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, August 28, 2006

Pre-Schooler Etiquette...Help????

Ok, so The Dictator is starting pre-school in September.

And I'm freaking out.

First off, I had to *ask* when school starts. I know. I know. But, I've been out of school a very long time and I seriously couldn't remember if students start the Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day.

But what are the rules? I have to go to Toronto the beginning of September for work (I got my first professional blogging job. More on that later...) but there was no way I was missing The Dictator's first day of school. No way. Nu-huh.

I mean, she needs her mother there, right? Rather, I think the truth is, I need to be there. No matter what the job was, there was no way I was missing her first day of school.

So what exactly happens from all you mothers who've been there, done that?

You take your child (who is still, in your eyes, a baby!) and you walk with her into the classroom and then what?

Do you introduce yourself to the teacher? Do you let it be known what kind of mother you will be? (Do you stick around and spy?) Do you introduce yourself to other parents and immediately start setting up playdates?

And how long are you supposed to stay for? Until your child is settled? Or are you booted out? Does the teacher boot you out? Do you stick around, waiting outside?

What? What? What?

What if The Dictator is terrified and starts to cry? Is the first day too soon to yank your child out of school?

What should she wear? Do I have to pack extra clothes in case she has an "accident?" Do I need to pack lunch if it's only half days?

And should I be preparing her for "school?" Should I be explaining that it's just like camp?

I'm terrified. I have the first day jitters. I hate it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Living out of my car...

Ok, I'm so *not* going to say I'm "bored" with the "bored mommy" topic. Because we all know now what happens when we use the word "bored."

Today I felt like I literally drove around the entire day. I felt like I spent enough time in my car driving around the city that I could have drove to a cottage on a Friday on a long weekend. Yes, that's how much time I spent in my car.

Any other mothers feel, as their child gets older, that they might as well move into their car?

I drove The Dictator to camp. Then I picked her up. Then I drove her to get some lunch. Then I drove her here, then there, and everywhere.

I imagine, starting in September (Will blog about my angst about sending The Dictator to school for the first time on Monday) I will be driving a lot.

Because after school, there will be other classes - swimming, ballet, martial arts - to take her too. (Don't worry. I haven't yet signed her up for anything...)

I get "mall brain" when I'm in a mall too long, like after ten minutes (that very claustrophobic feeling when you just need fresh air..)

Now I think I have "car brain." Is that possible?

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Are you a Bored Mother?

Ok, now that this topic has been beaten to death, I'd still like to contribute...

Yes, I did write the Bored mummies article in the Globe and Mail's Focus section last Saturday....

And ever since I wrote it, I've been asking myself, "Are you bored Rebecca? Does The Dictator bore you?"

See, here's the thing. Although *some* people somehow read into the story that Rebecca Eckler was a bored mommy, I never actually wrote that. I never once wrote, "I'm bored! My daughter bores me!" So re-read the story.

That being said, I can completely understand women who do find some aspects of motherhood boring.

I do.

Trust me, the minute I realized that I had four copies of Goodnight Moon in my home, in almost every fucking room, I knew that book was going to bore me to tears.

I'm sorry, good book or bad book, any book you have to read 1000 times DOES become boring.

Here's the problem with this *war* between mothers, those on the one side that do, courageously, admit that they find certain aspects of being a mother boring, and those on the other side, who think that every fucking second with their child is the best thing, the creation of cookie dough cheesecake.

The problem is is that if you tell me that you think every second with your child is the most fun you've ever had, I'm not going to believe you.

Yes, no matter what you tell me, I'm going to either think you are a liar, have great repression skills, or that you are on some enviable drugs.

However, if you tell me that you refuse to do *anything and everything* that you find boring with your child, ever, than I am going to think you aren't a great mother and you probably shouldn't have any more children.

So, am I bored?

No. No, I am not.

You know why? Because I once had two jobs during the summer during university, one calling people out of a fucking phone book all day long, and another putting Q-tips in baggies for eight hours a day.

Both those jobs were friggen boring, so boring that I could honestly fall asleep at my desk while doing them.

I do not really enjoy reading the same book, night after night, nor do I love hearing, "Swiper! No Swiping!" 3000 times a day, but I've never fallen asleep while doing those things.

I plan well now to make sure I'm never bored.

For example, I will spend the entire day with The Dictator at Center Island, asking her every five minutes if she needs "to go to the potty" or putting suntan lotion on her 50 times a day at a cottage. And then I'll go out for a couple hours at night.

And, the thing is - and this is the main thing - no matter how tedious some of the things us mothers have to do, the minute I step out the door to do some "fun" adult things with friends or alone, I immediately miss The Dictator.

Is motherhood boring? Um, try putting Q-tips in baggies for 8 hours a day, for two months, and then tell me.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tushies, Tattoos, and Truth

So it's no secret (or at least not now) that I have two tattoos. One on my ass. One on my ankle.

The one on my ass I like. It has meaning. It's small. And, plus, it's on my ass so even when I turn 70 and am wrinkly, who the hell will be looking at my ass?

I like the one on my ass as well, because no one gets to see it unless I show it to them. I mean, it's completely covered by bikini bottoms and other unmentionables.

The one on my ankle, well, don't like it so much. For one thing, it's ugly. It was a bad tattoo job. I regret it. I will get it removed one of these days.

So, the other day, while I was taking a shower, The Dictator was peaking at me behind the shower curtain.

Now, she usually showers with me, but sometimes it's just easier, and quicker, for me to shower by myself. Now I can just tell her, "You don't want to shower with me because the shampoo hurts your eyes, right?"

Because that's what she always says, rather cries. Anyway, when we don't shower together, she usually hangs with me in the washroom (Even when Nanny is around) and we chit chat.

The other day, she was looking at me in the shower and said, "Mommy, what's on your bum?"

Which gave me a pause.

I mean, I always imagined myself as the type of mother who is all about the truth. You want to know what that is? Well, that's a nipple. Half the time, The Dictator walks around saying stuff like, "I don't have a bra."

But, you know, I really didn't want my almost three year-old knowing about tattoos. Funny how that happens. I think I'll be okay if, one day, she wants her belly button pierced. Like when she's 17.

But tattoos? Nu-huh. I mean, frankly, I don't mind the idea of tattoos. On other people who are not my daughter. The problem is one usually regrets getting them. And, you only start to regret them a couple years after you get them, when you're older.

I'm a complete mother now, thinking, "No way is The Dictator going to get a tattoo because she'll regret it. No way is my daughter going to mark up her perfectly perfect skin."

So my answer was, "It's a sticker!"

To which The Dictator responded, "I want a sticker on my bum too."

To which I responded, "OK, you can have a sticker on your bum."

Thankfully, she's only almost three, which means her attention span is like a fleas. She forgot all about the "I want a sticker on my bum too," when she saw one of my OB tampons.

I mean, thank god she didn't ask what that was. I'm so not ready for that conversation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cutie Patutie Ben Mulroney...

That kind of rhymes, right? Cutie Patutie Ben Mulroney?

Well, sort of.

Anyway, this isn't so much about Ben Mulroney as it is about THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE in a long time.

Well, I went to Canadian Idol last night. I used all my contacts and my grand position in media to get media seats for me and two friends. (Ok, fine, I made one phone call, but still...)

I was actually embarrassed to tell one of my friends, who I had made previous plans with last night, that we "just had to make on quick stop somewhere," before really going out.

Her: "Where?"
Me: "Just somewhere. It will be fun."
Her: "Come on! Where? Where are you taking me now?" (OK, to give her credit, whenever she goes out with me, we end up doing something she'd never expected to do in a million years.)
Me: "Fine. We're going to Canadian Idol."
Her: "What's Canadian Idol?"
Me: "CANADIAN IDOL! DO YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK?" (Ok, to give her credit, she is 33 and is very busy doing other stuff than watching television every night, like me.)

So I casually mentioned to another friend - let's call her Sophisticated Friend - that I was going to Canadian Idol, with another friend, under my breath (because you know, you're not sure how people will react when you admit you are a major Idol fan) while we were on the phone that afternoon.

To my utter shock, Sophisticated Friend said, "Oh, I want to come! Can I come?"

Let's just say I'd never in a million years imagine that Sophisticated Friend would be an Idol Head. She totally is!

So I got back on the phone and said I needed three tickets. Pas de problem.

Sophisticated Friend started to get cold feet.

Her: "Are we going to be the oldest people there?"
Me: "Of course we are! Everyone else will in the audience will be like 12! But who cares? I'm a proud Idol Head!"

So the three of us - Sophisticated Friend in a black pencil skirt and heels, me in ripped jeans and flip flops, No Idea Friend in skin tight jeans and kitty heels - hopped in a mammoth black SUV and headed to Idol.

Anyway, it was super fun. And, I will admit, I was the one leading the "booos!" when Zack Werner said something mean. I don't know. I get a rush from starting those sorts of things, while my friends looked at me like, "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?"

Still, they laughed. And I laughed. I mean, really, it was fun.

Ben Mulroney looked hot (the dude has lost a lot of weight!) all the contestants sound so much better live than on television, and they also look so much better.

I swear, on TV, dare I say it, well, let's just say that the camera does add a few pounds. In person, they're all like matchsticks.

I actually liked all of their performances. I had a new respect for Chad, and Ashley. And I always like Steffi D.

What really got me, and this is the mother in me, was watching the mothers of the Idol contestants. I swear, it would break your heart to see the pride pour out of these women. I couldn't even imagine one day having The Dictator up on a stage, in front of millions of viewers, and watch her perform. I don't think I could handle it.

After, with my voice hoarse, my friends and I headed to the Four Seasons for a drink and food. One of the Canadian Idol judges joined.

All in all, a great fucking night. Even my No Idea Friend is now a convert and swears she's going to watch from now on.

Oh, and we weren't the oldest ones there.

After all, the Canadian Idol contestant mothers were there. I ain't that old. Yet.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The "Real" Play Dates

Ok, I'm the first to admit that I've never set up The Dictator on a Play Date. (She's turning three in October.)

This is because there were certain terms I hate after I gave birth, ("Putting her down for a nap," was one. I loathed when I heard people say, at nap time, "I'm just putting her down." Then again, I've had one too many pet dogs who had to be "Put down.")

Before, um, yesterday, I never understood the term Play Date. Really. Should I be calling my friend V., who has a child around the same age as The Dictator, and say, 'Let's have a Play Date?' when really, we both knew our children wouldn't ever "play" together, so much as each play with their own toys at the opposite end of the room and scream when one of them banged their head on the coffee table?

Up until yesterday, The Dictator, quite frankly, couldn't give a rat's ass about other children. At first, I was all like, "Hey, she's just independent. She doesn't follow the crowd!"

Then, as she got older, I was like, "Hey, I wonder what's wrong with her? Why DOESN'T she want to play with other kids?"

Show my kid another 18 month-old and she was way more interested in a stick. So I suppose I would "get together" with other mothers, but I never used the term "Play date" because there was no playing going on.

But, yesterday, we went to my Aunt and Uncle's cottage, where The Dictator's second cousin - no wait, um my first cousins daughter - does that make her a second or third cousin? - whatever. I think second.

Anyway, there was another 2 year old there. And I swear to good, they were bestie friends from the minute they met to the minute we left.

There's just something about the first time your child really, and I mean *really* plays with another child that makes so you fucking happy....and kind of sad.

For the first time ever, The Dictator didn't come up to me a million times a day, she didn't insist on sitting on my lap, or that I walk around with her.

I was like, "Hey Babe! I'm going on a boat ride," kind of expecting her to say, "I wanna come too!" or, "Don't leave me mommy! I need you forever!"

But I didn't get any of that. I got a, "OK, bye!"

Because The Dictator was too busy running around naked with her new friend to care about me going off.

She was so happy, which made me so happy.

Pretty soon she'll be putting on her own socks, and where will that leave me?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why Do You Blog?

Sometimes, a blogger needs a day of rest. Or sometimes three days of rest. Or sometimes a week of rest.

I was kind of bemused, you could say, to get a blog spanking from - of course - an anonymous poster telling me it's "rude" to not post everyday, that people "expect" me to post something everyday.

Well, ya know, sometimes I just have nothing to say. And, sometimes, I just don't feel like it. And sometimes, I like to watch the fifth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I just bought!) instead of blogging. Shit, I think that makes me human.

And, sometimes, I go out of town. Like this long weekend (in Canada) I headed to Scottsdale where the house is finally ready!

I had a grand ole time, and didn't blog. Spank me! Harder! Ouch! Oh yeah, baby.

After getting technologically spanked, I started to think, 'Why do people blog?' I mean, really, tell me why you blog.

A lot of the time, I blog about The Dictator because I need advice or need to know that other people are in the same shoes I am in at present with her developments. (Has any other mother just been told, "When I grow up I want to drive a garbage truck so I can take away your poo?")

Other times I blog, because I am a writer and need to get my thoughts out. I suppose other times I like to talk about controversial things, to figure out human nature, and about things that piss me off. Because it's kind of like therapy.

And, sometimes I think, "Fuck, wouldn't it be nice for someone to actually pay me to do this? Hello? Anyone want to pay me to do this?"

But, honestly, I don't blog just to blog. And I don't want to blog just to blog.

I would blog, just to blog, I suppose, if someone said, "Hey Eckler! I'll pay you $500 an hour to blog every single day for an hour." I mean, most people don't love their jobs, but they work because they have bills to pay.

I love doing my mommy blogger column in The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper.

But, trust me, I've had other writing jobs where it was fucking work.

I had to write because I was getting paid to write. And there was always a pair of shoes my feet just wanted to jump into. Thus, I would write just to write (and cash the paycheck) even when I wasn't fully into writing about whatever.

I'm in a better place now. My fiance says that I've squirreled my money away. And it's kind of true. I mean, for the first ten years of my working life, I would spend like I was a high roller. I wanted a Prada coat, I'd buy it.

But I was never saving anything. And it didn't really matter. As long as I could come up with rent money.

Then, along came The Dictator. And everything changed. I mean, I started to have paranoid thoughts like, "What if The Fiance and I don't make it as a couple and I have to support her on my own?" "What if The Dictator wants to go to an American College?" (or for that matter a Canadian one.) And, "What if she wants to be a professional skater and I have to buy those very expensive uniforms?"

So, yes, I've started to save. And I'm not even saving it for me. I look at Prada dresses now and I want them. But now I'm like, "Whatever." The coat I bought last year will be just fine.

Ok, that's kind of a lie. But now I'll see a coat for $400 and I'll think, "OK, that's so much better than $4000."

The truth is, I don't even look that great in designer clothes. I don't look good in make up and I look better in flip flops, ripped jeans and a plain white tank top when my hair is a mess. That's me.

But I'm getting off topic. I think the topic being I'm also in a better place because I want to like what I do now, even if I'm not making a ton of money.

One woman I know just left a high powered ad job, where she was getting paid a ton of dough, to become a personal trainer.

Other people can't believe this. I saw her last night and told her my thoughts, which were, "It is so fantastic!" I mean, she wanted to be a personal trainer, and she's going for it. I love that. Screw doing things for a lot of money. Do what you want to do, as long as you can pay the bills and give your child a great life.

I always tell The Fiance that the happiest time in my life was when I was living in an attic apartment (With a pet mouse) for $600 a month. Not that I'm not happy now, but the point is, money truly does not buy happiness.

It buys freedom to travel, I suppose. And, yes, I hear the argument, "You can only say money doesn't buy happiness if you have money!"

Well, as someone who suffered from P.P.D in a major fucking way, I know what it's like to be depressed.

And I know what it's like to be happy. I could have had all the medical attention I wanted and/or needed and had the money, I suppose, to buy all the Miu Miu bags a gal could want when I was depressed. But I still couldn't get out of bed.

The best thing having Post Partum Depression did was make me realize that life can be good, if you make it good. (Kind of like telling your children, "Only boring people are bored!")

I love to blog. But I want to blog when I have something to blog about. Or else you'd all be The Fiance and have to listen to every mundane thought that passes through my mind. Trust me, you don't want to be on that end.

And I don't want to make blogging a chore. What the fuck? I have enough chores to do. Blogging should be fun and helpful and entertaining and supportive. That's why I read blogs.

But, no, it should be anything BUT a chore. Like I said, I enjoy blogging. In fact, I love it. But that doesn't mean I got to do it every day (Hey I also like getting facials, but I don't do that everyday.)

So spank away. Oh yeah baby.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How to (Professionally) Thank People...

Where have I been? Where have I been?

I'm sorry. Basically, life got in the way of blogging. Don't you hate when that happens?

I have two books coming out next year. Which I'm happy about. One is the follow up to Knocked Up. Another is the first in a series of teen fiction books.

But, basically, I'm editing both at the same time. Which means just as I feel, "Ok, phew, finished that edit!" in the mail arrives some more pages for me to edit from the other book.

And, then, once I finish those and think, "OK, phew, finished that edit!" well, the first book comes back at me again, like a boomerang.

In any case, I finished (this round) of both books, just in time to head to Arizona for the long weekend. I've learned from past long weekends away, that you can't really enjoy yourself if you're thinking about deadlines and things you should have finished before you left but didn't.

This is all to say that I wanted to go away without any work on my brain. And I've accomplished that. Except I just know something will be waiting for me upon my return. But I have a few days before that happens.

I'm not sure about other authors, but the least fun part for me of writing a book is doing the acknowledgments. I know, I know. How hard can it be? I mean, don't you just thank everyone who ever meant anything to you?

Well, when my first book came out, I kind of did just that. I thanked basically everyone in the world. (I even thank Peggy Atwood, who I love!)

This time, for Wiped! (the follow up), nope. This time I thanked those who actually mean something to me, or who meant something to me during the writing of it.

I thank the people who worked on the book, my agent, and then some friends and family.

I said to the fiance when I was done, "It's so weird to write out a list of people who mean something to me." Because it has changed - somewhat drastically, since when I found out I was pregnant, when I wrote the first one, to now.

First off, unlike the first book, I only thank those people who I have talked to at least once a week since giving birth.

Being a mother means making time for friends, because you don't actually have that much free time. So, I figure, if I made the time to call them, it means I like them and care about them.

Likewise, most of the people I thank this round have also called me often.

Being a mother makes you realize who your friends are.

A lot of my "friends" dropped off the face of the planet in the few months after I gave birth.

This could be because they probably weren't really "friends" but more work-related friends, and since I've mostly become a full-time book writer, I don't have as many "work friends."

Also, I'm older (and maybe being a mother has made me wiser) but I don't thank people who were only friends on the "party-circuit" this round. I so don't care anymore about being seen in the scene. I really do care about toilet training.

Sure, I love seeing my party-circuit friends, but, come on, they really didn't help me out with the book. I'll still buy them a drink or two, but, well, you know.

Then there are the bosses. At The Globe and Mail, where I write a weekly column in the style section, I thank two of my editors, because I've really enjoyed working with them. Also, they were technically around while writing this book. I don't thank any of my editors at Last Place Of Employment, because, well, they weren't around for this book.

I thank two or three of my freelance editors, who I talk to once a month or so. But I really respect them. So they'll always get thanks, for all of my books.

And I actually thank all the readers of Because, when I thought about who really has gotten me through a lot of this thing called Mothering, it was you guys. (And hey, you guys made it, Peggy Atwood didn't! Doesn't that mean something?)

But, trust me, if you are a mother, don't write out a list of friends (which, basically, is an acknowledgement list.) Because you'll wonder what happened to some of your friends and that will depress the fuck out of you.

Then again, you'll look at your now smaller list and think to yourself, "This is what it's like to have real friends."

And that's kind of nice. It's actually kind of very nice.