Well, I’m not sure I ever exactly worried about it. But sometimes I feel like I should. I mean, I’m no Navy Seal. Just another grown-up who emits the occasional, well-placed expletive. Sure, I’ve been told that certain terms are not befitting to my ladyship. But other words still make me blush a little. Or at least, that one does.
The point is, I’ve always struck a moderate balance …that is, until spending all my time with small children.
Now? I’m not sure if I swear more, but I am pretty sure I have not toned it down, as I fully expected to do. Nope. Because here’s the thing. Now, I want to swear more than I have ever wanted to swear before in my whole, entire life, ever. No, not at my kids, not really. Even when they drive my patience to amazing new limits, it usually satisfies to wait until their backs are turned, then curl my lip and stick my tongue out at them. (Or mutter those choice words under my breath while running after them.)
Things, though. Let me tell you about things. I’m talking objects of the inanimate kind. Things manage to boil my blood to nuclear fusion levels since having kids. I was never an angry person before. But now that I’m a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) to tinies, I suddenly release spasms of savage rage toward unyielding keyholes, hard-to-open jars, and brittle wine corks. Things are motherf**kers. (And so is our impossibly narrow-ass kitchen, while we’re on the subject. Take it from a mother who knows.)
Perhaps more surprising than the redirected anger I vent upon malfunctioning objects, is the unmediated fury I experience while looking for misplaced objects. FURY. This. For whatever reason THIS is where my inner sailor really shines. I imagine the feeling I get when I realize I urgently need yet don’t happen to know the current location of my phone, keys, wallet, the sippy cup, the #$*%@%^#(%$&(@*$#@ WIPIES for *%&#sake! — it must be similar to what Bruce Banner feels when he realizes he’s in too deep, and he is about to HULK out.
And the kids, well they’ve noticed. At least, the one who talks has. That’s indisputable. She’s not likely to repeat these little indiscretions out of the blue, but if grown-ups around her get tense and angry, it’s possible that you might suddenly hear a casual, sing-songy “f**king damn” in cherub voice from the next room.
So far, it’s only occurred twice (or thrice), and only in the comfort of our own home (far as I know). But it unsettles. And it’s hard to resist the urge to freak out and tell her she mustn’t ever say that thing (…that momma says nearly every damn day). But that would just increase the appeal. Because she’s four, and defiance is delicious.
This is not where I give a laundry list of justifications for occasionally swearing around your own kids. Because, frankly, this woman already wrapped it up beautifully. (To summarize, we’re grown-ups, they’re kids, parenting is hard, and, I quote, “we’ve given up a lot of sh*t” already.)
And I’m not advocating turning your dinner table talk into a Scorsese script. I’m just saying there are probably good reasons not to fret here. In fact, there’s apparently a psychologist somewhere who thinks swearing around kids can be kind of good even. I think the argument goes something like: swearing around kids helps them perceive the social and emotional nuances determining what kind of language is permitted, by whom, and in what contexts. They’re not just indiscriminate swear parrots, kids aren’t. Just don’t let them know how much it embarrasses you in public, and you should be ok.
I’m just here to let you know that if you have children and you fully expect to switch it off, or at least turn it down a notch, but instead it feels like your profanity filter got busted somewhere around month 20, it’s not the end of the world. I’m pretty sure it’s normal (or close enough to it). At any rate, you are not the only one.