I have given my children a firm grasp on the English language. I took to heart the research on exposing children to language in the first years and have made it my job to flood their brain with words. Research finds that highly engaged parents expose their children to 2153 words per hour on average. Puh-lease, that’s child’s play. The outcome of my labors is that my children speak impeccably well. The unintended consequence is that my children can swear like drunken sailors.
Take my most recent horrors. I was getting my big kids out of the house for school, and my 3 year old whipper-snapper saw the bus coming down our cul-de-sac and said, “There’s the god damn bus.” To which I replied, “Excuse me?” My three year old then grew wiser before my eyes and said, “There’s the gosh darn bus.”
A piece of me really wanted to be proud of those language skills. First of all, she used the swear word in perfect context and second she knew how to flip her word choice when I had a negative reaction. Mini mom celebration, but then I straightened up and realize that I really should be horrified.
I thought this was a one shot encounter but the next morning as I buckled her little body into the car seat she beamed and said, “I won’t bitch in the car, mommy.” “Shit, shit, shit!” I thought in my head. We have a problem here.
I need to defend my use of curse words because they serve a vital function. First, swearing is a cathartic experience. (AKA It feels fucking great to swear.) Just like hiding in my pantry and fisting chocolate chips makes me feel better, a good four letter word can bring my blood pressure back down to normal.
Second, I have learned that yelling at my children gets me nowhere. I just get worked up and they still don’t give a shit. Swearing conveys the message to my offspring that mommy means business all while saving my vocal chords. So all you haters out there thinking I’m the worst mom ever should see that really my choice to swear is actually a positive thing. Not yelling at your kids is a good thing. Exposing them to new language is a good thing. I’m on my way to sainthood right now.
Some might say that those who swear are uncultured and uneducated. Six years of college and two degrees (cough, cough, in child development) make me more than educated. I know that my three year old shouldn’t be swearing but having constant control over what comes out of my mouth isn’t happening. This whole raising children business is WAY more than I thought I was getting myself into. Now I’m to be expected to control my behavior every waking minute?! For those of us with children, we are awake with our children all.the.time.
So basically I’m screwed. I’m going to work on it because this third child is quickly showing me that she is going to make me pay. (Why can’t you just be like your brother and sister and know how to code shift?! Damn you, third born.)
For now, my only saving grace is that even though my youngest has a booming naughty word vocabulary, her articulation skills are quite poor. That means that those select few in her inner circle will be the only ones that can understand what she says. Once people can understand her though, we are up shit creek without a paddle. For now, I’m congratulating myself on her wide grasp of the English language.
About the author: Sam Grant is trying her best to raise three future contributing members to society, and manages with a handful of chocolate chips and a sprinkle of sarcasm. She fills her time in her day job writing academic research and evaluation reports. You can become one of her ten friends on Twitter @WriteonGrant.