I’ll just come out say it: I’m a sweary mom.
So it will come as little surprise that my kids are sweary kids.
But here’s what some people might find surprising: IDGAF that my kids swear. Do.Not.Give.A.Fuck.
It isn’t uncommon to hear my kids shouting “DAMMIT! MOTHERFUCKER” at the Xbox when they lose at Fortnite. Most nights, you can hear one of my kids muttering something along the lines of, “Shit, we’ve got school tomorrow.” And a few weeks ago when I reminded my son that he might want to wear a hat, his response was, “No way, it’ll fuck up my hair!”
So yeah, there’s a lots of swearing around here. By grown-ups. By kids. By all of us.
I probably should care, but the thing is I just don’t. And here’s why:
1. I’m not a hypocrite.
Like I said, I swear. A lot. Which means my kids are privy to a lot of colorful language. I don’t want to be a hypocrite – which in my book is far fucking worse than saying fuck. And since I’ve never been one to ascribe to the “do as I say, not as I do” style of parenting, my kids hear a lot of cuss words and then usea lot of cuss words.
So be it.
2. I pick my battles.
I have only so many fucks to give, which means I pick my battles when it comes to parenting. I choose to prioritize things like getting my kids to clean up the pee on the toilet seat and unload the dishwasher. Teaching my kids to be good humans is tippy-top priority, which means I have little energy left to argue with them about the dammits and the mofos.
2. Forbidding something only makes it more tempting.
We all know that making something off limits, only makes it that much more enticing. So by letting them drop eff bombs when they step on a Lego (who doesn’t, really?), swearing becomes a little less enticing overall.
3. Swearing itself isn’t the problem.
There isn’t anything inherently mean about the words fuck or shit or jackass. In fact, there are a bunch of seemingly “innocent” words that I find far more offensive than swear words. Words like stupid and shut up are no-nos in our house. I prefer oh my gosh to oh my god, since we never want to offend someone’s religious beliefs (though this is harder to enforce), and it should go without saying that slurs of any kind are cardinal sins. Obviously.
4. They learn how to swear in the right way.
Because, yes, there is a “right” way. And for that reason, there are some rules when it comes to swearing:
Rule #1: Don’t be a dick.
My kids know they can swear around another people, and they can swear because of other people, but they cannot swear at someone. Which means they can say the word bitch, but they can’t call someone a bitch.
Rule #2: Know your audience.
Everything has a time and place, especially swearing. My kids understand that it’s fine to swear at home and with their friends, but if I get a call from school because they were swearing, there will be fucking hell to pay. Because then they are fucking up my day, and that’s where I draw the line. Similarly, they need to learn that while you can shout “get him, motherfucker!” while playing video games at home, you probably shouldn’t say “fucking hell” while in church on Sunday morning. Or in front of their 2-year-old cousin. Or their grandma. When in doubt, refer to rule #1.
Rule #3: Don’t be a dick.
I know I said this was rule #1, but really it’s rule #1, 2 and 3. Truthfully, “don’t be a dick” is pretty much a universal rule of life, not just when it comes to swearing.
Look, swearing is fun and who am I to deprive my kids of some innocent fun. Because when you get down to it, swearing (when done with the above rules in mind) is just that – innocent. Cuss words aren’t inherently “wrong” or “bad,” and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna make my kids feel like they are “bad” for being bold enough to say badass motherfucker instead cool dude, or fucking hell instead of fudge (insert eyeroll). As long as they remember the basic rules of swearing, I’m a-fucking-okay with some swearing.
Bottom line: I don’t mind if they say the word asshole, I absolutely will not tolerate them acting like little assholes. Full stop.