We Are Both Right

Potty Mouth? Not This Mama

I am not a perfect mother. Not by any stretch. I yell too much. We probably eat fast food more than we should. I use a calculator to check my son’s math homework. When I’m short on cash I “borrow” money from their piggy banks. I blog about their every move, something they’ll undoubtedly be charmed by ten years from now.

I do however, do one thing right, and it’s something I’m pretty proud of.

I do not curse in front of them. Ever.

©jfg/stock.xchng

©jfg/stock.xchng

I know what you are thinking. How is that possible? I mean on a regular basis they spill milk and juice all over the kitchen floor. They lose homework. They scratch car doors. They drop their little brother off the coffee table of the living room. They leave their $50, perfectly worn in baseball mitt at the field, losing it forever.

They’re kids! They do dumb things! I should be using language that would make Kathy Griffin blush.

Oh. That’s not what you meant, is it?

I guess the real question is, how can a grown woman swear that she doesn’t swear in front of her kids? For me it’s easy. I don’t curse. Period.

Really.

I don’t have a real reason. It’s not a religious thing. I’m not living a life of purity or perfection. And I don’t sit here passing judgement other people who do use bad words (in front of their kids or not).

I just don’t.

Could it be my Catholic grammar school upbringing? I suppose. Did I have a fear of getting in trouble at home? Maybe, but I got in trouble at home for lots of things, just like everyone else.  I just never cursed. And as I got older, I realized that I had never cursed and continued not to.

(OK, in the interest of full disclosure, in my 36 years I have probably used “inappropriate language” a grand total of five times. But trust me, I was angry. Very angry. It was completely appropriate. And still, it wasn’t in front of the kids.)

Anyway, that I don’t curse means that those words are not a part of my usual vocabulary. They aren’t front and center in my brain. So for the same reason that I don’t use words like archimime* or buccula** in front of my children, I don’t use certain others (and no, I don’t type curses either).

So curse words are never said in front of my children. By me anyway. Which is a good thing for a couple of reasons.

First off, simply, that I’m not using that kind of language in front of them. My yelling (and trust me, I yell) is always of the PG variety. Not a bad thing. Second, maybe they’ll mimic me and pick up on my good habits. And sure, it’s funny when you hear a toddler saying something they probably shouldn’t. The first time. After that, well, it’s embarrassing. (And it’s definitely not cute coming out of the mouth of a tween.)

So the next time you are at the store and you see a child knock a display of glass pickle jars over and the mom is there, red-faced, fuming and embarrassed and saying things like “Bananas!” and “Fiddlesticks!” come and say hello. It’s just me, venting my frustrations the only way I know how.

Do you curse in front of your kids? Suzanne has admitted to a transgression or two, but it’s not like she’s entering sailor territory or anything.

* chief buffoon

** double chin

(Source: Obscure words with definitions)

Maybe Mommy Needs the Bar of Soap

© Emiliano Spada/stock.xchng

&!#%. Oops, you didn’t hear that. 

&!#%. 

Or maybe you did. 

It never fails. You let one profanity slip under your breath, whether it’s directed at the driver in front of you or the hammer that just fell on your big toe — and your sweet, innocent child just happens to have her ears perked up, listening (for once). 

And then comes the replay: “Awww, sh**. Hehe, that sounds funny. Mommy you say, awwww, sh**.” 

It does actually sound pretty darn funny coming out of a three-year-old’s mouth. But then the humor fades. And you hope the new vocabulary soon does, too. You promise yourself to really start watching your language, at least around the kids. And you pray that she never repeats what you just said to anyone else. 

Been there. Actually, very recently (as in a few hours ago).

Luckily, a rhyme got me out of that one — because at three, I can still convince my daughter that she didn’t hear what I really said, since I was just talking about how nice it would be to feed some ducks. The natural flow to a conversation that began with me dropping a hot casserole dish out of the oven, wouldn’t you agree? 

What can I say, except that sometimes my mouth moves faster than my mind.  I’m not the least bit proud of these slip-ups, and wouldn’t consider myself someone with a potty mouth (since my everyday conversations don’t include profanities as adjectives).  But I do feel guilty about sabotaging my own good intentions of never letting my children be exposed to foul language. 

While I’m confessing to less-than-perfect parenting, I should also mention that I can be hypocrital at times.  Especially on this subject. 

Because when my eight-year-old son calls something stupid, I get on him.  One, because he could find a better word to express his thoughts.  And two, because he has an impressionable three-year-old as his shadow who finds everything he says amusing. Talk about holding them to a higher standard. 

Now I remember that stupid was the word that got me in a little bit of trouble when I was five. Or maybe it was the same “s” word that I still let slip more than I should. Well whatever it was, that was the first time I learned the saying: “You’re going to get your mouth washed out with soap.”  

I’m expecting to get a call from my mom any minute now.  The offer might still stand.  

Amanda’s self-control when it comes to cursing is admirable. Makes me think I better keep my mouth shut around her children.