Monday, January 4, 2010

warning: four letter words ahead!

I have a confession to make. I'm a potty mouth. Big time. Like fuckin' huge! That admisson would probably surprise some people, I'm a mother of four, I operate a natural parenting business that lends itself to a hippy-dippy, wholesome image (I do wear birks, they're fuckin' awesome!). Of course, I'm not suggesting I'm *not* a wholesome person, I'm just a wholesome person who likes to swear. A lot.

If you had asked me before I was a mother if I would ever swear in front of my future children, my probable answer would have been 'no', in fact, I likely would have been horrified at the idea. However, when you've never been a parent, or when you're only a parent of one, it's awfully easy to pass judgement on other's parenting skills (I was sooooo holier-than-thou when I was a mom to one, I'll fully admit it!).

As much as I love our children, parenting is a stressful job. Fortunately for me, swearing is a huge stress-reliever (added bonus: it's free!). I come from a family of four children, I still remember my father making an effort not to swear in front of us (it didn't work), he tried to replace 'shit' with 'shovel', or 'sugar', and it was ridiculous! Both words were preceded by a long 'shhhhhhh' as we all watched my father teeter on the precipice of cussing (eventually, he would fall in). My own career as a potty mouth started long before I was a mother, I can still remember the first swear word I said (shit!), I was walking down the street with another girl (can't remember if it was a friend or my older sister), and we both took turns saying 'shit' and giggling madly. Ah, memories!

Of course, by my own standards, 'shit' is a relatively minor swear word, tame, in fact. If I'm going swear, I'm going to unload the good stuff. I like to use the eff word. A lot. I could be talking about something good, or something bad, no matter, 'Fuck' is a highly effective way of emphasizing my point, or to illustrate that I've finished my sentence (like a period, if you will):

"That cheesecake was fucking awesome. Fuck!"
"Aw fuck, we forgot your lunch, we've got to go back to get it. Shitfuckdamn!" (you like that?)

Despite the fact I swear around them like a sailor, my kids know better. Probably because since they've been old enough to speak, I have drilled it into their heads that *only* mummies and daddies are allowed to swear. In fact, I have told them that the more children you have, the more swear words you are allowed to say. Case in point, a recent exchange at dinner:

Maddy: You say the eff word a lot.
Me: I know, it's an adult word. I can also drive a car. I can also drink alcohol. Adults are allowed to do more things than kids.
Maddy: Rachel's mom doesn't swear.
Me: I know, but Rachel's mom only has one kid. She's only allowed to swear ten times a year. I have four kids, I'm allowed to swear 40 times a year.

Obviously, this explanation hinges on the assumption no one is counting how many times I swear. But still, it was a good enough explanation for her. Maddy is in grade four now, and she regularly comes home regaling us with stories about how so-and-so said the 'i word' (idiot), the 'j word' (jerk), or the 'sh word' (shut up). When I say my kids don't swear, I mean they *don't swear*. Quite frankly, I'm more concerned about name-calling than I am swearing, there's a difference!

I do censor myself where appropriate, I generally don't swear at the store, around my mom or my inlaws, or around other children. If I do happen to swear around you, it means I'm comfortable enough in your presence to indulge in my filthy habit, consider it a sign of endearance!

There was a time when I felt guilty enough about my potty mouth that 'not swearing anymore' actually made it onto my (now defunct) list of New Years resolutions, however, I have come to the logical conclusion that even if I didn't swear in front of our kids, someone else will (case in point: the kids in my daughter's class will eventually gradtuate from 'jerk' or 'idiot' to something stronger), I can't shelter them from everything. In the grand scheme of things, if you consider all of the vices I could have, swearing isn't so bad, is it?

The day will come when I hear a swear word fall out of one of our kids' mouths, but as long as they're not using their words to hurt another person, I can live with it, they all grow up eventually! My children are under strict orders not to swear until they're 16 years old (am I naive to think I can hold it off that long?). It used to be 18 years old, but I recently lopped two years off, DD#2 was quite thrilled, I can tell she's going to excel in that area, a chip off the old fuckin' block!


  1. We should start a club. I hope I never cursed in front of a customer but I think I did.

  2. Jesus Fuck Anna, you swore in front of customers all the time!

    susie ;)

  3. You guys are a riot! I've got a bad potty mouth, but don't have too much trouble curbing it in social/work situations. ;) My kids know they aren't to repeat them until they are much older -- "you can't say the word if you don't know what it means" is a decent rule.

    That said, I have to stifle my giggles when I overhear my 6yr old trying out "dammit!" ;)

  4. There is a direct relationship between how much I swear, how many children I have had glued to my side during the day and how much sleep I have gotten. Today is going to be a potty mouth day. At least until I have a nap.

  5. On a slight tangent to the question of swearing kids, I have a friend in Texas who does roller derby with a police officer who's involved in crisis response. This woman noticed a pattern to the child snatching calls that she went on, where the kids in the "bad" neighbourhoods were always described as *attempted* abductions, while the situations in "good" neighbourhoods were much more likely to be actual abductions. So she decided to talk to the kids who got away.

    It turns out that, rather than yell "fire" or "help" like most kids in the "good" neighbourhoods were trained to do (and which apparently a lot of adults tune out), they would yell obscenties. Because kids aren't supposed to swear, a kid swearing a blue streak attracts a *lot* of attention, and marks the kid as "too much trouble", so the perpetrator would abandon the attempt.

    This woman has taught her child that if someone tries to get her to come with them, she's supposed to tell them to "get your hands off me you sick fuck", but that it's the only time when that's appropriate.

  6. susie, you're effing hilarious!!!!!!!!!

  7. Susie you Rock!
    You can't beat a good ol' F bomb, especially with a JC thrown in there for good measure. A friend with grown up children once told me that she told them they could say whatever they wanted at home but could not swear in public, not because swearing is bad but because people would think she was a bad parent.
    That being said it is a little alarming when my 3rd old says his Daddy is fuckin cool. At least he tells everyone his Uncle Andrew taught him that. the hook for now.

  8. this is an awesome post- you are my fuckin hero! and i totally agree about the 'one kid' parenting shit......HUGE difference in the stress level.....screw those people......btw, I am a bwing vendor too LMAO!

  9. OMG, Susie, that was a great read! :) My father was a total potty mouth and we never swore, so I totally believe you!

  10. You may enjoy you're giggles and camaraderie about foul language now...but I guarantee that you will be the parents of foul mouthed children. Who's kidding who..."my father was a total potty mouth and we never swore". Who's swearing now.(look at yourselves).
    It's not the under 10 group I worry about, it's the over 10. You think you have stress now...well you'll see.
    Language is a beautiful thing if used properly. Foul language is hurtful, aggressive and common.

  11. Anonymous, you can rest-assured I don't drop the eff bomb b/c my father swore on occassion (not nearly as much as I do, and never, ever the eff bomb!). I do not worry about how my children will turn out, they have been taught to treat others with respect, and never to use words to make other people feel bad. If they choose to swear when they are older, I will not be offended, I will expect them to show judgement in terms of when and where, there is a time and a place, and I don't do it if I know it will make someone feel uncomfortable. Thanks for you sharing your opinion!

    susie ;)

  12. had a dog once that used to get into the garbage at that time of the month. It was the only time I'd cuss in front of the 2 1/2 year old. One day out shopping, said 2 1/2 year old chanted "f-n dog" all the way through 5 aisles of the RCSS on Richmond. He would't stop even with food in his mouth. I switched to the Diva cup and he hasn't said it since.