Rebecca Eckler: Baby Stuff In My Space!

Searching for sanctuary in a house filled with baby things


How is it that something that is the size of a sack of potatoes can manage to take up my entire house? My eight-month old son, Holt, has managed to take up almost every room in the house.

In my living room, half the floor is covered with those colourful alphabet soft floor coverings, with a ton of toys strewn over them. In the kitchen, is his playpen, which takes up a fair chunk of the room, and his high chair. In the den off the kitchen, well, he pretty much has taken over the entire room. There are two couches in there and again a floor covered in colourful alphabet soft floor coverings. There’s not even a coffee table in there anymore, after he managed to jump off the couch and slit his chin open, which means I can’t eat in front of the television anymore.

There are buckets of toys for him. There are toys everywhere on the floor. I can’t walk one step usually without stepping on something that makes some sort of noise. And, yes, he does have his own bedroom too. Which means, when I count, this little baby the size of a sack of potatoes pretty much has taken over four rooms in the house.

When I had my daughter, nine years ago, her father and I lived in a beautiful two-bedroom condo. There were only two bedrooms, one for her father and I, and one for her. But we realized, after all her stuff (bouncy chairs, playpens, vibrating chairs, tents) that we actually needed to move into a house. When I think back, I can’t believe that we actually left such a nice condo to move into a house…because of a baby. But now I’m living in a house, and not much has changed. Meaning, no matter how big or small your place is, babies have a way of taking over entire rooms, with all their crap. Crap, of course, that is needed to keep them occupied, but still a lot of crap, that takes up a lot of room.

The ONE and only room that I felt was MINE (ALL MINE!) was my bedroom. It was the only place that remained free from all baby stuff. That is, it had been until yesterday, when I saw a colourful talking flower on my dresser. “How did this get in here!” I yelled.My bedroom was my sanctuary. I no longer “owned” the living room, the den, or even the kitchen (not to mention my office became my son’s bedroom.) “We were playing in here earlier,” my fiancé said. “Get it out now!” I said. “I need ONE room, just ONE room in this house that does not have one baby toy in it.”

I’m thinking, in fact, that it is better to have a smaller space to live in, because the more space you have, the more your baby takes over.

And no more than after having a baby, does a mother (or woman) need a room of her own. I feel, in fact, that somehow this baby, who can’t yet walk, has already sort of walked all over me. For God’s sake, he has more space than I do! And I pay the mortgage!


Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most well-known journalists. She has been a columnist with the National Post, Canada's national newspaper, for five years, including a stint as a New York-based columnist and feature writer. She is the best-selling author of Knocked UpWiped!Toddlers Gone Wild, How to Raise a Boyfriend and The Lucky Sperm Club. Rebecca lives in Toronto with her fiancé and family. 

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