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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dictator is Furious...

at me.

Well, at least she was last night at about midnight. I don't think I've ever had someone that mad at me.

I was super exhausted from attending an evening yoga class (the instructor only called out my name 22 times last night to correct my postures. It was a great class! As a side note, how is it that yoga instructors who have never met you always know your name? Ok, I know they probably watch us sign in our names, but how do they actually remember our names? Anyway...)

I mean going to an evening yoga class was great in the sense that the class ended at 7:45 p.m. which meant I got home at 8 p.m. which meant The Dictator should have been in bed.

It's just been one of those weeks (OK, two weeks) where the Dictator hasn't slept through the night, so again I'm a walking talking zombie. Well, a walking zombie who can almost put together a sentence.

The point is, I was excited that maybe she'd be in bed. When I'm at home, she only lets me put her to bed. But when someone else does it, she seems to go to bed a lot easier and quicker and falls asleep almost immediately.

In any case, I was so exhausted from this so-NOT-a-Level-One yoga class (even though it was, in fact, a level one yoga class) that I was in bed by 10:30 p.m. which is really early for me. I'm a night person. I could watch re-runs of Will and Grace until one in the morning. Ok, now I'm really sounding pathetic, but it's true.

Anyway, I was so fast asleep until I heard my daughter sudden wailing, "Mommee!!! Where are you?? WHERE ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU?"

I thought if I ignored her, it might be one of those far and few between lucky times when she'd just fall back asleep.

She so did not fall back asleep. She just kept screaming, "WHERE ARE YOU? YOU HAVE TO SLEEP WITH ME!!!!!"

I trudged to her room and she started screaming at me that I was "NEVER supposed to not sleep with her."

"You are always supposed to sleep with me," she screamed. "You are never supposed to sleep in the other bed. NEVER!"

I mean, the gal was pissed off at me. Truly pissed off.

Because I was half asleep I didn't really want to get into explaining how or why I couldn't always sleep with her. I just wanted to sleep. I also was so not going to beg for forgiveness - "I'm so sorry, sweetie. I promise I'll always sleep with you - because she's three and I'm so not always going to sleep with her. And, really, do you have to beg for forgiveness to a three-year old.

Granted, I do hate when she gets mad at me.

I just got into her bed and slept in a wet patch of diet ginger ale on her Dora the Explorer sheets that are about as comfortable as sleeping on sandpaper.

Yes, diet ginger ale is the drink of choice she goes to bed with these days. She doesn't actually drink it, so much as just hold the cup, so please don't yell at me because I let my child go to bed with a sippy cup of diet Canada Dry, that leaks all over the bed that I ended up sleeping in.

Please, I already have a three year old mad at me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I love Yogis...

I am so bad at yoga.

Really. I'm always the worst in every class I attend. I'm pretty sure yoga is the only class where they say "beginner" or "Level one," and no one is ever a beginner or a level one. Never.

But I still love it. It really does help my mental state. I just feel so much better after doing a yoga class.

And I love yoga people. I love them. I want to be one of them. In fact, if I could go back ten years, I'd probably decide to be a yoga teacher, because I've never met a yoga instructor who didn't have a great outlook on life or seem to want the best for you.

For example, the other day I went to my new yoga studio and said to the guy at the front desk, "What is this flow class? I'm really a beginner, so can beginners take this? I really am the worst in every class."

And you know what this guy said to me?

He said, "Don't EVER say that about yourself. Ever! I never want to hear you say something like that about yourself again."

I just thought how nice it would be for this yoga man to follow me around all day, while I'm working, or being a mother, and keep saying that to me, "Never say that about yourself. Never say you're the worst." How great would that be?

And there's just something about being in a yoga class that makes you like everyone around you. At the end of every class at this new studio I've been going to, not only do you bow to the instructor and say, "namaste," you have to bow and say it to everyone around you.

I mean, that's nice. It's so very rare that I find myself in a room full of people where I actually have good thoughts about everyone. But in yoga I do. I like everyone around me.

So yoga has become my new obsession. The one problem is, well, actually, there are a couple of problems.

The first being is that I actually want to become very good at yoga. Which means I get quite competitive. Which, I know, I know, I know, is so not the point of yoga. You are not supposed to care about what the person beside you is doing. Which is so beautiful. It's such a beautiful thought to not worry about the person on the mat next to you.

And, yet, I can't help but look at the person next to me - to see how much better they are than me. So that's one problem.

Yoga is not supposed to be competitive, and yet I am, by nature, a competitive person. So I'll need to get over that. How does one get over that exactly?

Second, yoga takes a lot of time out of your schedule. I mean, the classes are an hour and a half. So, if you take travel time to and from into consideration, and an extra 15 minutes, which I need to get the spot at the back of the class, we're basically talking my entire morning...or entire afternoon.

That's the thing. To fit yoga in regularly is pretty stressful, especially considering I have to edit a draft of a book and am in the middle of writing another one. I mean, I got to work! I have work to do!

Which also goes against the grain of yoga. You're supposed to be relaxed, right? Yoga is supposed to be relaxing. And it is, while I'm in the middle of a class. But not so much while I'm trying to get there, make sure I get my spot, and then thinking, after the class, that I just spent two and a half hours doing yoga (or getting to and from yoga) when I should have been working.

The other problem is, and this is one that I'm not sure how will ever be solved and is totally embarassing, but I do not know my 'left' from 'right.' And in yoga, you need to know 'left' from 'right.' I'm always behind everyone else, because it takes me a few seconds to remember which is my right side and which is my left side, after the instructor is like, "Left foot forward, right foot behind."

But I still love it. Because people who do yoga, at least at this studio I go to, are honest to goodness good people. They're all like, "I'll help you Rebecca. We can get together if you like and I'll show you the moves." And, "Never say anything bad about yourself," and, "Is my mat too close to yours? Are you okay?"

I mean, a monthly unlimited pass at yoga is way cheaper than therapy. And it seems to work a heck of a lot better.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Negotiating Mother's Day...

So, as most of you know, I'm a big believer in Mother's Day. And gifts. Mostly gifts.

I was, after all, the one who tried to convince The Fiance that I was a Mother while I was four months pregnant, so deserved a Mother's Day gift, even if, at the point, I didn't actually have a baby in my arms as proof yet.

(And yes I still believe that. So all you pregger women out there, get your partners to at least acknowledge Mother's doing something nice for you!)

Anyway, we had a couple couple friends over for dinner a few nights ago. There were three of us mothers, and three fathers and I literally started a debate about Mother's Day. It turned nasty. Well, not really. But I do want you to see how important this is.

It all started because I casually suggested that mothers should receive two gifts on Mother's Day - one from the father of the child, and one from the child (bought by the father on their behalf.)

So, because The Dictator is only three, I can't expect her to buy me a gift because she doesn't understand the concept of Mother's Day and I can't expect her to understand it either. Plus, when you ask her where "money comes from?" she answers, "The money store."

Also, yesterday I told her it was my birthday on Friday and she said, "No, mommy. It's not your birthday. It's my birthday on Friday." (Her birthday is in October.)

So, needless to say, she doesn't understand the concept of birthdays or Mother's Day.

And, as a side note, I'm like the person who is born on Christmas.

It kind of blows to be born around Mother's Day, because people think they can just wrap both your birthday and Mother's Day into one present. And that's just not right.

And that's where the negotiating gets even worse.

I also expect a present from the fiance for my birthday and one from the Dictator (bought on her behalf by the fiance.) I'm turning 33 for godssake. It's a huge year for me, even though I'm totally lying and turning 34.

Anyway, all the fathers (ahem, men!) at our dinner party were like, "No, you gals get one gift from the child. We have our own mothers to buy gifts for!"

And all the gals (Ahem, women) were like, "No, you have to get us two gifts for Mother's Day!"

Women just like getting gifts. Okay? Deal.

So, I have basically had to negotiate the terms of my birthday/Mother's Day gifts. I used to be all over the surprise gift and put a lot of faith (a.k.a high expectations) in The Fiance picking out something he knew I'd just love. And, you know, he was pretty good at it. He never dissapointed.

Most men, unless you say, "I want that bag that is on the third shelf at this specific store and ask for the saleslady named Sally who has been told what I want," don't really get the hint. So I'm very lucky.

But, this year, I couldn't really think of anything I really wanted so simply said, "Well, I'll just go to Neiman Marcus (I'll be in Arizona for a couple days as of tomorrow) and pick out a couple of things for my birthday and Mother's Day from you and Rowan."

This, of course, turned into me having to argue my point about how many gifts I could buy myself, based on my belief that Mother's Day and birthdays are two seperate celebrations and that I should be getting gifts from both The Fiance and The Dictator for both.

And maybe a gift for myself from myself...for both my birthday and Mother's Day.

Anyway, I don't really expect anything huge or expensive. That's not the point. A homemade card or a roll of toilet paper from The Dictator would be just fine for my birthday/Mother's Day. A gift certificate for a massage would be great.

The real point is, it's too hard to negotiate anything with the fiance, who is a lawyer - a trained negotiator.

All I have on my side is tears - I can cry on cue - and trying to argue about the number of gifts by stamping my feet and hope The fiance will somehow see my side of things.

Which will never happen. Or it might. Stay tuned.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there!!!

At the very least, you should do something nice for yourself.....I can guarantee I'll be getting at least one gift, even if I have to buy it for myself....from myself.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Women who Love Men Who Love Cars

So, I got a new car.

My trainer asked me what was new and so I told her.

"I got a new car," I said.

"Really? When?" she asked.

"A few days ago," I answered.

"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked, excitedly.

Here's the thing. I really don't care at all about cars. The first car I ever bought was from a colleague of mine, back when I was working as a producer for Pamela Wallin. She sold it to me for $500. It was like 3000 years old.

At that time, I was living with a guy - who I had to lead my grandparents to believe was a gay man, but that's another story. I didn't think they were ready to hear that their only granddaughter was living with a man - and he chipped in $250 for it and I chipped in the other half.

The car, ironically, died the day we broke up. I swear to god.

Anyway, the car was a piece of shit. My colleague who sold it to me had had a german sheppard dog for years, who always went with her wherever she went, and there was no air conditioning in the car and everytime you turned on the fan, clumps of dog hair would blow in your face and up my nose.

But the point was, it got me from A to B, even if I came out of the car on hot summer days looking like I had just taken a three hour hot bikram yoga class and smelled like a dog.

I do have certain opinions about cars. For example, I don't think I have ever seen a person who drives a Ferrari that I actually would like. I'm sorry to offend anyone out there who is a Ferrari driver, but, and I hate to make sweeping generalizations, but every time I see a Ferrari whip past me, I can't help but think, "God, what an asshole!"

Anyway, my trainer asked me what kind of car I got. So, like a trained dog who plays dead when their owner says "Play dead," I repeated the type of car I now drive, thanks to the fiance who had to remind me what kind of car it is about hundred and twelve times. He picked the car.

I kind of wanted a Prius (Is that how you spell them?) because I do care about the environment, and Brad Pitt drives one, which, I know, isn't the greatest reason to buy a car.

But in a city like Calgary, where everyone eats, drinks, lives and breathes, gas and oil, it was hard to convince the fiance to get a Prius, let alone test drive one.

Plus, the government workers in Calgary drive Prius' and that kind of made me not want to drive one.

The fiance loves my new car. He's the kind of guy who lives, eats, breaths cars. He can talk about cars with his friends for friggen hours. It takes him months and months and months to decide what kind of car he wants, only to change his mind, and then we have to go through months and months and months of more discussions about cars.

It's really hard to live with a man who is obsessed with cars. I know he listens to me moan about, let's say the pimple on my chin, for hours, so I guess the least I can do is listen to him talk about cars endlessly. But the thing is, because I don't care about cars, my opinion about cars doesn't have any impact at all in his decision about what car he wants next. He pretends it does, but it really doesn't.

I think cars are status symbols for many people. For me, not so much. I really do not care at all about cars. I'm not even a good driver. I am, however, very good at getting parking tickets, which is at least sort of about cars.

What is the one thing about your partner that he (or she) is obsessed with that you aren't?

Anyway, I told my trainer that there were a couple cool things about this car (See? I already forget what kind of car it is - I do know there is a xi or a si in the name of it. I think...)

First off, as the car dealer man explained to me, I can put my can of diet coke in the cup container and there's a little air conditioner thing, that keeps my can of diet coke cold. It's completey ridiculous. But so ridiculous, I kind of like knowing I have the option of having a cold can of pop in my car, if I want.

Second, there's this button I can push when it rains and the car somehow knows how hard it is raining and the windshield wipers will move accordingly to the amount of rain.

Third, there is a fin at the top of the car (Is that called a spoiler?) which makes me feel kind of cool.

Fourth (am I allowed a fourth?) it is really friggen fast. I swear to god, I can now get home from my office in six minutes.

Fifth (if I'm allowed a fourth, surely I'm allowed a fifth) it talks to me. My car talks to me. I had to take the Dictator to a party yesterday that was very far from my house. All I had to do is plug in the address and as I was driving, Car Voice Lady would say, "In 500 meters turn right. In 300 meters, turn left."

This is the most useful feature as it will save me from calling the fiance or my friends in Calgary screaming, "I'm somewhere and there's a Seven Eleven on my right and a Macdonald's on my left and how the FUCK do I get home from here!!!!" which happens at least once a week, when I'm in Calgary.

Plus, I loved how the Dictator would ask me, "Why is that woman talking? She said make a left mommy! Make a left!"

And, hey, there are no clumps of dog hair flying in my face. And it gets me from A to B. So I guess I like my new car.

Any bets on how long before I get my first ticket?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cake or Heather Mallick

Heather Mallick is a Canadian writer, for those of you who haven't heard of her - Us journalist types think that everyone has always heard of us - we're so wrong! - who has worked at many newspapers as a writer and editor. She's now writing for Chatelaine and

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, after my first reading for my book Wiped! Life with a Pint-Size Dictator, it kind of hit me hard - like a slap in the face - that readings are awful things to do as a writer.

It's so awful to walk into a room, see two hundred chairs laid out, realize that your reading is on some big playoff hockey game night (and I couldn't give a rat's ass about hockey) and that it's lucky that 30 people showed up.

So I made a pact with myself that I must support the arts more.

And by supporting the arts, I mean showing up for readings of other authors who come through town. Literally, I will be a seat filler if it does make an author feel better during a reading. Because I've been there, done that, grateful to all those who show up.

At around the same time I heard Mallick was coming to Calgary, she received a brutal review about her book in a newspaper. It was so brutal, in fact, that I was completely intrigued by the book (Maybe it's true that all press is good press?)

I decided that, because of my new pact to go to book readings, and because of this awful review that completely intrigued me to the book, that I would go see Heather Mallick in person (I have never met her before) when she came through Calgary.

One of my writer friends, when I told him I was going to a book reading FOR MY FIRST TIME that night said something like, "Well, bring a pillow you might fall asleep."

Anyway, I was very proud of myself because not only did I make the reading, I forced the fiance to come with me.

I often tape shows on television for the fiance about writers and "The writing life," just so maybe he can understand how hard and depressing and isolating and how insecure all authors are.

I need him to know that writing is not always, or ever, that much fun. And that I'm not completely crazy. I'm just a writer! (What came first, the chicken or the egg? Am I crazy because I'm a writer, or am I writer because I'm crazy?)

The point is, that maybe by bringing the fiance he would see that being an author is hard work.

Anyway, I arrived at the reading, took a seat with the fiance beside me and Heather Mallick (who I was stunned to see looked so cute and petite in person) began to read from her book. She started with one of her essays about why we should have higher taxes.

Immediately, in my head, I was like, "OH MY GOD. DON'T DO IT! DON'T READ THAT!" I mean, this was in Calgary, where everyone and their dog believes that they are already taxed way too much.

I thought the fiance was going to walk out in fact. But he stayed put. (The Fiance and I do have different beliefs when it comes to taxes.)

I have to admit that I never really got Mallick's columns before. I mean, they were certainly good enough for me to read them, from beginning to end (a huge feat for any writer) but I always felt like I was missing the joke.

But, in person, she's probably one of the funniest women I have ever met. I get her now! I get her!

She's friggen odd! And by odd I mean in that great way, in the way that you actually start getting a crush on a person because they are so odd (Kind of like my American Idol boyfriend, Blake Lewis...there's just something about him.)

I swear to god, I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time.

And this is also why people should go to book readings. Because as she was reading her essays or "rants," I completely understood her sense of humour. Now, not only do I have a crush on Mallick, but I'm obsessed with going to more book readings.

When I told this to another male writer friend, he said, "God, you must be really bored!" The thing is, I'm not bored. Heather Mallick was super entertaining. Honestly. She was better than any movie I've seen in the past six months. AND I'M SUPPORTING THE ARTS!

The fiance and I went out for dinner after the reading. As soon as I got home, I cracked open Mallick's book, Cake or Death, and practically read the whole thing in one night.

In fact, I don't understand why she got such a bad review. I don't get it at all. The reviewer, I think, should go see Mallick in person and then maybe she'll get her writing.

The book is laugh-out-loud funny, even if you don't agree with Mallick. I was literally reading lines out of the book to the Fiance, while he was watching the golf channel.

Or maybe I'm just as strange as Mallick is. Who knows? But I do know that she's my new girl crush.