By Eden Strong
My 6-year-old daughter didn’t wear makeup to school today. She wanted to, but I reminded her that she was only six years old and makeup is for when you’re older. As I was driving my (thankfully) makeup free daughter to school, my 3-year-old son attempted to climb into the front seat of the car because “I gonna drive it mommy!” to which I replied “There’s not a d*mn chance in hell that’s gonna happen buddy.”
Yes, I swear in front of my kids.
Sorry about that sh*t. Sometimes I can’t f*cking help it; it just slips out so d*mn easily.
I’m not really worried about my swearing, though, because just like wearing makeup and driving a car, my kids grasp the concept that there are certain things that they’re too young to do, just like there are words they’re not yet allowed to say, even if Mommy utters them sometimes. Just yesterday, my daughter ran wide-eyed and anxious into my room to inform me her younger brother had just said the “S” word. After a bit of prodding (and a promise that I wouldn’t punish her for whispering the forbidden word into my ear) I was able to extract enough information to have a chat with her heathen brother and remind him why we don’t call people “stupid.”
Seriously, though, what’s the big deal with swearing?
We all do it sometimes and if you can honestly tell me you don’t ever swear, well, I’m pretty sure you’re not my kind of people anyway. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not walking around throwing the “F” bomb while simultaneously yelling about the “crap” (aka toys) on the floor and all the “shit” I need to get done, but yes, sometimes I let a curse word slip here and there - and when I do, I don’t think twice about it. Not because I don’t know how to censor myself (I do) but more so because I don’t care that I’m swearing in the first place.
And here’s why: All day long my kids see me doing things they know they aren’t allowed to do - using the stove, talking to strangers, crossing the street alone - and all day long, the doors to communication are wide open and thankfully, my children seem to be grasp the lessons I’m teaching them about social etiquette and wrong vs right.
When they hear me swear, it allows me the opportunity to engage in a discussion with them about how we should present ourselves in public and what is (and isn’t) appropriate in different circumstances.
Kids watch their parents; I get that. And I’m fully aware that my kids’ future behavior depends on what they see me doing. I’m a single mom and exceedingly cautious at monitoring the example I’m setting for them. I’m fully aware that my daughter’s eyes are glued on me at all times and that everything she sees me do goes into an invisible data bank for reference later on in life. In addition to swearing, I date and I drink, too, but I make an effort not to hide away either of those facts; instead, I make it a priority to show my kids what responsible dating and drinking actually looks like.
Do my dear children ever break the ‘no-swearing’ rule in my house? Sometimes but not often. Far less than all the other rules they break, namely: “Stop sneaking food out of the pantry before dinner, stay in bed at night, and don’t dump all the bathwater out of the tub.” (And hey, at least swearing doesn’t involve me cleaning up two gallons of water from the floor.)
In fact, most studies have shown that swearing’s actually good for you: it elevates endorphins, provides a non-violent anger displacement outlet, and boosts self-confidence. Scientific American even cites studies showing that swearing increases our pain tolerance. That totally f*cking rocks, no?
Which brings me to yet another reason I swear in front of my kids: Because I can’t find one damn good reason not to.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to explain to my son why he isn’t allowed to use the godd*mn knife he saw me cutting up carrots with this afternoon.
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