Not everyone has the luxury of staying home to care for their child--some families need dual income earners. Other women want to stay home and that is okay too. Some women want to work. No one ever comes down on a man for wanting to continue working after he and his partner bring children into the world. Why do women meet this double-standard time and again?

Power to you for defending yourself. Because I don't think we've talked about this enough. Thinking that women are only meant to be stay at home moms is an essentialist and maternalist argument that continues to propagate and feed patriarchal societal structures that have kept women "down" (subservient? subordinate? oppressed?) for far too long.

8:49 AM

Blogger Jenn said...

she's obviously jealous of you. No question about it.
I'm a SAHM, with the occasional freelance graphic arts work,but heck, if someone offered me a book deal - Hell yeah I'd take it without batting an eyelash. And I'd probably hire a nanny too. helllo? Anyone want to offer me a book deal???? Please??
I have to admit I'm a little envious of you, because you do have one of my dream jobs. But enjoy it. You've worked hard for it. It's so easy to judge other people. People who think it's easy to write a book - haven't written a book. Much easier to sit in pious judgement you know. At least you're not a writer AND a forensic doctor - then I'd have to hate you. ;)

9:08 AM

Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

Haven't bothered Googling the bitch but my thing is: why the fuck does she care?

Seriously? Dictator is not her kid, she's your kid. You make the choices on how she's raised. I make the choices on how mine are raised.

These people need to stay the fuck out of other people's parenting.


9:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Winnipegger and would just like to point out that while the freelancer in question writes for the Winnipeg Sun, she is NOT NOT NOT from Winnipeg (and hopefully, never will be).

So please don't judge the City of Winnipeg based on this Ontario wannabe's ridiculous, bitter, ill-researched drivel.

9:44 AM

Blogger Mega Mom said...

I often wonder how my life would have unfolded if I'd really loved my old job. For a variety of reasons, it was an easy choice for me to stay at home (though I have my real estate license and coach a sport).

You certainly seem to hold true to your values and I don't think anyone can doubt that your daughter will grow up with a strong, loving Mother.

As you said about your best friend, you are total opposites (as are you and I). Why is that a bad thing? How boring the world would be without the variety.

11:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You CERTAINLY have the RIGHT to blog. And you're funny, so I read it. If I were looking for a parenting expert, I'd read Barbara Coloroso. You've never claimed to be an expert (I think), and besides, you make me feel better about my own parenting inadequacies.

So, tell that Freelance Writer to BACK OFF! You have the right to blog, you have the right to be a working mom, to have two nannies, to not be married (yet), to smoke while pregnant, feed the Dictator all the junk food she can stomach, and spoil her rotten with any toy she wants. She's your kid.

And if she grows up to be just like you - great - we'll have more bloggers to keep us amused in our stressful day! = )

12:22 PM

Blogger Jenn said...

I simply can't stand these types of discussions. It doesn't matter what situation you are in, no one wins and it only leads to questioning oneself no matter how confident you are in your choices. Why can't these mommy wars be put to an end and we just realize that people do what works for them to make the family unit as a whole function to the best of thier ability with one common goal-everyone's happiness.

2:35 PM

Blogger kittenpie said...

well, I've said my bit on this before, and here it is again - If we want to be able to make our choices, we have to be willing to let other people make thiers, even if they aren't the same as ours.

Stupid bitter writer. It's not even like you have a nanny even though you stay at home doing nothing just because you don't want to be a parent. You may be at home but when you have deadlines, you need to get some work done. If you get to be around her in the day sometimes too and she gets two adults, so much the better for Dictator.

5:02 PM

Anonymous Heather said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I loved this post. I must say though, it is easy to defend against an outrageous attack like this one. The harder times, for me anyway, are answering the innocent questions.

I decided to go back to work after 6 months and hired a nanny. It was a traumatic time for me (thanks for your e-mails!) but I know I made the right decision. Even though I know I made the right decision, I question myself every day and I am my toughest critic.

I can't stand people, some of whom are not that close to me, who think they have a right to question my choices.

"Really? You're back at work? But why? She is just a baby!"

Thanks, I know how old my daughter is.

Or, even better, "you know you get a year don't you?" Uh ya - I'm a fucking lawyer, of course I know I get a year, moron.

I have a friend who has made the SAHM choice. She has a friend who is also a SAHM who also has a nanny. "Why even have kids" she says. How does that make me feel??

You get my point. I used to try and provide an answer... clients, blah, blah, finances, blah blah, but really, I like my job, I want to work and I didn't work this hard to give it all up. My answer now to the question "why" is simply, "it is a personal choice"

I'm working on my work life balance. Now, every moment counts. I see my daugher for an hour in the morning and 2 hours at night (she sleeps 7 - 7 Yipee!!). Doesn't sound like much, but she has my full and complete attention. She loves her nanny and I don't see how it can hurt for her to have a secure and loving attachment to another person. When I was on mat leave, i was exhausted and I can honestly say that our time together was not always quality.

I have great respect for anyone who cares full time for children, including my nanny, because it takes a certain skill and devotion.


6:41 PM

Blogger Mom101 said...

If she is publishing columns in small newspapers, she is what is known as a work-at-home mom. Not a stay at home mom, which implies that momming is her only job. So she needs to rethink that.

Seondly, she needs to rethink why she needs to put down those who have made different choices. 99.99% of the time it comes from insecurity with one's own decisions.

Thirdly, what a bitch.

Did I just say that? Who said that?

12:28 PM

Blogger jess said...

people should know not to mess with a real journalist.

honestly, you have such a good handle on what is going on with her, don't even let it bug you anymore. you have totally shut her down at this point anyways.

it boils down to this: everyone parents differently. good parents parent the best they can, and in their indvidual way. close minded parents (the manny and i call these mommyclopses, as in a single view) think that the way that works for them is the only way, (they are the christian fuundamentalists of parenting, oops! didn't mean to go there, but i had to)

but you should consider linking to the article. i would love to read and comment on it, myself

9:58 AM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I love this. Just love it.

When you decide to smack someone down, you sure do it well.

She deserved it.

2:56 PM


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