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!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Regrets? Moi? Never!

So do you all have a friend, or friends, who think they're being nice by telling you things that other people have told them about you, or what they think of you?

For example, "Well Pam told me she heard that Jane hates you because you told Todd you thought he was an idiot. And now she says she's never going to talk to you again and she thinks you're ugly and stupid and that she's never liked you anyway. I just thought you'd be interested to hear that. Because I care about you. Because I'm your friend."

I actually don't have friends like that.

Well I did, of course. In the past, circa the years Brandon and Kelly and Dylan and Brenda hung out at the Peach Pit, if you know what I'm saying. (Back in the 80s - the 90210 years. What's with me? I'm on this 90120 kick lately. Anyway....)

True friends, I believe, don't do that. Because it hurts to hear about people talking bad about you. So why would a true friend want to hurt you?

But while I don't have friends who do that, I often (or really, really often for some reason) receive e-mails from perfect strangers telling me that I'm being discussed on certain message boards and then they'll provide me the links to these message boards. (Really, once even a librarian at a major city newspaper did this.)

Of course I never look at these links.

Yeah right!!!!

Of course I look. (Any author who says they don't read the reviews of their book are lying.)

Someone yesterday sent me a very fascinating link to a message board that had been discussing my book, Knocked Up, and also my views on C-sections, after I wrote an opinion piece about having one in Chatelaine magazine.

But this discussion took off in other directions - how I smoked during pregnancy and drank and...

Ok, to set the record straight, because a lot of people who were discussing my book actually hadn't read it, I smoked maybe ten cigarettes in nine months and I drank maybe two glasses of wine during my entire pregnancy.

In fact, I was one of those pregnant women who couldn't STAND the smell of alcohol while pregnant (or salmon either. or the smell of a gas station.)

One person questioned if I would regret writing certain things I've written, not only in the book, but for the newspapers I have written for for the past 8 years. And, um, boy, this person really remembered things I had written five years ago, that I didn't even remember having written.

And that got me thinking. Do I regret columns I have written?

Here's the thing about writing. At least for me anyway. I don't regret writing (or "admitting") anything that I've ever written that has been published. Why? Because when I wrote it, it was how I was feeling at THAT time.

Writing is a very present activity.

When I wrote Knocked Up, that's what I was feeling while I was knocked up. Looking back, do I think all of the things I thought or did were perfect? Absolutely not. Would I feel different during a second pregnancy? Um, probably.

But it was how I was feeling at THAT time. So, no, I don't ever regret writing anything that I have written. I may regret some of my actions. I may have done certain things (or a lot of things) differently today. But I don't regret writing about them.

And it's the same with the blog. And maybe it is with yours too.

I mean, sometimes I write things and that's exactly how I'm feeling at THAT time, on THAT day, that I've written the entry.

Will I feel differently, would I change my views, in two months time? Or two years time? Or in two days time?

Maybe. Like I said, when you write, you are writing in the present.

So, regrets? Moi? Never! (Well, at least about writing.)

Plus, I'm a woman. A w-o-m-a-n. It's, like, in my DNA to change my mind, whenever I feel like it. That's the whole fun about being female, after all. Don't you agree?


Blogger sunshine scribe said...

Completely agree. Change your mind as much as you want sister.

And I love that you have no regrets. Your comment about writing in the present is so very true.

Those idiots that spend their time bitching about you on a message board (or a fake copy cat blog or whatever) need to get a life. Their own. Not yours.

3:41 AM

Blogger Mom101 said...

I love your assessment about writinga s a present activity. That's just spot-on.

I made a promise to myself never to delete a blog post, no matter how much I hate it, for that very reason. Which also means I'm extremely careful before I hit "publish," and I do try to avoid drunken blogging.

5:58 AM

Anonymous chelle said...

I think it is awesome that you stand by what you wrote. Everyone is going to have some opinion and there are always "those people" that really should never be allowed to open their mouth in public.

The best writing is that raw I do not care what this feels like tomorrow, writing. Never change and totally be you, since well that rocks!

7:02 AM

Blogger Laural Dawn said...

You know what? I love what you write. And, the reason that I love your writing so much is because you do write how you are feeling. I was so frustrated (as you know) by everyone being so fake about pregnancy and having kids. That's why I LOVED Knocked Up. It was the first time I had felt like I wasn't alone in feeling the way you did.
I didn't need to read any more books with advice about sleep habits, parenting skills or early child devlepment. What I needed was someone to say that sometimes pregnancy/parenting sucks.
And I still need that which is why I read your blog and some other cool mom blogs and NOT reading all the parenting books that weren't helping me anyway.
I'm glad you don't regret what you said because then you may not say stuff down the road. And, then what?
I'm with you on being honest on the blogs. I should probably be a little more honest with stuff.
Thanks for the reminder. And, try to ignore the bitchy stuff other people are saying because people love to knock other people.

7:13 AM

Anonymous lyn said...

i just started reading knocked up, and i absolutely adore it. seriously. and i'm only just finished with the first trimester, so i can't wait to get further in. by way of comment, i just wanted to say that there's so much about your pregnancy story (so far) that is in many ways exactly like my own, and i don't regret anything either. your writing, your honesty, and your regretless attitude in print and cyberspace are all qualities that keep me coming back to your blog. we all do the best we can at the time we're in, and that's the most anyone can expect of us--otherwise, fuck 'em.

9:27 AM

Anonymous Nancy said...

I really like this, and it's funny because I just read another blog whose post (to paraphrase) was about how she didn't want to be "glossed over" in a eulogy when she passes away -- she wants to be remembered as she was, faults and all. She said that a lot of how she is honest with herself about who she is is her blog, where she's portrayed in living color through her writing.

Her post, and yours, reminded me that although it's been difficult for me to go back and reread my college journals (because some of the stuff I once did and said makes me cringe) -- I should not be ashamed, and I should not regret what I did. What's done is done, it makes me a part of who I am today. I was capturing a moment in time.

Thank you for helping me with this. :-)

9:54 AM

Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Excellent point about writing in the present. That's one of the greatest aspects of writing - observing how styles and views change over time. If I still had the same views that I did fifteen years ago, I would find that pretty sad - that I hadn't learned or grown or changed at all. Yet if I hadn't written anything fifteen years ago, for fear that it would conflict with my views later on in life, then I wouldn't have any record of how I had grown or changed.

And yes, I have had those so-called friends who broke my heart with information I really didn't need to know.

9:54 AM

Anonymous Ginny said...

You know someone has to keep it real because you just don't hear about the crappy parts enough. I have a friend who doesn't have kids and she tells me all the time that she admires my honesty when I say that parenting sucks a lot at times!!
And I think women need to know this. I always tell people if you are on the fence about having kids, DO NOT do it. I really believe you have to want it 100% because it's the hardest thing you will ever have to do and it will test every aspect of your life.
It's like you said, it is how you felt at the time. Not all women feel the same way (and that is OK)but I don't think enough women speak up about how tough it can be because we are 'suppose' to be all in love with our kids all the time and be 'perfect' all the time.
And the ones that do speak up about things like "oh my God, did you know Rebecca drank and smoked during pregnancy?" and spread this, are the ones who need to say it because they don't want concentrate on their shortcomings as a parent which are necessarily shortcomings at all, just honest feelings they are too scared to voice.
The bottom line for me is that I am a mom to my kids. I do what works for me and try to be honest when people ask for advice. Hey guess what? Nursing sucked (no pun intended)for me, it really sucked and it wasn't easy. It wasn't looking down at my baby sucking away and feeling the overwhelming feelings of love, it sucked! But I know people who have loved it and that is great for them and I'm honestly glad that it worked out!
The bottom line as you know is that there will always be someone who disagrees with what you say or write. Just keep on keeping it real!!

11:34 AM

Blogger bubandpie said...

It's almost ritualistic, the way that women befriend and encourage one another by revealing their weaknesses, confessing their darkest moments, competing to see who's the most insecure, the worst mother, the least perfect. And it's often misunderstood as a sign of low self-esteem (when really it's the opposite - you have to achieve some self-acceptance before you can let it all hang out there) or as a full representation of who we really are. In your case, Rebecca, you take that confessional style and add a healthy helping of shock value. I often find myself wondering what is the exact relationship between your writing persona (we all have one), and the real Rebecca. I think the best way to sum it up is with the tagline from Friday Playdate: "entirely true, but exaggerated for comic effect."

Which is just to say - those idiots need to realize that they don't actually know you: what they see is the part of yourself that you choose to put out there, to let the rest of us know (like Laural Dawn said) that we're not alone.

1:11 PM

Blogger Karla said...

So very true.

1:13 PM

Blogger tomama said...

I think that there are a lot of clueless people out there who just don't get writing or writers. It's really kind of sad.

7:30 PM

Blogger Jennifer P said...

Ditto on Laurel's and Lyn's comments. I read Knocked Up before I read all of the other pregnancy bibles because it seemed more real (duh, it was, but you know what I mean).

8:03 PM

Anonymous moonstruckmama said...

I've been struggling with this same issue, because my blog is new and I'm putting stuff out there that's really personal,and suddenly I'm wondering what people will THINK of me. And at the same time I just don't care, because I feel like I'm expressing myself honestly for the first time in a long, long time. And if "people" didn't know the real me before, they need to get used to her, and I'm not apologizing for things I've written in the past or from now on. Of course, I'm still working up to posting anything REALLY juicy, but I'm getting to it.

4:53 AM

Blogger Ali said...

speaking of beverly hills, 90210...

did you know that it's finally in syndication in Canada??!!! i've been waiting for years for this. it's on EVERY.SINGLE.DAY on channel 58.

i'm really the happiest girl.

5:07 AM

Blogger Life Happens said...

I agree!

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

~Maya Angelou

7:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a 'fear' phone call, similiar to yours in your book, recently...

eek. the stress begins!

10:19 AM

Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

I know what you mean. I've been "writing" since high school and um... well, let's just say you'll never read anything I wrote in high school on my blog! And had I been publishing any of those things, I would probably be embarrassed by them, but would never regret having written them.

I also compulsively revise, so for the few things I've published, I just CAN'T stand to read them because I just think, well it would have sounded a lot better if...

But yes, writing is a sorting out of feelings RIGHT NOW... not necessarily applicable to THE WRITER in the future, but hopefully with a timelessness that will make it appealling to someone/somewhere at any given time.

And you probably get a lot of criticism on your book from people who've never read it. In other words, worth about... oh, nothing.

10:39 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

Totally agree. And hey, about the wine- most doctors say it's ok to have one drink here and there. My sister's OB actually told her to drink a glass of wine at night to calm the baby down! I couldn't smell alcohol at all myself- and I couldn't eat cooked mushrooms- go figure! LOL.

11:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait wait what time is 90210 on on channel 58?

12:46 PM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

So well said. Writing in the present. That's exactly what it's about.

7:15 PM

Blogger Blog-o-licious said...

When I was much younger and went to a small private Christian college, I kept a diary of thoughts and life at the time. I don't know why I kept it, but if I ever run across it now, I get so embarrassed when I open it up and see what my thoughts were then. It is so sappy that it leaks moisture. I don't regret writing, it, I just regret the time when someone reads it after I'm dead. I WAY past the religious thing.

6:57 AM

Blogger diversions said...

Thank you! What you said about not having regrets over what you write is what I have maintained for years.

When I'm in a bad mood, I write poetry as a form of therapy. Because I always write it when I'm angry or upset, some of it is very dark. I wrote a poem once about how much I hated my father because of the way he treated me. I wrote a poem about suicide. And I was always afraid to show these to anyone because I didn't think that they would understand that it was only how I felt at THAT time...not how I always feel. So thank you for posting this blog because now at least I know I'm not the only one who maintains this.

12:02 PM

Anonymous Naomi said...

Just read your Chatelaine article, as some discussion came though on a yahoo group I am on. I actually wrote about it, because I found people that I would expect to be accepting to be very judgemental, and that seems really hypocritical to me.

As for regrets? Writing, as you say, is personal and time sensitive, and I think that's what makes it real.

4:05 PM

Blogger Couz said...

Power to ya. From one who has walked a mile in those stylish pumps.

5:24 PM


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