I need to confess. I have been living a double life for some time now. Behind closed doors, I swear. And when I say swear, I mean like a mother trucker.
I have always loved to swear. You could find me in my 20s in the lunchroom, the bathroom, the boardroom, surrounded by people I would call my peers, my friends, my equals, and we would be dishing. Fuck this and bullshit that. It was normal. It was just how we spoke. I was an adult. Swearing was one of the major perks of being an adult and I appreciated the freedom to express myself with any words that I chose.
Then came the babies. This is when society told me that if I wanted to be considered a responsible and adept mother, I could not swear anymore, not only in front of my kids, but basically anywhere. It wasn’t motherly, it wasn’t lady like, it wasn’t tasteful. I wanted to be all of those things, so I stopped swearing.
As a mom of three toddlers, you have no idea how hard it has been not to swear. I can’t tell you how many times I walked in to find my toddlers doing something outrageous and barbaric, like peeing behind the toy box, and I wanted to blurt out, “You have got to be fucking kidding me!” Even a “what the hell!” would have sufficed, but alas, I held it in. I have refrained from my potty mouth for the sake of my children’s development and the betterment of myself. You could describe me as a ball of fucking refinement.
Then came Joey. Joey is my middle child, and when he was about 11, he went through this… phase. He started cussing like a sailor on leave on the walk to school with all the neighborhood kids. It seemed that my little boy had become the Cuss King of Edward Drive. He entertained the masses down the 2 blocks like a fucking boss. I hear he used all the good ones too. With an “Oh Shit” here and a “Fuck That” there, my boy was making a name for himself.
Then I found out. As a responsible mother, we sat down and had a little fucking chat.
I said, “You have to stop swearing.”
He said, “Why?”
And I was like, “Ummm, because we live in a just and civil society and there are just some words we don’t use.”
And again he was like, “Why?”
I really didn’t have a good answer for him except “because!” so I did a little research.
Turns out there really is no reason that shit, hell, fuck, ass and the like are considered vulgar. They are just the chosen words, plucked out of thousands of other words in our language, deemed offensive based on the context in which they were used. The words defined are not bad, just in the way we use them. When you think about it, there are many words that can replace these offensive words with similiar meanings which are not considered objectionable. We can say feces, purgatory, buttocks and sex in public without disapproving glances from passing strangers.
I also found out during my research that there are studies that have determined that people who swear tend to be more intelligent than people who refrain. So my boy is probably a fucking genius.
Swearing has some health benefits also. Myth Busters did a whole episode on the question “Does Swearing Relive Pain?” And the answer was yes. Spouting expletives did allow people to tolerate pain longer and therefore, it is concluded that letting out a little “shit” here and there, is beneficial to the stress levels of everyday life.
So back to the Cuss King of Edward Drive. We entered into a gentleman’s agreement. He could swear in our house, but only in our house. No more swearing on the way to school. There was one big exception to our agreement: no swearing at people. There would be no “Fuck you”s or “You’re a bitch” or “Why are you such an asshole.” The use of swear words as weapons was off the table, swear words were to be used as expletives only. You know, classy, like the refined people we are. Also, no swearing in front of non-family members in our house. It became our little secret.
He agreed and was quite delighted with the contract. Now, this agreement had ripple effects in our household. One being, I began to swear a little here and there. I could mumble an “oh shit” when I banged my toe or a “what the hell!” when the circumstance called for it.
And I remembered how much I love to swear. It was like a window opened, the shackles removed, the rope cut. I felt a new freedom in life that I had not felt since before children. I felt free. I felt more like me again, not just a mom with three kids, but actually me.
You might think it’s a bit ridiculous to have such a strong reaction to just using swear words, and I might be exaggerating just a little bit, but there was a release–a definite liberation of sorts.
Fast forward 5 years, and we have all settled in with our use of expletives. I feel that this unbridled barrier of language has translated into a free flow of conversation between me and my now teenagers that we otherwise might not have. There is no judgment of word choice in our house. They can express themselves freely without censoring their language when talking with me. I believe this translates into a better relationship.
This freedom of expression has spilled over into my personal life also. I occasionally swear in public discourse and so I must confess to the masses, I love to swear. If you encounter me on any given day, in any given situation, you might get an expletive or two, but I have no intentions of censoring myself anymore. I have found that it is nice to be myself. It is nice to just be me, including my flaws, my unrefined traits, my imperfections, and my choice of words, even if they are deemed to be boorish or crass by a proper society.
That said, I hope you all have a lovely fucking day, and I mean that sincerely.